Friday 15 October 2021

How to do nothing.


Yesterday, work had been challenging. And then Mum’s ‘stuff’ became a challenge too. 

She has heart failure. The nurse came out to see her. They had asked me to be present as Mum needed another ECG. Getting her metal off was a challenge. So much jewellery. 

     “Is your bra underwired?” the nurse asked.

     “Don’t ask me, wouldn’t have a clue,” Mum replied. And she wouldn’t. She never seemed to know the features and benefits of a good bra. And it seems to not matter now. She’s 82. It matters if it has metal, which affects the ECG. It doesn’t really matter what her boobs look like, in the scheme of things. 

     The nurse was stressed. She was thirty minutes late. I was thankful she came at all. She was in my diary. But I can’t be sure of many things these days. My memory isn’t what it used to be. So, here we were, late, rushing and fumbling about in a house that felt like a sauna. 

     Nooks and cranny’s, a broken ECG machine, no internet, no phone signal, a sweaty nurse, an unhelpful Mum, and a daughter who was listing the symptoms, lack of symptoms and current sleeping pattern,

     “yes, that’s all fine. But I will ask symptoms in a little while,” she told me. 


     The armchair wasn’t squishy, like mine, but it was good enough to support my slump backwards, as I surrendered to the day. Sigh. What a day. My fringe covered the back of my hand as I rubbed my forehead.  Headache. Again.

     After an hour, and lots of handwriting, the nurse left. 

51 BPM. Slow again. 

90 spo2. Low again. 

     She blames the nail varnish, like most of them. But it’s been the same for 5 years, nail varnish or not. And, no, apparently, she doesn’t have COPD, despite her smoking history. 

     I refrain from mentioning that I’m taking my Doctorate in Health Sciences. They don’t like that. They would far rather I just randomly tapped into Dr Google and was a busy body know-it-all. 


     Can’t be bothered to protest. Mum is happy enough. And apparently ready to go see Dad and my brother.  So, I have given up the fight, just a little.

     “I’ll just check your fridge Mum, then I’ll pop to see Harley.” Mum was happy with all of that. Her cup of ‘fuss’ was full.


Harley was so vocal. Going round in circles as if he had a couple of vodka and tonics. Twelve and a half now. Bless him. My heart melted as he asked me to stroke him, first in line, despite him being alone all morning. There and then, I decided we were going out. We both needed it. 

     I could work from Starbucks, and he could sit in the floor-to-ceiling window and watch the world, and other dogs, go by. Both of us were as excited as each other. 

     Americano. Water. He had first dibs on the water. That was so cute. An Instagram moment was my initial thought. Then I decided I would sit and hold him. Like a toddler, sitting on my lap. Since he couldn’t walk so well, his feet were dusty and black. I touched his paw. It flipped backwards and forwards in my hand as the joint acted as a hinge. I got lost in this moment, and flipped his paws about some more, smiling to myself and chatting quietly to him. My left hand reached into my bag and pulled out my Metaphysical book. I should read. I hadn’t worked enough. I set the book on the table and adjusted Harley’s position on my lap. His paws, somehow, ended up in the palm of my hand again. 

     This was most unusual, but I had an urge to sit with him, drink my coffee and flip his paws about. I could have squeezed him with my love. A happy moment. My dog, me, the coffee, doing nothing. 




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