My daddy is poorly.
I know my dad reads this blog, so I’m writing carefully. I also know that he’s been desperate to be written about and was quite put out when I mentioned my mum in passing the other day. So here we are.
My daddy is poorly.
I’ve mentioned before that my family is mainly made up of anxious worrywarts and the daddy of the anxious worrywarts is my pa. Once he nicked (or was given, I’m not sure) a copy of British National Formulary from the doctor and looked up in it any medicine the doctor gave anyone in the family. It used to be known as ‘The Hypochondriac’s Handbook’ in our house. It sat near the loo for years, giving us all an immense amount of out-of-date drugs information. Dad would tell you if you’d been prescribed a placebo (thereby rendering it even more useless), or if you had any unusual symptom he would nod and suggest that it was caused by the rash cream you were prescribed last week.
Dad’s had lots of rare illnesses like an amoeba in his stomach and Lyme disease (although I can’t remember if he actually had that or was just tested for it). He’s had various psych diagnoses. He smokes fags and drinks beer. He lives in a somewhat – ahem – risky fashion, I’m told but don’t like to think about. But he’s never been actually, seriously ill before.
I think it’s fair to say that our relationship has its ups and downs. Our family is a bit unorthodox and squabbly but we definitely love each other, even my mum and dad who’ve been divorced for years.
Ziggler and Pickle adore Grandpa. Ziggler nags and nags and nags and nags about when he’s coming to see us next. When he does come, she follows him round bossing him about and getting annoyed if he doesn’t do EXACTLY as she says. Pickle beams at him and shyly shows off whichever skill she’s currently working on. Even the cat shows up during his visits (she usually avoids Pickle’s hours of business).
He is almost definitely going to be ok. Tomorrow he’s going for an operation, the first in what’s likely to be a series of treatments. Today he popped round and hung out with the girls for a while. We played with the bricks that Sausage and I played with when we were little girls. Ziggler followed him round and bossed him about, and Pickle beamed and proudly walked everywhere. He agreed with me that my girls are most likely geniuses. Ziggler and he chatted companionably in the garden while my dad smoked (Ziggler’s conversational gambits mainly involve asking you which farm animal you like, but she does her best). Then I gave him a lift home in a double-edged doing him a favour and trying-to-get-the-kids-to-nap-together-for-once move (ineffective).
As I drove away I watched him walk with the slightly lop-sided bouncy step I’ve known all my life and I recognised the shoulder-scrunch he does when he’s anxious. He’s bricking it. He will be ok. But I had to wipe a tear away.
Good luck, pa. You’re going to be fine.