Thursday 27th September 1990 Morning surgery 09.10
“I find this a little odd, Mr Burrows. Your condition is obviously deteriorating slowly but, in yourself, you seem a bit better.”
“He likes to be ill. That’s what it is, Doctor Dennis.” Mrs Burrows smiled.
“Yes,” said Mr Burrows, “it does have certain advantages. I don’t have to do anything. I like to read my paper in the morning and my book. Sometimes, I listen to the radio. I will put my feet up and have a nap after lunch. Putting my feet up is on your advice, of course.”
“It helps the leg swelling.” My Dad nodded his head as he confirmed this.
“In the evening, Gladys and I watch the television,” he continued. “There’s no pressure. I don’t feel guilty about my lazy days.”
“He’s very well looked after, doctor.”
“That helps,” Mr Burrows continued. “Gladys is a devoted nurse. She helps me wash and dress. She prepares all the food: there are often little treats to perk me up. She is very attentive and very patient. My illness seems to have brought out the best in her. There is never a cross word. Her bad temper has disappeared altogether.”
“Really?” My Dad looked surprised but interested.
“I enjoy looking after, Colin, Dr Dennis. It has become a bit of a vocation.”
“Gladys did want to be a nurse. It would have really suited her. I think she got bored with secretarial work.”
“It wasn’t bad, Colin.”
“Yes, but you would have made a first rate staff nurse. Listen, Desmond, being ill is not always as bad as we all think. A busy man like you could do with a rest and someone to look after him.”
“It’s funny you should say that, Mr Burrows,” my Dad said. “I have been feeling a little unwell today. I thought I looked quite pale in the mirror this morning. I still feel light-headed and slightly nauseous. There is a general feeling of malaise that has been building up during the day. Dennis . . . Daphne is a real nurse . . . do you think she would . . .”
Dad and I looked at each other and shook our heads sombrely.
“Actually, Mr Burrows, I feel fine. Let’s get on and have a listen to your chest.”