The great things about visiting other people in hospital as a wheelchair user include the fact that everywhere is flat, there are plenty of spacious lifts and nobody bats an eyelid at your presence. The bad things about visiting other people in hospital are much the same for everyone, and thus are bound to outweigh the good.
My Gran took a bad fall on Friday night. She's not that badly hurt; nothing was broken, but she fell on her face hard enough to knock herself out, she is rather confused and terribly distressed about the whole thing. She always been prone to confusion and depression, but following this concussion she apparently found out that she is much older than she thought she was (that is, how old she thought she was when she came round). She thought she was sixty-three, and is terribly upset to learn that she is fact eighty-two. She says she has all manner of wrinkles that she never had before. A curious concern for someone whose face is currently every colour of the rainbow.
She hasn't lost nineteen years of her life; it's not that she didn't recognise me from my eight year-old self or she thought my Grandad was still alive or anything like that. But it has thrown her. She is also very frightened about what happens next; she is frightened of going home and having another fall, she is frightened of having to go into residential care. It's impossible to reassure her and just now I feel very very sorry for her.
However, my mother made me feel very useful. I helped, apparently, with both comforting my Gran and given pertinent information to the social worker. I'm not sure whether I was at all useful or not, but it was a novel feeling to even think I might be.
Gran was, of course, completely and utterly oblivious to the US presidential election. But thank you very much, my American cousins for all you did for the world on Tuesday. Passing by the US Airbase* today, the stars and stripes took on a certain nobility that it may have lacked over recent years.
Oh and Happy Bonfire Night! Of course, the failed terrorist atrocities on 5/11 back in 1605 were used as an excuse for wholesale percecution of Catholics and religious non-conformists of all ilks. One such group of Puritans suffered so much that, following a detour to the Netherlands, they got on a ship called the Mayflower and sailed away in that direction [points West]. You see, everything is connected!
* In fairness, the Americans don't fly the flag at their airbase because it's really Ministry of Defence land; the flag was flying outside a nearby car shop where the US service personnel can buy tax-free gas-guzzling vehicles (the sort with wheels as big as a house) to fill with um, tax-free petrol, but we'll put that to one side for today.