Friday, 4 December 2009

Still looking

Yep. He remembered.

After a morning doing yet more laundry and the vacuuming, I went to Charing Cross to find Dad in a relatively lucid frame of mind.

I found him sitting in the chair beside the bed, in a reasonably cheerful mood, with a huge comedy bandage on his right foot.

He even told me that he was going to be spending a long time in hospital.

Wow. Acceptance.

Maybe this time he wasn't going to go doolally?


As I sat, stood, wandered round and fetched and carried for him, he deteriorated back to the cantankerous old sod he was yesterday.

Something is happening/he's given some medication first thing which seems to either wear off or take effect as the day progresses.

The staff were coping well (considering) but were concerned as the ward was being shut down for the weekend and they needed to get the patients gone from the ward so the place could be deep cleaned before new patients were admitted next week.

Most of the elderly gents had had their operations/procedures and were waiting to be discharged. However, all of them had medicines and dressings to be collected from the Pharmacy and needed to be "debriefed" on their use before being allowed to leave.

One guy had been waiting all morning and didn't go until after 16:00. He was deaf and it was decided he needed to be given the instructions in sign language. When the interpreter arrived, she was useless. The patient was so old, that he didn't understand BSL.

He'd been taught a earlier form of sign language but could lip read, so the nurse in charge of his medicines had to sit on the bed with him and shout and point. Even across the entire length of the ward, I could see the guy was losing his patience.

The nurse was doing what she was supposed to do, but she was simply parroting the instructions on the packets AND handing him A4 sheets of paper entitled Patient Information for each and every one of his medicines.

He wasn't senile or retarded, he was as sharp as a tack and could read, he just couldn't hear. He remained polite throughout though and told her he understood as she went through everything.

By the time YMB showed up, Dad had decided he was going too. It took a long time to persuade him that he was staying but he was being moved to another ward.

"I'm staying but I'm going"


He asked for socks as his feet were getting cold. He showed me his hands. They were cold even compared to mine. He still didn't want to put a blanket over himself, though.

"I'm not a fucking invalid!"


YMB stayed with Dad after we chatted out in the hall outside the ward.

Dad still doesn't know I'm unemployed after being made redundant and the brothers know not to talk about it in front of him.

I told YMB that it was going to be a lean Christmas this year. He told me it was the same his end. They were trying to save money and economise as much as they could.

Oh yes? I replied. YMB works for one of the bailed out banks and his wife works on the website for a high street retailer so I thought they might be facing redundancy or cut backs of some kind. It has been that kind of year, after all.

Yes, YMB replied, without a trace of tact or irony, they were saving up for a special trip around the Floridian theme parks next year in a rented RV and they were bringing a few uni friends with them.

It was going to be in February and it was going to be really special as the timing for the planned trip coincided with his wife's birthday and it was close to one of their friend's birthdays as well so they were going all out to make it outstanding.

I did try to sound pleased for him, I did. I tried making the right noises. As it is, I can't afford to turn on the heating at home.

So we agreed that there would be few if any presents this year and he'd let people know by text where the staff moved Dad to when the ward shut down.

I walked out into the cold, dark drizzly evening as if stunned.

I went into the internet cafe again and applied for another job

66. Data Officer. Sandwell.

With all my details already on the website, all I had to do was cut and paste and the job was done within half an hour. I paid and walked out into the rain, taking shelter under a shop awning and fending off a drunk who had lost track of time.

Just after he asked me for money and staggered off, I got a text. From the NHS website.

Please check my emails for a message.

I just had. I checked my watch - it was after 18:00. It was too late to do anything now.

Fuck it. It could wait until tomorrow.