My mother has been in Altnagelvin hospital for the past few days. It doesn’t looks as if it is too serious and she should be out in a couple of days. It’s the first time I have been there. The new wing seems quite nice and the wards are quite roomy. The staff are friendly and helpful. The one major problem was the long wait in Casualty before getting a bed. That seems common to a lot of hospitals though, certainly in the UK. I don’t know about Ireland.

At the end of visiting time I heard the bell being rung. It wasn’t an electronic bell or one of those fancy electronic noises to tell us to get out. It was one of those old-fashioned metal bells like the headmaster used to ring in the playground to tell you that break was over and you had to go back to class.

I wasn’t sure, at first, if this was to signal the end of the visiting period or whether they were bringing in a leper.

I checked the time and saw that there was about 5 minutes of visiting time left. This must be ‘last orders’ for the visitors.

Last Orders

It used to catch me out when I first came here when I was in a pub. In the UK they tend to ring a bell attached to the bar when it is last orders at the bar and again to signify that the bar is closed. Here they flick the switch a few times. I seldom noticed it and was caught out quite a few times, being told that the bar was now closed when I went up.

I wonder what they do at Letterkenny hospital when it is time for visitors to go. Do they ring a bell like at Altnagelvin or do they simply flick the light switch a few times?