Thursday, 9 March 2017

An Awful Scare

Benedict Ambrose is in hospital, and I am on his side of the bed in our room at home. Between Tuesday at 9 PM to Wednesday at 5 PM was utterly terrifying. Truly, dear readers, I haven't been so frightened since my mother was in hospital 20 years ago.  Fortunately, B.A. is doing splendidly, although from the sound of it this morning, he finally caught my cold.

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 maybe may be playing into the Mangia Cake stereotype of Anglo-Saxon people who don't "care about family." But to me, not having family around at such a time was a terrible poverty that should move any hospital nurse to pity. Nevertheless, it wasn't until 4 AM that I broke down and called Canada on my mobile. I hadn't wanted to frighten my parents and it was with great reluctance--and many hours later--that B.A. allowed me to call his mother.

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 knows exactly what's going on. My voice cracked, and while she made the cheerful British understatement response, her voice cracked too.

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 light night, and if you don't make your menfolk go to the doctor, they may be taken from you much sooner than you ever dreamed. Also, don't be put off  if the hospital chapel  is occupied by Muslim staff saying their that-time-of-day prayers.  If you find yourself waiting in a hospital, get in there, find the Christian corner and throw yourself before the Lord. One of the things about being all alone when your husband is taken away from you to an operating room is that it's just you until you realize it isn't just you. There's Jesus, waiting to be with you while you wait.

Meanwhile, my brother's plane has arrived, so I am off to meet the train from Glasgow. Thank God he comes to happy news.

17 comments:

  1. I will be praying for you and B.A.

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  2. Praying for you both, and glad family is coming to help you!

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  3. Prayers too.

    Clio

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  4. What a fright! I have just said a prayer for you. I hope he will get well soon!

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  5. Prayers! May BA recover speedily and fully. And your jangled nerves, too. God bless.

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  6. Oh how scary!! Praying for B.A. and his complete recovery! So glad your brother has come - thank God for family!!

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  7. Oh my gosh, Auntie Seraphic -- so glad that the surgery was successful. What a traumatic time for you both. Will keep you both (and both your health) in my prayers this Lent.

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  8. Prayers for you and BA. How terrifying for you both ! :-(

    Aussie girl in NZ

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  9. Oh, goodness! Prayers for you both. I'm glad your brother is there with you and that things are looking up! I'll remember you at Mass this weekend.

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  10. I'm so relieved he is okay. Praying for you both, as it must have been so scary. And praying out of gratitude he is still with you.

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  11. Thank you! Definitely the scare of our lives. But now Mark has been allowed to come home and he is safe in bed. I feel completely worn out!

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  12. Thanks be to God, and may he go on helping you with the aftermath oft this scare! Is it certain now that your husband is out of danger?

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    1. Well, I wouldn't say 100% certain, but maybe 90% certain and getting better every day. The doctors will call him back to the hospital in a couple of months to take new photos of his brain.

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  13. Many prayers for you both!!! I can't imagine what you have been through. Oh my God.

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    1. Happily I was only terrified for about 19 hours, and I was asleep for two or three of those!

      B.A. didn't look or sound at all terrified. He was a model of Christian fortitude and cheer. I am very, very proud of him.

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