A Swashbuckling Adventure, Through Hospital Windows

St Nicolas Kirk through a hospital window

The start of the title is a bit of a lie. In fact it’s a total fabrication. There’s no derring-dos on the high seas recounted here. I do have crutches, so am a bit peg-legged and I like to think there’s an (imaginary) parrot on my shoulder. I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, so my body has basically been trying to kill me. I’m now on medication to stop those efforts, but I have to be checked once a week in case the drug makes its own attempts to kill me. So there are elements of a thriller genre at work in my life.

During my month of cannulas, needles, tests and scary procedures I sought beauty where I could find it. Through the hospital windows. I woke the first morning to a beautiful pink sunrise and a rather wonderful view of St Nicholas Kirk steeple, the church that features in THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. Despite the fact that I wrote of truly terrible events involving that steeple, I found it somewhat comforting to see it there. I felt a connection to the place. It lit up in the evening sun too.

hospital windows

But I was soon moved. This was something that was being done due to Covid. Constant rearranging of patients between wards. Decisions made by ‘bed managers’, not medics. It didn’t make any sense to me, and the medical staff were pretty unimpressed by it too.

However, I saw through many different windows. This next ward had the worst view, just a small box of buildings, but the best bed. Air mattresses are magical things; lying in them is a little bit like being hugged as they inflate and deflate to maximise your comfort.

hospital windows 2

I was soon off to sparkling chimney sunrises and sunsets:

shiny chimneys through the hospital windows
chimneys

Then, finally, the last of the hospital windows. At first I was quite annoyed about this move. Diagnosed and treated, just awaiting final tests, I was shunted away to what felt like a far flung area of the hospital, and I no longer had my own room. I posted a somewhat morose quote from Lord of the Rings about the sunrise that morning on Instagram.

red sky

But, it really worked out very well. The other three ladies I was with were lovely. There was kindness and understanding between us all and we shared frequent laughing conversations, our room being referred to as the party room by the nurses.

And it had a swashbuckling sea view… just.

sea view from the hospital window

While I was in, a rather wonderful review went up on The Rose and the Thistle blog. Reading the opening line cheered me up instantly! “Before I go any further, I just have to say, this is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Yes, it is written in one of my favorite time periods, and yes it takes place in one of my favorite places in all the world, but when you combine that with the almost poetic style of Sinclair’s writingβ€”sigh!” See the whole review here.

Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, features an often overlooked event in history, the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, and a love story.

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130 thoughts on “A Swashbuckling Adventure, Through Hospital Windows

  1. What a heart-rending story. I too was moved from room to room. Each time, there was a window, mostly looking out over the tops of the willow trees. I loved to watch the sunrise and sunset through the trees and the swish when the wind blew. It was my only connection with nature. Then I was moved to a room with no view. Silence. Then to a warm with 5 others, and like you, you form a little team, a connection you never expect to make with strangers. You look out for each other, call for a nurse when someone is ill. Grieve when one is suffering. Replace a bed covering when it drops to the floor. I’ll never forget my time in hospital. I too had a serious illness – something trying to kill me. Sadly it killed the elderly lady in the next bed, and it took the hands and feet of a young woman the other side of me. She quietly sobbed for 2 weeks, day and night. I write a blog, but I might attempt a book. Experiences, of all kinds, shape us in some way. Karen

  2. What a beautiful and entertaining blog post! I’m sorry you’re ill. I understand how a long-term illness can be so discouraging. Yet, you have used it to share in a delightful way. Your blog makes me want to read your book. Praying for answers and a speedy recovery!

  3. Hi Ailish! Great post! I also have an autoimmune disease and have been on biological injections which are not working, so hospital looking at alternatives, including surgery! Nothing has worked so far but still positive and hopeful! Your post, and the comments makes me feel less alone and that is a good thing! Thanks all! Obviously, no matter how bad we feel, we can still find time and space for our photography, which is also a great thing!

    John

  4. Hat off to you girl. I know it’s not easy staying upbeat with pain and uncertainty in your life. You’re doing great

  5. Ailish, I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis and struggle. My mother was “on her deathbed” 6 years ago. It took the doctors several months to arrive at her diagnosis: Guillain-BarrΓ© Syndrome (GBS). I honestly believe it was her tenacity that kept her, and keeps her alive today. She doesn’t have the gift of writing that you posses nor the eye to see beauty in nature that you see. I sincerely hope you can come to terms with your auto-immune disease and continue to find that beauty in life. Thank you for sharing this story, your blog and The Mermaid and the Bear.
    Doray

  6. So sorry to hear of your condition:Ailish, and I wish you all the very best, and hope they get it under control for you soon. πŸ™‚

  7. Get better soon, Ailish! I’m so sorry you’ve been ill and had a bit of a difficult time in hospital. I love (almost) all the views from your bed! I also have an autoimmune disorder (rheumatoid arthritis) and I inject myself once a week with something that could cause even more problems than the arthritis. However, the drug works and I have been in remission for nearly four years and am being slowly weaned off the drug. My mother nearly died from poly arthritis nodosa which causes swelling of the arteries but it was discovered just in time and twenty years later she is still coping very well at the age of 90!
    What a lovely review! Congratulations!

  8. I applaud your ability to find humor and beauty in one of the most trying of circumstances. Congratulations on the fabulous book review also. Hope your journey to health is quick and easy (with maybe a few writing inspirations also.)

