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Viewpoint from Rev Marilyn Zipfel 29/11/0213

MARILYN ZIPFELRevd Marilyn Zipfel
Lead Chaplain – James Paget University Hospital
Christmas in Hospital

Have you, or a close relative, ever been in hospital over Christmas?
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When I was about 11 years old I spent part of Christmas in hospital. It just so happened that my brother Rob and I were to have our tonsils out at about the same time. Somehow, even though we went to the same GP (in Essex) our operations were to be in different hospitals … both over the Christmas period

This situation was a nightmare for our parents who were ‘car-less’ – in addition there was no public transport scheduled from late Christmas Eve until 27th December

My brother was admitted before me on Christmas Eve; I was due to have my operation on Boxing Day but admitted on Christmas Day!
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My dad took my brother to the hospital on Christmas Eve – they went the bus there and hitched a lift home! He said that the hospital had been beautifully decorated for Christmas but was sad to leave Rob there at what should have been a family time! A kind neighbour lent my dad a car to take me to hospital the next day

Our parents must have had a really difficult Christmas but Rob and I were cared for in extraordinary ways by extraordinary people (we compared notes afterwards!)

The congregations from local churches came into the wards to celebrate the birth of Christ. They wished everyone a happy Christmas, brought small gifts for us children and sang carols. The nurses and doctors all dressed in Christmas fancy dress and although we did not immediately enjoy the after-effects of the operations, there was something special about the love and kindness that was shown to us at that time

I wonder, do you know someone who is likely to be in hospital over Christmas? Please make plans to visit them – they will never forget your kindness and that you gave up ‘your special time’ to provide a ‘special time’ for them