Magazine article The Spectator

Mother's Ruin

Magazine article The Spectator

Mother's Ruin

Article excerpt

A fortnight ago my mother had a cancerous growth removed from her calf and a section of skin grafted over the hole. The doctor advised her not to put any weight on that leg for a while so she's been lying on the sofa with her leg up. My mother is living proof of the old adage that nurses make the worst patients.

Last week my boy's mother's partner fell off a ladder and broke his ankle. So he's been on the sofa with his leg up as well. As our nearest hospital is nearly 40 miles away, I try to kill two birds with one stone by arranging the times of their check-ups so that I can drive them there together. My car won't accommodate two people with a leg up very easily, but if Mike winds down the back window and rests his plaster cast on the sill, and if my mother slides the front seat right back and rests her bandaged leg on a cushion in the footwell, we can just about manage to fit everybody in.

At the hospital, the wheelchairs are stacked like supermarket trolleys and are released likewise by pound coins. Getting my passengers out of the car and sitting them in their respective wheelchairs, in a sloping, icy, overcrowded carpark, is a potentially dangerous and usually acutely painful business, during which I come in for a lot of criticism, much of it unwarranted, particularly that from my mother. Nor does the criticism cease as I wheel her the considerable distance from the carpark to the hospital entrance, or on the long journey from the hospital entrance to Reg Pratt ward. To make matters worse, she insists that the role of navigator should be performed by the person sitting in the chair rather than the person providing the motive force.

I drove them to the hospital again yesterday and I made an even worse hash than usual of getting them out of the car and into their wheelchairs. I hauled my mother out first and got her into the chair, but failed to apply the brake firmly enough. While I was dragging Mike off the back seat by his plaster cast, she started freewheeling down the hill. Unable to distinguish between propulsion by human agency and forward motion due solely to the laws of gravity, she was straining forwards, flinging criticism and advice behind her as she went. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.