Waiting Room Philosophy

Isn’t that a pretty sun
Setting in a pretty sky?
Will we stay and watch it darken?
Will we stay and watch it darken?

The church not made by hands
Not contained by man
That precious place
Unmade by man

  • Mike Scott

I am philosophical.

I think.

I mean I think I’m philosophical, not that I’m philosophical, and I think.

When I studied in the priesthood, the proper priesthood, the missionary one, not the secular one, we called them Mammy’s Boys, anyway, when I studied there we had to do a Novitiate year and during that year we joined Novitiates from all of the missionary orders based in Dublin twice a week at the Irish Missionary Institute and did a smattering of psychology, theology and philosophy.

A smattering of psychology, theology, and philosophy can be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

I was the wrong hands.

I questioned a lot of things, armed with my smattering of psychology, theology, and philosophy.

Through my smattering of psychology, theology, and philosophy, I even questioned the very psychology, theology, and philosophy that was being taught.

I was given extra books to read.

I read all of those books.

I was now beyond insufferable.

But while reading all of those books I realised that Jonathon Livingston Seagull made more sense than any of them.

I also realised that in order to be truly content I did not want to be alone.

All of the books that I read could be distilled down to love, allow yourself to be loved, help, and allow yourself to be helped.

This all popped back into my head a number of times over the last few weeks.

I’ve been sitting in waiting rooms waiting to be assessed, tested, poked, probed and…you honestly don’t want to know some of it.

I’ve looked at the other people waiting and wondered what they’re thinking.

And wondered if they wondered what I’m thinking.

During my first hospital visit for tests, CT scan and one I’m trying to banish the memory of…lets just say that if anyone ever asks me to describe the interior of a middle aged male bladder, I’ll be able to give a fairly accurate description, I was asked a series of incredibly in depth questions.

Some were stranger than others…to me anyway.

“Do you have dentures ?”


“Have you ever had surgery ?”

Does a vasectomy count ?

“I’ll just put ‘minor surgery’.”

Minor ???

“Have you had a fall in the last 6 months ?”

Hmmm, December, November, October, September, August…yes.

“Was there dizziness ?”


“Were you alone when you fell ?”

Unfortunately, no.

“Did you hurt or injure anything badly ?”

Yes…my pride.

She stopped writing and looked at me.

I fell off a bike in Inis Oirr while showing off in front of my kids.

She smiled , and marked out the previous answer and wrote ‘no’.

It all went swimmingly after that.

On my way home I got a call from my friend Ray. When we run/walk/therapy session together in Rossmore, we chat about everything and anything. I’d told him about my ‘condition’.

“How’d you get on ?”

Grand, grand. My consultant was cool.

“Your consultant ??? When’d you stop calling him your Willy Doctor ?”

When he promised to use the small camera the next time.

Yes, we have very deep conversations.

On my second visit, ECG and pre-op assessment, I actually enjoyed the waiting bits between the other bits.

I can have a bit of a think.

As you read this I’m either heading to the hospital for my operation, or in the hospital having my operation, or buzzing on some really cool drugs after my operation. If you have a second, say a wee prayer to your god. Not for me, for someone out there, who really needs it.


Allow yourself to be loved.


Allow yourself to be helped.

Oh, and if you’re ever given options and one of them is ‘full anaesthetic’, for the love of your god and all that’s holy, take that one !



P.S. I told my daughter Robin about this song in early December. Last night she sent me a link to it saying , ‘I just heard this, you’d love it !’. It’s still DIVINE ! Niamh Regan’s ‘How About That Coffee ?’

P.P.S This is me talking about Brother McCabe on BBC Sounds , I’m the 4th story

P.P.P.S This is me talking about marrying my Soulmate on the TenX9 podcast.

Author: paul

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