Saturday, September 15, 2007

When I'm Eighty-Four

It was all a bit of an anticlimax, the Communist's eighty-fourth birthday yesterday, because he had some kind of infection, was on oxygen, and was rather sleepy.

My mother went to see him in the afternoon, taking lots of cards which had arrived at their house or at our house (and thanks to those friends and relatives who sent them): when Emily and I arrived later on, there wasn't a card in sight.

Where were they? I searched everywhere - no cards. I was so upset to see this birthday-free zone that I rang my mother to see what on earth had happened to them.

"Oh, I put them out, and then he asked me to take them home, so I did," she said.

Ever since he went into hospital in the beginning of June, he's wanted all cards, letters and everything else taking home. "I don't want them in here," he says, "I want to see them again when I get home."

He might never get home, of course. And it upset me that the staff knew it was his birthday - we'd bought him two huge cakes because that's what he wanted, as presents for the staff - and it looked as though nobody gives a stuff about him.

Also, let's face it, it's better for him too if the staff see him as a real person with lots of birthday cards, rather than just as the patient in the end bed.

"Bring the cards back tomorrow, Mum," I said, "and we'll put them on the windowsill."

She did, and when we went to visit today there they all were, and he didn't mind at all but showed them to us rather proudly. He was much better today, much more like his usual self.

Our conversation was interrupted constantly by the new patient in the opposite bed, Chirpy Charlie, who hasn't a clue what's going on but is certainly enjoying it and emits a throaty chuckle every five minutes.

"Nice weather today, " he says, and "I know all about you, missus," and - - well, that's it. He doesn't say anything else. But he says these two phrases very often, to make up for it.

For his birthday weekend they have given the Communist a decision to make. On Monday he has to tell the surgeon whether or not he'd like them to amputate his leg.


Blogger Silverback said...

Many blog posters try to leave us with a memorable ending....some witty phrase or thought provoking statement.

You just have to go one better, don't you ?!

That took me completely by surprise and any thoughts of passing up on my exercise walk today have gone completely now as I'll feel so bad if I don't use the fact I can use both my legs.

Thank you for making me realise I shouldn't take them for granted and my thoughts and prayers go out to you all on what must be a very difficult weekend.


(On reflection, I picked a bad subject for my post today !)

12:56 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hi, Daphne. I have added comments here before and I would like to ask you a favor. I'd like to have the honor of sending your father a personal letter. It's important to me as a Communist and also as a human being to send him best wishes and a personal message, since I have followed his travails here. If you could email me an address where I could reach him, it would mean a lot to me. My personal email address is My name is Jeff McFadden, and I live in the USA. Thank you.

9:27 pm  

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