The time is always right to do what is right.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today I was keeping my sister Loretta company at good old St Thomas’ hospital. (She’s much better for those who have asked, but she is requiring occasional day patient care.)
We were sharing a room with Edna. Edna is also a day patient but because she lives so far from the hospital and cannot walk due to servere psoriasis on her legs and feet, she has been put up in a nearby hotel during her two week treatment.
As we had to sit for a few hours whilst Loretta had treatment for her own psoriasis we got talking to Edna. She’s a seventy year old mother of four who originates from Jamaica. Despite the fact we didn’t have much in common initially, our afternoon with Edna was incredibly entertaining, eye opening and overall really quite brilliant.
She was hilarious, full of funny stories and seems to have had a very colourful life so far. Her children live all over the place and her youngest child (who is 47) not able to visit her too often due to ill health while she’s having treatment. Her husband is currently in Jamaica recovering from surgery. So she will go through the majority of her hospital treatment alone.
What was incredible was how a few hours can pass by when you have somebody to talk to. Before we knew it Loretta was all sorted, blood tests and the like completed and we were on our way home.
Edna, however, had to spend the rest of the day alone in the day centre and will be on her own in a tiny hotel room near Waterloo station.
As we left she told us how lovely it was to have some company today, how it made the time fly. She seemed sad to see us go, and Loretta won’t be back in until next week.
At one point I also by accident found myself in the chemotherapy centre when searching for the coffee machine for Edna and I. It had a few people in there, some playing chess and some just talking. But the company seemed to be a big comfort to them all in there.
I can’t stop thinking about Edna this evening. And how nice it was to meet her. Spend time with her. I hope we see her next week. It’s made me think of people who are alone a lot. Who could do with moral support and a friend.
After meeting Edna today – I can’t help but think how nice it would be if we could all set aside a bit of our time – no matter how precious – to spend with those who’d love the company?