Things are not going well. On Wednesday my 94 year old father fell at home. There was no one else in the house. He inadvertently turned off his mobile phone in the excitement so it was about an hour before my brother came home and found him. He seemed alright. The next day, Thursday, he got up and then he got stuck in the shower. His GP came round (now retired, old buddy of my Dad’s though much younger and has basically, as far as I can see, kept my father as his sole patient to tend to his needs) and said he suspected a broken pelvis and sent him off to the hospital by ambulance.
My brother went in with him. He enjoyed the usual on a trolley experience in A&E. I spoke to my father on his mobile phone. He was taken off for x-ray. My brother went home. I considered getting to Cork for the weekend once Mr. Waffle got back from Luxembourg where he had gone for work on Wednesday. The hospital went into lock down because they had a Corona virus case. My father’s mobile phone ran out of charge. That evening I rushed home, fed the boys and then drove for miles to collect herself from her friend’s school where he had been acting in the school play. Something by Harold Pinter. Honestly, notions. She quite enjoyed it, thanks for asking. Possibly the last outing before Corona virus shuts down all the schools.
On Friday morning, I woke up with a sore neck. I was stuck in the pose of a tortoise with neck jutting out of its shell. I have been here before. I limped around the house in agony and unable to bend. Herself said she was a bit snuffly and asked, hopefully, should she stay home as a friend of a friend living about 50 kms away had Corona virus. I sent her in. I limped in to work (unable to cycle, obviously). I sneezed on the tram and everyone around moved away in a marked manner. Good tip for anyone who would like a bit more space on public transport. At work, in a disturbing development, the only position in which I felt comfortable was hunched over my keyboard typing.
My sister spent Friday trying to get updates on my father. He spent the day phone free, visitor free in A&E on a trolley while the hospital dealt with its Corona virus problem by sending 60 staff into self-isolation, which is not great if you’re 94 or, indeed, any age.
Meanwhile, on Friday night herself was in her short film which was being screened as part of the Dublin film festival. Her father was only getting home from Luxembourg at 8.30 and could not attend, her aunt was supposed to come from Cork but was stuck in Cork on high alert for my father, her brothers were supposed to come but a friend of theirs from school was organising pizza and a film for another friend of theirs who is having chemotherapy and has stopped school for a bit (chemo, Corona virus, bit of both?) and they wanted to go, so I felt that they should and they could see the film another time. Her cousin and aunt from Dublin were coming. As we arrived at the cinema, her Dublin aunt texted that they were stuck in traffic. I sent herself scampering off to sit with her friends and sat near the front as I had forgotten my glasses (look, I had a lot on). I quite enjoyed the short film as it featured my first born and many of her friends. I enjoyed most of the other shorts screened as well. Aunt and cousin arrived but I did not see them, alas, as they arrived a bit late and had to leave early.
We had originally planned to have pizza as a big group after the screening but circumstances beyond everyone’s control meant that there were just a pair of us – myself and herself. But it’s an ill wind and it meant that we were able to drive out to the airport and collect her father rather than leave. My sister texted to say that the hospital had finally managed to get my father on to a ward 36 hours after being admitted with (it transpired) crushed vertebrae rather than a broken pelvis (a good news story, basically). Later I picked the boys up after their evening out. Did they have fun? They did. Did they have any trouble finding their friend’s house in the dark (they had to go alone on foot as I was at the film)? One did and one did not. Was there any reason why they would chose to travel separately through the mean streets in the dark given that they were going to the same place? Nobody told them they were to travel together. Was it not obvious? It was not. Anyway, in small world stories, Daniel (who was the one who got lost) ran into a friend from his GAA team who was out walking with his father. The father knew Dan’s friend’s father because they had gone to the same school and grown up on the same road and was able to escort Daniel safely to his destination. Big city, small community.
There was a bit of consternation on Friday as the nurse said to my sister that my father was cognitively impaired. He wasn’t when he went in on Thursday. However, I managed to talk to a nurse this afternoon (Saturday) who was pretty helpful and said that he had had a free and frank exchange of views with his consultant that morning about his medication and that he was perusing the papers my sister had delivered to the hospital and which had wended their way to his room. The nurse charged his phone for him and he called me about an hour ago. Mostly to say that he needed my sister to call him so that he could instruct her to bring various things in to the hospital for him; partly to check whether my brother had got off on his skiing holiday (he had with some misgivings); and partly to complain loudly about the quality of nursing care compared to in his day (which I’m sure was gratefully noted by the overworked staff on the premises). So cognitively he seems fine, if grumpy. Apparently, they are discharging people, Corona virus or no, so I am hopeful he might be able to move to some kind of step down facility early next week.
Meanwhile next Saturday, we are supposed to go skiing en famille ourselves. I appreciate that this is a bit #mymiddleclasshell but between my poor father possibly at death’s door (though things have improved on that front over the past 24 hours); my tortoise like posture and general misery; Corona virus diverse alarms; and a number of logistical difficulties on the accommodation front (we are in a chalet with friends of friends and there have been some unfortunate miscommunications including my brother being in and then out again, he is currently out but has found somewhere else to stay – he’s going for a week with friends this week and family next, isn’t it well for him?), I can’t say I’m looking forward to it as much as I was when we booked it last autumn.
Finally, finally in my litany of complaint and woe, regular readers will remember that I am in the church baptism group. The parish priest has taken it upon himself to have a display in the church on what each church group does. Our group was not enthused; we all have jobs to hold down and plenty to do otherwise. But one of our number organised us all to do pictures. I paid herself good money to paint two of the six symbols of baptism for me and Michael kindly dropped them around to the woman up the road who is on half a dozen church committees and undertook to drop them into the parish office. I couldn’t help to put them up in the church as I was collecting herself from her Pinter play on the other side of the city on display night but surely now our work was done. Not a bit of it, next up, we each had to lead the Stations of the Cross on different dates. I felt myself both theologically and practically unable to do so and said so. Surely this was the end of it? No, this morning a message arrives saying each of us had to turn up at a different mass over the next week and show off the stand. I am not pleased. With all the other things going on, this Greek chorus of pings from the baptism Whatsapp group was not what I needed. I am, frankly, peeved. This could yet tip me over the edge into godlessness. Herself would be delighted as I’ve told her she has to keep going to mass until she’s 18 and she is exploring all avenues for an earlier exit.
Anyone else got any news or have I absorbed it all?