3:00pm, Thursday 26th July
Last Sunday my grandmother had a fall in church. Fearing that the cause was a stroke, she was blue lighted to hospital. In hospital she was instead believed to have sepsis. So, 5 days on an antibiotic drip and she’d be fine. In the evening the doctors thought it might actually have been a heart attack, thus causing more stress for the family. Luckily after one night in hospital, the doctors concluded that she was in fact, absolutely fine and had fainted because she had over exerted herself. Her doctor had told her to take it easy three days before but desperate to make the Sunday service (for the church community is what she lives for), she defied orders. Unfortunately, that decision brought her to her least favourite place, hospital. I am pleased to report that she is now back to being a spring chicken and once again attending mass.
Two weeks earlier, my grandfather also fell several times and ended up in hospital. Family medical dramas all round!
4:30pm, Saturday 28th July
Walking from room to room at home, Winston, our puppy trots up to me with a toy rope in mouth. He wants me to play. I lean my crutch against the wall and reach for the rope but Winston pulls away. I try the same again and again, he pulls away. I give up and continue into the kitchen. Not getting the attention he desires, he gets his teeth round my splints’ velcro straps, one by one undoing them so that my easiest option is just to sit down and play with him. He is smart, annoyingly so, but who can resist those puppy dog eyes.
10:30am, Wednesday 1st August
The family holiday to the South of France has been cancelled as the steps into the villa would have been too difficult. So, we as a family decided on a staycation instead.
The first adventure of our staycation was driving down to Cornwall to visit my grandfather who recently had two falls and now in need of further professional care. Whilst down, we visited the various relics of my childhood from when my grandmother used to look after me, she passed away from cancer ten years ago.
In light traffic, it took us 3-4 hrs to drive down to St Germans (Cornwall), we hoped the return journey would be as easy. It was not. Leaving St Germans was made difficult by the end of the Eliot festival and a local refusing to back down a small country lane, thus blocking the small country lane from all traffic, including us. After some U-turns, we made it across the Tamar Bridge. About a mile into Devon progress was once again stopped. The cause? A leaking LPG tanker at high risk of explosion on the A38 about a mile in-front of us. Max (my brother) discovered via social media that the road was due to reopen at 2:30pm, it was now 11am. Slowly, the other cars realised we weren’t going to be moving any time soon. The younger drivers and passengers climbed over the dividing barrier and made the long walk to Sainsbury’s. Unable to cross the barrier myself I realised that I am no longer ‘young’, and slowly it dawned on me that in all likeliness, I will never be ‘young’ again. Despite the grand recovery I have made thus far, I am unlikely to return to a ‘mobility without a care’. A stage in which I can climb barriers without second thoughts or participate in athletic activities. Without wanting to sound too dramatic, I feel as though GBS has robbed me of my youth.
Aging is not all bad, for often maturity comes with it. I don’t feel a heart wrenching sadness as I’ve had plenty of time to digest the situation. Only a gentle sadness, as many of the areas of life I once enjoyed are now out of reach.
On the positive side, I can now focus my energy onto a next stage in life. A stage where I don’t go on a run but write and am no longer drinking late into the night. A more settled and responsible way of life.
Whilst at my grandfathers, mum, Max and I played scrabble. Take a wild guess at the letters 18 year old Max managed to put down…