Retirement. Goodbye John. Let the Blood Run Free.

So we did it, we retired! I went, very quietly, on Thursday. On Friday, Nigel, Claire and I went to the surgery. Nigel,stayed to do his last surgery and Claire and I went to her her work for a while and then to Brent Cross for an hour where we had a bagel and I purchased a cover for the new wireless keyboard for our Mac. Big spender! Then we went back to the surgery for a party. It was very kind of everyone to go to so much trouble for us.
We came home and Nige went to the pub, then I had and invite from a friend so I went there too, then Claire came. We all had a few drinks but I avoided a hangover by my judicious self administration of water and paracetamol.
On Sunday we set off for Northumberland in two cars and we stopped at Humble Bumpstead (Hemel Hempstead) to collect Nigel’s brother Keith. We all drove to Blanchland to the Lord Crewe Arms and had a nice meal. The next day we took Ralph to the beach at Tynemouth (the dog end) where he had a wonderful time with lots of other dogs. At 2pm we headed to N Tyneside Hospital to visit John.
The hospital is quite modern and nice and clean. We found John well propped up in bed on oxygen and he was pleased to see us and we had a good chat with him. Despite obviously being very ill he was not confused. Amazing for a man of 87 who was , it turned out, suffering from disseminated melanoma (skin cancer which had spread all over the place.)

Nige and John’s devoted and lovely girlfriend eventually spoke to a consultant and Nigel suggested that John should have some diamorphine which would ease his breathing whilst depressing his respiratory centre , in other words really, ease him on his way. The consultant said it wasn’t time for that but they saw him writing it up on John’s chart. Nigel then had a chat with John to tell him that it wasn’t good news. The plan was for him to go home to die. Apparently he then started to take off his oxygen mask because he thought he wouldn’t be able to have oxygen at home!

Keith gave the hospital the number of the hotel and we made our way back there.

Next morning, the hospital rang to say that, if we wanted to see John,we should go straight there. Nigel decided not to come as he had said his goodbyes.

We got to the ward and saw that John’s name was no longer on the board and that there was someone else in the place where his bed had been. We asked at the desk and a lady called a nurse over to us who asked if we wanted to go to John’s room. There was a notice on the door advising people not to enter without asking a nurse first. That’s code for “Dead person on board” really but it was still a shock to walk in and see him lying there dead. He looked peaceful. We sat down in the room with him. Then we realised his girlfriend hadn’t been informed so I rang her and broke the news and Claire said she would go and fetch her. At least she hadn’t had to drive in a distressed state.

We tried to get to speak to the sister on duty but she had gone for breakfast. Eventually Claire got to speak to a lovely lady doctor who told us that John’s breathing had gradually slowed until he breathed no more. Had he lived he would have had terrible pain as the cancer had spread all over the place. I’m so glad he died then as he had talked to us all and he didn’t have to suffer any indignity or lose his marbles which would have really annoyed him. He was really a young man to the end, always up for anything.

John’s girlfriend and I spoke ot the doctor and she made us a drink and then we took our leave of John, Claire having put a flower in his hand. We waited for the ward clerk to give us the paper work and she rang the register office and got us an appointment. They fitted us in as an extra as she explained that some of us had to go back down south the next day.

We went back to John’s and sat and chatted. His girlfriend’s daughter arrived. We had a bit of a laugh because John had a special scanner which is designed to scan thing like newspapers so they can be read on the television. (He was losing his sight but wasn’t going to let that get the better of him.) I was offered the device but I thought it should go to the blind or Age Concern so we tried to get it back in it’s case. Easier said than done! Keith is engineering minded but even he couldn’t do it. Eventually I suggested something which led to a sequence which showed us the way and we did it!

Then it was time to go to the registrar. Keith has a satnav device on his phone so he entered the address whilst saying that there would surely be only one street by that name in the area…..

Off we went in two cars, Keith driving mine and leading the way. After a while there was frantic flashing from the following car- we were heading in to Newcastle City centre away from N Shields! We were going to be late. There followed rather a mad drive and we made it, having forewarned the registrar.

We took Ralph to the beach again while John’s girlfriend and her daughter went to the undertakers – a new one really close to John’s house!

Back again at John’s something funny happened. A phone call was made and then Claire thought she should ring work. The phone was not working, no dial tone, dead. She used a mobile and then the phone started working again. We are convinced that it was John , already busy haunting. This is because, when Nigel’s mother was alive, John used to get annoyed with us for ringing home too often because of the ‘phone bill! He was having a laugh wasn’t he?

The next day we came home . Nigel opted to go on the M6 so that we could stop at Tebay services (the best in the country, run by local people.) I was very adventurous and tried corgette cake which was delicious! He’d temporarily forgotten that we had to take his brother home! We cut across on the A5 and eventually got home. Ralph was so good .

So, on a lighter note, have a look at this. A crazy spoof hospital drama we used to watch.

Published in: on July 5, 2007 at 8:50 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. *hugs* to you and all your family. Even when a death is expected it’s still something you can never prepare for. Hope you guys are all ok.

  2. Maybe John is having a smile; earlier this evening I remembered that I hadn’t included a thank you to ‘Westmorland services’ (the service station formally know as Teebay,)in my post, ‘beyond Glen Coe’, because they said they would keep my sons ruck sack safe, he left it there on a school trip a month earlier. True to thier word, I just asked for Marie the restraunt manager and she brought it out for us. 🙂 nice people.
    Then as I was picking some courgettes, I thought I must ask our neighbour for her recipe for courgette cake. What are the odds of that then??

  3. Weird eh? Did you get the recipe? Mmmm nice cake!

  4. Nice sitcom, stay well

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