(Phew, I found the classic editor again, so I can actually see the box where I’m editing text — I really should have used a different blog site in 2012, shouldn’t I?
It’s all happening to me at once right now: at the same time I’ve finally got surgery organised and prepared (I’m checking into hospital next Sunday, for an ordeal that will take place on Doctor Who‘s 57th anniversary), I’m almost certainly going to lose a precious relative, someone who’s been part of my life literally as long as I can remember — and in a far more inevitable, unstoppable way than when I lost other close relatives in 1984 and 1999, as this time it’s a long decline instead of an unexpected event.
Knowing what lies ahead of me doesn’t help: I’ve been through some preliminary checks and discussions (I was worried the main event wasn’t going to be scheduled until 2021!), but I’ve got to be tested for coronavirus on Wednesday, to make sure I don’t bring it into the hospital. It’d be bad enough doing this as a carrier, but since my operation will involve me being held in place with the left side of my head upwards while they cut stuff out, having an uncontrollable cough would be rather detrimental to proceedings!
If I pass, and the operation goes ahead as planned, I’ll have to self-isolate for the intervening four days (I’ve already begun stocking the fridge) before check-in, and use a special concoction for washing (including my head on alternate days), to ensure I’m fully disinfected. I’ll also need to bring my latest batch of anti-epilepsy medication (I feel damn lucky that I was able to get my quack and the chemist to work together when I’d ordered the repeat prescription a week earlier).
Assuming all goes well (and yes, this is the least negative outcome), I’ll then spend at least a week in hospital recovering and being psychologically evaluated, to make sure I’m not getting anxious and depressed due to (a) the anti-inflammatory drugs they’ll have me on or (b) losing the ability to remember my extensive vocabulary and take in new information. By chance, I should be able to leave hospital around the time that Lockdown 2.0 ends, and can spend a little time here before returning to Worthing to stay with my folks…
Or, as is sadly becoming possible, folk: my grandmother’s needed 24/7 care for several years now, but her condition has exponentially increased over the past months. I found it worrying that she couldn’t remember my 40-year nickname for her when she wrote a birthday card for me in October — especially since my earliest clear memory is her trying to get me to call her “Nanny” but me only being able to say “Tatty” — but now she can’t sleep, eat or control her body, and has needed medical treatment in the middle of the night, asking when her husband would be coming home from work.
I really hate this situation: not only will I face losing her, but so will my mother — and at precisely the same time that her son will need care. Whereas during my post-op period in 2018 my grandmother needed less observation and could still cook (including for “best mate” when he came to drive me back to London), this time my mother will have two people to worry about at once. This makes me feel like a burden, much like my workmates trying to make it clear that I’m doing fine and they’ll keep things going in my absence, even after all we’ve been through since the end of July — it’s like I’m just creating more work for others, and can’t help them in return.
(The saddest thing: if my Wednesday COVID test shows I’m a carrier, my operation will get put back a month — but even then, I won’t be able to visit Worthing in the interim and help my family, and would have to stay here anyway, feeling helpless!)
It doesn’t help that the darling dog we’ve had for only a year is seriously confused by what’s happening to one of her loved ones (I even heard her barking in the background of a phone call, because my grandmother had fallen over), but me staying down there for a month or two may mitigate this somewhat: apart from anything else, my need to take exercise as part of my recovery will mean taking her walkies. She’s the newest member of the family, and I’d hate to lose her as well — and she makes my mother happy, which is the most important thing.
Like I said seven years ago, losing a home relative feels so bad because it’s like the place is emptier than before, and somehow you expect them to turn up again, it all having been a prank or a misunderstanding. However, I’d rather face this pain and misery all over again, than disappear into oblivion and not think anything ever again — apart from the fear of ceasing to exist at all (hence I can never embrace atheism), I don’t want my own mother to suffer even more than she already is, and to do so alone.
However, I’m determined to get through all this once again (and hopefully improving a lot more than last time), as I want my mother, my friends, my workplace, and everyone else I know and love/like/tolerate/endure to be relieved. They’ve supported me, but I want to resume giving to them, even if (for now) it’s exclusively online, and thus I can’t climb with “best mate”, box with my personal trainer, help the meetup guy hand out supplies to the homeless, or give a big hug to a certain special lady in the Far East.
(On the other hand, I don’t miss being in a noisy, crowded office, and I certainly don’t miss being lucky even to get a seat on the Northern Line — I’m definitely happier homeworking!)
A few coincidences concerning this situation: not only will my operation be, as above, on a certain anniversary (albeit not a nice round number of years like in 2013), but next Sunday will end the 43rd week of unbroken Wii Fit Plus sessions I’ve done since early this year (when I forgot to bring the save file home with me to Worthing). I think it’s also, by coincidence, the final day of my most recent promise of weight loss in that same software…
Sometimes I wish it was happening on the 19th instead, but hey, there’ll be a successful operation if ka wills it!