2007 — 26 October: drizzly Friday

Time now (08:34) and the first cup of tea is being accompanied by some frenetic Scarlatti. (I find BBC Radio 3 much the easiest listening at the moment, though the news it reports is just as depressing as any other station, I guess.)

Just finished my first call to Her (09:01) and am delighted and mightily relieved to hear Her sounding pretty chirpy and Her usual cheerful, alert self. I've promised to call again if we get any interesting mail. And to take in some small fizzy drinks for Her. She reports they are now intending to keep Her in the General until at least this coming Monday when the consultant (who has been fighting this battle all the way) wants to see Her and sound Her out on how She feels about being moved to the Countess Mountbatten hospice1 at Moor Green hospital, Hedge End.

Stravinsky's Octet on the radio seems weirdly appropriate while I'm typing this. It's melancholy but jaunty at the same time. Did I ever mention, I wonder, how very deeply I hate this loathsome disease? And the cruel kink it has put into our retirement plans? I was oddly comforted to hear a composer saying yesterday that (in his opinion, of course) death wasn't necessarily sad or bad. Bereavement is certainly hard and horrible, but death is entirely natural. I suspect he's right. <Sigh>

Any other plans?

I have a somewhat quiet day ahead of me: breakfast, household chores, correspondence, maybe even clean the interior of the car, catch the meals delivery, and then out to the General courtesy2 of Roger to see Christa in the early afternoon. Mustn't forget to feed the five purry furry lumps over the road, of course, even though one of them decorated my new shoes yesterday. When you're that old, you're entitled. I've just completed the midday biscuit run; now they have to wait for the "meat and two meat" bit. They're all sleeping.

We spoke again just after 13:00 and discovered we are both anxiously waiting to see the other. The hospital has arranged Her transfer to the hospice for some time on Monday — She is absolutely insistent I keep my scheduled driving lesson for that afternoon. Seems She had some melon and stuff for lunch. I made do with an Ocean Pie (she said "Yuk"; I basically agree). Then out on legs, not wheels, to post the instruction to cancel the car insurance on the car Junior now has. They weren't entirely sure at first they could do that over the phone, but my explanation of the circumstances3 and a quick sidebar with a manager (not at my suggestion) soon smoothed the path. I've also put the new radiators installation job on hold; it's not fair to keep busy craftsmen in uncertainty. And I don't know yet what to do with the house. The fact that we cleared the mortgage is a very great relief, of course.

This afternoon's visit was made slightly more complicated, and rather less pleasant, by the wish to take yet another set of abdominal X-rays (for which I accompanied Her to the door of the X-ray unit, of course). I also scanned an image of the letter She has drafted to Her brothers rather than trying to transcribe it manually and it is doubtless being digested over in Germany by now. Then I had to bring Her elderly friend Ilse up to date, which was a sad task. I gather from my most recent call that the surgeon who installed this pressure relief valve popped in to see Her while I was on the way home. All in all, this "somewhat quiet day" has proved exhausting. Not least because it began when I woke up at 4 a.m. and dozed only fitfully after that.

But now it's time to contemplate some supper, and then quite late this evening, I look forward eagerly to Junior's arrival. It's probably going to be a busy weekend. And I may even get behind the wheel of the car — who knows?



1  Don't panic! We've already talked this over between us, of course. She currently needs a degree of on-call medical help ("safety net" as the Registrar put it to us yesterday) that can simply be delivered more quickly in a hospital or a hospice than is possible with the response time of a district nurse or an out-of-hours service GP. It's also the sort of help that is beyond my capability to offer Her at home, too. However, if the pressure relief valve does its job, and they can sort out nutrition, I may still be able to look after Her at home for a while. It's too early to say yet.
2  It's maddening not being able to drive unaccompanied, but probably a lot safer for everyone else on the road. I received another offer from a would-be co-pilot today. People are amazing.
3  People are, after all, generally very human.