In Sickness and in Health: ‘There’s nothing I want more than to have you at home, but you’re not well’

Earlier this year, Rebecca’s husband, Nick, was hit by a car and seriously injured. Here, in one of a series of columns, she writes about the  aftermath of his accident

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The Independent Online

“Why can’t I come home with you?”

You’re not strong enough yet, sausage. You need to stay here and get better.

“I am strong enough. I was running around this morning. That’s why my legs are tired now.”

I wouldn’t be able to get you in the flat because of the stairs, and I can’t look after you on my own. There’s nothing in this world I want more that to have you at home, but you’re not well enough at the moment.

“Well, why can’t you stay here?”

Only patients are allowed to stay the night, because otherwise there wouldn’t be any room for the people who need to be in hospital.

“I thought that this was a hotel.”

No poppet, it’s a hospital. That’s why it’s full of nurses.

“Ask if you can stay the night.”

They won’t let me.

“Go and have a word. I know that they’ll let you stay tonight.”

They won’t, I promise you.

“Hungry hungry.”

Do you want some fruit?

“No. It’s rubbish.”

I’ll get you some yoghurt.

“NO! Don’t leave. I can’t bear it when you disappear.”

I’m not disappearing, I’m just going to the kitchen.

“NO! You won’t come back. ”

You look after my handbag for me while I get the yoghurt so that you know I’ll come back.

“OK.”

****

“REBECCA! REBECCA!”

Was that you bellowing just now?

“Yes.”

Sweetie, I said that I was coming straight back.

“I thought you’d disappeared.”

I’m back now.

“Sit where I can see you.”

Would you like a drink?

“Yes. A gin and tonic.”

Squash, water or tea?

Squash.

“Arrrrrggggh. What’s that f***ing noise?”

That’s the man in the bed next to you being put on his ventilator.

“No. Argh. Noisy. Noooo! See what I have to put up with?”

You were on one of those, too. It’s helping him breath.

“Shut up shut up!”

Don’t you dare shout at anyone like that. Be patient and it will stop.

“I’m so impatient now.”

I know, and I can only imagine how frustrating it is. I’m so proud of you.

“Don’t know why, I’m useless.”

You’re brilliant.

“What about my bank?”

What?

“And the car?”

I’m looking after all of that.

“Really? Wow.”

And let me tell you, when I discovered that your filing “system” was five boxes full of papers jumbled up, I would have probably put you in a coma if you hadn’t been in one.

“You’re amazing.”

I love you so much.

“For ever?”

For ever and ever.

“Why can’t I come home?”

Because you need to get better.

“Why can’t you stay here?”

I’m not allowed. And much as I love you, if I was here all the time, I might go a bit mad.

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