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  • Writer's pictureA. Murphy

Home again

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

When they said I could go home I was thrilled. To be surrounded by the familiar, the comforting, to not share a room with three other people (as nice as they were). Of course there were forms to fill out, they warned me to not try too much too soon, and I had to wait for medications from the pharmacy. They have to make sure that you're not going to suddenly pass out or forget who you are as soon as they take their eyes off you. I remember being given a little test before my discharge. It was like being back in school, but infant school more than anything. There was a piece of paper with a couple of images on it and I had to identify what the animals pictured there were. I had to draw a cube, list as many words beginning with F as I could within a time limit, and tap my table whenever the young lady doing the test said something beginning with P.


As soon as they were satisfied with me off I went...down the hill to my house. It was very convenient that my family and I lived so close by. As eager as I was to get back to normal, I knew there was no chance that was going to happen. I still had to wear the eyepatch for one thing and my dad had great fun going on the internet and buying me steampunk themed eyepatches. Essentially these patches had cogs and gems stuck to them, one even had a chain and a skull. It was very funny to see his delight in these patches which were clearly more for his amusement than mine.


Even though I couldn't go back to work straight away I did my best to go through my regular routine, or at least as close to it as I could manage.


We have a field out the back of our garden that we can access and we often take our dogs over there. I would go there with my dad and just kind of stand around while he exercised the dogs. Of course this led to an unfortunate incident in which he hit me in the head with a football he'd kicked for one of the dogs. I turned to him, indignant, shouting "I've just had brain surgery! You're supposed to be avoiding blows to the head!" But I wasn't angry with him, it was an accident.


Slowly but surely I got better at moving around, better at stairs, I could be on my feet for longer, and I progressed to walking my dogs (with someone with me as I was not allowed out on my own). I even went back to work once I was sure of myself.


I work as a swimming coach for the City of Southampton Swimming Club, and a teacher for their Learn to Swim programme. Wow did I miss it, and they missed me. Lot's of those kids were happy to see me, and of course asked where I'd been. I didn't feel comfortable lying to them, so I told them I'd been in hospital for a brain tumour. Young as they were, I think it was important to be honest with them, besides what was I going to say? I still had to wear an eyepatch, so they knew something had happened. Because of the patch I believe most though I had lost an eye, it was incredibly funny when I lifted it up to show them it was still there. They probably thought I was going to show them an empty eye socket. Their confusion when I switched the patch from one eye to the other was also hilarious. It was good that no one tip-toed around me, coaches, kids, and my boss especially. One coach walked on poolside, saw my eyepatch, and immediately and with a perfectly straight face nodded at me and said "Captain Jack." Perhaps he thought I was simply wearing it as a fashion accessory. I do have a reputation for unusual garments. I'm rarely seen without my earring made from a shark's tooth, with a silver dragon curled around the entirety of my other ear. Still, that's nothing compared to the annual celebratory evening the club holds which I turned up to in top hat and tails.

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juliap50
Jan 30, 2020

Hey , everyone loves a happy ending, apart from the football incident. Yikes! what can you expect from a Southampton supporter. Liked the way you described your ‘going home test’. The steampunk eyepatches sound fun. And a bit like those Christmas lights people put OUTSIDE their homes, more for the benefit of passerbys than the folk inside/ or in your case Aislinn behind. So you’re right of course. Your dad probably does enjoy the eye patch thing more than you. Hooray , you’re home. plen of time to get your own back ! congratulations to all, and a hug for your mum.

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