I got the text in the middle of the night - nothing new about this, he always stuffs up the time zone thing. He's been stuffing up the time zone things for over a decade.
Lachlan: Going into hospital for a few days. Don't worry. I'll be fine.xx
Lachlan: All good. I'm fine. Just a little operation.
Pandora: Eh! What's wrong? Sending healing.
Lachlan: Will explain it all when I get out of hospital in a few days.
Pandora: WTF! You're telling me this over text! From the other side of the world! Get better. Cheers.
Lachlan: Will let you know I'm okay. Will text often.
Hospitals and I have a strange relationship. Mum was a nurse for forty years, meant that I was in and out of her work place from early childhood. Dad, not a well man, ravaged by rheumatic fever as a child, was regularly in hospital for most of my lifetime and half of his - so there was a heap of time spent visiting him throughout my early life.
Of late, I've seen a bit of hospitals, ending up in the emergency room of St Vincents twice in the last three years - that was fun (My doctor questioned me when I said I wanted to go there, "That's where the drug addicts go when they have a cold."). When Blarney was having her boys, I spent countless evenings watching telly with her on my way home from work, keeping her company while she waited for the boys' arrival in the local maternity hospital - a blessed mile down the road and on my tram route. I'm more than happy to visit friends who are stuck in a ward for what ever reason - hospitals don't generally freak me out. I'm not fond of them, but I don't have any nightmare associations with them like some others.
On the other hand, friends who are in hospital interstate and overseas brings the fear of god into me, no end. Chills me to my soul. Hate it. Sends me loopy.
I spent the day with my train of thought going everywhere. Hospitals, overseas, Lachlan, operation. What was wrong with him? Poor boy. And why was he telling me? And what wasn't he telling me.
Then I settled. And freaked out half an hour later, and settled once again.
The lucky thing about Lachlan, he has a doting girlfriend and two teenage sons to look after him when he gets back from his hospital jaunt. If he's not going to tell me what's up, then so be it. I'm not going to call all around the hospitals of Hertfordshire finding out where he is or how he is. He's not mine to fret about.
He'll be fine - although I got a text today saying he was going to be kept in a few more days due to complications, but he's mending slowly. At least he keeps me in the loop, I suppose.
Jonella and I had lunch on the day of the text interchange. She was concerned for me, wondering why I appeared to be stressed over something that I shouldn't really be overly concerned about.
Jonella: He's got his family. Nice that he told you he's going into hospital, pity he won't tell you why.
Pandora: I know. It's just something about friends and family in hospital when they're overseas and interstate. Freaks me.
Jonella: How do you mean?
Pandora: Well, when my Mum was in hospital with pneumonia a few years back I was beside myself. Threatened to go back to Myponga to look after her - my step-dad said that he was fine to look after her.
Jonella: That's fair enough.
Pandora: Then there was what went on with Wubbe. Stuck up in Northern New South Wales for months as he recuperated from that accident. Went up there three times to see him.
Jonella: And you were a good friend to him. Too good some would say.
Jonella: So why are you fretting over a long absent friend who has the audacity to tell you he's off to hospital for some bizarre complaint at four in the morning?
Pandora: I'm going to have to think about that.
So think about that I did.
It came down to working out what was other's stuff and what was my stuff. Why does all this talk of hospitals from across the seas make me feel like I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown?
It all comes down to my stuff.
There's something in my soul which shatters at the thought of being in hospital all alone away from somebody to take care of them. It brings up all the abandonment issues I've harboured for most of my life.
Hear of a friend in hospital abroad and I resort to eight-year-old me, sitting in a hospital bed, legs encased in plaster, left to fend for myself while my parents were working. Shocked, scared, alone, I came back from that hospital trip and altered child. The experience was repeated three years later, both scarring experiences on a psychological level, even though I know that physically was the best thing to happen to me. I'd still be walking on tip toes with knock knees if I wasn't.
Then part of me turns into the backpacker, glued to an x-ray machine, the radiographer waiting patiently for me to stop coughing so they could get a chest shot - suspected pneumonia - the doctor told me to go home and have somebody look after me for a week. I had to explain to them I was travelling and I could look after myself, thank you very much. Somebody in my hostel dorm went and found me some dinner that night when i returned from the emergency room. Thankfully the sleeping tablets and antibiotics were quick to work over those few horrid days so I didn't keep the others awake. Other memories of getting myself home on the bus after small procedures, stitches aching, dressings wet with blood, the starts of shock setting in as I stumbled towards the front door.
I look after myself. There was nobody in the near vicinity to take care of me when hospital visits occurred
So when I hear of a friend in hospital who's interstate or overseas - this is where my soul goes - and I get rightly upset.
Luckily, I know I can get out of this place easily now.
I remember the last few hospital stints. Ending up in the emergency room at St Vincents - and soon after Reindert and Jonella have come and sit with me for a while - both checking in hourly when they had to go back to work and collecting me after their work day was over. I think about how, with three days notice, a round of day surgery had friends coming around and sitting with me over the first few days of recuperation, one even sleeping in the spare room for the first night, keeping watch - even Wubbe turned up for a bit, manning the post between longer staying friends.
Even last the other week, hacking up a lung, my downstairs neighbour popped in to check on me, making sure I was okay - with other friends willing to come around if I needed anything.
But I'm used to looking after myself - there was no need to fret. I was just thankful that there was somebody there - just in case.
I'm sure it will happen again - people I care about ending up in hospital sick or injured.
Just when it happens I have to remember that the world is a good place and there are people there - even when my psyche remembers a time when they weren't.
And try and educate Lachlan as to when is the best time to send a text from the UK to Australia... though with 13 years of trying, I can't see it happening.