Sunday 9th June 2024 – I OUGHT TO BE …

… selling tickets every time I go to the bathroom for my morning ablutions. As if the crowds yesterday who came to see me shower while riding the porcelain horse wasn’t enough, we had an endless stream of visitors this morning while I was trying to have a wash. If I had had $1:00 for every time that I’d been interrupted I’d be writing this article from the deck of a yacht in the Bahamas, sipping on a cocktail and surrounded by gorgeous floozies instead of my comfortable chair in a hospital ward on the edge of Avranches.

But at least for one of the interruptions I managed to blag a second bowl of coffee, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

As for the morning medication, the nurse and I counted them today. I’m up to 13 pills and potions together with at least one (and sometimes more) injections. And that’s just the morning. We have midday and the evening servings too. I haven’t counted those as yet, but I bet that I’m setting records somewhere for something or other.

Not that I’m complaining of course. I fully realise that I’m way past the point of no return and have been for ages but even so, the hospital and everyone else are still helping me limp along to the final conclusion, doing their best for me, and no-one can ask for any more than that.

Mind you, there is one thing that for which I would like to ask, and that it that they would stop holding meetings between doctors, nurses, ancillary staff and so on right outside my open door at 03:00 when I’m trying to sleep. I had to ask them to close my door if they were going to stand there and chat. So instead of taking the hint and moving away, they closed the door and carried on chatting.

10 minutes later, a doctor opened my door. The depth of his medical examination of me at something like 03:20 was to ask if I was OK. As this is a family website with strict rules about what can and can’t be published and with sanctions against offenders, any reply I might or might not have made was not recorded.

There were two diabetes checks too – one at about 03:30 and the other at 06:30. I failed both, believe it or not, being under the limit so I made sure that I had two glasses of orange juice and that I had jam with my breakfast bread.

Add to that a couple of nurses sticking their heads in here every now and again during the night and a couple of journeys to walk the parapet, you can see that I’ve had a nightmarish night. On a Sunday too. Whatever happened to lying in bed until 13:00?

But a couple of trips to walk the parapet? I’m not convinced of the wisdom of giving me a diuretic just before I go to bed, regardless of whether I need one or not. We’re back on this “medical necessity versus quality of life” thing again.

Things were looking so good last night too. No-one came to bother me and I put myself to bed with no trouble whatsoever, which is certainly an improvement from how things have been just recently.

For a while I dozed off listening to REM on the headphones before switching everything off and going to sleep.

And we managed a couple of hours of decent sleep too before the pantomime began.

To my complete surprise, and yours too, I expect, there was something on the dictaphone. At some point I must have gone off on a nocturnal voyage. I was at a football match last night. Crewe Alexandra were playing Doncaster Rovers at Gresty Road and were 0-1 down. We were coming very very close to injury time. The Alex had been under pressure in their own half for some considerable time but a long kick out upfield had caught the Doncaster defence by surprise. A Crewe midfielder had taken the ball upfield and dribbled it towards the goal. Of course we were all there saying things like “he’s bound to kick it over the stand” or something like that but instead he actually managed to slot it home. The Alex ended up at the final whistle very shortly afterwards with a very unlikely point. The fans streamed onto the pitch at the end of the game to find their way home and mix with the Doncaster players. You could see the disappointment in the Doncaster manager’s face. Then I went into the pie hut. I wanted something to eat. My brother who was with me always had a lightly-done toast so I thought “two lightly-done toasts with coffee would be great for the two of us” so I stood by the bar. I couldn’t really attract anyone’s attention behind the bar. They were all busy serving everyone else. I had my umbrella so I raised it and waggled it around a little but it still didn’t attract anyone’s attention. I was standing there waiting while everyone else in this crowd was being served.

Everyone has surely been to or seen games where one team is camped in the opposition’s half throughout the entire match only to be stunned by a breakaway out of defence right at the death. I seem to recall a match in Cymru not so long ago where we saw something similar. I wish that I could remember which game it was.

