They say that three-word sentences are unforgettable, we hear them all the time on adverts and in politics—I have some that I will never forget.
I love you. Please help me. The Liverpool pathway.
A few years ago, I lay in my bed waiting for the Goblin Teasmade to start its ritual. First a click and then a soft grumble, slowly getting angrier before it can take no more and noisily rids itself of the boiling water. The buzzer buzzes. Lights come on. Tea is made.
In June 2008, we would both lie here listening to this performance.
Three months later, September the thirteenth, is our Golden anniversary. I listen alone.
Back in June, we wake up to the ritual of our little Goblin friend, we have a nice cup of tea, and then a different ritual begins.
First the toilet. Then the shower. Hair is brushed. Face is creamed.
Now the painful bit. Legs are creamed. Compression stockings and creamed legs don’t go together. Teeth are gritted.
The room is now brightly lit with the June sunshine. This is the moment that I notice the purple blotches on her legs. She looks down with a weary look that says. What now?.
I see her face is tanned, that’s odd, we have to avoid sunshine—so the drug people tell us.
It is Sunday. We have to call the duty doctor, a young man with a kindly face. He is gentle as he touches the blotches. His smile fades.
“We need to do some tests which have to done in hospital, I’ll arrange an ambulance for you both”.
This is nothing for us to be alarmed at, a trip to the hospital is a regular thing.
We see a familiar face. The tea lady. A student nurse. Our specialist doctor.
The bell rings. I leave her in good hands, she smiles and say’s.
“I love you”
This is not a thing we normally say to each other with words. We just know.
I visit every day; we are always first through the door as it opens to the visitors. On Wednesday the eighth of June we walk in to see Ann sitting up in her chair. She is looking, but not seeing. She whispers a whisper we can hardly hear.
“Please help me”.
The doctor is waiting nearby. He asks me and my son Jamie to join him in an office. He has the results of some tests, he apologises. There is something in his voice that was never there before.
The drugs he has prescribed that have worked so well in controlling the pain for the last forty years have a sting in their tail. The liver has finally given in to the onslaught. Now all the other organs are falling like dominoes.
A nurse comes to the office and whispers to the doctor, I hear him ask.
“Is it fresh”.
She nods and leaves the room.
Another doctor joins us and gives us the devastating news, there is just a few hours left. We hear for the first time, another three words, that I will never forget. The Liverpool Pathway.
The Liverpool Pathway is a way of making an extremely painful death seem like going to sleep peacefully.
Our other son Iain has just gone back to Manchester thinking all is under control. Amanda his wife, tells him the news. He has to make the most agonising journey back to London hoping it is not too late.
We all sit silently around the bed, watching the life drain from our lovely mother and wife.
I love you. Please help me. The Liverpool Pathway.
Three unforgettable three-word sentences.