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August 5, 2012 / angelavbolton

Too many broken hearts have fallen in the river…

I’ve done a couple of stupid things since Bob went in to hospital, not least of which was letting the front wheel of my fold-up electric bike get jammed in the Luas track at St James’s resulting in four+ hours in A&E with Ritamary holding my hand…

It happens: you’re miles away worrying about the person you love or the future or the past and then you’re face-down on the concrete trying to breathe.

Angela beside the boat ‘Slainte’ in the marina, Santa Eularia, Ibiza, 2010

My first – and last – sick day since I began to work for Fanagans was that day. I’d left the hospital at about 7.25pm on my way to Aungier Street to begin work at 8pm and became indecisive at the Luas line – should I go through Basin Street flats or down James’s Street? I’d forgotten that my new super-fast electric bike had fatter tyres than my old bike but luckily the engine hadn’t kicked in when my dithering resulted in the tyre getting stuck in the track.

The bike came to a halt, I hit the steering column with my ribs, went over the handlebars and landed on my face. Not the nicest experience. A kind lady came to my rescue: ‘can you breathe?…are you dizzy at all?, she asked, as I panted through what once had been relatively normal lips. Two young chaps came up carrying my bike (how did it get over there? I remember wondering….) and the lady – (‘are you a nurse?’ I asked and she said no) said she’d come with me to A&E because she thought I’d need stitches.

Worrying about being late for work I phoned my colleague Pearse Mullarkey: he assured me that he’d take the phones that night and I should not worry. Pearse is a lovely gentleman and most supportive. I assured my guardian angel woman that I’d be okay and she could go visit her friend or whoever was fortunate enough to know her. She was so very kind. If she ever gets to read this, thank you very much.

I phoned Robert’s ward, Bennetts, and got Kieran on the phone. ‘Come on up, we’ll look after you’. Of course they would, and of course they did. I arrived there with my nose bleeding, my chin scraped, lip pumping blood and the other cuts and grazes a bike fall will occasion. Kieran looked at me and sighed. He’s a big bloke is Kieran, whose movie-star good looks are only accentuated by the fact that he’s built like a brick wall, and he’s athletic – is a hurler – so I guess this was just a bit of a ‘spill’ in his book.

Nikki, a lovely blonde nurse now in Saudi Arabia, also sighed but assured me we all are capable of these things. She took me in hand: mopped me up, cleaned me down and then fast-tracked me to A&E after collecting Ritamary from Robert’s room to keep me company. I did look miserable.

A most-efficient nurse cleaned and Steristripped my lip almost immediately and then Ritamary and I waited four hours in A&E until the doctor could see me. Let me just say I ended up holding both my cracked ribs and my split lip several times to stop them from splitting more from laughing – watching the behaviour of some of the other patients and listening to Ritamary’s murmured comments was putting strain on both. All joking aside, watching what nurses have to endure in A&E from the not genuinely sick – also called ‘the drunk’ –  is eye-opening.

I tried to convince Ritamary that my lip was feeling fine with the great job the nurse had done, but she rightly said that, as I had already paid the €100 A&E charge I should wait and see the doctor to be absolutely sure. So he came in, ripped off the Steristrips nurse 1 had put on, squeezed my ribs and said I didn’t need stitches. Then another (not so efficient) nurse slapped on new Steristrips and we wandered off into the night. I collected my broken bike, folded it up and put it into a taxi. Ritamary very kindly stayed with me that night.

Cracked ribs are very painful but it was the humiliation and feeling like an eejit that hurt the most. My lip has healed very well though I do have a scar – and Robert looked at me quite reproachfully when I arrived Steristripped the next day; I’m sure he knew I’d been a big fool – but the lesson was learned. Our friend Jane in England gave me a bit of a rollicking about paying attention, etc., and she was right. She wasn’t harsh, but she was right. I needed to start being aware of danger.

It wasn’t the fault of the electric bike but some time later, about a month, it showed itself to be an unreliable mode of transport and I had to get rid of it. I won’t go into detail but I have reverted to a normal bike which is fine.

However, one thing I learned from the experience is that I don’t want to be taken out by a truck: there have been times over the last ten months when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep going I’ve been so lonely and lost: wouldn’t it be easier to just give up? wouldn’t they be doing me a favour? But that accident showed me I believe Robert and I have a future – I want to be there for that.

