10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
As for what kind of day I have had today pet, I hardly know what to say. I drove over to No Return District General Hospital earlier on, to visit Pom-Pom. I had not actually seen him for a week or so now. When I walked into the six-bedded bay, I was horrified to see him lolling in bed, yellow in colour, and looking as if he is dying. His mouth had fallen in and he whispered to me that he was oozing diarrhoea into the bed. (My hair stands on end dear as I endeavour to relate this.) He looked very dehydrated and said he felt very ill. I suggested that he pushed the buzzer and he did do this. Two health care assistants materialized to clean him up and, at this point, his sister also arrived. We sat down outside drawn curtains, in a rather paralysing silence, not knowing each other very well, and probably struck dumb by the distressing situation before us. Indeed, who would know what to say under such circumstances? I did ask, furious, why Pom-Pom did not even have a drip up but Marian was mute upon the subject and probably felt as impotent as I. After some - rather stiff and difficult - fifteen minutes or so, I drove back home. On the way, it occurred to me that Pom-Pom's refusal to receive any more 'medical treatment' probably meant that he wouldn't be offered a drip to keep him hydrated. This thought upset me sufficiently to brave phoning his daughter, a.k.a. the redoubtable Xanthe, in order to pose this question. After some actual conversation about the situation, she agreed to phone the ward and find out. She did phone back a few hours later and told me that her father's ECG (electrocardiogram) had suggested the fact that he is in 'heart block' and that he requires a pacemaker to be fitted. I myself hope that this, apparently proven, need for medical treatment will result in a drip being put up. Honestly dear, my blood is running hot and cold during the relaying of this situation to yourself.
I am not altogether sure whether the hospital scenario is responsible but I appear to be suffering from sympathetic symptoms myself! A rather distressing abdominal protuberance (from the waist down) has appeared in my own person in recent weeks - and, naturally, it has occurred to me that I may be suffering from a) ovarian cancer or b) coeliac disease. The former is a condition which seems to be prevalent in childless spinsters, such as myself, and the latter is apparently a malabsorption condition related to an allergy to wheat. And I myself, as you know dear, am somewhat of a nosher on thick slices of wholewheat toast slathered in lashings of honey or strawberry jam. It is certainly most boring to be confining one's daily consumption to small portions of gruel and cans of thin vegetable soup! Life is full of the most horrible challenges, not to mention frequent ethical dilemmas, and it is not easy to come out of it glowing with either health or purity!
Well someone is slurping from a beer glass in an adjacent seat and, on my other side, an individual in a baseball cap is pounding darts into a board. And so this may be an appropriate point at which to conclude my epistle!