Mont Blanc

A Room with a View…is it always worth it?

Rather unusually for someone that’s been on the planet as long as I have, I’m lucky enough to have never spent a single night in hospital.  It’s been an experience therefore to have spent the last 3 days at the bedside of a very sick relative in the quite odd Hopitaux du Pays du Mont-Blanc in the town of Sallanches near the French resort of Chamonix.  It’s not like I imagined hospitals to be.  It’s modern & very clean.  It’s quiet & eerily empty.  There are no wards, just rooms painted bright yellow with one or two people in them.  Every room has a stunning view – either out onto the Big Mountain itself or one of the other minor peaks.  Do people recover quicker when they’re in a room with a view?  Maybe.

Twice a day a black helicopter lands on the roof bringing in an emergency – either a holidaymaker that’s damaged themselves whilst indulging in one of the many, many extreme sports on offer in this part of the world – or transporting someone from one of the remote villages.  Yesterday we watched an elderly gentleman in his neatly buttoned overcoat walk from the helicopter.

I feel as though I’ve slipped into a parallel universe in only three days.  My day to day life at Learning Pool seems like a distant dream.  I’m either in the hospital feeling helpless or I’m outside reading Haruki Murakami’s surreal “Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”, drinking coffee out of a machine and wondering why people that are sick enough to be in hospital think it’s a good idea to go outside & smoke, even when that means dragging their drips & tubes with them.

Human life – it’s a beautiful and fragile thing – we should remember that and try to be a bit nicer to each other for the short time we spend on earth.

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