Late June, 2008.
Soggy-assed, typical-Ireland-of-the-80s overcast-and-prone-to-heavy-showers late June.
And Jacob has once again checked in to the Temple Street Hilton. Is it pneumonia? Is it a viral infection of the lungs? Is it a bacterial whatchamacallit? Dunno. But it’s got the little soldier digging hard for breath. As I write, his mum will be trying to bed down beside him for the night. He’s sharing a room with three other kids plus one parent apiece. Buzzers and beepers and door slams seem timed to go off – with maximum cruelty – as you are just about to nod off into a half hour of restless but damned welcome semi-sleep.
He’s been put on a nebuliser tonight and that seems to be helping. His airways look like being one of his ‘things’. You know, like a club foot or a heart condition. He didn’t get those, which is lucky for him and us, but right now them lungs are giving us all the extracurricular activity we need.
The ironies heap up. Last Christmas when Jacob was in Temple Street his grandad got a touch of pneumonia too and was in hospital himself. Where is he now, right this very second? Not five hundred metres up the road from Jacob, in the Mater Hospital, awaiting a multiple bypass. So our inter-generational double act is still keeping us in stitches! My son and my father. Are they working together, two nutty professors in white coats, planning the finer details of these krazy escapades?
You know when you fill in an address form on the net and you have to select your country from the drop-down menu? Ireland is usually stuck right between Iraq and Israel. You can just feel the love, right? That’s the kind of sandwich filling I feel like right now. And maybe Jacob dodged the heart condition, but Pops is struggling tonight with three left arteries, two of which are 95% blocked while the other is really no trouble, being only 60% blocked. Yes, that’s me being ironic.
You can bury your head in the sand if you want to, but it’s a guaranteed way to get your arse kicked when you least expect it.