This is a time of sadness for us and the family. Sidney is currently very unwell and the verdict of the doctors is that nothing can be done for him except to keep him as comfortable as possible. The subtext of that – that Sidney has only a short time left – has been difficult to come to terms with but is beginning to be accepted.
Tigger and I went down to see him yesterday (Saturday). The journey reflected the confusion on the situation. Because of engineering works on the line, what would normally have been a simple ride on one train became a complicated journey involving three trains and two rail replacement buses.
We found Sidney languishing in bed, almost naked, complaining of the heat. We asked whether a fan would help and he thought it would. There wasn’t one available in the nursing home so we took to the buses and bought one at Argos. Returning to the nursing home, thinking to pull the fan out of the box and plug it in, we found that we had first to construct it and that one of the screws was so tiny that not many people would have a screwdriver so small. Somehow we managed to mount the thing and get it going, giving Sidney some relief.
Sidney did not complain of any particular symptoms but said, somewhat tearfully, that he “just felt confused and upset”. No one, he asserted, knew what was wrong with him. They kept doing things without asking, like closing the windows, making the room hot. He wasn’t eating and couldn’t sleep, he said, though he did drift off for a while during our visit.
I am not sure whether he suspects the gravity of his condition or not. We, the family, have been calling one another by phone to discuss what is best to be done. Gradually we are coming to realize that nothing very useful can be done and that we have to let matters take their course. Removing him to hospital would, I think, simply upset him more. The doctors’ advice – to keep him as comfortable as possible – seems to me the best and most humane.
We had booked a trip starting next weekend but we are going to cancel this. It seems the only reasonable thing to do, given the uncertainties of the situation. We can get to Margate in just over an hour from London – and could even go down there during what would have been our holiday – whereas coming back from abroad by unscheduled journey would be longer and more complicated.
All lives must end and they end in many different ways. There is inevitably grief and frustration to be endured in cases such as this and no remedy except to await the outcome, however long this takes.