Friday, 25 March 2011

Life is like a box of chocolates …

If Forrest Gump was correct, my wife and I seem to be getting all hard centres and unpopular flavours at the moment.

After taking my father-in-law to the funeral of his lady friend on Wednesday, we went back to her son’s house for several hours. My father-in-law was quite upset by the funeral, and when he was ready to leave, we took him home to Herne Bay. Normally we would then have stayed with him to make sure that he was all right, but he made it very obvious that he wanted to be alone, so we left and went home.

On Thursday evening, after she had returned home from work, my wife tried to telephone her father several times to find out how he was … and got no reply. By the time I got home, she was growing increasingly concerned. She finally made contact just after 6.00pm … and discovered that he had fallen over within thirty minutes of us leaving on Wednesday, had spent some time on the kitchen floor before being able to drag himself into his bedroom and on to his bed, and that he was now sitting in his armchair in his living room, unable to move. By 6.15pm we were driving to his house, and by 7.15pm we were there and had insisted that we call an ambulance to take him to hospital.

The ambulance arrived very promptly, and after he was assessed by the paramedic, they arranged for him to be taken to hospital. This was, however, not as straight forward as it should have been. The nearest Accident and Emergency centre is at Margate, but they had no beds available if he needed to be kept in overnight. The next nearest hospital – the Kent and Canterbury – did not have the facilities to deal with his sort of injury, so in the end we were sent to Ashford.

My wife went with her father in the ambulance, and in the words of the song ‘I followed on’. Once we got to Ashford, my father-in-law was whisked into the Accident and Emergency Department, whilst my wife and I were delayed trying to find enough money to pay for the visitor’s car park!

We finally found my father-in-law in the Accident and Emergency Department, where he waited for some time before he was given an initial assessment. He was then sent for an x-ray on his hip, and when the doctor had examined both my father-in-law and the x-ray, he announced that the hip was fractured. He also expressed concern that my father-in-law may have picked up a secondary chest infection during the previous night whilst he had been incapacitated on the floor for some hours, and he was sent for further x-rays. He was finally admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay – just after midnight – so that further tests could be carried out and a full assessment of his needs be made. We then drove home … and once there we both collapsed into a deep and dreamless sleep.

My wife and I are now preparing to set off for the hospital to find out how my father-in-law is feeling today, and to begin the process of sorting out what will happen next.

Perhaps tomorrow will bring a soft-centre … but somehow, I doubt it.


  1. Bob, I am very sorry to hear about your father-in-law.

    How fragile we become as we age, and how difficult to walk that narrow line with an aging parent between looking after them and respecting their needs and wants.

    He is lucky to have the support and care you and your wife and I wish you all the best possible outcome to this accident.


  2. Ross Mac,

    Thank for your words of support, which are very much appreciated.

    My wife and I are finding everything a bit overwhelming at the moment, but we know that after a time we will adapt to the new circumstances, and once we have both my father-in-law and father in supportive environments, life will return to something like 'normal' ... whatever that is!

    All the best,


  3. How upsetting that this should happen after the funeral; I hope that things turn out well.
    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  4. Bob, I feel for you. You are very much going through it at the moment. Let's hope things improve a bit in the not too distant future. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Bob,

    can only echo Ross Mac's sympathy to you and your wife at this very trying time.


  6. Blimy, poor bloke, he's not had a good time of it recently.
    Best wishes

  7. Hi Bob,

    So sorry to hear about this latest twist in the tale and of course, as ever my thoughts are with both you and your wife.

    All the best,


  8. Paul, Mike, Arthur1815, Ray Rousell, and David Crook,

    Thank you all for you kind words and support.

    My father-in-law is much better today, and will have a care assessment next week to see what level of home support he will qualify for. Depending upon what he is offered, he may well be home later next week.

    However, it looks as if my wife and I are going to have to give serious consideration to our own futures, as the time we currently have available to give support to my father-in-law and my father is limited by the fact we are working.

    All the best,


  9. Hard luck old chum - best wishes, prayers, etc for the old dears recovery. Hopefully Mr & Mrs Cordery will get a bit of a breather.

  10. Conrad Kinch,

    Thanks for your kind thoughts and good wishes for my father-in-law.

    My wife and I did manage to spend some time today doing what we wanted to do rather than had to ... and we are feeling much better as a result.

    All the best,