Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Better Again

Here's the Communist this lunchtime. He looks a bit puzzled but he wasn't feeling puzzled - he was feeling better.

I haven't mentioned him for a little while as he's not had a good couple of weeks. Where they amputated his leg has healed well and so they moved him back to his previous ward - which is also a good ward - to recover.

But, at about the time he was moved, something happened and suddenly he couldn't speak clearly any more. The ward move was a bit of a problem as the staff in the new ward didn't all realise that this speech problem was new, so I had to jump up and down saying he was dictating a letter to Jeff in America (hello Jeff, if you're reading this: I hope you've received it) just a few days before, and now suddenly he was mumbling and all consonants had disappeared.

He was also having problems swallowing and his hands seemed much more shaky. "Surely he must have had another stroke?" I asked. They did a brain scan: it showed nothing, but sometimes little strokes leave no trace anyway. The Communist was completely aware of everything that was being said to him, but was having problems forming the words of reply. In general, I could understand him and adopted my usual tactful approach when I couldn't:

"Can't understand a word you're saying, Dad. Say it again, properly!" And, sometimes he did manage to, and he didn't seem too distressed by this speech problem: but I found it heartbreaking.

Then there were a few days when I had that flu-type thing and couldn't visit in case I killed off the whole ward: and actually, I found it a relief, because I found this mumbling version of the Communist so upsetting.

Then I went to see him with my mother today.

"Oh, hello," he said, in his normal voice, "you've come."

They are making him drink thickened fluids as he keeps choking on thin ones - again, a probable side-effect of a small stroke. But he was having none of it.

"Give me a drink of water," he said, "I've had enough of this thick stuff."

So, rather naughtily, I did, holding the cup carefully and making him concentrate on every mouthful.

"If you drown, Dad, I'll be in trouble, so watch it," I said.

"Oh, they're talking nonsense," he said, "there's nothing wrong with my swallowing. When do you think I can come home? Pass me the Daily Worker."

It's not the Daily Worker any more, of course. The Communist newspaper, which he has always read every day, changed its name to the Morning Star years ago, but he's always called it the Daily Worker.

There's life in the old dog yet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad.

6:51 am  
Blogger Silverback said...

Thanks for the update........and a relatively good one at that.

Hopefully he'll be hopping around AT HOME for Christmas. Then watch out.


6:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Years ago? Just checked out of interest. 41 years ago in fact.

8:01 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hello, Daphne! Yes I did get the letter and it really made me happy. I've been really busy with final exams and teaching, but I'm about to send another letter. Remember that I don't want your father to feel pressured to answer me if he doesn't feel up to it.
Best Wishes to All,

5:57 pm  

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