Farty's Fortunes

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The Visit

We went to visit Mrs Farty's son this week. He has a nice quiet spot on a hillside overlooking the town of Livingston, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Stepson M and I have never really seen eye-to-eye. Probably a bit of jealousy on my part over Mrs F's affections, but also due to differing viewpoints on life. I like nothing more than to bury my face in a good book, while the house is littered with M's sporting trophies. He's cost me a small fortune in boots, clubs, pads, helmets and that over the years, but meh, it kept him off the streets when his schoolmates were getting off their face on drugs.

Our biggest argument came when he announced, out of the blue, that he had decided to walk out on his ten-year marriage. No, there was No Other Woman, he just "wasn't in love with her any more". I think I called him a fuckwit or similar. Still, M knew best. He still loved his two sons, though, and arranged to meet them at our place every fortnight. I think Mrs F would pine away without the boys.

We stopped off at the town centre so that Mrs F could pick up some flowers to take along and brighten up the place.

Three weeks after the walkout, we were introduced to NOW. I wouldn't say she was prettier than the ex, but a few years younger and a lot more outgoing. Of course, she didn't have two kids to bring up. They seemed to be right for each other, which was the main thing.

Well then, wouldn't you know it? M started feeling terribly run down, headaches, tiredness, couldn't do his sports any more. So he went to the doctor, who took a blood sample and promised to call him as soon as - fucking hell, get your arse down to the hospital now! A few more tests confirmed M had
myelodysplasia. Funny how a chronic disease can change your attitudes.

We arrived just as the sun broke through the clouds, though the wind chimes were still clattering about like nobody's business. Quite musical, in an atonal sort of way.

The next time I went to give blood, I asked if I could give platelets too. They took a small sample there and then - much less than an armful - and told me no, my counts were just a bit too low. "And Mr Farty - take some iron tablets before you come back here." Meanwhile M saw no reason to slow down, as his blood transfusions allowed him to carry on with his life. He even took NOW for a trip to Australia.

Mrs F set about arranging the flowers, while I was dispatched to fetch some fresh water. That's some view, must remember to bring my camera next time.

Weeks went by, then months. M was in and out of chemo, sometimes in Edinburgh, sometimes Glasgow. Mrs F and I would take turns to go through on the train. NOW took long-term leave to stay with him. All his hair fell out, natch. But it had always been short. And eventually the nice Anthony Nolan people found a bone marrow donor. Hurrah!

M was given radiotherapy to kill off his immune system completely, the new stem cells were injected and we all held our collective breaths. For a month. Then two months. You don't know for sure till day 100. His hair started to grow back - red and curly.

Flowers all spramped up, I went to fetch more water while Mrs F tidied the place up a bit and passed the latest gossip on to M.

Day 90 arrived and with it, the phone call. The leukaemia had survived the treatment and was back in force. M asked if we could send him over to South Africa to see his sister. "Don't be silly, they'd never let you on a plane in your condition. And besides, she's coming over for Christmas so you can see your nephew. Surprise! Oh. Right. We'll bring the date forward."

Eldest Daughter and Youngest Grandson came for a month, then stayed for two. YG learned to walk in Scotchland. M was delighted. But hubby had to get back to SA to make ends meet and ED - reluctantly - went with him. Just a week later, when no-one was looking, M quietly slipped away. He was thirty-two years old.

We worked together to scrub the accumulated dirt from the headstone, then rinsed it clean with the rest of the water. "There you go - good as new!" declared Mrs Farty. "Goodbye and God bless, M."

Oh. And take a look at this. Please.

Connah Broom


SpanishGoth said...

A very sad tale, very cleverly told sir. I'm glad you linked to Connahs site - from the negative, always seek the positive.

Teeny said...

Great post. As Goth says, very cleverly told, and very moving.

Cat said...

I feel quite weepy after reading that. You should put up a warning - Not Suitable for Ladies What Are Pre-Menstrual.

Brom said...

So, so many of us take life for granted going through everyday almost blinkered. It can happen to any of us at any time. We should never forget that.

Thanks for bringing life back into perspective and for highlighting Connah's battle.

Mr Farty said...

Goth, Teeny - *bows*

Cat - Aw, bless!

Brom - As M once said, wake up and smell the coffee.

I'd been wondering how to approach this post ever since I started blogging. Connah's story, which I found in DQ's blog, gave me just the kick in the pants I needed. But who would have thought knocking out a few words could be so draining?

SpanishGoth said...

Funnily enough, I was discussing (in person) with a few bloggers, how theraputic blogging can be. It can work but not when some sarcastic twat assumes it is invented and thus discourages the process.

I could tell some sorry tales but am content at the moment to make people smile.

Lay a lily for me - although you may have disagreed with M's decisions, they were his.

Hasta luego amigo,

Mr Farty said...

Goth - v. theraputic, trust me.

Although I must admit that from a reader's point of view, any story should be able to stand or fall on its own merits, regardless of whether it's "invented" or "true".
Sometimes a work of fiction is far better positioned to make a point about the human condition than a factual account, see Tom Godwin's The Cold Equations (1954) for a perfect example. The fact that I could still remember it well enough to find it after nearly half a century should speak volumes.

btw, I omitted one fact in order to keep this blog anonymous, but the tale is, sadly, true.