Thursday, 2nd November, 2023

[Day 1326]

Meg and I have been looking forward today for some time as quite early in the morning, the two nurses who are are helping to manage Meg’s illness are going to pay a joint visit to us. Normally, I would go shopping on a Thursday morning but when I did a quick scout around of our pantry, I knew that we did not need a full shop-up this week apart from some milk of which we had completely run out. So I made a very quick trip to our local Waitrose to secure enough supplies for the week but first, called around to pick up my daily newspaper. I knew something was dreadfully amiss by the look on the face of the newsagent’s wife. Yesterday, they has both received the results of a diagnosis of the ailment afflicting her husband which is mesothelioma (the disease most often associated with long term exposure to asbestos) When I made a further enquiry, his wife burst into tears in front of me – normally you would want to give somebody a hug to comfort them in their hour of grief but all I could do, rather pathetically, was to hold her hand across the shop counter. On getting home, I have checked the statistics and it looks in round terms that only 50% of people survive mesothelioma for over a year. This is really most upsetting and all I can think of doing is to invite them both round for a meal if they can face it and the husband is not too poorly. This news comes on top of news that we received about Meg’s one remaining cousin who is now living in Derby near to one of her daughters. She recently had a fall outside her home and was in a bit of a sorry state with cracked ribs, a chipped coccyx and a chip of her hip. After a full scan, though, the medics have discovered multiple lymphomas in her bone marrow which is probably inoperable. In the face of this dire news, I have suggested to the daughter who gave us the news that we should make a trip over to Derby to have a family meal – once again, only if Meg’s cousin is up to it after her stay in hospital. So these two bits of bad news came within about 14 hours of each.

Today’s visit was interesting – whilst I and one of the nurses were discussing care packages and strategies in one room, Meg was chatting with the other nurse in another room. I eventually caught up with them both drinking tea together in the kitchen – I suspect the nurse had suggested this to assess Meg’s capacities in this respect. I think the two nurses will compare notes and then make a joint approach to the social worker allocated to us. What happens then, I am not sure but we have received a communication from the financial contribution team who have come up with a figure of how much we are expected to pay for whatever package of support is eventually put together for us. Perhaps it will be some days yet before things get clarified. However, we are delighted with the efforts that the two nurses are making on our behalf and it looks likely that they may be in a position to make a further visit in about a month’s time to us. So things are gradually moving ahead, albeit very, very slowly

After the nurses had left this morning, some of the more specialist furniture restore cream had arrived via Amazon so I was in a position to give our recently acquired Captain’s Chair treatment No 2. I think this is has been quite successful so I am going to give one more treatment to finish off although I may be tempted to put a quick polish of beeswax on top of everything as a sort of ‘overcoat’. I have now found a more permanent final resting place for the chair in our hall where I think it will complement and not clash with the other pieces of furniture we have there. Later on this afternoon, Meg and I thought it would be quite nice to listen to an opera so we settled on Mozart’s Don Giovanni which we have not seen for quite some time. The singing was of a tremendously high order, plus the acting to go with it, so this made for a pleasant afternoon whilst the rain was lashing overhead. We took out a subscription to YouTube and this is giving us a lot of pleasure. Also, when we exit whatever program we happen to be watching (as we have done this afternoon as Don Giovanni is such a long opera) then we can always pick up again at the point here we left off the next time we access YouTube.

In the case of Israel/Hamas war, there is news that Israeli tanks and troops have met fierce resistance from Hamas militants as they attempt to press towards Gaza City. Hamas claims to have 300 miles of tunnels in Gaza, a subterranean complex that effectively serves as an all-purpose military compound. According to Israel, the underground space includes military headquarters, sleeping quarters, as well as workshops to make and store rockets. It looks as though both sides are getting dug in for quite a long conflict – of course, within recent memory the conflict in 1967 which was Israel verses an alliance of Arab neighbours lasted for only 6 days (and is popularly known as the ‘6 Day War’)