The schism in the group that I call my folks, the team who have been together for 60 years plus, she cooks, he does the gardening and chat, she looks out at the street through the curtains, he gets the local gossip, and she asks about it. Then when they go out she tells everyone the takes from the village and they all laugh. Peaches and cream. They compliment each other and their bonds run deeper than I know. Christ I was sent away to school at 13, how the hell can I know them better than a few visits a year teach me to?
Now Mums deaf, really deaf when people wear masks, and at the meeting we had on Monday at the hospital, when the Occupational Therapy person was there, the chief nurse, the student nurse, the Physiotherapist, Mum, Dad (stroke patient) and me, and Mum said when we all sat down to start, in a circle like some Narcotics anonymous group,
“Could you take your masks off please, i can’t hear when you have your masks on”
No, this isn’t protocol and so we all kept them on, the meeting taking a distinctively self help group vibe as they asked Dad to tell us all why he was here and how his experience has been, “Ive had a massive stroke, can’t move and my mood is decidedly glum” is what he thought, but not what he articulated, in so many words anyway. His mind is still bright but his body sits like a sweet potato in the chair, propped up by cushions, mostly moved by gravity, his right leg and noticeably his right arm concealed under the loose weave hospital blanket, bleak in teal.
Regretably the Occupational Therapist told us that this was about as good a recovery that Dad would make, there was very little chance of any further improvement in his mobility, he would never walk again and never stand up on his own again.
“Oh thats brilliant!” exclaimed my Mum from behind her mask, jumping slightly, moving forward in her chair, surprising us all and prompting the OT person to repeat a lot louder the sentence again. Not they type of thing you’d like to hear once more assuming you were the subject of the matter. But, they’re trying to get him home, thats going to happen a week today, assuming they can find some carers, there’s a shortage, as we all know, and I wouldn’t want to blame Brexit, but I will, in part, as the two people really in need of some carers voted to kick them out back whenever that awful referendum was, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then.
So great news, for Dad, to be home, we’re going over to clear out a downstairs room, the hospital is providing us with various equipment; a hoist, and adjustable bed, a rotunda, we’ve got to source a chair, a medical one, which I’ve got a week to do, and Mum keeps telling me to calm down, but without a chair Dad will spend all the time in the bed, lying flat, slightly less flat, upright and then back down again. Up and Down, up and down, in what used to be the dining room. Its going to be really tough for Mum, theres going to be some carers who come in 4 times a day to clean him up and move him into the chair if he gets a chair, Mum will do the food and drink, and Dad will watch the telly at 100% volume, unable to operate the remote control. I’m not sure how long it’ll last, but they will have my upmost support when I can, bearing in mind Ive got a full time job and my own family and life to live 100 minutes drive away from them. Its a shit show and make no mistake, but dad’s wish, his only aim was to get back home.
Love you Dad, Love you Mum, just wish you’d have listened to the train coming and moved 10 years ago, and now we are where we are.