Saturday 6 October 2018

The Willow Box

When Native Americans visit a friend, they symbolically place any troubles they have in a willow box at the door so they don't bring them into another's life. I mention this because hospitals are suprisingly cheerful places if you ignore the illness and suffering that accompany the lives of most patients.

The reason for this is that the people who make up the NHS—the consultants, doctors, nurses, cleaners and caterers—all have their own troubles, but they are experts at leaving them “in the willow box” as they enter the hospital.

There is so much good humor, good will and optimism. And they don't mind being sent up. (See cartoon!) One way I deal with my depression is humour. For example, when a nurse comes to take my blood, I greet her with, 'Good morning, Dracula.' If my temperature's too high, I pretend to bribe them, asking them to probe the other ear.

We all deal with our depression in different ways and we all have mechanisms to combat it. I am fortunate because I have my wife, Anne, who is my rock and my island. I also have other family and many friends who seem to want to visit me. Others are less fortunate and seem to be entirely alone in the middle of their illness and the worries that accompany it. They are entirely dependent on the willow box.

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