Last week My Dad was scheduled to have a minor surgical procedure and, as he had acquired a bus timetable, he was determined to travel up there care of city bus. However, despite his protestations and before he could hike across to the bus stop in his flat cap (which he wears just to wind my mother up – a bit like when he walks up the garden with a tea-towel under his arm to give the neighbours the impression that he washes up when, in fact he would need a road map to find the kitchen sink) my sister insisted on chauffeuring him to the hospital.
A short while later in the surgical department he was administered his pre-med and there the story ends as unfortunately, for my father there was an unavoidable medical emergency and his operation was cancelled. Inconveniently, my Dad at this point had already drifted off into a deep slumber, dreaming no doubt of his prize-winning dahlias, and was promptly overlooked by the hospital staff. A few hours later he was discovered by a hospital cleaner who, startled by this abandoned snoring pensioner, alerted the staff nurse.
The unflappable staff nurse awoke my father and asked whether he was being collected by anyone and he responded that he had arranged to be collected the next morning. As he was highly medicated a taxi was summoned and he was sent home to the care of his loving family.
Imagine my surprise when I answered the door to a flustered taxi driver who said that he had a delivery for me and gestured for me to follow him. There in the back seat of his cab, was my tee-total Dad fast asleep, cloth cap askew oblivious to the world. The taxi driver said that I could have him returned to me if I paid the fare, for a nano-second I debated whether having another sick parent in the house would potentially be hazardous to my health before handing over my hard-earned cash.
My Dad was put to bed and slept until 10.30am the following morning which was totally unusual as he normally awakes to the dawn chorus each morning. What had been a minor inconvenience for my Dad had obviously been a life & death situation for another family and I was reminded how lucky we are to have the National Health Service. We take for granted that we live in a country where our healthcare is freely available to all whilst we all know only too well that not everyone has the same access to some of the best medical treatment in the world.
His op to have a stent fitted is now scheduled for the 27th February and I have suggested to my learner driver nieces that they offer to drive him home after his hospital stay just to see whether the stent is fully operational!