Fraud. I feel a fraud.
Yesterday morning I said on Facebook that I wasn't feeling too hot, and that I was going for a quiet lie-down.
Well, I ended up in hospital. Having a lie-down, to be sure. It seems I was experiencing something called Ho Fibrillation. What it has to do with Ladies of the Night, I don't know: perhaps it was because my heart was racing out of control, and that is what the odd ho' is supposed to do.
Long story, short: Peter Sellers song, boom boody boom boody boom, oh oh oh! Go grey, want to fall over a lot, Jenny drives me to hospital, they look worried, take blood, take X Rays and scans and stuff, attach wires and winches machines and cables to me, give me drugs to slow things down. Apparently arrythmia is supposed to fix itself after a few minutes: mine carried on for over 24 hours. Drugs knocked me back from 160bpm to 62bpm, a heart-rate I haven't seen since my teen years. All is cool.
But they decided to hold me overnight, and that's why I feel a fraud. I'm sharing a room with people who are, by any definition, ill. By now I could fight off a small army, single-handed. Healthy like a bull, that's me. All around me are people who are ill, and I'm tap-tap-tapping away on my keyboard, while listening to a bit a classical music.
It's hard to scratch your nuts when you're tied up to machinery, too.
Hospitals are not my favourite place. Especially when the guy in the bed next to me is discussing hospice care with his wife. Sigh. Life goes on, but not for much longer for some people, know what I mean?
Home now. They saw trhrough me, and sent me on my way with drugs.
I WAS LISTENING TO: Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite".
I WAS READING: "Sharky's Machine", William Diehl. More on that tomorrow.
WORD OF THE DAY: Defibrillation. I thought they were going to do the whole clear, bang, arching body etc on me. They gave me drugs instead.
INTERLUDE THE THIRD
Music that Henry loves and listens to is made by:
John Lennon (but not Paul McCartney)
Vaya con Dios
Simon and Garfunkel (together, and separately)
Chris de Burgh
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Stone the Crows
Lullaby for the Working Class
Henry also wishes he understood jazz better, he has listened hard to Coltrane, but sadly just doesn’t get it.
Passing water and wind.
Henry Talbot’s life changed dramatically and permanently on November 8th of this year. The events all started with Henry’s wife Mary rising from the breakfast table, walking to the door, and leaving him. As we already know, she did this on a regular basis, and so he wasn’t at all surprised. And in any case he had already talked about her going as he’d prepared the oatmeal (micro-waved oatmeal! With maple syrup, and by golly ice-cream!), grilled the bacon and tomatoes, and fried their eggs. The weather outside was bitingly cold, and the Mother and Son reunion needed something hot and filling for their project.
“I’ll be all right,” he’d said. “Really. You two go. I wouldn’t mind a little time alone, anyway.”
The physical effects of his illness were becoming more evident every day. He coped with the headaches with a steady diet of analgesics, but he had now banned himself from driving. He had blacked out twice yesterday, and knew the time was coming that he would have to head home.
The thought warmed him, somehow. The place they were at now was all wrong, seasonally: he was accustomed to enjoying Christmas outdoors, a long lazy day under the blazing sunshine, cold beers in the chillybin, Fred McKenzie’s best pork sausages squealing on the barby, friends and family relaxing under the big chestnut tree in the back of the Talbot Terrace house. But right now they were in Arizona, and the Arctic was breathing on them.
“I wouldn’t mind a little time alone, anyway,” he’d said. And so they’d gone. Mary had taken the bay mare, while Adam rode the big dun gelding. “I’ll be all right, honest.”
His words had rung falsely, even to his own ears. He was concerned about his growing weaknesses, and they were all aware of it.
“You go on out. We’ll be away from here in a week, anyway: we don’t want to waste any time.”
Time. When their adventures had started, he couldn’t stop the thought breaking through everything: Six months. Just six months.
Now, eight months later, they were starting their third week at the Arizona ranch. Mary had found the accommodation – a line-shack on a vast cattle ranch – and they’d spent the last week in splendid isolation. They’d talked, laughed, spent hours in silence. Poems and love-songs had surrounded them, and the air had grown thick and heavy with their togetherness and familiarity. Mary had drawn constantly, pencil and charcoal flashing over notebook after notebook, all of which she wrapped for mailing back home.