Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Time to breathe

Finally, a chance to catch up a bit. Quilt photos will have to wait.

The post-mortem was finally done on my father and the results straightforward. The cremation was held on Monday, 9th May, and I flew to England just for the day and met my daughters at the airport. I had to get up at 4a.m. German time to catch my early flight and I was so strung up that I didn't sleep at all during the night. I had time to wait until the girls' train got to the airport so I had a quick breakfast - it felt really strange to be wasting time at an airport knowing that within an hour I would be seeing my father's body. My daughters were tremendously loyal and supportive - they decided they would not let me do the viewing alone and insisted on joining me. Heartbreaking experience. I had the chance to say goodbye and slip in something small and important that I wanted to leave with him.

Very small cremation, just a couple of neighbours and the close family, beautiful weather, food at my mother's house and then back to the airport to say goodbye to my girls and fly home again - got in at 11pm. and slept like a baby.

Two days later, Stuart went into hospital for his double bypass. He was very anxious and then was told that it would be delayed for a day because he has O Negative blood, which is rare and that they had to order it specially for the op. The operation went very well and he came out of hospital after a week, home for four days and then today has left for three weeks' rehabilitation at a clinic near Cologne. He has had very little pain from the op in either chest, or the arm and leg from which the veins were taken. However, he has terrible nerve pain in the arm that wasn't involved. The surgeon says that it is from too much pressure being put on it during the operation so he is left with something akin to tennis elbow. The slightest touch sends him screaming with pain and that has been his main problem. Also, all food smells and tastes chemical to him and so he has lost a lot of weight since the operation when he should have been putting it on. He has grown very thin, very quickly. I have been as patient as I can but must say that I am relieved that he is now in rehabilitation so that the responsibility for his recovery and further progress is left to the professionals. We have paid extra for a single ('comfort') room and he has internet connection so we will be able to Skype in the evenings. I shall try to go and see him at the weekend and I am on half term holiday from school next week, which is very fortunate. I don't like leaving the dog for too long and the journey will be an hour both ways but I need to visit fairly regularly.

Last week was hellish - locking the dog up while I went to work, walking him, locking him up again while I visited the hospital, constantly answering the phone, making phone calls, doing emails, contacting Stuart's work colleagues, family, friends, more dogwalking, work, visiting - you get the picture. My eldest daughter flew out to be with us this weekend when he came home for four days because she knew it had been a bad week for both of us. After collecting Stuart from hospital, getting him settled and leaving him for a long nap, we both took the dog to the nearest nice beergarden and had a delicious lunch of K├Âlsch, cold roast beef, bratkartoffeln and home-made remoulade. The sun was sparkling and we sat and watched the barges go by and thoroughly relaxed. It may sound selfish but it was just what I needed - an hour and a half of sheer pleasure! (Stuart was still asleep when we got back so we didn't feel guilty...)

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