It’s been a very odd few months. In September, I wrote about Adrian’s ‘out of the blue’ health issues and that we were waiting for his surgery. What I didn’t mention in that post was that on the same day he first got ill, my Dad’s nursing home staff discovered that Dad must have had a fall in the night as he had a broken hip.
He had surgery to fix his hip, but he never got mobile again and with dementia and Alzheimers, he went downhill and passed away at the beginning of October just a month after his 90th birthday.
I won’t say much more about that. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows that grief sucks, dementia sucks big hairy ones and we all have to find our own way through it.
Adrian had just had his gallbladder drain removed and had a date for his surgery on 17th November – Dad’s funeral was scheduled for Monday 24th October, so it was all going to work out fine. Adrian would be fit enough to drive us to Kendal, we’d stay a couple of nights and head back home.
That’s not quite how it happened. The Friday before the funeral, Adrian started feeling sick and getting pain and, we headed straight off to A&E. There was a 4 hour wait to be seen, and I knew he would be going to Dumfries, so I nipped back home (that’s a one hour round trip nip) and packed him a bag.
By the time I got back his temperature was up, he was shaking and shivering and sure enough, they’d booked him the luxury taxi with the flashing blue lights and off to Dumfries he went.
I spent Saturday re-arranging all my plans, got myself booked into the delights of the Premier Inn in Dumfries and arrived at Adrian’s bedside on Sunday morning at exactly the same time as the surgical team. They had already decided emergency surgery was now the only option and as long as nothing critical came in through A&E, he would be in later that afternoon. They had the consent forms so of course they had to spell out the risks and though highly unlikely, they stayed in my head and had a field day in the four long hours I spent alone in his room waiting for him to come back from theatre.
It turned out to be a complicated operation, and he must have had a very good surgeon as they managed to avoid open surgery, though they had to enlarge one of the keyholes. Adrian said it was more like two keyholes and a letterbox.
But finally he’d had his surgery and his ‘bag of poisonous rocks’ was finally gone.
We had talked about the funeral and agreed that I needed to be there with the family, say my goodbye to my Dad and have that closure.
I am so glad I went, we gave him a good send off and though a sad occasion, it was good to be with family and friends as we celebrated the truly one-off original that he was.
We had also agreed that I wouldn’t go back to see Adrian in the hospital after mingling with everyone at the funeral. I didn’t want to risk passing Covid or any other germs on to him.
That turned out to be a very good decision as he had some post-op complications and was in a bad way for the next few days. And I came down with an awful cough which led to a chest infection, though thankfully not Covid. When he finally came home on the Saturday, I wore a mask for the first week when I was near him or preparing his food and managed to keep my bug to myself.
That was just over five weeks ago and Adrian is a new man. Somewhat less of a man – about 3 stone less, which is a silver lining he’s keen to make the most of. He’s now working on rebuilding his lost muscle tone and has been taking advantage of any break in the weather to have a quick walk down to the beach.
I on the other hand am still utterly exhausted by it all. Emotionally, mentally and physically drained dry. As for artistically – nope, I got nothing.
So I didn’t apply to Spring Fling. The deadline went whooshing by while I was pacing up and down in Adrian’s hospital room so I won’t be taking part next year. But that’s actually fine, I think it’s going to take a while to recover and re-ignite the creative spark.
And the irony I haven’t mentioned yet in all this drama … I’ve had chronic pain from gallstones for a few years and last January, I was put on the list for surgery with a warning it could take up to a year because of the backlog caused by the pandemic. I don’t have a date yet, but the surgical scheduling team have been in touch and I hope I’ll hear something by the end of the year.
At least I’ll have a nurse with personal experience!
I’ll leave you with some 1970s silent cine camera footage of my Dad and a bunch of mates attempting to get to the summit of Ben Nevis in a car. Dad’s the one with the traffic cone on his head.