Independent Woman: Forever Friends (Ireland)

Published: February 7, 2011 | Last Updated: February 7, 2011 By | Reply Continue Reading

By Aida Austin
Saturday Feb 5 2011


I did a long bedside vigil on a paediatric intensive-care unit 12 years ago. A cold sweat of terror defines that time for me, along with mad-eyed private bargaining — "please, whichever god is listening, make my child okay. I’ll give you my legs/eyes/arms if you make my child get better" — the sort of deranged thing that some of you will know.


Three mornings in, when my fear was oscillating far beyond my ability to control it and I’d forgotten how to sleep, one of the nurses said, "There’s someone here to see you. You can go and buzz her in."


I left my husband at the bedside and walked, unseeing, down the corridor. The door to the unit had a small, clear pane of glass. It framed the face of an old friend on the other side, who I believed to be in England. I buzzed her in, and charged her like a clumsy dog. She held me hard and I was too distraught to smile or thank her for coming.


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