Other stupid – albeit harmless – things I’ve done is put on two different shoes; left the bike in for a service and completely forgot I’d done so, and wandered around the garage wondering where it was, etc.

I’m sure I’ve done more than that but can’t remember right now. Will likely continue being an eejit so expect updates…



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  1. Eddie Soye / Aug 14 2012 6:43 pm

    I read your article in the Irish Times. I believe I went to school with Robert back in the 50s. We were neighbours at the time too but although I new Robert we weren’t really friends. I was collecting blues LPs at the time and I remember Robert trying to get me to lend him a few but as I would let the records out of my sight it came to nothing. A few personal details about myself which should confirm if I knew Robert. I grew up on Whitehall Road Churchtown and went to De La Salle College. The Robert I knew lived on Nugent Road. I am 66 this year. Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Eddie Soye

    • angelavbolton / Aug 14 2012 7:20 pm

      Dear Eddie, Robert told me about you. In fact, I can pick you out of the school photo (you were very cute). He did tell me about you but not about the LPs. I am going to get more pics scanned including his school ones (he told me about Brother Florence too – so I do remember!) – you can check them out on the blog and maybe give me the names of some of the other chaps, if you remember them?
      If you are ever in the city centre and would like to meet please let me know. It’s dreadful what has happened to Robert and you can probably tell I’m very heartbroken, but people have been very kind and that does help, really it does.
      Very best regards to you, Eddie, and thank you for getting in touch.

  2. pat doyle / Aug 15 2012 9:32 pm

    Hi Angela,
    My friend Eamon Bermingham and I knew Bob from our days on the audit in RTE (1970s)- he was always a lovely friendly guy! We also knew him from the music scene especially The Uptown Band and we often discussed music together.
    We saw the article in The Irish Times and were shocked – the Irish medical scene is unreal: I know some other people with similar difficulties. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both – stay strong!
    Best wishes
    Pat Doyle

    • angelavbolton / Aug 15 2012 10:08 pm

      Dear Pat and Eamon, thank you so much for contacting me. I’ll tell Bob tomorrow what you’ve said and I know these things are making a difference to how he’s progressing. I swear to God, it’s like we’re all pulling him up from some depth somewhere, little by little. But it’s happening and I’m certainly not letting go. Great to hear that you say he was a lovely friendly guy. I know he had a rep for being a bit glum at times but I always find him to be funny, whip-smart, and an affectionate and sweet person – not a bad bone, as they say. And after 27 years you’d think I’d notice if he did.
      Will you both try to listen to The John Murray Show on Monday (9am – 10am) on RTE Radio 1? They liked the Irish Times article and wanted to talk a bit more about Bob and what’s happened with him. It’s our chance to further his – and maybe other’s – rehabilitation needs.
      I’m lost without him, I admit, and can only feel a bit better if I am working on his cause. He’s everything to me, all I can think about or focus on, and I can only relax when I’m with him. Or at least breathe.
      Anyway gentlemen, thank you again and any other memories you might have would be more than welcome. Email: or call me at 087 901 3476. Angela

      • pat doyle / Aug 16 2012 9:06 pm

        Hi Angela
        Thanks for the reply. There is much evidence to suggest that many people thinking and praying for someone can have amazing results – I was listening to an interview with an American professor of psychology on coast to coast radio about these experiments that had incredible effects – can’t remember the details but it was impressive (Alzheimers!)
        Think you might like this song – – judging by both your musical tastes which are impressive – Heaven Ain’t Ready for Me Yet by Paul Kennerly, sung by Emmylou Harris – let me know?
        Reading your American adventure was very moving – you were obviously very close and lived more in a few years than most people in a lifetime – have to say i felt a little envious!!!
        Will be listening to John Murray later on RTE Player.
        Peace and love and lots of hope
        Pat Doyle

      • angelavbolton / Aug 17 2012 7:45 am

        Thanks Pat, will listen to that later. I’ve printed out your comments and am bringing them in to Bob today to read to him. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about our time in the States – I think it’ll be important for him later, when he’s able, to help him remember what we did. It helps me too although it can be heart-wrenching going over old photos. Thanks for the good wishes too, it all helps. Love, Angela

  3. E Bike tyres / Oct 16 2012 10:54 am

    i read your blog, it is so nice and also provide good knowledge. Thanks to write this blog.

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