I am officially cream-crackered. Absolutely, totally, no-doubt-about it whacked. What's more, it's all my husband's fault. I put the blame firmly on Mark. No ifs, ands or buts. Not only that, but if he has any sense he'll agree with me.
You know the way you have an afternoon all planned? That was me yesterday. A little gentle pottering followed by a quiet family evening and an early night. Especially the early night since sleeping is not my forte. I used to be good at it; but then I used to be good at a lot of things. Why it is a problem is a bit of a mystery since I take so many meds I should spend my whole life virtually catatonic but it would appear I'm made of sterner stuff. Or something.
Anyway, back to my pottering. Nothing major league, just saying hello to a few old friends in the clothing stakes when Mark comes back from the doctor. He'd had some blood taken a couple of weeks earlier to check on how his diabetes, cholesterol & blood pressure were doing. Routine. My main concern was that he'd be kept waiting (the previous week I'd had to hang around for 45 minutes which was rather boring, especially since surgeries no longer have stacks of those magazines no-one admits to buying but we all can't resist reading...it's the possibility of germs, apparently). I digress. In wanders the Man and tells me (nonchalantly, of course) that the doc wants me to take him somewhere. Initially I didn't understand him - due partially to his Texas accent trying to wrap itself around the Ll in Llandock. As in, 'Llandock Hospital.' As in, 'the doctor wants you to take me to-'. 'When?' 'Now.'
You'll be glad to know I didn't panic. Even when he said she'd done (or whatever it is) an ECG on him, gone white and pointed him in the general direction of the door with the aforementioned instruction. My first job was to bum some money off Flavia (we don't have our own transport, instead we're dependent upon the bus. Isn't it a good thing I've gone to Llandock so often myself I know not only where to catch the bus - the 95, in case you're wondering - but also the times to and from). And, of course, they only accept the exact money. Which we didn't have. Bang went Flavia's £10.00 (with the promise she'd get it back today at the latest).
So, by five o'clock we're sitting in the waiting room at the Assessment Unit in Llandock Hospital. Have you noticed how chairs in hospitals are always uncomfortable? In the same way I have a theory that bus companies purposely ruin the shock absorbers on each bus before putting it into service, I am convinced hospitals are determined never to possess a comfortable chair. Not for patients, anyway. If you're going to litter the place then you're not going to enjoy the experience. So we deposit ourselves on a couple of the sit-up-and-beg chairs and wait. And wait. Then (just for fun) we waited some more. I was going to say that Mark is a bit antsy about hospitals but then, who isn't? Or, if someone isn't then there's something mighty peculiar going on in their cranium. I'm more resigned - I think it's a female thing - but Mark isn't of that ilk.
They took him off to take blood from him (5 vials! Blood suckers) and another ECG but in the interim we waited. Along with other patients and their acolytes. There were periods of brief amusement, such as when a cleric informed someone on his mobile that he'd thought a patient in one of the treatment rooms was his friend but then found she was sitting just behind him (the humour being the person in the treatment room was an obese old man...if I'd been the friend I would have punched him) but otherwise it was unmitigated boredom. Within two hours I could quote the Beeb's coverage of Tony Scott's suicide as well as the changing weather reports. I even accepted a cup of tea. Now for me, that's a big deal. I don't do tea. I regard it as an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. However, there was method in my betrayal - if I was going to be faced with a hot, dark brown liquid then I preferred it to be something I knew I didn't like rather than a bastardized cousin of something I do like that was given to me merely as a form of highly exquisite torture. That was my logic, anyway. It didn't make the tea taste any nicer, though.
To cut a very long, dreary story short by ten o'clock we were given the delightful news that they wanted to keep Mark in overnight so that they could run some more tests this morning. The only fly in the ointment was that there were no beds. Instead we were offered a couple of beaten up recliners in a room that for unrelenting brightness would make the Gestapo salivate. Ve haf Vays of giving you a heart attack. Presumably they reasoned that if dumping us there for 6-7 hours didn't bring something on then he must be okay. There we were left with the units' stack of spare blankets for company. I couldn't really get home even if I'd wanted to since the buses had stopped running just after eight and who can afford a taxi?
My darling daughter took the news with equanimity: I did know she didn't like being in the house all alone, didn't I? (guilt trip time. Of course, as I'm sure you've guessed we live in a big, old mansion surrounded by creepy woods and miles from anywhere. ie There's a Tesco Express just around the corner and so many takeaways I'd need to borrow someone else's fingers and toes just to try to keep a running tally). Then I had the wondrous text: My computer isn't working. What's wrong with it? Now, I know mothers are good (some of us are damn good) but even I, in all my amazing capabilities cannot deduce the cause of a computer crashing from four miles away. Actually, I can't do it if it is sulking in front of me, but that's besides the point. I suppose it was worth a try, though.
Mark slept - if you can call it sleeping. Probably had something to do with his not having eaten during the day or taken his evening medications - I mean, we'd be home in a couple of hours, wouldn't we? Hah. Of course, I didn't have my meds either (duh) but then I don't fall into a state of suspended animation if I neither eat nor keep dosed up. I also stayed awake all night. At five I wandered out into the dark and fresh air to check the bus times since they were planning on taking more blood at six and - well, I wouldn't say I was desperate to leave but I'd been fantasising about it for hours (Mark had been fantasising about Kentucky Fried Chicken up until midnight) whilst the desire for something luxurious like a bunch of grapes stopped me from going totally cuckoo. Instead I stayed at vaguely cuckoo.
Having informed Mark that it may well be a form of angina and that further tests would be required (out, not in) we managed to escape by ten o'clock, with me texting Flavia to let her know we were 1. Still alright and 2. She could now unlock and unbolt the front door (it was her first time left alone...although, as I pointed out, she had two manic dogs, a domineering guinea pig and a cat with delusions of world domination on her side...nobody would dare try to go past any of them).
So. Mark may well have angina (to go with the rest) and he DID have a heart attack about 20-years ago. I'm not quite sure whether he's pleased to find out he was right all those years ago or disappointed to find out he was right all those years ago. If you see what I mean.
I now know I can go 40 hours with only one of them having any relation however tenuous to sleep. I also now know that Mark's idea of a suitable location for a date night sucks. Rather a shame, really, to think that the first time we've spent a night together away from the house and family and it's in an impersonal, faceless, utterly boring and airless room on two highly uncomfortable chairs with another patient as chaperone (he purred in his sleep. Mark snored...I found myself automatically giving him my usual little nudges. At least he didn't talk - and when Mark talks in his sleep, Mark talks in his sleep. In English. In Sioux. It's great fun). I did have a surge of brilliance, however. I remembered I had a pair of (clean) socks in my bag and used them as a makeshift eye mask. I probably looked ridiculous, but then the whole situation was and by that stage I was so past caring I could have waved at it from a distant shore.
The journey home was as packed as the outward one but at least we were going home and we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the hot liquids awaiting us would be drinkable. Also that the pulled beef prepared for Monday night was well and truly cooked.
I really hope Mark chooses a better place for our next date - something with a bit more ambiance would be nice. Actually, somewhere with any ambiance would be nice. And no white walls or strip lights.
I have a very strong suspicion Prince Phillip got a bed when he was in hospital. I could suggest favouritism but I won't. I'll just think it.