in a hospital ward is quite different from talking to strangers elsewhere.
The Senior Cat is still in hospital. He is on such heavy pain medication that he is confused. Middle Cat and I know that this is not a normal state of affairs for him. He is normally alert and, while he occasionally forgets things, he has always been able to function in the real world. If you looked at his pile of reading matter you would find theology, gardening, origami, and a crime novel right now. It's a pretty usual sort of mix for him. Theology (of all sorts) might get replaced with philosophy, psychology or sociology but there would be something intellectually stimulating in the pile.
So I was not really surprised when, on my arrival yesterday, the woman in the opposite bed informed me,
"I had such an interesting conversation with your father about religion last night."
He was apparently alert then. That they had been talking did not surprise me because she had been reading the sort of crime novel the Senior Cat enjoys reading.
Religion? That was a little more surprising because the Senior Cat is usually cautious about raising that as a topic outside the immediate family. But the conversation had apparently ranged over a number of topics in the area of the sociology of religion. They had enjoyed themselves and, partway through the conversation, the third patient in the little ward had invited herself to join them because it "sounded so interesting". She had been a pleasant soul when I met her briefly but she had gone by the time we arrived yesterday.
The hospital staff must have welcomed three elderly patients sitting and chatting and not calling on them for help.