My hospital stay proves it – laughter is the best medicine!



It’s a little past eight o’clock on the Bank Holiday Monday and I am looking out the window of Portiuncula Hospital at the lovely bright sun as it rises over the sleepy town of Ballinasloe. And I am wondering if, after almost a week in St. John’s Ward, I am soon to get the news that I am going home.

  Six days ago I arrived here, and, at a time when everything we hear about the HSE is negative, I am going to break the mould and tell you that, yet again, my experience here has been totally positive. As I write, I have had almost a week here during which I could not have been better treated.

  The first night I arrived I spent some hours on a trolley in the corridor of the A&E Dept., and after listening to everyone giving out about the indignity of it all, I have to say I didn’t find it so bad at all; so much so that I fell fast asleep and told the staff that I was quite happy to stay there and didn’t want to go to a proper bed at all.

  Now I will admit that when you hear about very elderly ladies (and older men too), spending nights in corridors on trollies, it’s not ideal, but for me it was fine, and when I was woken up to go to St. John’s I was almost sorry. However, six days later, I can honestly say that I have had a brilliant time in this ward, and, even though you don’t come into hospital for the craic, I have had as much fun these last few days as I could have had anywhere. The lads in the ward were great characters, all in their different ways, and we had stories and songs and loads of laughter. As we know, the old people always used to say that laughter was the best medicine – and, if my experience is anything to go by, they were right.

  The nurses were absolutely marvellous. I couldn’t speak highly enough of them and, remarkably, every single one of them was good-humoured, obliging, and totally dedicated. They deserve all the praise they can get.

  That brings me to the food, and we are all in agreement that it’s as good as anyone could reasonably expect. We had up to four choices for dinner every day, including roast lamb, roast beef, and other delicious dishes, the same for tea, and, as a daily porridge man, I have to say the porridge was just top class. And so my review outcome is that I have had a thoroughly positive experience, I met great characters in the ward, the food and staff were excellent, and while I have no immediate plans for a return, if I had to, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

  After all that I don’t know yet if I will make it home for the cally at the Creggs Harvest Festival; if you don’t see me there, you will know that my address is still Room 104, St. John’s Ward, Portiuncula Hospital, and the gunner, Jim O’Roarke, will hopefully fill you to the gills with cally, laden with the best of spring onion; and you better also top up with a feed of the best black and white pudding that money can buy.

  Anyway, that’s my story regarding my hospital stay, and, I hope it will be a while again before I am in a position to do another review.

Cally-amity: I’m discharged – only to find I’ve lost my ‘job’

It’s now Tuesday afternoon as I write, and the good news for me is that I was released on Monday evening, and I actually made it out in time to catch the end of a very impressive Creggs Harvest Festival parade, which again this year was watched by a large and very enthusiastic audience.

  I also spotted that the Cally tent was extremely busy, and once again all the cally and puddings sold out – sadly, Declan Maloney took my place on the sales end, and I was told last night (don’t tell my doctors but I managed to get to Mikeen’s for a few not so quiet pints) that my position is in jeopardy for next year, and that I need to forward my CV to the committee. The only thing in my favour is it took two men to replace me, Declan and Mikeen, so when I point that out to the committee I feel confident they will reinstate me and I look forward to being back feeding you all next October.

Raising money for Join Our Boys

Last weekend, as I had already told you was on the cards, Aoife Hegarty, daughter of my good friend Jack the Lower, ran the Dublin City Marathon in aid of the Join Our Boys Trust, and the great news is that she completed the course successfully and also raised a load of money for the cause.

  As contributions are still coming in, I haven’t the exact figure, but it is quite a substantial amount, and a credit to Aoife and indeed to her family and friends. She has asked me to say thanks to everyone involved, those who helped her training, those who supported her in any way, and especially those who contributed to the fund. All I can say is well done Aoife, and everyone is very proud of you.

And finally…

Finally for this week, Michael Nolan has asked me to let you know that RosFM are holding a table quiz in Carthy’s pub, Castle St., Roscommon this Friday night (November 3rd), at 9 pm. Tables of four are €40, and as RosFM is totally run by volunteers, your support is needed and appreciated, so get on the glad-rags and hit for Carthy’s on Friday night, and, even if you don’t know a lot, you are still helping to support a vital local service!


Till next week, Bye for now!