Love is…

Reminiscing a little about my hospital visits, which now look as if they are in the past.

One of the things for which I am most grateful is that I think I have seen what true love actually is.

If you’re interested, true love, for me, is not flowers, chocolates, hot dates or even hotter sex. If that is what somebody thinks, good luck to ’em, but I don’t think they’re even out of diapers yet – they’ve got a way to go.

I actually met Brenda professionally in a previous life. She was a lawyer, she drew up my will when all the shit was going down with my daughter. Brenda had a stroke in August last year, only in her late fifties – I guess she’s only five years older than me. There were complications and setbacks, and she is still in hospital today. She doesn’t speak yet, she can’t eat solids, but she has a tiny amount of movement through which she can communicate, as long as you know what you’re looking for.

She is unreecognisable from the smart, confident woman I once met. In fact, I only recognised her because of her unusual surname – one I had never come across before. When she was first in, the name clicked and I couldn’t resist asking her husband whether Brenda was a lawyer, and explaining to him my connection. He was a guy I got on with immediately.

In the run-up to Christmas I didn’t see Brenda or husband for a while, and I assumed they had been discharged somewhere. The hospital tends to do that – when someone is out of danger, and the staff don’t feel they can do any more, then the patient is moved on somewhere less acute. It was my own fault, I suppose, because I tend not to check the patient roster. I don’t really like to find out too much about patients, their first name is normally enough. In general, the less I know, the less complicated my life can get.

But I saw Brenda’s husband again in a corridor in January, and realised that Brenda was still on the ward. That’s about seven months, so far. She’d had another setback and seemed to have been jolted backwards, not forwards. Since then, I have made a point of seeking Brenda out each time I visit. I doubt that Brenda recognises me, I was probably only one of thousands of clients, but that’s not a big deal. Every time I see her, her husband is by her bedside, plus at least one of their (grown) children.

Love? Look no further.