  9. I am so sorry you’re enduring & fighting such a scary medical issue. Good for you in trying to find something positive out of it, however. That is not always so easy. I pray you find comfort and the pain is eased. What a wonderful review of your book! Stay strong and keep your imagination moving even if your physical movements are limited. ❀️

  10. I really hope your health improves soon. Its occurred to me often during all this Covid isolation we are living with (to varying degree depending upon where we live), that windows are suddenly so very important.

  11. Hello. So sorry to hear of your illness It must be so upsetting for you having to be in hospital especially with the Covid virus to worry about.The staff at the hospital sound as if they were taking great care of you though.so I hope you will soon be completely recovered. Take care and stay safe.

  12. Please take care and stay strong! Keep writing your beautiful stories, and bringing us who are reading your blog and book from all over the earth the amazing skies of Scotland, even from those windows where no one would choose to be. May your photos soon be framed in forest paths and beaches.

  13. What a creative post! Luckily most of your views were generally good, but that first view was spectacular. Did they charge you more for it? Take care of yourself, and prayers that the treatment they have prescribed works well for you!

  14. Alien, I’m sorry about your health challenges. Spectacular views out hospital windows help, but they’re no substitute for life on the β€œoutside”. Praying your health improves soon. (I’m so curious about the reason behind the many room moves. Glad you found a community in the last one.)

  15. I’m glad you’re finding treatment and I wish you the best for achieving the right balance with it. Thanks for sharing your interesting views with especially interesting interpretations of them. It’s wonderful the review cheered you and you received nourishment and enjoyment from your book in return for the many hours it’s given in nourishment and enjoyment by your readers.
    My own book which you kindly reviewed in Beta is nearly finished for publishing. Thanks again, it’s been helpful!

  16. Ailish, I’ll be sending prayers for your health issues. I love reading your posts about Scotland. It’s a place I hope to visit one day. And I’ll be buying your books to help give you financial support at this time. Blessings.

  17. Open Reach came at last – Back on line, so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, and how amazingly positive you sound. Love your writing.
    The constantly moving bed, memories and views for a lifetime… Aged 4, in hospital for six weeks, after an accident, I remember the thrill of moving at last near a window with a view of hills and trees, – and then, onto a balcony, all the scents of spring.
    I wonder how many people writing books and blogging struggle with complex health problems ?
    Yesterday, because of a rare condition, I couldn’t walk. Today I can. Left hand in trouble now, but walking feels wonderful –

  18. What a beautiful way to record your journey around the hospital. The first thing I do when I walk into a new room is look at the view from the window just to get my bearings. Well done for finding the positive in the second room with the non-view and good to hear you are now back at home with your familiar views.

  19. I’m sorry to hear that you’re not well. It feels so dispiriting especially given the nature of the illness.. but sending my love and best wishes, and keeping you in my prayers. May you get to write more soon – writing takes us away to where we’ve always heard it could be (to adapt a line from Christopher Cross’ song “Sailing”)

  20. Really liked the way you saw the world through the window. It gives me so many ideas for new stories. Keep up the good writing, would love to read more.

  21. Ahoy hoy. Enjoy the view from your tree-ish window. You and I have just met (figuratively). I have some catching up to do to read some of your prodigious output (with a little envy, if you don’t mind of your vast followers. Perhaps you might tell me why my feeble scratching caught your eye later). Your blog hiatus tells a tale but your recent post harks of a robust spirit so best wishes to you in Bonnie Scotland.

  22. Pingback: A Swashbuckling Adventure, Through Hospital Windows – Today’s Gift

  23. So sorry you’re in the hospital. I hope you get on the mend soon. Glad to see you are able to view your circumstances as not so terrible during these trying times.

  24. I hope you don’t mind me using your comment space to say β€˜Thank you’ for joining that motley bunch that follow my blog? Nice to have you along for the journey as that’s what it is. I hope I can find and write something you can take away. Once again, β€˜Thank you’. Made me smile

  25. I am sorry to read of your illness, Ailish, and I wish you much better soon. Thank you for sharing your experience of hospital during the pandemic. Your ability to see and convey beauty in the most difficult of situations is a rare and wonderful gift. My life was saved at ARI nearly 18 years ago and I recognise those views over the Granite City! I wish you well with your recovery and many more impressive reviews of your writing! x

  26. Sorry to read of your condition. And yet very glad that the change of rooms provided for inspiration and beauty for you. I hope you don’t be in there for too long.

  27. Pingback: On Monsters: being one, writing one... - Ailish Sinclair

  28. Ailish – I am so sorry that you have – and have had – such a great deal to contend with. At a time like this, your gift of words is a true blessing and allows others to share and empathise with you. What you’ve written chimes with thoughts I’ve had about loved ones who have been ill. I will remember this – it’s a piece of writing that I know will return to my mind on many occasions. Bless you – heal – stay warm and, I am sure, beloved.

  29. I’m sorry to hear of your illness, and Covid just makes everything harder if you need nonCovid care. I’ll be praying for you and for the medicine to help more than harm.

    • I’m getting excellent care now; getting admitted to hospital was difficult as the managers and administrators were refusing a lot of people. But once my surgery got through to an actual doctor I was accepted at once

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