The Creaking Door

Lee, Tom. 2013. The Creaking Door. The Dublin Review(51), pp. 72-90. [Article]

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Fifty-one days in intensive care [personal history]

On my first evening in intensive care, the elderly Indian woman in the bed opposite me died. The curtain had been pulled around her bed for an hour or so; then the family began to arrive and it was clear what had happened. I couldn’t keep track of everyone – young children, teenagers, their parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. They came and went from behind the curtain, most of them fiddling with mobile phones, and it did not seem as though there could be room for them all in the cramped space around the bed. Then, later on, there were prayers, singing and chanting, which went on for hours and kept me awake. At some point in the night they must have moved the body, because when I woke up the curtain was drawn back and the bed was empty and newly made up. By lunchtime there was someone else in it, a tall, wiry Rastafarian who lay on top of the sheets wearing only orange hospital pyjama bottoms and his knitted Rasta cap. He talked loudly and cheerfully to friends on his phone, telling them where he was. Somewhere along the line he had lost his wallet and keys and was trying to track them down. There was a girlfriend, too. ‘Be strong, girl,’ he said to her several times, ‘be strong.’ Every so often he was given oxygen through a face mask but otherwise he did not seem very ill...

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English and Comparative Literature


1 April 2013Published

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25 May 2018 09:10

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25 May 2018 09:10


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