Tuesday, 17 January 2017
Day by Day Things Are Getting Worse,
there’s no let up.
Beloved is in hospital now. He has fallen once too often.
The last few nights while he was still at home were horrendous. On the first of them I went into his bedroom downstairs, carrying his morning tea, as always. No Beloved to be seen. I had locked all the doors so he couldn’t have got out. So where was he? He couldn’t really manage stairs anymore, but still, I tried upstairs. He was lying curled up in a foetal position on the bare mattress on his previous bed, half undressed and covered only by the mattress protector gauze sheet. It was a bitterly cold night and the heating in the unused bedroom was off. I coaxed him downstairs, avoiding walking close in front of him in case he toppled over and took me with him. The Aga in the kitchen is always on, after half an hour he began to warm up and stopped shivering. I had no idea how long he had been up there, but at some time during the night Millie came into my room, sighing and thumping, until she settled down.
The next such morning I found him standing in the kitchen, in his pyjamas, going through the motions of putting a kettle on. Great relief on my part; he was ok, hadn’t done anything silly during the night and I could take over and make breakfast. I thought I’d better fetch his dressing gown from his bedroom first though, it wasn’t really warm enough to stand around in pyjamas. I walked in and instantly saw that he had trashed his bedroom. Lamps were thrown all over the place, chairs toppled over, slippers and his (luckily empty) urinal bottle on the bed, duvets and blankets knotted and bunched up, papers from his desk strewn about, electric plugs pulled from their sockets, and a rather heavy bedside table pushed to a new position in the room. Where did the strength and fury come from in such a weak and feeble man? Again, Millie had come in search of me some time during the night, but, again, I paid her no attention.
Then, on Saturday morning, Millie came up to me for the third time and I finally understood that she was telling me something was amiss. I ran downstairs and there he was, on the floor in the living room, again half undressed, on his side, neck bent and head leaning against the very cold conservatory sliding doors. He was moaning and breathing laboriously, fluttering hands scrambling for a hold on any surface he could find. He was about to pull down the curtains and topple an expensive lamp when I caught his arms. I rushed to get a blanket to cover him and a pillow for his head and phoned for an ambulance. I didn’t even try to raise him. The ambulance crew came within five minutes. They were the same two paramedics who had picked him up just before Christmas. They took one look, felt for broken bones, couldn’t find any, and gently hauled him up. One of them fetched a stretcher while the other wrapped him in blankets. “This is not the same man we picked up a couple of weeks ago”, they said. "He cannot stay home this time, he has to come in and be checked out.”
As he lay upon the stretcher and they were wheeling him out he gave me such an imploring look of confused agony and helpless entreaty I couldn’t hold back the tears. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, I could do for him except trust the professionals, who were taking him out of my life, to look after him.
One of the rough, tough and burly chaps looked back at me. “We’ll take good care of him,” he said.
He’s now been in hospital for three days; in spite of what should be a less fraught situation the nightmare continues.