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Reflections on hospital: It’s a wonderful feeling, to make yourself at home somewhere. And amazingly, you can do it almost anywhere – even on a ward

Santa fairy lights. Laura Eades

Santa fairy lights. Laura Eades 2014

We’re healthy again now. But while I was on the ward with my daughter, I wrote this:

Nothing like a sachet to make you feel spoiled

All our needs are catered for here. Baby wipes. Tiny pats of butter. Bins get emptied and floors mopped from under us. We never have to put a wash on or stir a soup. On a good day, it feels luxurious, like a strange holiday.

Make yourself at home

That’s what I do on holiday. I don’t actually go on luxury holidays, but when I’m away, everything feels like a treat just because it’s a bit different. Like, a low-quality tube of Nescafe granules in a holiday cottage is a kind of treat. Going to a local shop, and having a little cheerful stop-and-chat, and buying a foreign breakfast cereal, feels luxurious. I’m more grateful for the cereal because it’s different and I had to seek it. And then, I love more than anything, becoming ‘a regular’; revisiting the shop, repeating the lively exchange, extending my range even further.

Now den

That’s one of my 3-year-old’s favourite games right now: designating an area, usually a really tiny one like a step or an alcove, and saying: “this is my house”.

Now, in hospital, this little room is our home. My cupboard, its own orderliness. Even when you only have a few things, you need to invent habitual places to put them or you just lose things. That’s a lesson learned the hard way on various camping trips.

Beauty spot

Part of making yourself at home is finding your little favourite corners. Now we’ve been here 5 days and I’ve got my tiny table by the window, where I watch the sleet fall on a courtyard, and looked at my roommate’s amaryllis, before she moved on, vase of flowers and all.

But my favourite place of all here is the windowsill in the Mutti Kuche, the mums’ kitchen, which is bedecked with laid-out Santa fairy lights. I can’t tell you why, since up close it’s pretty kitsch, but the overall effect after dark is really magical. It’s like the spirit of Christmas is really glowing here. One night I even ate my evening bread-and-cheese ration in there with the lights out to enjoy the glow.

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