Tuesday 19th September 1989   Rethymnon 14:17

Trust Declan!
He had been rock climbing, fallen and cut his head open. His best holiday t-shirt was covered in blood. Dad said that he would stitch him up.
“I don’t want to be sitting in the hospital for 4 or 5 hours.”
But Mum put her foot down. “I am sorry, Desmond. You really should know better. Your fishing line isn’t sterile. In fact, it’s probably not clean. It has been in that tatty, old bag since last Summer.”

The waiting room for the ‘Department for Emergency Circumstances’ was bright and airy. A few people were waiting patiently on comfortable chairs.
Dad had brought a flask of coffee, two sets of sandwiches, all three of his books and a newspaper that he had picked up on the plane. He sat down grumpily and sighed. He wondered whether to eat a sandwich but decided it was too soon after lunch.

A cheerful lady with a trolley of refreshments gave Declan and I a cold drink. Mum had a cup of tea.

As soon as the receptionist had taken Declan’s details, one of the nurses took him through to the treatment room. Mum and I went with him while Dad read his paper. The nurse gave Declan a big smile and said how brave he was. She cleaned the wound gently and carefully.

Dr Emmanuel Zarifis came and introduced himself. He explained to Declan that he would need two stitches. The local anaesthetic injection hurt as expected but the stitches were painless. Dr Zarifis recommended a waterproof dressing so Declan could continue to go swimming. The nurse gave Mum a couple of spares.

Dad was still studying the front page of his paper when we came out. He didn’t notice us.

“Leave him there,” said Mum. “He’s in a bad temper and it will be an hour before the bus comes. We’ll walk down to the beach and get ice creams.”


The Department for Emergency Circumstances.