Mum was not so well yesterday and had to be admitted to the cancer ward at the City General for care, drugs, and observations. I drove over to see for myself where we were at because sometimes only the evidence of your own eyes will provide the proofs you’re looking for. The cancer ward is a new building, it’s like a hotel, in fact, it’s a genuine upgrade on a Holiday Inn sleeping factory; Mum had a flat screen television like a computer on an arm over the bed and broadband is soon to be installed for internet access. It’s better than peeling paint and a dripping tap but it still isn’t where you want to be. It was a horrid, difficult hour or so including a lot of monitoring and assessments; at the end of it Mum was much better and stable. Visiting hours are 6.30-8.30 but we were well past that by the time we were able to talk about what had just happened; they don’t chuck you out, they know the world better than to follow all the rules on their list. I had bought only one thing over with me in the way of ‘a bunch of grapes’ which was Old Stokie’s Christmas present: a jar of Stoke City branded pear drops, which, of course, were late, Santa-wise. I opened them and asked her did she want one. She had an oxygen mask on but said, Yes. It was the first non-medical item that had passed her lips in the time I was there. It was the nearest we got to a nice, or normal, moment, in the context of the moments she had just been through. Later, when I was being hypnotized by the cat’s eyes on the long dark stretches of the A14, those pear drops put me in mind of the bread in that Raymond Carver story, which is well worth reading if you can find it, A Small Good Thing.
Immediately after the cancer ward I went to see Old Stokie to charge my phone before I drove back to Norwich into the small hours. It’s sweet to have a wise old friend to touch base with in S-o-T; we established last night that I’ve only known him nine years or so, but it seems like forever, in both a good and a bad way. We first met when I ‘won’ an online auction for a crush barrier that was in his keeping which came from the old Boothen End at the Victoria Ground; now I remember it it was being auctioned to raise money to help the wife of a Stoke supporter who had cancer. I always imagined OS had nicked the thing in the first place, but if that is the case at least the felony went gone to a good cause, the usual OS way.
More on this tomorrow, maybe.