Today I went to visit a very dear friend on the Sperrin Haematology/Oncology ward in Altnagelvin Hospital. Leah had two admissions there prior to going to Bristol for her transplant and was really well looked after.
As I walked through the door of the South Wing of the hospital today my tears started flowing and I wondered if I had made a big mistake in going there.
As I walked up the stairs and down the corridor, everything was just as I remembered it, all the familiar landmarks, and everything reminded me of Leah.
By this stage I was in no fit state to visit anyone, but felt I couldn’t turn back as my friend was expecting me.
I was relieved that the entrance to the ward was open as I wasn’t capable of speaking into the intercom. As I approached the nurses station a lovely nurse turned to me and said “We heard you were coming. This must be so difficult for you. We remember Leah.”
Then she took me away to sit in a quiet corner and we talked together about Leah’s illness journey and I showed her some photos of Leah taken in Bristol and after that at Christmas.
The nurse brought me a drink and when I was composed she took me to speak to the ward sister and we reminisced about Leah sitting her GCSE modules on the ward and some other happy memories.
Then I went to visit my friend and had a lovely time with her.
Sometimes there is healing in facing painful memories head on and being enveloped in the loving care of those who God provides to minister to us on this journey.
The Health Service is far from perfect and I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, but today I thank God for the very many kind, caring staff who made Leah’s and my journey that bit easier because of their compassionate hearts.