Note to self: in future, write blog post before heading into the belching bowels of the MS redrafting… that’s the second day in a row I’ve made the mistake of not posting first, and yesterday’s result was not posting at all. So. I must manage my writing time more successfully, or else DoctorDi will end up sailing down the sewer rapids with me. And we can’t have that. Collectively, you’re the only thing keeping me sane.
I spoke to Nana over Easter. I’d been trying to reach her without success for a couple of weeks, and I persisted in using the room number instead of phoning the RN’s desk on the ward because Nana just gets so distracted when she’s out in the general area that she’s really just busting to get off. It kind of defeats the purpose, phoning when I know she’s in an environment in which she doesn’t wish to speak. There’s no purpose in the usual sense anyway, because she can’t remember when last I called and shall have no recollection of this conversation either. Nonetheless, I know, and so I continued my efforts to catch her in her room.
And finally, success: the jovial sounding lady who, it transpired, was dressing Nana, picked up the phone, and without further ado put her on.
“Happy Easter, Nana!” I said.
“And Happy Easter to you,” she said.
“Did you have a good one?”
“Well,” she said, “I didn’t… do anything, I didn’t do anything special, but yes, I suppose I did. There are some very nice people here, you know.”
“I am extremely glad to hear you say so.”
“Yes,” Nana continued. “And there’s things… there’s someone here, actually, and there’s things all over the bed.”
“Is it your clothes? Did I interrupt your getting dressed?”
“Yes! I’m… there’s a lady here trying to dress me. I’ve got my pants on.”
“I should certainly hope so!” I said, and she laughed. “Being dressed, eh? That sounds pretty good, Nana. It’s like you’ve got ladies-in-waitng.”
“Yes,” she said. “It is quite like that, actually. I’ve got this thing on my leg. I can see it.”
“Is it a bandage?” I ventured, knowing she’s had a lot of terrible trouble with one leg and an injury that’s never really properly healed.
“No,” she said, “no, it’s not a bandage. It’s a thing. Something hanging off. I want to flick it or pick it.”
“A scab!” I felt quite triumphant, like I’d just solved a cryptic puzzle.
“Yes! A scab. And the rest of my legs are brown.”
“Brown?” I said doubtfully. “Really? You’ve been tanning up there, have you?”
She laughed this away.
“No, they’re brown. Horrible. They look awful. Brown!”
“Is it some kind of antiseptic cream? A lotion?”
“No, no,” she said. “They’re brown.”
I just couldn’t figure it out. I still have no idea what she talking about.
“Well, don’t be too hard on yourself, Nana,” I said. “You are standing around in your underpants.”
This put Nana in very high spirits.
“So how’s your love life?” I asked. “Any romantic interests I should know about?”
Nana’s tone turned instantly coy.
“As a matter of fact, there is a gentleman I’m interested in, and I think he’s pretty interested in me too. He’s a very nice man.”
“Excellent news, Nana. What’s his name?”
“Vincent,” she declared, without a moment’s hesitation.
“Vincent? Do you sit together?”
“Yes, we do. We do other things.” Oh god, I thought, please no. “There’s… there’s other things…what do you call someone who’s just…yummy?”
“Yes,” she insisted, “really yummy. There’s someone here who does the things, and I go along sometimes because he’s doing them.”
The penny dropped.
“Oh!” I said, laughing. “The activities director!”
“Yes,” said Nana. “There’s an activities roster. We do lots of things. There’s some very nice people here, you know.”
“And some spunky ones, too, by the sound of it! I should have known you’d be up to no good, flirting with the staff.” Nana didn’t deny it. I think we both know the score. “But you see plenty of Kate and Harper too, don’t you?”
“Oh yes,” she said happily.
“I saw some photos of Harper recently. I didn’t think it was possible, but I think she may actually be getting even cuter.”
“Yes,” Nana agreed. “I didn’t think it was possible myself, but I think she may… yes, she may be getting cuter. She is very cute. And how’s Llewie?”
I gave her the full rundown, and then there was a moment’s pause before…
“And how’s Llewie?”
“He’s good, Nana,” I said. “He’s working hard, but he’s good.”
“I wish I could see you,” she said.
I explained about the two rounds of IVF and Llew’s work recently slowing us down, but then told her I’m learning to drive.
“So the plan is, once I have a bit more experience under my belt, we’re going to drive up to see you.”
“That’ll be lovely,” Nana said. She just sounds so happy there, so content. It’s just the most thoroughly excellent outcome after everything we went through down here. “I can’t wait to see you.”
“And I can’t wait to see you,” I said.
“I’d better go,” she said brightly. “There’s someone here waiting to dress me.”
“Okay, Nana. Off you go.”
“Lovely to speak to you!”
“And you,” I said, but she was already gone.