Copyright Stevie Turner 2019 (you can find Chapter 5 here).

A LONG SLEEP – CHAPTER 6

The nurse takes a blood-soaked swab out of Kieran’s mouth.  Kieran is still off with the fairies, and for now the post-op ward is quiet.

“He’ll be able to go home later this afternoon when he’s fully awake. For now we’ll keep changing the swabs until the bleeding stops.”

I stroke my son’s hand and prepare myself for the inevitable stares and disapproving looks from the other patients on the ward and their relatives.  Kieran will soon be conscious, and peace as they know it will be shattered.

To pass the time before kick-off, I take my iPhone from my bag and type in ‘What is a Spiritual Healer?’ I then find I’m looking at Blog of the Angels’ definition.  I skip down the page:

‘Healing requires something to be broken.  If you have something broken, then you can heal it.  Spiritual Healing is a process where transformation takes place.  It connects the body, mind and heart so that the soul can be set free.’

Kieran is broken, broken beyond repair.  If Mike Duvale can heal somebody whom medics undoubtedly class as a vegetable, then it would indeed be a miracle.  Twenty three years have passed since I had a conversation with my son; okay, it was only about whether he wanted beans on toast for tea, but it was a conversation nonetheless. 

I cannot stop my fingers from typing in Mike’s name and pressing the search button.  To my complete surprise he has a website.  His face beams back at me alongside countless commendations of his work.  He is described by previous clients as a psychic and spiritual healer who has a gift of making accurate medical diagnoses despite having had no training as a doctor.  His other talents range from bending keys and compass needles using just the power of thought, and being able to switch electrical gadgets on and off without them being plugged into a socket.  I read on how he has apparently healed his own wife of bowel cancer. 

I feel a twinge of regret at the mention of a wife, and wonder not for the first time why he eats breakfast in Sainsbury’s every day. 

My eyes dart to a list of his healing groups, which convene in venues all over the country. They are priced at £95 for a two hour session.  I have a sudden and rather wonderful mental image of Kieran arriving in a wheelchair and exiting two hours’ later a walking, talking man. 

My son wakes up and begins his usual thrashing around whilst emitting barks, bellows and loud guttural grunts.  I take both of his hands in mine.

“Mum’s here, Kieran.  That nasty tooth has come out now.”

He continues to make as much noise as possible.  A young couple sitting by their child’s bedside turn around to stare, and their daughter begins to cry.

“It’s okay.  He can’t help it.”  I smile at the little girl. “He’s mentally disabled.”

The child’s mother pulls the privacy curtain around them, and I want the earth to swallow me whole.

***

I recognise the green uniform and cheery disposition of Jim, driver of one of the hospital’s transport ambulances.  I’m pleased to see a face I remember from Kieran’s many journeys home after various overnight stays. He gives me a wave.

“Hey, Connie.   Is Kieran ready to go?”

I nod.

“All done.  As you can see, he’s waiting for you.”

I hang Kieran’s hospital bag on the back of his wheelchair, and follow behind as Jim takes hold of the chair’s handles.  I say goodbye to the nurses, and walk with Jim to the exit. The movement of the wheelchair has a calming effect upon my son, and we make it to the ambulance in relative silence.   Jim expertly secures Kieran and his wheelchair in place in the middle of the ambulance, and I strap myself in to a seat at the back.

Katie calls just as the ambulance sets off for home.  I strain to hear her voice above the engine and constant rattle of medical equipment. 

“Hi Mum!”

“Hi Katie, we’re on our way home now.”

“We’re nearly there. See you in a minute.”

Kieran dozes in the ambulance. I feel a great relief that my daughter and her husband will be at the front door to greet us.  Without her and Finn I don’t know how on earth I’d cope.

Chapter 7 on Saturday…