… telephone –
Our Hero "I have to travel to the hospital in Paris and the doctor has given me an authorisation for transport"
Health Assurance Official "you need to bring the form in here so that we can stamp it"
Our Hero "if I were able to bring the authorisation into your office, I wouldn’t be needing the authorisation"
You can’t make up stories like that.
And so it’s been another day when I’ve done almost nothing at all.
There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night too and strangely, I don’t remember some of it. Although I’m asleep when I’m dictating the notes, when I’m transcribing them there’s some kind of lightbulb that goes on in my head about most of them.
But last night there were a few that meant nothing at all to me when I came to listen to them.
When the alarm went off this morning I staggered out of bed and went off to take my medication. And then I came back here.
It took a while for me to come round into some kind of working mode, but my relaxation had been interrupted by the doorbell. The nurse had come to see my neighbour but she didn’t open the front door for him so I was obliged to stagger to the door in here to press the switch.
When I finally felt more like it, I had a listen to the dictaphone. Nerina had gone to the hospital to have an operation to have an operation on a cancer or something. Everyone else had disappeared and I was at home on my own. I’d been in Canada, dealing with the fall-out of a ferry that had sunk in one of the big rivers there. There was a great deal of talk about conspiracy theories regarding it, how it was time-expired and couldn’t find insurance for it etc. Whoever it was who was also with us then came back and handed me an envelope. I’d asked them to bring me £1000 cash back from the bank so they brought it back for me. It was all wrapped up in a little packet and they thought “why has the bank gone to this length with this money?”. I asked about Nerina and explained that there was a phone call that she needed to make but I’d left the details back downstairs. Then this person began to talk to me about a British aircraft carrier, “Eagle” that had also sunk in mysterious circumstances. That person seemed to think too that there was a problem with insurance etc, how it was a faulty build etc, how sinking was probably the best answer for it as far as the Navy was concerned. This conversation went on at some length. I explained that there was talk of this ferry, that suddenly the insurance offer had increased from several hundred thousands to¨£3,000,000. The person said that the same thing had happened with “Eagle” but that was done under the counter in a pub or café. I began to ask about Nerina and her operation, how she was doing.
In fact Nerina did once go into hospital back all those years ago and I did go to see her – but not for long. I have a horror of operations, tubes, pipes and all that kind of thing and if I had stuck around I’d have found myself in the next bed.
What I’m going through when I go to hospital is my worst nightmare. They are all well aware that the staff isn’t allowed to discuss operations with me and when I went two years ago to have the carcinogenic bit cut out of my kidneys no-one said anything. They came, pushed me out of my room to downstairs and stuck a gas mask over my face and that was all I knew about the entire proceedings
It’s one of the reasons why I never wanted children – because I’d be expected to be in the delivery room and there would be no way on this earth that that would ever happen. Of course, it’s always possible to be excused attendance but it’s the kind of thing that would be thrown back at you in any kind of dispute. And quite frankly, there are enough reasons to moan at me and complain about me without actually going looking for them.
Later on there was a group of us doing some things around the Crewe area. One was my brother and the other was a girl whom I knew when I lived in Chester. We had to go to some shops for some medication from the chemist and something else. We climbed into my car and drove. At a certain moment going up the street a woman appeared on a bike on the wrong side of the road. I didn’t see her until the last moment. I swerved to miss her. I hit the tyre on the kerb and burst it. I went for a slow limp to somewhere where I could change it but then another tyre burst. I thought “this is no good”. There was some stuff that we needed in the car so I was trying to group it all together in a bag. It was extremely difficult. My brother was making his usual remarks so in the end I gave him the bag and said “here, you carry it”. We set off but they began to wander off in the wrong direction. I said “if we go to the chemist’s in Bedford Street we’re only a couple of hundred yards away from Nantwich Road. If that chemist doesn’t have everything there are 2 or 3 chemists there. The other thing we need can also be bought from a shop there too”. We set off to walk down Bedford Street. I was talking to this girl about the area where she lived in Chester. I told her that I thought that the pub “The Beehive” had now become something else but she didn’t know. I asked where she lived, if she still lived in Chester. She said no, that she lived in Scapa Flow. We ended up taking a short cut through a building. I said to my brother “how do you fancy a nice cheap flat in Edinburgh,” because it was very cheap and it wasn’t really all that bad for the money. We went through this flat and out of the front door into the street.
