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Makes you think

Life goes on for Peter Leith, and others, after a short stay in hospital. But not for everyone.


Last Monday, I had an angiogram. It’s normally a day surgery procedure, but they kept me in overnight because, at the age of 90, they did not want to have to bring me back in an ambulance, in a hurry, if anything went a bit pear-shaped.

I woke in a sixth-floor, four-bed ward with a glass wall overlooking the lovely hillside on which the hospital is built.

Sadly, for him, the 93-year-old man in the bed opposite mine, with the best view, wasn’t looking at it. He was dying.

His two sons, both tradies in their 60s, sat beside his bed, talking with each other and trying to talk to him. Occasionally he muttered a response, called out loudly and breathed laboriously.

They left about 7pm, promising to visit again “tomorrow”. Their father continued to mutter, breathe heavily and call out occasionally.

I woke around midnight to see a group of hospital staff around his bed. When they left, they had pulled the sheet over his face.

I woke again about 2am to see two nurses stripping the bed, wiping it down with disinfectant and remaking it.

When I woke again at about six, the bed stood serene and immaculate, outlined against the lovely morning light, waiting for its next occupant.

Do you have an idea or observation for Peter? Send it to sunday@yourlifechoices.com.au and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line and we will forward it to him.

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