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Mike Quirke's story of his son's illness will resonate with every parent

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

20:01 1 Jun 2021

Kerry legend Mike Quirke has launched the first in his series of the Mike Quirke Podcast with a harrowing tale of experiencing a parent's worst nightmare.

Quirke has started the series in order to raise money for Temple Street hospital, the staff of which looked after his son after an issue with his throat nearly ten years ago.

The experience for Quirke, his son and family left him with a desire to raise money for the hospital, as he explained how the experience affected his family.

Mike Quirke

"When you go up and you see your kid inside with about 30 different wires and tubes coming out of him... with me not being someone who is overly comfortable in hospitals, or needles or anything," Quirke told Joe Molloy.

"It is crazy. To think of the size that he was at the time and the operation that they had to do on his oesophagus - it doesn't bear thinking about the skill and the expertise that these people have on a human that small.

"I know other people have stories; there were such sad cases up there that time. Families are trying in one sense to help each other out, and in another sense keep yourself to yourself. You might have received good news or bad news, but another family might have received the opposite. It is a very tough place to be.

"Some of the stuff that you would see up there - nurses having to leave their shift so that other nurses could park in their car parking spaces because they didn't have enough. Some of the building needed to be renovated because they didn't have the equipment. It is a sin in one sense that we have to rely on fundraising to give them all the help they need because they are the one crowd that should not have to be looking for the generosity of others."

Road to recovery

The whole experience was three weeks in total but, as any parent will know, the strictures of time dissolve when your child is in danger.

"It was about three weeks later or so, we were heading back down. That three weeks felt like about six months or six years. Every day was a different story. Everything had gone well and we were told that everything was going to be great after the operation and suddenly you get a call that he isn't going to see out the next hour.

"We were told as the operation was going on that we can't go in, we can't be there and waiting in the waiting room because it is going to go on for six or seven hours. So we were walking down town when I got a call from the surgeon saying that everything has gone great, no problems, he's going to be in recovery and that we'll be able to see him in two or three hours.

"We went down to the Oval Bar on O'Connell Street and ordered a drink - I think we were just looking to settle ourselves. I would say we hadn't even ordered before my phone rang and they said: no, you need to get here now, something's gone wrong and he's unlikely to see out the next hour.

"Then, suddenly, throughout the night he got stronger and the next day - and now he's running around the place kicking ball and breaking windows! Doesn't even recall any of this stuff happening.

"It leaves you with that feeling that if there is anything you can do to help out these people, you are willing to ask people to do favours. When you hear 'Temple Street', everyone is more than willing to help out in any way they can."

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