by Anton Wills-Eve
what a perfect prompt. I am sorry for deserting you all so long
I was going to tag this interlude in my life “ I’m sorry, thank you all,” but why should I? It wasn’t my fault. It was the cat pushing my wife right over my side of our large oak bed. You see I fell out. Honestly, a straight three and a half foot drop, landing on my hip and the base of my spine and cracking my head on the bedside table as I passed it. Just like Alice down the rabbit hole.
It made a helluva racket and brought my son and his wife running to see if I was alright. The blood and screams woke my wife and she muttered, “Oh God, not again,” before rolling over and doing the same to the cat. Well he deserved it and was out the room in a trice. But then they woke her properly and she was very concerned as she knew I already had four metal pins in my spine and could never again have lumbar surgery. My son got a face cloth and dabbed the blood, his wife told me to stay quite still until I was sure nothing was broken – as if I could’ve moved anyway! – and after some twenty minutes I was restored to the relative safety of the middle of the bed, but in terrible pain.
“Do you want any pain killers, Dad?” my son asked solicitously. Then he remembered I was already on the maximum amount of morphine patches permitted and couldn’t have anything else. I politely declined and finally swore several oaths in three foreign languages. They all understood me, of course, but I felt a lot better for it. I needed an ambulance at once, they decided, as I might have broken my right hip, well it certainly hurt enough. I declined as I had spent enough time in hospital this year. They all knew better than to insist. Then came the real horror.
“Have a nice sweet cup of tea, darling. It’s very good for shock!” My wife must have been mentally disturbed by the incident. She knew perfectly well my latest stroke had left me almost incapable of swallowing, and hot tea through a straw would have choked me. I think she realised her mistake because my son brought me a nutrient supplement drink instead which was foul. But at least it took my mind off the fall it tasted so terrible.
I think the cat must have felt guilty because he slowly peeped round the door to see if I was alright. “Oh I must feed the poor cat, he’ll be starving!” cried my wife and hurried to the kitchen to do just that. I couldn’t work this out because we don’t usually feed him at half past four in the morning. Why would he be starving? She worries too much about that animal.
As my aches got worse, and my moaning quieter, everyone slowly went back to bed. Well, yes, the cat did come too but my wife very considerately kept him well away from me. I was seeing the doctor later that day, not because the whole of my right side was aching like hell, but I was going anyway for a review of my stroke induced eating problems, and to hear what the pain control consultant had said about my treatment after reporting to my doctor on a recent consultation. I supposed it would mean more scans and x-rays and things as well as having to have a monthly injection for my cancer that day. Oh God, and it was on the right side of my stomach as well! I hoped the doctor would realise the fall might have seriously hurt me and stick the needle in the left.
“I shouldn’t think so,” said my wife, she hasn’t got that much time, and anyway you’re too ill to go bothering her with things like falling out of bed. She’s very busy”.