Chapter 19 : Music

‘The most amazing part was being operated on the Tuesday morning and four days later on Saturday afternoon I was at home; I still can’t believe this.’


The following day in the morning I was lying in bed wishing the time away for 14:00 until I could see my family when this big tall dreadlocked dude came over with a wheelchair and the biggest smile I had seen in a while. He bounced over with enthusiasm and said: “I’ve come to take you for some X-Rays, let me help you get in the wheelchair.”

I stood up with his support and got into the chair while he wrapped two blankets around my legs and one across my lap telling me: “it gets cold in the corridors and it’s quite a way.”

This was a refreshing thought; the ward felt like it was constantly at forty degrees and rising.

We set off down a labyrinth of corridors – the kind that only hospitals seem to have; an endless maze of shiny metal pipes covered the ceiling and jutted out at sharp angles without warning.  There were arrows of all shapes and sizes pointing in various directions; words I’d never heard of were plastered across the walls in varying sizes, the lighting was dim and flashed on occasions. It reminded me of those movie scenes in underground bunkers and connecting tunnels.  We went further down in a cargo style lift, deep into what felt like the belly of the hospital. I lost count of how many doors we passed through; codes were entered and cards were swiped to gain access to the next corridor.

I sat taking it all in and we got chatting.  I mentioned what a nice smile he had and how all the doctors, nurses, carers, cleaners; everybody I had met was truly wonderful. I was in awe of them and very grateful for the attention I had received.

“You can’t come and work for the NHS without having a smile on your face, it’s part of the job to care for people and you need to turn up showing that,” he said in a confident manner.  Naturally this brought a smile to my face and I thought to myself: “he’s got it”.

We carried on chatting and he explained his love of music and that he still goes searching to find ‘that record’; “it’s all about the hunt in vinyl shops!” he said.  He then continued: “I used to go into Shoreditch in East London until it all moved on. The area has changed so much. I now go for weekend trips to Brighton with my partner to check the record stores out. There tends to be a good collection to be found”.

This was quite literally music to my ears and something I could relate to. The search for ‘that record, that tune, that next feeling’ is what it’s about.  It was at this point he asked me what I did and I explained my passion for producing music and DJing.

“Ah! So I’m going to see you up there collecting your awards on TV then,” he exclaimed. 

I smiled and acknowledged him, feeling just as assured.  He was spreading joy with his own happiness which I felt deeply. After having my chest X-rayed he returned me back to my bed and I felt very positive about the future.

There was a moment in hospital where I took some time to reflect on everything. Half upright in my bed I sat in contemplation.  A brief moment of calm and clarity came over me and I felt very safe and serene. The noise of my surroundings gentle quietened. No machines humming, nurses asking questions, the sound of shoes skidding along the vinyl floor down the hallway had all been silenced. Somehow I had switched these outside disturbances off and I was deeply in tune with myself. I felt the peace of having my eyes closed and an expansive presence spread through me. It was at this moment of silence two records came into my head as an audible experience:

Bill Withers, Let us Love (Live in Carnegie hall album)

Otis Redding, Love Man

They were from the playlist I had created and I was projected back into the operating theatre. I remembered a sensual experience; hearing them in the operation.

The time spent in hospital, the procedure and various incidents along the way were incredible and left me feeling awestruck.  The most amazing part was being operated on the Tuesday morning and four days later on Saturday afternoon I was at home; I still can’t believe this.


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