It was lunchtime when I went in to visit Grandis again. He was sitting upright in the chair beside his bed. As I entered the door I smiled hello to the three other elderly women patients sharing his room, pausing by one woman who had been bedridden almost as long as him.
HELLO THERE. HAVE YOU SEEN MY STUMP YET?
Grandis waved me over impatiently to sit in the chair beside him and started twitching at his hospital gown.
Actually I have, I hastily replied, when you were doing your physio. How are you today?
NOT BAD, he shrugged.
The lunch trays arrived and I busied myself with releasing his salmon sandwich from its packaging and fixing the spouty lid to his Vanilla Sustagen.
As he ate, we made a little small talk about the earthworks going on outside ths window (SOME SORT OF TRENCH I’D SAY), the weather (I HEAR IT’S REAL SWEATY) and the fact that the clock on the wall facing his bed had finally been fixed. (ABOUT BLOODY TIME I SAY!)
With Grandis it's often a case of the louder the voice the higher the spirits and I was pleased to see how well he was obviously feeling. So well in fact, he was going to be moved out of the hospital bed to a high care facility as soon as possible. Further enquiry about why he was not suitable for rehabilitation had been explained as only available if he was going to return to his own home (no) or to the same low grade care facility he had occupied before (no, needs help showering and toileting). There didn’t seem to be another alternative but Grandis was quite cheerfully matter of fact about what would come next.
You look so much better, I smiled at him.
He gestured to me to sit closer and, looking furtively about the room, lowered his voice to a bellowing whisper.
LOOKS LIKE I’VE DEVELOPED A BEDSORE ON MY TESTICLES.
Oh dear, I muttered. Is that… painful?
I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW. IT WAS ONE OF THE NURSES WHO DISCOVERED IT.
I nodded, hoping that might be the end of the report. It was not.
SHE WAS WORRIED ABOUT HOW IT SHOULD BE TREATED.
Bit of cream? I suggested helpfully.
NOPE. SHE HAD A CHAT WITH SOME OF THE OTHER NURSES AND CAME BACK WITH SOMETHING THAT LOOKED LIKE A RUBBER GLOVE FILLED WITH WATER. I SAID “WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO TIE THAT TO?”
I glanced around the room where the other three patients, all with perfect hearing, were staring fixedly at their lunch trays.
BUT SHE JUST SLID IT UNDER THE AFFLICTED AREA. YOU SEE, THAT WAY WHEN I MOVE, THEY MOVE TOO.
I did see, and I smiled and shook my head a little, as if in wonder, at the clever ideas of these nurses.
Well hopefully that’ll do the trick, I said.
Grandis nodded and we sat in companionable silence as he knocked back his Sustagen.
He stopped mid swig, a sudden thought having come to mind.
BUT IT WASN’T ONE OF THOSE BLUE GLOVES THEY WEAR, IT WAS ONE OF THOSE FLESH COLOURED ONES, YOU KNOW THE ONES?
I did indeed.
5 Fiction Books for Christmas 2017
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