I realise that in the exhaustion induced merely by re-living the Saturday of the pilgrimage, I had cut the evening short. Just as I was going to haul my weary corpse into a sleeping bag, I was approached by the wonderful Francis and Julie Carey, who organise the whole English contingent.
They needed someone who could speak French: one of our number had collapsed on arrival at the camp, and was in the First Aid tent. It transpired that he had occasional epileptic fits, and had had one on arriving at the camp site. As the unofficial interpreter to the expedition, I made my way to the First Aid tent.
Nick was there, rather groggy, and not able to remember much about what had gone on. Francis and Julie had known of his condition, but he had assured them that he was fine if he took his medication.
The French doctors were busy, with plenty of people to look after, but when we spoke to them and explained the situation, they asked that we fetch his medication so they could see what it was, and that Nick stay under observation for a while.
However, Nick's medication was in a dispenser rather than original packaging; that was useful, as we could see that he had indeed taken it that day, but less helpful in identifying what it was. The doctors asked him to take another dose and stay in for observation. Some half an hour later I asked if we could leave, as Nick said he felt he wanted to go to bed. They agreed.
However, when Nick stood up, he was incredibly unsteady on his feet, swaying as though completely drunk, and unaware that he was doing so. I drew this to the attention of the doctors (who had of course, turned back to the other people they were tending) and they immediately sat him back down and said they wanted to hospitalise him, as none of them were experts in his condition and they wanted an expert opinion.
I suggested that a friend should accompany him, as Nick was looking both confused and concerned, and they agreed that would be a good idea. I did not want to go myself, as I was responsible for Dominique, who is only 13 and Ant, who while 21 was not well when last seen.
So I co-opted George (the same George who works for the LMS in London) whom I knew to speak French. He was a complete hero. Having been reading about submission to the Divine Will, he accepted that if this was what Our Lord wanted from him at this time....
So George went to the hospital with Nick (who had another episode just before leaving the camp, confirming the need for proper medical care) and spent the night and most of the next day with him, missing the bulk of the pilgrimage to which he (George) had been looking forward for years, since the last time he came 5 years ago.
Nick's dad came out from England to collect him; apparently it was a combination of heat stroke and epilepsy that had been the problem, and we hope and pray that he is now fully recovered.
New SI Unit Definition: Nanosecond - The time between a peaceful march starting, and someone on Twitter complaining the BBC are ignoring it.
5 hours ago