HELEN WORRALLS HOME PAGE
LETTERS TO MY FATHER
LETTERS TO MY FATHER
My father turned 85 this year. Over the years he has provided everything the traditional nuclear family could ever wish for, liberally seasoned, I might add, with love and laughter. I decided to jot down my memories of some of the funny and at times eccentric, things my father has exposed us, his unsuspecting family, to over the years. This started out as a few random text messages and postcards sent from places frequented by the WorralI family when my sister and I were young, places I could nt wait to go with my own children and revisit the happy childhood memories I have of them. Quite soon afterwards, one or two people commented that I should keep a more detailed record by way of a memoir but since I am neither a retired brigadier nor used to the luxury of having spare time on my hand, this will have to suffice. So here goes, a sample of things to come out of the large and dusty box of my rapidly decomposing memory containing...LETTERS TO MY FATHER:
The first is a rather worrying Chapter...
1 How to survive in Hospital - The Great Escape
Until this evening I was unaware of the strange phenomenon which can affect particularly elderly patients post operatively. POD or Post Operative Delerium is a fairly common and fortunately usually temporary condition which appears to be the body's anti-inflammatory response to major surgery and there are a number or PRE operative risk factors which may provide an indication of which patients are most likely, though not necessarily, to be affected.
Amongst These are: aged over 70, dehydration and under or malnourishment, major surgery. Well Dad, you scored full marks on all of these plus a few extra to boot.
Following a successful second operation to straighten out your kinky bowel after the recent colostomy, you appeared to be making a satisfactory recovery; that is until 3 days after the operation.
Pam received a call from the hospital quite late at night to advise that you had become agitated and confused. You were shouting for help, becoming quite distressed and generally Being stubborn and causing havoc; nothing unusual there then! By the time Pam arrived, the POD had infiltrated the camp and had you firmly in its grasp.
You had become convinced that there was a plot, some sort of conspiracy to polish you off and you were refusing all meds and treatment. Your family, namely Pam and myself, had allegedly let you down as we were not assisting you to discharge yourself from the hospital.
Whilst this was, for me AND Pam, extremely upsetting at the time, it has subsequently provided me with some interesting and, I hope, amsing material from which I hope a few others, should they find themselves in similar circumstances, may be able to take courage.
Let me begin by saying that in no way do we either blame you or hold you responsible for your behaviour during what Was for us, a very distressing and worrying time. If only someone had taken the trouble to discuss with us more fully, the reason for your sudden change of behaviour...
It started with your deluded certainty that you were on a film set, something about the War ( don t mention it...I did but I think I got away with it!) and trying to escape from the Germans.
An approaching group of innocent, Eastern European cleaners armed with mops suddenly to you became the enemy; Nazi 's carrying machine guns.
Naturally, you were terrified and being bed-ridden, flung both arms above your head and began shouting,
- Don 't Shoot! NICHT SCHEISSEN!
Now clearly you have not been paying sufficient attention when watching war films as it may embarrass you to learn that you were begging a bunch of terrified cleaners not to SH*T! This was quite ironic, coming from a man who had recently undergone a colostomy!
More bizarre but, with hindsight...
As the critical care unit only permits a maximum of 2 visitors at the patient's bedside, Pam was hovering at the door to indicate to myself and Beth her desire to come and be with you. I went to vacate my seat but you indicated I should lean closer, whereupon, indicating Pam with a nod of your head you hissed In hushed tones
" sssshh! Now, you want to watch out for HIM!" (Another gesture with the head in Pam's direction )
HE is Herr Scheiber, you know, the Drugs man! He has his own private helicopter!"
As I explained earlier, POD is normally a temporary condition and when I visited you this afternoon you were considerably better and if any of us can be described as normal you seem to be approaching it now, in which case, I must hurry to collect and jot down as much writing material as I can. Certainly it has been a great way to pass the time and escape those otherwise difficult extended pauses in conversation during visiting hours once all the fruit and chocolate has been consumed.
You were being moved back to the ordinary ward when we arrived this afternoon and all your belongings were in a matching collection of green plastic bags next to the bed. The staff nurse popped her head in and announced,
" Not long now Paul, we' re just blowing up your mattress!"
I commented what a good idea it was to have inflatable mattresses as they would take up much less room to store.
But I glanced at you and you had adopted the by now familiar POD glazed-over look, though I swear I spotted a glimmer of a wicked smile and an all too familiar twinkle in your eye when you said to me,
" Did she say they were going to blow it up? When are they going to detonate it?"