Well, the last seven days have certainly been eventful for me.
A week that promised to be a little out of the ordinary proved in the end to be a lot out of the ordinary.
Firstly, last weekend I was up at Michelle’s house when I got a call on my mobile phone. Nothing unusual in that you say. Well except my house was empty as everyone was away. I answered the phone, a little puzzled only to find it was not the local burglar calling, but instead it was my neighbour. Apparently the burglar alarm had gone off. He has a key to the house, had checked the house over, it was secure and no sign of a break in or any attempt. My neighbour had only rung to ask how to re set the alarm.
It is nice to have good neighbours. Hopefully this dispels the myth that all Londoners are unfriendly and no one down their knows their neighbours.
Excitement over? I only had 2 days at work this week as Michelle was due to go into hospital for an operation, and I have some time off to care for her. So, Wednesday I drove up to Newcastle and spent the last evening with Michelle before her operation. Thursday morning I took her to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle for 7am in the morning and waited with her until she went for her operation at 08:30. Fortunately, despite it being a major operation under a General Anaesthetic, she was brave and relaxed that morning. It made it easier for me to leave her there and not show how worried I was.
The admissions unit told me to call after lunch to see how the operation had gone. So at around 12:30 I rang to be told she had gone to the Ward after the operation. I rang the Ward for news to be told they did not have Michelle. I called back at 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 to be told each time the ward did not have her. Eventually, I managed to get someone to find out where she was – no not Interpol, or the Missing Persons Unit, but a helpful nurse. Michelle was apparently in the recovery unit after the operation, waiting for a bed on the ward to become free. So she was neither in the admissions unit or the ward, but was somewhere between the two.
To say I was relieved to have located Michelle and to know the operation had gone well was an understatement. Its easy now to say how worried I had been about the operation, but before hand, it was necessary to be upbeat and not to let Michelle know how concerned I was.
Thursday night brought a family visit to see Michelle. 2 visitors at a time became 5, but no one seemed to mind- possibly apart from Michelle who I’m sure would have welcomed more rest rather than a visit from the circus! No prizes for guessing who the clown is!
Friday morning there was no visiting at the hospital, so in between texting Michelle to see how she was, I got a text from a work colleague asking how the operation had gone and how Michelle was. The text then went on to say the police had tried to contact me at work and wanted to speak to me about an ongoing case in the North East. As you can imagine, panic begins to set in. I rang my colleague to see what she knew, but she knew very little.
I was very puzzled as to how the police in Northumbria had my work details and what this could be about. I emailed the officer as that was the only contact details I had for him. He called me back within seconds. It turns out he was part of the Homicide team and wanted to arrange to speak to me about a murder last year. Apparently according to him, my name had been raised in connection with the deceased. The officer was talking about the difficulties he had encountered in tracing me as the address he had for me no longer existed. It was a house I moved out of 16 years ago and had burned down at least 10 years ago and had not been rebuilt.
Said officer was talking about arranging to interview me and take DNA samples etc. You can imagine the panic going through my mind. Imagine ringing Michelle in hospital, “Sorry love, I am not going to be able to visit you in hospital this afternoon or for the next 20 years or so as I’m in custody for murder”
Anyway, after speaking briefly on the phone, I was able to explain how my name came to be mentioned in connection with the deceased. Basically, he was someone who followed Newcastle and was an acquaintance of an acquaintance. I had spoken to him in the past in pubs before football matches. It appears some information is recorded linking me to him, whether directly contact or mutual acquaintances I know not. Anyhow, the upshot is that I am lead to believe that I am not expecting a 6am police alarm call any time soon.
It is worrying how easily it is that you can find yourself connected to a murder case. It is also worrying how out of date the police information is- namely the address details they had for me.
The phone call was followed by some good news from Michelle, she was to be allowed home that afternoon. I rushed to the hospital as fast as I could (If the police are reading this, I obeyed all the speed limits and red lights – you’re not getting me for driving offences instead of murder!). At the hospital, Michelle was up, dressed and ready to go. The hospital trusted me to take control of her wheelchair and take her to my waiting car.
We got home, and Michelle has to use crutches to get about. She is in considerable pain, but has tried to not let that show. For someone who rarely sits down ( I do enough sitting down for 2 people!), the inability to do much is clearly a cause of frustration for Michelle. It is amazing how many things we take for granted, but you only notice when you can’t do them. Little things, like getting into the shower over the bath are impossible if you can’t raise your leg high enough. Fortunately, Michelle’s parents live next door so she can use their walk in shower.
Saturday brought my turn to cook tea for everyone. Michelle supervised and instructed me in the art of making pizzas – yes making them not ringing pizza hut delivery! I have to say I thought the pizzas were nearly edible and it seems that no one went down with food poisoning, so I call it a successful meal. I am honest enough to admit that the pizzas were not as good as the ones Michelle makes. However, if she is honest, Michelle will admit that I can trash her kitchen far more than she can when making the pizzas.
You may notice little mention of alcohol in this blog post, unlike many previous ones. Obviously because of the medication she is on, Michelle has to restrict her alcohol intake. As a result of this and Michelle’s general lack of mobility at present, I have to go and pour myself a drink when I want one. The result being that I am too lazy to go that often to the kitchen for more alcohol and hence I’ve drunk less.
Sunday brought a visit from my parents. My mother coming to see Michelle, and my father coming as the Beaumont Trophy cycle race was taking place nearby. I opened the door to let my parents in, but one of the dogs was less welcoming. As I opened the door, he ran out barking. As my mother went to stroke him, he snapped at her, catching her thumb and causing it to bleed. So instead of offering my mother a choice of tea or coffee, I was wiping up blood as Michelle did her best Florence Nightingale routine. I have to say that if you need first aid, then Michelle is the lady to see. Her first aid box has more kit in it than an NHS hospital has these days!
Fortunately, my mother took it all in her stride and it did not ruin an otherwise enjoyable afternoon. My dad and I popped up to watch the cycling leaving Michelle, her mother and my mother to talk about us whilst we were gone. I’m sure it was all totally complimentary- after all what negative things could they have to say, unless they were just talking about my dad.
The afternoon was rounded off with a fantastic Sunday dinner cooked by Michelle’s parents. They do a mean Roast Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary. What better way to round off the weekend!