Saturday, 10 November 2007
Will you be in for dinner?
Life, said John Lennon, is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
Seems true enough today at least.
The scene: the Kennedy Family kitchen. Richard and Margaret are sitting at the bench on stools talking, I am in the kitchen doing stuff for lunch and dinner. I had observed to Richard that he looked very tired. He said he had felt 'funny' all morning. "A headache?" "No, just a funny feeling".
I am putting some frozen prawns out on a tray to defrost and ask "Will you be in for dinner?" This is a regular question to assist with aligning the kitchen staff's agenda with Richard's social agenda.
No answer. But is a sort of odd no answer, as if the universe is not quite right.
I look up and Richard has a most strange expression. Every muscle in his face is taut like twisted ropes, his eyes are looking nowhere in particular. Instinctively I race around the bench, happily fast enough to cradle his head in my hands as he falls to the floor. Margaret, sitting beside him, had no chance of stopping him falling.
For what seems an eternity but was probably only about a minute or so, Richard convulses on the floor, seemingly every muscle in his body intent on the maximum contraction. I cradle his head in my hand to stop it banging on the floor but can do little else. A little blood comes from his mouth; I suspect he bit his tongue. The seizure stops and, mercifully, Richard starts breathing.
Margaret, in the meantime, has called 000, the local emergency number, and an ambulance is on its way. She relays breathing rates and such like to the operator.
The rest of the afternoon is one of extreme tedium, the sort that always goes with sitting around hospital emergency wards. Blood tests, CAT scans, x-rays, and large slabs of nothing, waiting for results.
More tests are due to be done next week but we still don't know what triggered the seizure.
He is home, after eight hours at the hospital. He is sleeping.
Every so often Margaret goes in to listen to his breathing.
Memo to Richard: Next time I ask "Will you be in for dinner?", a simple "no" with be just fine.