I had a plan, not a very cunning plan, but a plan all the same. I would spend the weekend uploading all my Frenchy photos, and then on Monday I would start a blogathon of photographs for you.
Sounds pretty okay doesn't it. What could possibly go wrong………
Lets see, this is the last 48 hours chez moi;
Arrive home at 10pm on Thursday night and dive into the pile of mail on the kitchen table. All the usual stuff plus a letter from the hospital to say I have a date to have my foot ops done (boring bunion removal, hardly glamorous stuff), date is Sunday 31st. Think 'got a week yet so no panic'.
Friday morning. standing in the bank I look at the callander above the desk. Hmmmmm I think, there doesn't appear to be a Sunday 31st in March. Quick check on my phone diary and there isn't a Sunday 31st in April either. The penny drops with an audible clang – it is Sunday 21st, tomorrow!
Do I panic, do I flap – come on, what do you think.
Quickly change various appointments that were scheduled for next week. Start a major food buying offensive in Sainsburys to fill the empty shelves in fridge and pantry. Resist temptation to buy in lots of chocolate for fear that with no running for 3 months I will turn into a blimp so really don't need to help the situation along in any way. Buy enough fruit to keep an army of fruit bats happy for at least a year.
Phone Colin and arrange to see him and visit Mum today (Saturday). Spend afternoon sorting out web site and organising orders to post off to France. Tidy all stock in diningroom and try to lay things out for ease of packaging etc. Make dinner for Idgy and her Dad in gesture of goodwill as know I will have to ask him for help before he jets off to Australia in a couple of weeks.
All goes well until they go next door and I am left here with the organising and planning of how to Get Things Done whilst having both feet in plaster and flat out on the sofa. I asses the situation and feel the only way forward is to dive head first into European wine lake and drink my way out of it singlehandedly. This seems a good plan until I awake this morning with crushing hangover and realise I haven't solved any of the 'How to' dilemas at all.
Drive through to Musselburgh and pick up Colin. With the aid of the sat nav we find the hospital that Mum has been sent to for assesment by the care home. Let me show you just how cruel old age is. It comes like a thief in the night, stealing dignity, clarity of mind and basic health and well-being. It their place it provides pain, confusion, bad smells and frailty. Mum appears to have a bit part in 'One Flew Over The cuckoos' Nest' she is living in a nightmare world of locked doors, old men with wet trousers, plastic cups, caring staff with stressed out smiles who snap in irritation as their old charges try the door for the fiftieth time that day. Mum is not happy, Mum is sad. We talk of Idgy (and I thank God she is with her father this weekend and does not see this hellish place), of France, of daffodils. She says it is warm and why is Colin wearing a hat. Does he not realise that his hair will fall out if he wears it all the time. My darling brother almost retches at the cruel words, he knows his hair really will fall out shortly due to chemicals and not due to the wearing of a favourite hat. Forgive them for they know not what they say – oh those words so very, very true.
I tell Mum of the impending foot op and she is pleased that I am finally Getting It Done. She reaches out and holds my hand. Hers so frail and thin, like Chinese rice paper over fragile old bones. 'You'll be okay', I want to crush her hand in mine, want to force strength into her tired old limbs, and at the same time I want to cry on her shoulder like the little girl I once was all those years ago and say'Help me Mum, I'm frightened'.
She totters with her walking frame, determined to see us right to the front door. We pass through the locked doors, each attended by a slightly irritated nurse always having to stop her charges from trying to leave. At the exit I hug my tiny mother, 'Take me with you' she says, tears well and overflow. What in Gods name can you say.
We go for coffee Colin and I. he has just had his bone scan, has an MRI on Monday and sees the surgeon on Wednesday. He talks of Macmillan nurses, of care plans and he is calm. He is so very brave. He wishes me well for my op tomorrow and hugs me goodbye.
I drive home feeling a fool in my fear. I'm not frightened of the pain, shall demand full sensory deprivation and back up drugs as a matter of course, It is the 6 weeks of being trapped on my hill, on my sofa on my own. That is the fear, the having to ask friends for help for stupidly simple things, not being able to drive off where I want to go, coffee in the village, shops, the post office, friends.
So here I am, all in the space of 48 hours. Topsy turvy turmoil. I am sitting on the sofa with laptop on my knee, getting into practice for the weeks to come.
I promise you will have all your lovely Frenchy photos. I shall pull myself together and get a grip.