And then a few of us were talking about my sister’s van. She had a Morris 1000 van and was having a few transformations done to it. When it was finished it looked like a pest on wheels. She would go round the shops with it until one night we stole it and hid it. One night we were down at a pub and she was out in a car. She came past and tried to attract our attention. We thought that we’d better disperse. We scattered and a couple of us ended up in Queen’s Drive in Nantwich where we were being overtaken by a film – a ship thing had passed which was this Morris 1000 van covered in brambles and weeds etc. There was something too about asking my sister the old question of days, the 21st, 24th and a couple of other occasions in that month. She found out the dates wrote them down on a piece of paper and stick them against the bridge behind my headboard in the dark.
Finally I had to go to Whitchurch to see a member of my father’s family. A letter had been delivered to my house for one of them. It was now 04:00 and we were finishing off the taxi work so I set off to deliver it. When I arrived at where I thought they lived I couldn’t identify the house. I saw something that might have been it and began to prowl around. In one of the outbuildings I found the bodyshell of an ancient 1950s Standard Vanguard Vignale … "actually a Phase I" – ed. There was also a set of number-plates on the floor written in Latin alphabet and then in Arabic. I wondered what they’d been doing with the number-plates off a Turkish lorry at one time. As I walked out of the barn I bumped straight into the guy. I came up with some kind of feeble excuse and handed him a letter. He seemed to be extremely delighted. I suddenly realised that it was his taxi wages that I was giving him. We had quite a chat. He asked me if we’d been busy on the taxis. I replied “very busy. I’ve not had my tea yet” and dawn was breaking the following morning”. Then I set out for home. As I was trying to put the key into the ignition some car tried to squeeze through the gap where I was parked. I told her to be a little patient but she snapped at me. When I set off I was driving on the wrong side of the road for a while. When I ended up in Whitchurch I was now on a bike. There was a cyclist in front of me moaning and complaining that I wasn’t in the correct lane, I was too close to him, all that kind of nonsense. He and I had a few words then I carried on heading for home.
Later on, the doctor came round to see how I was doing.
He gave me the famous bon de transport to go to Paris, another one for when these sessions at the Centre de Réeducation begin. Then there’s a prescription for something to help me in and out of the bath (not a student nurse, unfortunately) and finally, a prescription for an ergo-therapist.
An ergotherapist is one of those people who come to study your lifestyle and habits, and suggests ways and items that might improve your quality of life.
If he examines my lifestyle and habits he’ll have a hell of a shock.
Next step was to arrange the purchase of this IMac. I’ve decided that I’m going to buy it because at the very least it’ll replace the laptop that I’m using in the dining room to watch DVDs when I’m having my tea.
There was another visitor too. My cleaner came to see me and brought me my post. She’d heard about my story with the transport authorisation and as she’s going to the veg market tomorrow morning at Yquelon she can drop my form off as she’s passing, and also pick up my bathroom thing.
We went through a pile of stuff too about these chairlifts and tomorrow I’ll be ordering brochures.
Tea was later than usual – stuffed pepper and pasta. Just as nice as usual. So now I’m going to bed.
But I’m sickening for something again. This evening I’ve developed a really raging thirst and that’s always a sign that something is going on in my body. A collapse in health usually follows and what’s sad is that there isn’t much health left to collapse.
But if the Health Assurance people do agree to pay for my trip in a taxi to the hospital, that will be an enormous weight of my mind. I’m not looking forward to the trip if I have to go by train.