Before you start reading, if you know him and I haven’t contacted you please note the JEMSER IS FINE!
Me poor aul’ hubby, Jemser, went and gave us all a terrible fright. He pulled something in his back when he was helping his Mam into bed about ten days ago. Teresa has that cruellest condition of all, Alzheimer’s. But back or no back Jemser still went off playing golf on the Monday after his weekend in Kilcar. He came in truly crocked, tried lying in the bed half the day, tried walking it out, lying on the floor – everything. Eventually he gave in and went to the doc last Thursday. She prescribed Difene and anxi-calm (valium) to relax the muscle spasm and help with pain.
He was still in bits on Friday but come Saturday his back felt a lot better, although the pain had moved first to his neck and shoulder and then his stomach. It was like severe indigestion when it hit the stomach. I slagged him over mysterious moving ‘man-pains’. Anyway he was recovered enough for us to head into town and see our offspring ( two in his case, one and one on loan in mine) gigging. It was a great night and we met up with a lot of old friends, we laughed and sang and had the craic (see last post for details).
However Jim paid the price on Sunday. Not hung-over, Jim doesn’t do hangovers. But he felt fluey, shivering and clammy to touch. The pain in his stomach was worse. He didn’t eat and slept most of the day, taking paracetamol and Difene for pain. Monday morning he felt better and we decided we’d go ahead with the mid-week break we’d booked. Our annual ‘save the relationship’ break, our boys kindly minded by Jemser’s daughter#2 (the offspring on loan as per first paragraph). So I got ready me bunnel ( my overnight bag for non Donegal readers)and he slagged me over the amount of stuff I was taking for two nights - men do not understand the ‘just in case’ principle that many women use in packing, particularly in Ireland where we don’t have climate, just weather – in all its unpredictability.
Unfortunately Jemser was up most of that Monday night with pain, shortness of breath and he worried when he saw blood in his sputum and urine darker than it should be in the toilet bowl. If you’ve ever heard Jemser sneeze or clear his chest you will know how noisy he is and how he delights in giving a blow by blow description of his bodily emissions. The blood shut him up.
So, instead of heading to a nice four star in Carlow for a relaxing few days we headed for the G.P. who promptly gave him a letter for Beaumont Hospital. I had permitted son#2 to stay home from school because the child is cut out of me, a complete worry-wart. He overheard me telling someone on the phone about the blood and started to cry. He would have fretted all day in school – the not knowing killing him. Before we came back from the doctors he had googled ‘pleurisy’ ‘pneumonia’ and ‘fluid in lungs’ – which were what we thought we were looking at. The poor divil. He has inherited my worry gene and my curiosity gene. Then to top it all he has his father’s ‘don’t believe it until you see it yourself‘ gene. Although son#2 will believe it if Stephen Fry says it as Jemser will if Micheal O’Mhuireheartattack says it.
Then followed a worrying few hours, although Jemser was triaged and sent to X Ray within forty minutes of arriving at A&E. Staff wonderfully courteous and kindly. After X-Ray he had a cat-scan and finally an ultra sound and they put him on an IV antibiotic drip then a saline drip as he was very dehydrated. He was in good form. Flirtin’ and slaggin’ the nurses as is his wont. Cracking silly little jokes with me. Repeating himself. But I could see the fear in his eyes as he could see it in mine.
The hospital said they’d have to hang onto him for a few days to investigate what was going on, there was blood in his lungs and his kidney function was ‘impaired’. I went home and packed a bunnel for him, dumping out my nice ‘save the relationship break’ clothes. I had to buy him pyjamas with an instruction from him to make sure they weren’t those bloody short sets. I did a ‘just in case’ bag for him, extra socks and jocks and any toiletries I though he might need. I brought the bag in and he was dozing on a fireside type chair in the acute medical area of A&E. He looked incredibly vulnerable. I chatted to one of the nurses, a lovely woman. It is alarming how quickly you assimilate all the medical terms and talk knowledgably peppering your sentences with them. Terms you never thought you’d need.
They found him a trolley for the night, a little narrow but grand according to himself, even better they found him a room on his own ( I think it was a broom cupboard) when they heard his snoring. He had a grand kip. I lay awake half the night, planning his funeral. Jesus- he'll come back and haunt me if I slushify it on him.
He met the medics this morning and pneumonia driven pleurisy was their diagnosis. A slight complication in that there appears to be a cyst on one of his kidneys which they want to investigate further. But he looks a lot better and feels ‘grand’ except for pain about the kidney when he coughs or sneezes. I’m grand about it all except when I google his symptoms. I think someone should come up with an app to block your search engine when a loved one is sick. The only condition I didn’t diagnose him as having was pregnancy, although he even has some of those symptoms, swollen feet, slight nausea, a general wooliness about him.
So today he’s happily ensconced on another trolley in a day ward in the hospital until the bed manager finds a bed for him (I hope our bed managers are better than our bank managers proved to be).Did you know that they use disposable pillows in hospitals now? Apparently it works out more cost effective than laundering them. I wonder are they bio-degradable?
They’ve taken so many bloods from him he feels like a cow with a dry udder and is wondering should he have a pint of the black stuff to replace all that iron. I suggest broccoli. Son#1 hasn’t gone into see him yet, he was too busy making an audition video for a venue where the band hope to perform their second real gig and his Da and I fully approve of his priorities. I contacted daughters #1 and #2 and put their minds at rest. Both extended families have been given the story. Mobile phone companies made a fortune on us all this day. The slagging and comments from them all (particularly the Drimreagh crew!) were hilarious and Jemser isn’t supposed to be laughing – ‘cause it hurts.
Son#2 came in with me this evening just to be sure to be sure.Doubting Thomas. We laughed, slagged, teased each other and talked shite. Just like being at home really. Except for the drip. And the pyjamas. He said I was carrying my fascination with Auschwitz too far, when I looked closely at them, yes, he looked like an overgrown ‘boy in the striped pyjamas’. It wasn’t deliberate. We got a laugh out of it anyway as the stripe is where the resemblance ends. For a fella with so much wrong with him he looks rudely healthy.
I’ll be glad when it’s all over.
It is at times like these that one realises what’s really important in Life. People. Us. People you love. People who can drive you mad at times but who are always – always - there for you, as you are for them. People who love you. And what matters to me above all else is my little family, the four kids we have between us. Us. His family from Kilcar. My family from Ballymun. The families that extend as children grow, find partners and continue on the bloodlines.
The rest of it, the jobs, cars, shopping, houses, rows, entertainment, politics, finances. All of it, ALL, is irrelevant unless the people you love and who love you are well and happy. Only then is all right with the world. At least with my world.