But once again, we have one of my family members intruding on my nocturnal voyages. Why do they keep on appearing? And whatever happened to TOTGA, Castor or Zero?

During the day, I hardly saw anyone. They brought me my meals, the cleaner came in, a nursing auxiliary stuck her head in to make sure that I was still alive, and the nurse came in to give me my medication.

We finally took the count to see where we are. In the morning, there are thirteen pills and potions. At lunchtime there’s only one but in the evening there’s a total of seven.

Add to that the Vitamin D supplement on a Thursday (or whenever they give it to me), the Binocrit “Last Resort” injection once per week ditto, and the two anti-coagulants in the thighs every day, one morning and one at night.

There can’t be too many people receiving more than that.

Apart from catching up on my sleep (which I have done today) I’ve been watching films.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m a big fan of ARCHIVE.ORG. That’s a site on the internet where books, films, music, radio programmes and all of that other media that is out of copyright is collated and stored. It’s free to watch, listen to, read and, more importantly, download

You’ll be surprised at the stuff that has passed its 28-year copyright limit and never renewed, and is stored on there free to use, and I’ve downloaded tons of stuff from there. My travelling laptop is a veritable library of films, books and music.

So this morning I watched THE FIRST OF THE “INSPECTOR HORNLEIGH” FILMS. Made in 1935 or thereabouts it features the vastly under-rated actor Gordon Harker in the title rôle, accompanied by his young but balding-nevertheless sidekick Alastair Sim.

In each of the films they bumble their way through to the final solution in films that invoke a beautiful bygone period of British life that was rapidly coming to an end as the War enveloped them all at the end of the series.

But this afternoon I was watching War break out with “NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH. Directed by Carol Reed, father of Oliver and one of the series written by Launder and Gilliat who wrote many similar films of that period and were famous later for their “St Trinians” films.

The film features, as did many films of that period, a cameo appearance by Basil Rathbone and Naunton Wayne playing “Chalmers and Caldicott”, a pair of elderly cricket-mad individuals who somehow stumble into the action..

Interestingly, a great many of these films, including this one and the three “Hornleigh” ones and many others feature a small girl at some point, gradually growing older as the series of films progresses. And I’ve never been able to work out whose daughter she is. She must be in these films for a purpose.

There have also been a couple of ‘phone calls too, which was a lovely way to break the monotony and the boredom.

Ingrid rang me, and we had a really good chat for an hour or so talking about Normandy, the Auvergne, our various illnesses and her father, who has just had a major operation.

Her mother, who is a celebrated artist, had been holding an exposition and I was keen to find out how it went.

And then after the evening meal Isabelle, one of the pair of District Nurses who deals with my area of the town, rang up. She was aware that I had to be in Paris tomorrow and was wondering how it was all going to work out with me being here. I old her that the hospital appointment has been postponed for a week and we had a little chat about things in general relating to my health.

She agrees that the clinic is the best option for dialysis. She thinks that if I were to have it at home, I’d need someone to sit with me and watch me while the procedure takes place. It’s an ideal solution where there’s a couple living together, but not for a single person in a cluttered apartment.

And let’s face it – I have far too much stuff in my tiny apartment.

So just having had my evening injection, I suppose that that’s it and I ought to clear off.

But before I go, Ingrid this afternoon told me a funny story..
She had a dog once that was quite sick and the vet had prescribed a cocktail of medication for it.
She was also quite ill at the time and took an assortment of pills and tablets, so every morning before going to work she’s prepare one pile of medication that she’d feed to the dog, and take the second pile herself, washed down with water.
One morning she was in a dreadful rush but dealt with the medication issues and set out for work.
Halfway there she was overwhelmed by a strange taste in her mouth and blessed with a fiery energy. She suddenly realised that in her hurry, she’d given her pile of medication to the dog and she had taken the dog’s pills herself.
So there she was, at 09:00 that morning, a young, healthy Dutch girl having to ring up a Vet for medical advice.

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