MONDAY 18 Jan ~ A Visit to Dr Kildare

We spent much of the day in a hospital in Germany. Elja had interviews and X-rays and made plans for her hip replacement operation which will now take place in the same hospital in February. She has been researching the pros and cons of different methods and seems happy with this choice.

In hospitals one spends a good deal of time waiting, chatting and observing other patients. One sees a great range of different reactions to the matter of human infirmity. Some seem to take it as matter of course, others as a personal insult; some are confident, some nervous. One also sees the different attitudes of staff, some friendly and supportive, some brusk and businesslike. Some clearly have a very different manner for patients and for colleagues. It is a difficult matter dealing day in day out with suffering.

As we were waiting for radiology we realised that since this is a hospital with an emergency department, the wait can be very variable, since emergency patients have to take priority, so whether one has an appointment or not, the time you actually get in to be X-rayed is also a function of whether any big accident has happened recently. The person in the waiting room may be ignorant of this dimension and think that they are on the receiving end of inefficient service. This illustrates many aspects of modern life. We try to make everything run like clockwork, but adventitious circumstances intervene. The individual may remain quite ignorant of why things are happening as they are, but hidden from sight there may be some life and death drama being played out. This is the stuff of TV soap operas, but it is also very real.

In a hospital one is particularly conscious of the divide between the smooth mechanical surface that everyone strives to keep intact and the drama happening in the individual case. One might think that it would be better for the whole process to be humanised, but it might then be very difficult for the staff or the patients to cope. Somehow we need to occupy both worlds. On the one hand, one's body is an intensely personal matter. On the other hand, it is a material object that functions or goes wrong and needs fixing. Maintaining the right balance is quite an art.

You need to be a member of David Brazier at La Ville au Roi (Eleusis) to add comments!

Join David Brazier at La Ville au Roi (Eleusis)

Email me when people reply –


  • Ai Annette was there someone with you? It makes a lot of difference when you have to spent a long time waiting and you have someone to talk with...  I hope the operation went well? We hope to arrive at Eleusis tomorrow evening. We will visit you before we go to Germany. (Or we will invite you for a diner at Eleusis?)  Lots of love x

  • Dear Annette, much sympathy for your ordeal. I wish we had been around and could have given you a bit more support. Lots of love.

  • Hospital is a world in itself and if you think about it is also  the reflection of our lives with all the behaviour and emotions...  Quite often life starts and ends in hospital.  I spend myself whole day  yhesterday, at the hospital waiting for a cataract operation. Waiting was probably the most agonizing part, particularly when you have to wait with nothing on but a light sort of apron open at the back and a silly blue plastic cap on your head. There you sit, shivering, waiting, being a "patient"doing what you are told to do, and trusting the experts and their expertise.                             Good luck Elja! 

This reply was deleted.