Life can turn on a sixpence.
Ann from next door and I were chatting yesterday whilst sweeping leaves off the pavement. Ann has an uncle – we’ll call him Pat – in his mid-nineties. He’s been married for forty-seven years to his second wife. Let’s call her Jess. She’s about ten years younger than Uncle Pat, so mid-eighties. There are two sons, both abroad.
Uncle Pat and Aunt Jess live on the south coast, where, for many years, they ran a hotel. On retirement, they bought the house next door, living downstairs while renting the rest as a holiday let. Then they inherited a property in the Midlands, which, for some time, has stood empty.
Last week, Uncle Pat and Aunt Jess decided to drive north and check the state of the house. He no longer has a licence and Jess is a nervous driver but they didn’t let that stop them. Aunt Jess drove while Uncle Pat changed the gears for her.
Had they thought of getting an automatic car, I ask Ann. No longer an issue, she tells me.
Anyway, they made it there and all seemed well with the house. As a final thought, Uncle Pat decided to check the loft – specifically, had it got moths? So up into the loft he goes, and out of the loft he falls, breaking, as it turns out, many ribs and some vertebrae. Aunt Jess calls for an ambulance and meantime Uncle Pat, who is diabetic, starts having a fit – presumably from all the stress. The ambulance comes and Ann’s sister –who is local – comes and, while they are all seeing to Uncle Pat, Aunt Jess goes into the next room and drops dead.
Yes, says Ann. The ambulance crew go to tell her that they’re taking Uncle Pat to hospital, and there she is – dead. The shock, perhaps? Anyway, they try and resuscitate her while calling for another ambulance, and keep trying en route to the hospital, but without success. Ann’s sister is left with the truly horrible task of accompanying the doctor as Uncle Pat is told that, not only has he got all these broken bones, but also Aunt Jess has died.
Not single spies but in battalions, I say. Quite, says Ann. And we sweep the leaves.
In other news, I had a lovely letter this week from someone who follows this blog: also with PD, also a teacher, also of a certain age. Always heartening to hear from someone else in the same boat who is just getting on with life. Like me, she scouts the news for positive Parkie stories; much more common – and jolly annoying – to hear the opposite. I’ve promised to share the positive news from this Monday’s Cure Parkinson’s Trust update; with her and with you. And there will be positive news. Of that, I’m positive.
One thing I do need to warn you about, though: I’m afraid if you were planning having PD in the near future, you might have a bit of a wait. I called my hospital this week to try and rearrange my next neurology appointment: just a routine check, so there’s no urgency. “I’m afraid we have no more appointments,” said the clerk. I told her again there was no urgency; I’m quite happy to wait a few weeks or even months. “Sorry, there are no more appointments,” she said again. Do you mean, I asked her, there are no more appointments between now and Doomsday? She played music at me for a while and then confirmed that yes, that is what she meant. So there you go – bet you wish now you’d got in sooner.
By the way, The Jelly Chronicles is four years’ old today. Want to blow out the candles with me? Hip, hip