As I sat by his hospital bed coughing away and asking nurses for cups of tea, I was terrified lest they throw me out of the ward. Happily for us, they never did, but PRAYERS please that I didn't make any of the other patients sicker and that B.A. swiftly recovers.
No doubt I am opening myself up to accusations of selfishness, but until 4 PM we thought there was a strong chance B.A. would die. How did the specialist put it? "If untreated, your brain would collapse in on itself and you would go into an irreversible coma." This may be why the nurses didn't kick up a fuss about my hacking cough, my inability to obey the Hospital Visiting Hours sign, my tucking my feet into B.A.'s hospital bed, and my occupation of the Relative's Overnight Room on Tuesday night. Good Lord, but was that a cold room.
Incidentally, when your husband complains that he keeps waking up with a sore neck, don't say, "We need a new mattress. We really should get a new mattress." Say, "I'm ringing up the doctor's office to make you an appointment." Apparently it was A.A. Gill telling his readers (while dying) that they shouldn't ignore such symptoms that prompted B.A. to finally make that appointment.
It's incredible how your world can overturn. As we went to the Eye Pavilion (B.A. had also had a nagging pain behind his eye) on Tuesday morning, we argued over whether or not my favourite hipster café was on the way and how much time it would take me to get a coffee there. I left him to walk to the Eye Pavilion his way, and victoriously got my super-duper coffee before rejoining him outside the clinic. On Tuesday evening, we argued with a doctor over whether we could stop at our priest's house on the way to a specialist so B.A. could have Last Rites.
Can you imagine that? I couldn't. Never, ever.
To be precise, it was B.A. who was not allowed to go home but had to go across town at once in case the surgeon wished to operate right away. The doctor suggested I go home, and I said "I'm not leaving my husband" for the first of what felt like many times, but was actually maybe only two or three. The duty nurse (or Sister, as she seems to be called here) suggested I go home when B.A. was admitted, and I said, "I have no family in Scotland. I'm not leaving my husband."
The kind friend (to whom we are eternally grateful) who had driven us from one hospital to our priest to the specialists' hospital was moved and intrigued by my comment, as she has no family anywhere, which doesn't seem to bother her. This
The poor woman didn't answer, and she didn't call me back until B.A. had gone into the operating theatre. Imagine telling your mother-in-law--on a mobile phone--in a hospital loo--that her only child is having an operation and having to answer the question "Is he okay?" with "We'll know in three hours." There is a fine line between cheerful British understatement and lying--and there's a fault-line along it where your voice cracks, which betrays to the other British woman
Foreigners often think the British are cold and unfeeling. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. They may think they understand English, but they can't speak British Woman.
Anyway, this is all to relieve my shattered nerves in my usual way, and secondarily to remind you that death can come like a thief in the
Meanwhile, my brother's plane has arrived, so I am off to meet the train from Glasgow. Thank God he comes to happy news.