“What a difference a day made
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain”
Those lyrics were written, I have discovered, when I was barely twelve months old, for a song which has kept re-appearing ever since, rendered by countless singers, especially after WW2, and it’s still one of my favourites. It came to my mind again recently after a visit to my wife, Dorothy, in her care home. I’ll tell you why……
This story started one day last week – it was one of those lovely days we often have in Melbourne after a horrific rainstorm like the one we’d experienced just the day before. On arrival at her care home, I suggested to Dorothy that a visit to the toilet would be a good idea before we went for walk outside; one of the care staff heard me and offered to take Dorothy to her bathroom while I waited in her bedroom. Unexpectedly, within seconds, the helper called out urgently for help. I rushed in and was confronted by her balancing Dorothy, still fully clothed, half-standing but awkwardly angled across the toilet! Dorothy had her eyes closed, was dribbling saliva and was trembling, partially supported by the helper. In a stunned state I quickly sought help and a nurse, and another helper were there, miraculously it seemed, almost instantly. And it wasn’t long before one of the visiting doctors also appeared and all the appropriate protocols were carried out; things happened fast. I must admit I felt powerless, and I was shaken and teary, so some of the staff then gently attended to me! Dorothy rested on her bed for only about five minutes or so (recovered quicker than I did!) and was keen to be up and on the go again!
Taking things quietly, we sat and enjoyed a coffee, then it was agreed that a gentle, careful walk would be OK. So off we went on our only-too-familiar inside walk which I think actually strengthened Dorothy, but I was still ‘rattled’! After an hour or so, I realised that it would be best for me to go home so we could both resume some normality. But sleep didn’t come easily for me that night, and next morning I didn’t rise early and waited until after lunch to visit her.
I steeled myself to expect that, maybe, Dorothy would be ‘out of sorts’ as well but, guess what! She greeted me with a smile a mile-wide, eager to have a go at anything and full of vigour. Wow, that woke me up! So then we spent a happy time walking, colouring pictures, looking through the daily paper, and enjoying a coffee together, all the usual pursuits. If anything, she was more assertive (“bossier?”) than usual, but clearly totally recovered from the episode of the day before.
Yes, what a difference a day makes!