IT DOES GET TO BE ROUTINE. I will NOT accept it. The journey to the hospital with all its wondering and tension; the padding through the corridors looking for the canteen to have a coffee and unwind before the visiting hours begin… then up to the ward, where He is… lurking and clinging on to life, somehow. Along the corridor, around the corner to the sideward with his bed in it and… the curtain! Why have they pulled it like that..?
Quickening heartbeats; an unsurety of emotion…
no no no no nonononononoNOOOOO!
THE OLD BASTARD’S SITTING UP IN BED! HOW? HOW DID IT HAPPEN? WHY IS HE STILL HERE?
How much longer will this go on?
He’s not deathly whispering but actually talking. He is aware of us – who we are – and who and where he is. The sentences make sense; until you realise he’s talking utter garbage, made up of fantasy and delusion with a mixture of muddled memories and befuddled perception thrown in for good measure.
I have to leave; I want to grab him by the throat and shake him, how could you do this to us? I mean, he’s even bloody put on weight! Ten pounds! I can see it in his face and even in his arms. THIS despair is a different colour from that other one. So he’s now starting to be in a condition where he might last another ten years or so, just slowly disintegrating… why didn’t he just give up? So typical. So unfair of him.
I hope he’s in agony… but… even though I feel these things, they seem a bit… blah. Like my reactions and emotions are just going through the motions. I’ve even broken the rules about the Minimus Opus: I’m supposed to sit down within 24 hours and just blast out my raw and bleeding reaction like I’m tearing out a limb, ready to swat people round the face with the soggy end. Yet when I was travelling back from the hospital, I just felt tired and sort of bored. So he gets better and then we have him back at home; then he’ll get ill again and gets put back into hospital… off to ‘death’s door’ and back again. Round and round we go.
In my head, the reaction of Other People to the news of my father’s hospitalisation echo and spin. All of the, ‘so sorry to hear that,’ and, ‘hope he’s on the mend soon,’ platitudes of well-meaning so-called empathetic sympathy drone on and on… along with a whole load of other things, settling onto my psyche like a spider devouring its prey. All of the stuff about family coming first, about how we’re supposed to be able to do anything for our parents who did everything for us… all of that…
Ersatz sentimentality. He’s still just The Body in The Bed.