I thought I would never live to tell this story, and then I came to thinking that if I don’t tell it now who will ever know; I mean I might have joined the Turf Club, and don’t the Irish always laugh at the worst things that happen to them.
I had an eruption of a peptic ulcer in me tummy (I didn’t even know it was there but had been feeling bad for some time).
The doctors told me it was from worry and agitated by alcohol. God bless me, I do like a drink but I had been kicked out of my home by Herself a couple of months before.
I looked it up on the web and found out it was due to little bugs in your tummy that get in there somehow and drill into your insides. Those little shites made a hole in me the size of a bullet; I saw the fecking thing on an xray. I had lost three litres of blood in ten minutes, and I only started off with five.
I was living on my own when it happened, in Dublin just past mid-night, and I knew something was badly wrong. To be honest I was very scared.
So I phoned my best friends and woke them up and explained what was happening; and they took over the situation from then on. A doctor came and then an ambulance from the Mater Hospital nearby and they took me poor body away.
But here is the thing . . .
When I was laid out dead as a doornail in the ambulance the nurse (a guy) clipped on a finger sensor to read my heart-beat. But nothing happened; there was no pulse from my heart.
Above the wail of the sirens the nurse shouted to the driver of the ambulance “You can slow down now Paddy, he’s gone, tell them at the hospital he’s a DOA”.
So I sat up with all me strength and shouted out, “For the love of God are you deaf? I’m talking to you and I am NOT DEAD you eejit . . . I have too many things to do!”
He gave the machines in the ambulance a couple of good bangs with his hand, then leaped up in the air and shouted again to the driver “I’ll be fecked, he’s alive and talking to me, cancel that DOA Paddy”.
I lost ten days of my life. They just disappeared and I had no memory of it at all until I got out of emergency and the dark clouds had passed away.
It was the Irish stew they gave me, I even found a piece of meat in it. It brought me back to life.
I smoke you know. I hate it but what can you do.
So when I was out of the emergency ward I used to sneak outside in me pyjamas at night with me old green anorak on to keep me from freezing.
There were a few of us that did the same you see – an odd bunch of people but we huddled together in the freezing cold and puffed away in solidarity; and we got tay from the machine.
I think it was the only thing that kept us alive apart from the fags and the conviviality.
When you are at the bottom of the barrel you do not judge your fellow men. It doesn’t matter what they did; they just become your friends.
We sang Irish folk songs, and told our stories and our jokes and laughed about life. And sometimes there was a tear or two. In that case we would put an arm around the man and say ‘God bless you, we will look after you.” Hail Mary, full of grace; but she was absent then.
One of those friends was a heroin addict, let out from Kilmainham jail across the road. He was on the way out and we all knew it. I felt bad about it. He was a good man; pale-faced and skinny as a rake. He had the bed next to me.
The morning I left he was asleep. I left him my pullover and my anorak at the end of his bed. He never knew because he passed away later the same day.
I didn’t need them anymore – I had new wings to fly again.
. . .
ps – Tim Finnegan and meself must be related as you can judge for yourself by clicking here