In the last few weeks, I have posted occasional extracts from my electronic diary in 2001, when my father was dying from cancer. I will continue until he does/did. The extracts below are a strange interlude:
Saturday 2nd June 2001 – Clacton
Driving to Clacton in the morning, it was like someone sticking a needle in my right eyeball. When I looked in the mirror, there was a vertical line of red blood in the white to one side of my pupil.
At the nursing home, my father asked me: “What do you think?”
“About what?” I asked.
“About me going home. I was thinking about the cost to your mother.”
I explained she couldn’t cope with him being in bed 24 hours per day, couldn’t support him to the toilet (he needs two nurses and a zimmer frame) and he needed professional tending.
“Do you agree?” he asked my mother. She nodded. I think she is frightened he might come home and she might somehow have to try to physically cope.
In the evening, my mother phoned her friend Doug in Canada to tell him about my father’s illness, his operation and the fact he is now in a nursing home. Doug’s wife answered and my mother was flustered.
“I couldn’t remember what I was phoning for,” she explained to me afterwards.
Sunday 3rd June 2001 – Clacton
My eye is still sore, the blood spreading in the bottom half of the outer white of my right eye. I presume it is a burst blood vessel.
Monday 4th June 2001 – Borehamwood
My eye was still achy so I popped into an optician who said it was a burst blood vessel and it would last a week. She recommended I have my general blood pressure tested but do nothing. The right hand white of my eye is white and the left hand white is doing an impression of the closing scenes of The Wild Bunch.
Tuesday 5th June 2001 – Clacton
My eye is itchy like taut skin.
At the nursing home, my father’s hand was cold and he said he was cold.
Until now, since the operation, he has been boiling hot.
Wednesday 6th June 2001 – Borehamwood
Just for safety, I popped into my GP this morning to ask about my eye. He too, immediately, said it was a blood vessel and said it would take about two weeks to clear. He too said to do nothing. I did not mention blood pressure to the GP but he volunteered: “It’s got nothing to do with blood pressure, but I’ll test it anyway,” and did the tight-thing-round-the-arm blood pressure test.
I asked if it could have anything to do with glaucoma and he immediately said no. (I have glaucoma on both sides of my family: it is incurable once it sets in, but can be prevented if caught at an early stage, so I have annual glaucoma tests.)
As I walked to the doctor’s surgery, I was looking at an interesting row of houses to my right and walked straight into a concrete lamp post in the middle of the pavement – right full-force into my left temple, left cheekbone, left leg of my spectacles and left knee of my leg. I have never found slapstick particularly humorous but this was real Harold Lloyd stuff.