Trish had started to feel unwell last Monday just as we were returning from Dublin. By the time we got home she was more unsteady on her feet so I took her to the doctor. And thus began a saga that dragged on throughout the week.

She was very ill. I had to call the doctor to her bedside, and then take her to the local medical centre where they finally decided she needed to be seen at A&E. Which is how we found ourselves sitting at Cork University Hospital with a few dozen others.

Now I don’t like being in A&E at the best of times, but the start of a weekend is certainly not the right day. And thus began a long night. We met our niece Karen there, but she was just with a patient. Then there was the couple we knew from the time Alan had spina bifida and we were involved with the Cork Spina Bifida Association. Their girl is now 28 and doing very well. Another woman waiting to be seen was a former Examiner colleague. Small world.

After a few hours Trish told me to go home and she’d stay in touch. She was happily settled into her Kindle. I called back around 11pm and by then she had been admitted to the inner sanctum where medical staff buzzed around attending to the walking wounded, and the scattered few on trolleys. She was lying on a trolley in one of the cubicles anxious and bored. A doctor had just started to check her when he was called away to a more urgent case, so by the time one of his team arrived after 1am we were both wrecked. The prognosis was that she would have to be admitted – once a bed became available. And how long would that take? No idea.

After half an hour or so Trish told me to head off and give her a call the next day. I called back the following morning and she was still on the trolley as were a queue of others, but she was in good spirits even though she hadn’t slept at all. In the meantime I chatted with my sister-in-law Margaret, a retired nurse, who offered to come down from Dublin and help out. The offer was accepted. Not long afterwards Trish rang to say she had got a bed and was also feeling a little better.

Yesterday was a blur of visits to CUH, shopping, phone calls and texts. It’s incredibly exhausting visiting people in hospital. You just feel the energy being drained out of you. It’s harder still for the patient but Trish is bearing up quite well. No idea yet what’s causing her to be so unsteady on her feet, although her mobility has improved. Let’s hope it’s minor and she’ll be out in a few days.

It feels a bit strange not to have Trish bossing me around at home! The last time she was hospitalised for longer than one day was 26 years ago, so it’s a very strange feeling for both of us. Still, fingers crossed she’ll be back home in days and ready to moan about me again.