Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014
in Family, Jobs, Rantings
There is a worrying situation developing here in Ireland regarding the construction of a new children’s hospital. I say developing, it may already be too late. Millions have been invested into the construction of a fancy new hospital, the skeptic in me prophesies that this new building is less about family and child-welfare and more about lining the pockets of architects and land developers, big brown envelopes, that sort of thing.
This new hospital is to be placed in the worst area of Dublin you could possibly imagine. I have friends from tough inner city ghettos who are dubious about hanging around this area for too long, even to catch a bus. They’d rather skirt around the area even in torrents of rain and hellfire. Cars have no idea how to manoeuvre the spurious crossroads, trams and trains have pre-booked the area making it a hub of transport confusion. It’s a big cramped half-erased yellow-box-junction broken-glass no-signage-whatsoever many-laned mess.
So, to summarize, the powers that be have organized to put a fancy new building in the centre of a very confused city, in a confusing hole of many long roads with traffic lights that are completely out of sync and roundabouts that have no place being roundabouts at all. No parking. No views of green belts. No extra room. Heroin addicts asking you weird questions. No bus lanes for rushing ambulances, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
There is, however, a nice area which is free, it’s right beside a flowing motorway. It has building potential. It has lots of accessible space with lots of expansion possibility for education facilities… there’s even room for a maternity hospital that doesn’t sag under the weight of heavy machinery because its floors are too ancient. Developers seem to not want to have anything to do with it, but that’s politics for you. It’s up to public protest now. Jonathan Irwin of the Jack and Jill foundation for very sick children indeed, is tearing his hair out.
I really want to write a letter to help him out because he’s a brilliant advocate for families like mine but he’s just one man, and I’m crap with politics and would be glad of your help, if you have the time.
Dear (insert name of TD or whatever dude has power to do things)
RE: RELOCATION OF PLANNED CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, DUBLIN.
As a citizen of Ireland, and a busy mother, I hope to capture your interest in a subject that concerns a great many like me. I would love to have the time to write passionately about this subject, but I don’t, and I fear that your busy lifestyle and the constant demands for your time are harsh too so in the name of empathy I’m hoping to keep this message relatively short.
Close your outer mind if you can. Lock the doors to external distractions and focus on your imagination, because I’m hoping to tell you a story.
You’re in a car. There’s a baby in the back-seat. It’s a baby that at one time you were very excited about, but now you’re not sure how to feel because some weeks ago you learned that it’s not like other babies, it isn’t developing the way babies should according to the books you’ve read. Doctors have scared you. You’ve scared yourself. Because your baby is broken, you feel as though you are broken too.
There’s something wrong with this child. It gurgles when it breathes. It’s pale and floppy, maybe this child is jerking uncontrollably, or perhaps the weird feeding device that well-meaning surgeons have placed before has come loose and now your baby is starving because you can’t re-insert it.
You live three hours away from the surgeons that can help this baby, according to your Sat-Nav system.
So, you put the pedal to the metal and you drive in panic along relatively vacant country roads for what appears to be an eternity, overtaking trucks, watching mindfully for motorcyclists. You yourself feel in a relative state of control, but you have a loved one – maybe a co-parent, or a sister or a carer in the car with you who is desperate for you to drive FASTER. You’re worried if you’ve brought change for a parking meter… did you switch off the central heating? There may be only a quarter of a tank of fuel in your car but you can’t stop.
Finally, your navigation system tells you you’re 30 minutes away, but you’ve hit heavy traffic on the city-side of a national road. 30 minutes later you feel no closer to your goal because it’s rush-hour, and there are roadworks. You try to de-tour but then you get lost, and can’t return because it’s a one way system which wasn’t signposted. Your Sat-Nav begins to give out to you and you wonder why you didn’t bin it months ago.
Meanwhile your baby is gagging wretchedly but you can’t stop because when you do, irate drivers behind you start to beep incessantly. Everyone is irate now, the whole world is collapsing, and you’re still negotiating cross-roads, you’ve officially lost control and you feel as though it’s a miracle you haven’t crashed by now.
Another 30 minutes later, your blood-pressure is high. There’s a strange smell in the car. Everything seems silent because you’ve blocked it out, good for you. You’re circling around a massive complex, trying to find parking, trying to find an entrance to a beautiful inaccessible building which you are starting to loathe because it’s a monument to your failure. You pass the same beggar many times as you loop around, you try to map his suffering against that of your baby’s, and you are confused. Finally, you find a parking space and discover that it will cost you the price of a three course meal in a fancy restaurant to park there for a day.
You wonder why the powers that be didn’t just build this hospital right beside the motorway you passed two hours ago, maybe your baby would have had a better chance in that case. Should you have called for an ambulance then?
Isn’t it wrong to make phone-calls while you’re driving though? Maybe the penalty points would be worth it, but the overstretched budget on the Irish health system would probably complicate things further seeing as there are very few ambulances out there to spare. You resign to the fact that you live in a country that doesn’t seem to care about people like you. Maybe you should have moved to Canada, after all.
You don’t know what you should have done. Maybe you should have written to your local TD before any of this had a chance to happen, and hope that their hands aren’t tied, that they have some power to invoke a miracle to override corporate inevitability; but maybe you were too busy with a sick child, maybe you were scared that the time spent writing to them would be a waste because brown envelopes are worth more than your monthly Carer’s Allowance so you don’t really matter, and neither does your baby because it’s broken, and doesn’t really have much to offer to its country. You feel guilty about that too, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
That’s the end of my story. Thank you for reading it.
I hope that it’s obvious that the enormous funds already spent on the development of the new Children’s Hospital in a volatile spot could have been better spent on a more appropriate site. I hope that it’s realised that such funds would have helped individual families on a massive scale. Waste is a heartbreaking thing.
Please help, if you can, before it’s too late.
Banksy versus the Gray Ghost