Thursday, 29 November 2018

A regular blogger - no, wait

I used to be a regular blogger. I always had something to say about writing, the books I was reading and writing, the struggle I was going through to write better stores and better prose. But this year especially, one big real life story has got in the way. I'm watching my father in law die very slowly. He's a creative himself, he used to draw for children's comics as well as draw cartoons for publications like newspapers and magazines like the Radio Times. 

This is the cover of the book he wrote (with my help) about his life in cartooning. He drew it off the cuff at the age of 80 something. He drew for Whizzer and Chips (my favourite), Dandy, Beano, Pow! and Buster amongst many others for forty years.
His life is drawing to a close so slowly you can see all the different phases. He started with losing his appetite for food and especially drink, and has progressed though to now, when he just sleep, wakes for a few minutes, drops off again. He's not in pain, thanks to the doctor, but he's not comfortable either. He's not accepting of death, but he wants this stage over. 

What keeps running through my mind is how much nicer it would have been to have these last six weeks ten years ago, when he came to stay at our house with his wife, and we had so much fun. Or five years before that when he bought a box of toy guns that fired foam disks and had running battles with all the kids around his bungalow,or when he played badminton with them in the garden. It has made me quite anxious about our own deaths, and has raised issues around the level of care that most cancer patients are offered compared to non-cancer patients. I'm not in favour of euthanasia as such although I understand the case for assisted suicide and think it might help some families. I am in favour of palliative care being much more used in the community. Having an 'end of life' care pack in a residential home is useless if the staff can't touch the contents without calling the doctor. If we were looking after him at home we would have access to powerful pain relief, the district nurses and syringe drivers. But it's all down to funding and allocating scarce resources, it makes me so sad that one old man was left in pain over the weekend.because care staff didn't know what to do, we didn't know who to turn to.

So I am writing and thinking about books and getting published but this is what's happening in our lives. A small, expected but painful emotional bomb is about to go off and it's been hissing and fizzing for six weeks.