|Having delivered RR to the Worcester Acute,|
OS photographed me striding determinedly
towards towards the front door at 07.15
(Below) Massive throat bruise not as bad as
it looked. Didn't feel nothing, honest
Monday, August 9. 05.30. Home. Wake, shave. 06.10. Daughter OS arrives in her Dacia Duster, waits in driveway (Covid regs) as I hug VR and daughter PB goodbye. Am driven to ghostly empty Worcester Acute hospital , 33.5 miles away.
07.20. Present myself at Theatre Admissions: “I’m ten minutes early.”
08.00 approx. Various tests, including MRSA, which goes astray leading to long, long delay. Waiting in my two smocks (one on backwards, the other forwards) I begin this verse and finish it, post op, at about 06.00 the following day:
Somewhere outside these pastel-coloured walls
Drugs seep into some deep and sluggish lungs,
Bones crack, dead tissue’s scooped away,
Blood forms into a shining estuary
Hours pass as I wait on my entry to
This battlefield. Impatiently, since
Pastel colours hardly compensate
For the expected, healing, well-trained blade.
Alone and bored on my inflated seat
I ditch the phone and open up my gob
To murmur Schubert’s An die Musik.
It works! But later? After we know what?
Three teeth gone. A mort of bone. Blood lost.
I twist my face to a facsimile
Of song. The very stimulant of life.
“That magic art, I thank the world for thee.”**
** Last line of lyric translated by RR.
14.00 approx. I enter the theatre and say, “So much electronics.” Wow! Imaginative!
17.00 approx. Stirring feebly in my single bedroom I am told by an unknown person. “Mr Hall (my surgeon) has phoned your wife and told her everything went according to plan.”
Tuesday, August 10. 05.00. Slept so well I rolled unconsciously on to my left (ie, operated) side; spill blood and unidentified fluid on to the pillow. Feel ashamed. Get up and revise verse. At very early breakfast time I’m asked what I’d like. With much bravado I say I could manage scrambled eggs but the cook is not yet on duty. Orange jelly and yoghurt, actually tasteless, seem delicious.
09.00. Throughout the waking morning a stream of people: the surgeon and interns, a dietician, a nurse with analgesics, then shots of antibiotics, then a plastic flask of strawberry mulch. High-spot of the early afternoon is long chat with gorgeous speech therapist. We switch from post-op food to how op might affect my singing. Not too badly.
15.00. Surgeon returns. I tell him I feel fit enough to vacate my no doubt much-wanted bed. He’s mildly surprised. “It’s only been twenty-four hours.” I spread my hands. He says, “Well OK, then.” I phone my daughter Dacia Duster driver, “See you at 19.00.”
18.30. Walk up to nearby car-park. My overnight bag is heavy with a dozen flasks of strawberry mulch. My nurse of early morning is gorgeous too, if privately giggly, comes from Zimbabwe and insists on carrying my bag. I protest vainly, “This looks like life in Rhodesia (The former colonial version of Zimbabwe.).” She says, “Can’t let you carry it, mon.”
19.00. Duster arrives and out steps unexpected passenger, VR. Mumble-lipped, I introduce her to my nurse as my mother. The final after-effects of anaesthesia