herald

Monday 23 October 2017

NOT EVEN A STROKE 
OF BAD LUCK CAN 
PUT AUNTIE DOWN

Sadly, I received a phone call to say that Aunt Sadie had another stroke and was in hospital. I didn't know how bad it was, but I was told she was having difficulty getting words out and was a little confused. I asked Patsy to come with me and, in the circumstances, she could hardly say no.

"Sadie thinks I'm the spawn of the devil," she moaned as we parked in the hospital car park. "She's not the only one," I replied. She gave me a look that would flay a sheep at 50 yards.

We were directed to the ward from the reception desk and there she was, large as life, sitting up in a chair beside her bed.

Fully-dressed, with her hair beautifully coiffed and a slight blush to her cheek which got even redder when she saw Patsy, she eyed us in that beady manner that Patsy finds so intimidating.

"So, the heavies have arrived at last!" she shouted at us.

She wasn't the slightest bit confused, and as for her speech, it had returned sharper than ever.

I asked her how she was feeling.

"I'd be fine if it wasn't for your one next door," she said, indicating with her thumb the poor mite on a drip in the bed beside her. "She's from Cork and she never shuts up. And when she's not talking she's hiking up golliers of phlegm the size of golf balls. And if she's not hiking golliers she's farting."

"Did you really have a stroke?" I asked her, a tad confused myself.

"Who knows?" she replied.

Patsy sat there with a rictus smile plastered across her face. She looked like the Joker from Batman.

"What are you grinning at?" Aunt Sadie demanded.

DEFEATED

To take her mind off Patsy, I asked her if she needed anything.

"Go back to the house and get my reading glasses. I can't read Ireland's Own without them," she said.

We took her house apart looking for her glasses with no luck, though we did find the wrappers of 16 Mars bars and a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

We went back to the hospital defeated. When we arrived in the ward we found Auntie reading Ireland's Own wearing her glasses. "I found them in my bag as soon as you left," she said. "But I tell you what you can get me. There's a set of rosary beads in the cabinet in the sitting room.

"But you're not religious," I said to her.

"There are no atheists in a lifeboat," she snapped.

True enough.

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