It was a bit of a panic when she went down to the floor but I’d already known something was wrong when I discovered her in bed at 10.30 in the morning. Not normal behaviour for this parent, so the collapse and the trip to hospital were not unexpected, nor indeed was the diagnosis of a minor stroke. What has been unexpected is the way she sits beside her hospital bed, hair in disarray, bare shoulder poking out of a hospital gown and a look of utter confusion on her face. “How nice to see a face I recognize” she said when I came in and attacked her hair with a brush and tipped over the little bottle of water I’d put her flowers in. The first daphne of the season. The same flowers she had in her hand when we were visiting my father on the day he died. Perhaps it wasn’t the best choice.
I have had to do some interesting things today. Empty the fridge of the perishables, find the special things I know she uses everyday but have no idea where they’re kept and wash up the cups we used before she fell. I’ve also spoken to helpful people at the end of the most irritating help-line music (MSD plays Dave Dobbin on a loop – did they ask? And if they did, why did he say yes?) and everyone has been at their very best. Kind, soft words from busy people. It doesn’t get much better.