Blog 49: Hospitality

I never did get to see that brain scan.  I didn’t think to ask to see it and nobody offered to show it to me.  Looking back though, I should have known from the grim looks of the medical staff that Bill’s brain was not a pretty sight.  The Sunday Mail’s lift-out Body and Soul (p.25, 7/10/12), tells us that:  brain shrinkage is a common finding in people with dementia.  Now, I have to wonder to myself:  Had Bill’s brain shrunk?  Or was it almost all white, an indication that rampaging plaque had all but claimed it?  Or could it have been both?

While we were waiting there in the cubicle, the social worker hurried in:

“We’re going to give you a break,” she said, picking up Bill’s chart and glancing at me. “You’ve been a saint looking after him all this time and we’re going to give you a break.”

I was mystified, thinking:  What a strange thing to say.  It was by the by that I knew that I was no saint and that if anyone had been a saint through all this, it was Bill, coping so well as he did with the rough hand that life had dealt him.  The puzzle wasn’t that she used the word saint but rather, why would you use it?  Did Bill’s brain look that bad?

Soon after, the doctor came in.

“I’m just going to have a look at Bill’s ankle,” she said.

“Yes, I thought as much,” she added, feeling the ankle. “It feels hot. I think there might be infection there. Here,” she continued, glancing at me.  “You feel it. Does it feel hot to you?”

I felt it but I didn’t think that I felt any heat.

Then Matthew, who had arrived after school, put his hands on the ankle.

“I think that it does feel a bit hot,” he answered thoughtfully.

“Yes,” the doctor said.  “I think that we’ll put Bill into hospital for a few days.  We can give him a course of antibiotics and get this ankle better.”

It was Friday evening.  I had heard it said that nothing happens in hospitals over the weekends so this Friday evening admittance all seemed a bit strange to me.

Bill, by this time, was sound asleep.  It was late and he’d had a big day.

“It’ll take a while to organise a bed for Bill,” the doctor said.  “It might be best if you all go home now and come back in the morning.”

So we went.  The last time that Bill had been hospitalised, hospital staff had allowed me to stay with him, sleeping on a lounge beside him as he slept in the hospital bed. I didn’t even suggest that this time.  I was too tired.

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