2007 — 5 November: misty sunny Monday

Time now (08:15) and it's time for breakfast and then some basic food supply shopping, before my first trip out to the hospice. Do let me know if you want to ride as co-pilot for me on any of my visits at any time. Until I get my driving licence I cannot drive unaccompanied, of course. But I've managed to get eight people there and safely back so far! There is no charge... you just need to be over 21 and hold a full UK driving licence.

Morning (now afternoon!) report

I was at the hospice quite early, sitting with my Best Girl for the best part of two hours as She drifted in and out of wakefulness. Still, each time She noticed I was there She gave every indication of being pleased to see me for the first time that day. She is nauseous but not in any pain. (She is being continuously infused with pain-killing drugs.) It is all too evident, alas, that the cancer is continuing on the rampage.

I've also finally had a chance to talk to one of the extremely sympathetic doctors to get some (any!) idea of the likely nature of the road ahead, and arranged to return for 13:30 to chat to "our" community palliative care team nursing specialist. Timescale1 remains (I gather) truly impossible to predict with any certainty — the fact that Christa is such a strong-willed, vital, fighter is (for just this once) probably not going to "help" Her. I don't know quite what I'm trying to express here. A quick, quiet death seems to me2 at this stage like the "best" or "least worst" option. Why I want my soulmate to die when most of all I want to have her alive and well is a conundrum that I expect would drive anyone to the brink of madness.

Be careful when you ask a question

Here we are back home again after trip #2 to the hospice and a brief, curtailed, shopping expotition to Sainsbury's in Eastleigh.

Antony Jay's "Sir Humphrey" character would always advise you never to ask a question whose answer you didn't already know, or couldn't handle. Well, now I know why. It seems "very unlikely" that my poor Christa will ever come home again. I nurtured the faint hope even as I quaked at the prospect of trying to look after Her properly. She may, if Her present symptoms stabilise, move from the hospice to a Nursing Home. (I remain unclear on the precise difference, but realise that both hospice and nursing home can offer 24-hour nursing care that I would find well-nigh impossible to match here.)

Thank you for the offers to act as my co-pilot. Tonight's lucky victim will be Gill, who is now, like me, an ex-IBMer. I will be in touch...

There and back without trouble, though the traffic was pretty heavy on the way in. Even managed to park quite neatly. She was pleased to see Gill, but basically drifted almost straight back into sleep. Sleep tight, my love. Hope the bedbugs don't bite. And thank you, Gilly-willy, for not minding when I threw a fairly major wobble and soaked your absorbent shoulder. You've known me for 25 years — plenty long enough to understand how I feel about this horrible nightmare.



1  Let's not mince words, David. For "timescale" read "life expectancy".
2  Indeed, it seemed to both of us when we last gently talked about Life, the Universe, and all points in between. And we've been doing a fair amount of talking and thinking both before and during Her recent stay in the General.