“How are you?” I asked the Old Man when I phoned him in the morning.
“Terrible. My legs [sic] are as bad as hell.”
He needed to refill his water-bottle.
I told him again that I was coming to see him.
“Hurry up,” he urged. I replied that this was nonsense.
On the phone I spoke to Alice from QuangoHousing. Her colleague Peter will be visiting the Old Man at 10:30 on Friday 30 April.
I arrived at the Old Man’s house at about 13:00. There was much disorder in the kitchen, the hall and the living-room. The Old Man was watching TV — some trashy date-line channel. His aspirin-cup was half-full of water and what looked like aspirin-sediment. But earlier that morning, on the phone, I thought I’d heard him stir the dispersible aspirin — so had he drunk any of it? He claimed that I’d told him to put more water into the cup afterwards.
“Have you come here to shout at me?” he asked.
His red-top water-bottle had vanished, and instead of it he was using the blue-top bottle which had been supplied as a urine-bottle but which he had never used as that. There were two empty milk-bottles in the kitchen — I gave him both, full of water.
We had soup for lunch. Then I did a lot of washing-up.
I phoned Dr K to enquire about the message he had left earlier in the week, about the Old Man’s test results — but the GP surgery was closed.
When we set off to MegaGroce, at 15:15 approximately, the weather was mild but the Old Man wouldn’t leave the house without his gloves. He also wanted to take his watch with him, but I got him to leave it behind. (“Like a toddler!” I thought.)
“It’ll be dark by the time we get back,” said the Old Man. (He had made a similar remark, in the context of needing to mow the lawn, on 18 April 2010.)
We passed a block of flats which the Old Man said had been under construction for two years — in fact it has been under construction for only a few months. He asked me whether I was going via Normandy Avenue — but the left turn that he thought was Normandy Avenue was a good quarter-mile before that road.
On the way back from MegaGroce, the Old Man told me:
“Put that bread in a safe place. It’s not the first time that bread has gone [i.e. has been stolen].”
The Old Man read out the badge of a Skoda in front of us:
“Get a viva.”
“It’s an Octavia,” I advised him.
At tea-time, after I had issued many warnings to the Old Man not to put his tea-mug on the edge of the table, the inevitable accident happened, and he spilt tea on the right-hand arm of his armchair. Fortunately, there was a hand-towel draped over the arm of the armchair — this is the towel the Old Man uses when he bathes his feet. So the result was just slight dampness of the upholstered arm.
I found the Old Man’s newly-prescribed ferrous sulphate in a paper bag from the chemist’s, which I noticed by chance. The Old Man had mentioned that Dr K had given him a tablet to take — but clearly he had thought that this was just a one-off. He also (today) described as “an inoculation” what I thought had been a blood-test — but on Friday it turned out that I was wrong.
[Original posting 29 April 2011]