A visit to hospital to have a stomach hernia repaired left a deeper impression on me than I expected last week.
Not in a bad way but in a good, nay, in a great way.
I went to the Wagga Calvary Hospital to have a procedure done.
I don't want to spoil your meal if you're eating while reading this, but my intestines broke through the wall of my stomach while I was laughing at a joke - a joke at someone else's expense, of course.
True story. A friend had told me about how they had tried to save money on a virus protector for their computer by downloading a pirated copy from the internet, and - surprise, surprise - the pirated virus protection program put a virus on their computer.
Not that funny, hey? And as my hernia became more and more painful, I found the story less and less funny.
All this led to me lying on the operating table at Calvary Hospital ready to be put to sleep and opened up so I could be closed back up a healthier person.
I felt a fear the moment before the procedure began.
I began to muse on how another "friend" had told me that when they went in for a fairly routine knee operation interstate a few years ago, the man before him - going for the exact same knee operation - never woke up again. I've got some very consoling friends, haven't I?
The fear must have shown on my face, as one of the nurses smiled at me and said "don't worry, you'll be all right".
A week later, I feel even better than all right - and that's not the morphine speaking. I feel so thankful that we have such an excellent hospital.
And just in case it needs saying, this is not to take anything away from the other excellent hospitals.
A few years ago, wonderful nurses may have very well saved my life as they regularly gave me the course of injections needed to prevent a possible case of bat lyssavirus disease at the Wagga Base Hospital - or Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital as it was known then. The Base in Wagga will always have my referral after that. Thank you.
And I will also always owe my life to the Albury Base Hospital, which performed emergency surgery on a large abscess that burst at church on a Sunday. Thank you, Albury Base Hospital.
And of course, I really must thank Nepean Hospital, Penrith - which is actually in Kingswood - for bringing me into this world, and doing such a fine job of it some 21 years ago (or thereabouts).
We take our hospitals for granted, and we really don't say thank you enough to the staff that make it all possible.
They keep the country healthy, keep the country moving.
Calvary Hospital was started by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, who base their spirituality on the women who stood with the Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross of Jesus ... in his final hours. It's a good spirituality to have, because I think if you're not there for people when they're in trouble, then you're not there for them.
In the midst of a viral outbreak like the recent and fatal coronavirus outbreak, we can all hope that it won't come near us.
However, if there is one place you can't hide from life's dangers and tragedies, it's a hospital.
Most jobs are protected and and guarded from any possibility of death, but for doctors and nurses - and really, anybody who works at a hospital in any function - death is real, every single hour of every single day.
How can you have anything but deep respect for such people?
Calvary Hospital was started by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, who base their spirituality on the women who stood with the Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross of Jesus, giving him love and moral support in his final hours.
It's a good spirituality to have, because I think if you're not there for people when they're in trouble, then you're not there for them.
Each of the hospitals that I've mentioned was certainly there for me when I needed them.
Thank you again to all the staff at Calvary Hospital. Please keep doing what you do. You do it so well.
Twitter: @ frbrendanelee