19. We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet

I approve of 2013.

In our neck of the woods, at least, 2012 lacked a certain something.  It started with Pa’s eye exploding, followed in the spring by GrannieBorders being whipped into hospital with weeping legs.

She’s quite a lass is GrannieBorders.  Paralysed with polio in Coronation year, she brought up ActorLaddie and his older but irritatingly hairier brother from her wheelchair, while GrandadBorders worked as the most civil of servants.  Family legend has it that she once burnt out the engine of her disability trike seeing how fast she could drive it to Worthing.

Sixty years of sitting, though, plays havoc with the legs.  From time to time, they swell up and start weeping.  In some places, we’d be able to make a fortune by drawing a picture of the Madonna on one of her shins and charge people to see it cry. North London is not one of those places.

The spring also brought a cancer diagnosis for Ma and Parkinson’s for me.  Ma still maintains that my symptoms were kicked off by an unfortunate hot-water-bottle-bursting incident; something which neurologists have been strangely remiss in considering.

As we waded through the wettest drought on record, there was another cancer diagnosis: DearHeart’s partner, BraveHeart.  More eye explosions.  At midnight mass, LittleSis dropped the Blood of Christ on her husband’s trousers. (It was hilarious, apparently, leaving the front two rows of communicants helpless with laughter.  But then we are talking about the girl who turned a full tin of hot chocolate powder upside down to check the date, having taken the lid off first.  It’s a good thing she doesn’t have a responsible job such as treating people with radiotherapy. Oh, hang on a minute… she does.)

Then yesterday, the year ground to an end with ActorLaddie being diagnosed with Whooping Cough, of all things.  I ask you, Whooping Cough. He’s now threatening to write a blog about it.  If he does, I’ll link to it for you.  I can guarantee lots of coughing action.

At times this year, we seem to have been trapped in a surreal episode of Crackerjack (Crackerjack!), arms full of cabbages being asked to hold yet another brassica.  Hamlet would have said the same, instead of that stuff about troubles coming not as single spies but in battalions, if Shakespeare had watched Crackerjack (Crackerjack!).

And yet.

Yes, Pa has spent so much time at Moorfields this year he’s been given a loyalty card.   But some of the best eye surgeons in the world have operated on him again and again to try and save his eye, including turning out on the Sunday before Christmas, just for him.

Ma and BraveHeart have both had extensive treatment from kind and caring staff.  Both of them are doing really well.  GrannieBorders is back playing havoc with our skirting boards when she comes for lunch.  ActorLaddie will be fine when the antibiotics kick in.

And I’m fine.  Really I am.  I’m on tablets which manage my tremor and aches and moods meaning that I’m not just working but enjoying life.  Ironically, I’ve never been fitter.

So can I propose a toast of thanks to the amazing, fantastic, precious, wonderful, superlative NHS without which 2013 would have a very different prospect for many of us.  God bless it and all who work in it!

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