“I’ve never been so pleased to see a ceiling,” he said.
Virtually the first words out of his mouth when my step-mum and I went in to see him after his operation late on Thursday evening.
After the relative high of leaving hospital and getting home for his birthday last week, this week was all about the build up to his carotid endarterectomy. And as the week drifted by, dad drifted a little further within himself; the risks and understandable fears of what was quickly galloping towards him looming large.
The morning of the operation began early, the hospital taxi duly arrived. My step-mum apparently offered to carry his bag. He politely declined, picked it up himself, strode off down the path, into the waiting car and away. My step-mum, slightly shocked, waved at the back of his head. He didn’t say goodbye. He didn’t look back. It’s astonishing to think that could’ve been their last moment together.
Later he shrugged the moment off, “I don’t like goodbyes. Besides, I was being positive. I had every intention of coming back.” He’s an unusual character all right, my dad.
The scar and associated bruising, as you can see, make him look the victim of a particularly brutal werewolf attack. However, given the relative invasiveness and delicacy of the operation, his recovery, again, is quietly remarkable; also a wonderful testament to the skills of the surgeon, Mr Neary. [Who, the day before, was so calm before the operation, he sat on the edge of the desk talking to my parents swinging his legs back and forth like a small boy.] You’ve got a special place in the hearts of this family, Mr Neary. Now, pull your socks up, tuck your shirt in and go tidy your room!