Food for thought: Why I can’t really propose a toast to this hospital ‘patient’


It’s Thursday evening of last week and once again – for the second time in five days – I find myself in the old Regional Hospital, now the University one, in Galway city, and at about half past nine I am sitting in the x-ray area waiting (obviously enough) for an x-ray. This time, surprisingly, I am not the patient, but rather it is an immediate family member who is. By the time we got as far as the x-ray room, we had already been in the hospital for six and a half hours. 

  As is the norm, there isn’t a lot of chat going on in the waiting area, when this lad in his late thirties sits beside me and immediately starts to talk to me. It’s hard to miss the strong smell of drink off him. He asks: “Will you be let home tonight? You never know when you come into these places.” So I try to explain that I am not the hospital patient, and that, yes, hopefully we will get home later. When he repeated the exact same question five or six times in the next few minutes, I thought to myself that he wasn’t fully with it and so I asked him what he, himself, was doing in the x-ray department.

  Before I got an answer, the girl who had given out the cups of tea and stuff about an hour or so earlier, came by to collect the dishes, and my mate wasn’t missing his chance. He called her over and asked for a cup of tea and two slices of toast. Now I could see the young girl was doubtful about him and she too asked why he was in the x-ray department. He said he was waiting for a dressing for two large cuts he had on his arms. She threw her eyes up to Heaven but agreed to get him his tea and toast, along with the six packets of sugar he asked for. Anyway, off she went while he enquired another few times as to whether I’d be going home later, until fairly quickly the young girl was back, complete with the required items.

  I watched him as he put the butter and jam on the toast with his fingers and before you could blink, the whole lot was gone and so was he. Out the door with him, none of his cuts dressed, and away into the night, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he had only come in after a few pints for his supper and equally, does it happen on a regular basis? Now obviously I don’t know, but he certainly had no business being where he was medically, and the only conclusion I could come to was that he knew he would get something to eat in the hospital – and how right he was.

  As for us, my family member was admitted for the night after another couple of hours and did eventually get a bed, but once again, under outrageous pressure, the medical staff did a wonderful job and we can only applaud them for being so kind, courteous, and professional, under appalling working conditions. 

Massive fundraiser for Caislean Oir in Glinsk

Sharon Gannon has asked me to tell you all about the massive fundraiser that Caislean Oir, Glinsk Community Childcare, are having. A draw for a brand new Dacia Sandero car, or €10,000 in cash, will take place in Dowd’s, Glinsk on Saturday night, 12th of August. There are other prizes as well and tickets are only €10. What an amazing undertaking by the Glinsk community, so make sure you buy those tickets and support a worthy cause.

  Tickets can be got at the creche, from local businesses and also online at All proceeds go to the day to day running of the non-profit community creche, and you could be driving away in a lovely new car or leaving Dowd’s with a bagful of cash! On the night there will be music by Shane Moore. It should be great craic; but get out now and buy those tickets. I must buy one, as the old Almera is nearing the end of its natural life.

  Also, keeping in with all the local publicans, Bernie Naughton wants to let all Luke Kelly fans out there know that on this Saturday night she has James Gallagher and his band playing in PJ’s bar in Castlecoote, and I am told that he is a brilliant entertainer, a real star, and the ultimate Luke Kelly soundalike. If you like Luke and want a great night’s music, don’t miss it – and tell Bernie I sent you!

Almost converted  to Rossie-ism

Finally for this week, it was great to be in Croke Park last Sunday. Even though I was disappointed with what I felt was another spineless performance by our Galway footballers, the game between Mayo and the Rossies was just fantastic, and while it was probably a fair result, I thought the young Rossies were a credit to themselves, to their management team (two Mayo men and a Galway man) and to their county, and they have lit up what has otherwise been a mediocre championship.

  I thought they were the better team on Sunday and although I have to say this Mayo team has extraordinary resilience, I believe the primrose and blue will have at least two more visits to Croker. I met loads of the supporters and the colour and atmosphere they brought to the Capital was wonderful, and by the time I had a few lovely pints of Bowe’s best Guinness – a lovely pub off Fleet Street – I was nearly converted to Rossie-ism.

  Next weekend, with the football quarter-finals, (three of them including this replay) and the hurling semi on Sunday, it promises to be one of the great sporting weekends of all time. Throw in the Open Day in Donamon, the musical treats that Ballygar Carnival have in store for us (love to see Lisa McHugh), and all I can say is it’s great to be alive.

Till next week, Bye for now!