I go to visit my Granny at the hospital.
I’m a little concerned for her. Due to her mainly self-imposed isolation, this is her first time out of her bungalow for at least 5 years. Hospital, I imagine, will be proving quite a contrast. I am not put at ease as the hospital looms ahead of me in the dark. Florence Nightingale helped design Hometown Hospital back in 1868, but as I approach I can’t help but be put in mind of a Victorian Workhouse. Still, it was good enough for me when I was born there I suppose.
I needn’t have worried: Granny seems to be thriving. The attention she is receiving together with all the stimulation going on around her seems to have left her alert and bright-eyed, quite unlike the withdrawn and depressed individual she has gradually become over the past decade. I haven’t seen her this stirred by anything since Richard Whitely died.
That said, her new found verbosity and displacement from a familiar environment (combined, perhaps, with the painkillers) is making her dementia more apparent. After a while, she gestures to a man on the other side of the ward who is at the bedside of someone who I imagine is his mother. The man is rather obese and has a prominent beard, the combined effect of which renders him rather gorilla-like.
"See that man?" Granny attempts to say to me clandestinely, "It’s a very awkward situation."
"It is?" I enquire.
"He came in here, and no-one knows how to get him to leave. I think he's very drunk."
Granny is partially deaf. This means she is quite unable to speak in hushed tones, being unable to gauge the volume of her own voice. In turn, this means I can’t discuss things with her in hushed tones either. The gorrilla gazes at me half indignantly, half mournfully.
"I don’t think so Granny. He’s just visiting his mum I think," I have to say in a raised voice, ruling out any doubt he may have that we are discussing him.
"Oh, really?" she asks, seemingly half convinced, "It’s very awkward because he just won’t go away, and no-one here can move him clearly."
"I think that’s his mum, and he’s just visiting her. Like I’m visiting you. He’ll go soon. Just a man, like me, visiting his relative." I rub my beard, in attempt to underline the solidarity between gorilla man and me, united in our visiting hours cause.
Gorilla man is saved from further suspicious inspection by the arrival of the Doctor. As someone who will usually go a week without seeing more than four different faces, Granny is enjoying initiating conversation with anyone who passes by (gorrila men excepted).
"This is my daughter. He's come from Texas in America," she enthusiastically tells him.
"That's nice," says the doctor, clearly thinking she is bonkers.
Personally, I am impressed she was as accurate as she was.
5 weeks ago