One of the many downsides, apart from the bleeding obvious, of having a Dad in Hospital a billion miles away, far enough to be able to visit during the day but far enough to fall straight asleep when I return back to the Hills of Worcestershire, and yes you’ll understand when you get to my age, is that I’ve neglected this heap of wordy shit, in its forth year now, and this year has seen relatively slim pickings. It seems the little things keep me occupied and the big major shit stops my production. So in an effort to get my self back up to speed and not squander the rest of my life away. I’m 50 now and am starting to talk like my poor Dad, lying in a pastel yellow coloured hospital ward with a cheery Terry opposite and an angry Peter next door, with only a view of a small section of the car park. Terry sees them coming, Dad sees them going, thats the excitement.
I visited this week, Terry saw my car arrive, the wind whipping up the leaves around the crass the scaffold of a residential care home next door crawled with helmeted operatives listening to terrible radio and swearing, although the radio and the swearing were imagined due to the soundproof and insulating nature of the double glazing. Jesus, this ward is like a furnace, they like that, the infirm, the convalescing. Fortunately I’d had a hair cut at a Turkish barbers shop only the day before, my first actual haircut in over a decade i’d say, I usually do my own which is probably why it always looks shit, but is one less thing to worry about. This time I gave the issue of “having” a hairstyle and “owning it” to a Kurdish man in a Turkish Barbers. I assumed the Turks hated the Kurds, and whats wrong with calling the shop a Kurdish Barbers? I’m sure it wouldn’t make a jot of difference, why would it? He did a good job, we talked about Politics and Kurdistan, he singed my ear hairs, shaped my wayward eyebrows, all without asking for it incidentally, and I gave him a tenner. Yes i’ll return. So I removed my hat, and my coat to reveal my new style and a slightly portly tummy, next time i’ll wear something black, got plenty of that.
Dad was overjoyed to see me, and why wouldn’t he be? He introduced me to Terry, and so I had to be wary that now there was another person in the conversation, Peter was behind a curtain, no doubt stewing in his own soupy predicament. Dad’s paralysed down his right side as a result of this shit show of a stroke which he had weeks ago, we talked about his fall down the stairs and how that was probably it, and in my head I wondered that if he’d have gone to hospital immediately after that, instead of being stoic with misplaced pride and admitted he had an issue rather than waiting about 36 hours before going, then he may not have been so immobilised? Ifs and buts which now fall as empty leaves swirling around a hospital car park, holding no truck with anything. So we were laughing and joking about the situation, making light of it, hoping to bring him a bit of light relief. It turned out he’d been out in an ambulance already that day, into Leicester, to the royal infirmary where he had a scan of his brain, and in the ambulance the driver mentioned he was getting married at Great glen church when they were approaching the little town on the By pass. Dad piped up that he was married there and so the driver pulled off the by pass and into the town to drive to the church, where they stopped and raised Dads bed so they could have a look. It made Dad’s day, and then I arrived, which of course made it the best day he’d had in the weeks and weeks he’s been incapacitated. What a hero this Ambulance driver was, an extra 5 minutes on his journey made all the difference. So Dad was in buoyant mood, his cheeks had colour, his hands were warm, but not clammy and he was in pretty good spirits, we’ve got the OT person next Monday which is when we will be told as a family what we have to do to get him home, myself I think they need a bungalow down the road from me in Central Clifton, but Mum would rather stay in Leicestershire which she knows, even though “theres too many Asians” (Her words, NOT mine)
Anyway after 10 minuets Dad went quiet, his face strained, the tongue came out to be gripped by his teeth and his stare fixed on the bedstead by his feet. Slightly alarmed I asked if he was ok, should I call the Nurse?
“I’m having a Poo” he replied
“Imagine having a poo and not having to move” I thought. Luxury.
The minutes passed in idle gossip about the kids and Mum and how I’m trying my best to get over to see her but work and my family are making it tough to find the time, this is why they need to move over here. I’ve planted the seed, thats all I can do, they have to make the decision as to what happens going forward. I want them to be back together, in blissful ignorance of the outside world other than what they read in the fascist rag, “The Daily Mail”. This means living with a disability, which can be done, but changes beed to be made, which means upheaval, which will mean difficult choices in their minds, but a simple choice in mine. If they love each other, then surely heaven and earth should be realigned to suit them. Thats the choice, which they must make, and I hope they do come over here, but that choice But that ultimatly will be theirs.
And with a press of a Nurses buzzer, Dad raised the red light of a request for help; like an ensign reading, “You need to clean me up” I gave him a hug, kissed him on the forehead and said I’d see him on Monday. As I walked away the curtains were pulled shut around his bed, and as a result he missed me driving away from the windy car park.
I wouldn’t get to worried about what might have been. When I presented with my stroke, they sent me home.
Give it time and you’ll soon realise what a shit show it is when you encounter aftercare. Or don’t.