14 July 2022
State of Delirium
by Don Urquhart
At my age getting out of bed for the loo in the middle of night is well-practised and low tariff. On this occasion no amount of bouncing and flexing was going to work. Or grunting. My wife came round the bed in alarm and my son came in to see what was up. They smuggled me to my feet but it was a false dawn. I writhed to the ground and couldn’t get up. The family brought a mattress and made me comfortable on the floor. The ambulance crew 12 hours later put me in a chair, bumped me down the stairs and got me to hospital. It transpired that I had no clue where I was, drifted in and out of sleep and was soon in an A&E cubicle being tested up the kazoo. I told the doctors they were enriching themselves by selling videos of my treatment and they didn’t deny it. It all seemed quite natural. With midnight came good news and bad news. I had my strength back and could stand and start making my way to the loo. Not so joyous was the exuberant incontinence with which I irrigated A&E. If you ask me Deepak was a little censorious, but who could blame him. And as I found throughout my stay the doctors, nurses and assistant just got on with it having seen it all before.
I was moved a couple of times and ended up in a 5 man ward where two of us were very loudly demented. But who was I to complain after my earlier performance. Delirium is apparently a common side-effect of Covid and the steroids they give you. I had my phone so could keep up with events in the outside world. My carers were fabulous and I wished that I had clapped harder when I had the chance. The news was full of Boris Johnson’s demise. I had to keep checking whether this was real news or some delirious side-effect. He came out to the lectern and blamed the herd mentality of his followers for putting him in an invidious position. There were queues of acolytes keen to tell us how they had always known what he was like. But it was the very same people who came onto the media week in week out to affirm their support for their leader and to regurgitate whatever the approved defence was of his most recent balls-up.
At least we were getting rid of the serial liar and fantasist in No. 10 and the new Tory leader could only be better. It had to be the delirium engendered by the virus and the many competitive medications. From where I sat it was obvious what the priorities were – protect the NHS and all these decent people getting me back on my feet. I knew that the hot issue was the cost of living crisis so was looking forward to debates as to how best to see the poor and vulnerable through the winter. But when the 11 grotesque inadequates started to utter it was all about cutting tax, shipping asylum seekers to Africa and breaking international law while putting the EU johnnies in their place, jailing benefit scroungers, crushing the unions, in short the traditional fragrant thoughts that set Tory hearts aflutter. I was having blood pressure, temperature and oxygen levels and blood sugar checked 4 times per day. I was getting back to normal so it wasn’t me. It was the leadership candidates spotting what counted most for their fellow MPs and for the Tory faithful who would ultimately decide. For my own sanity I concluded that it made no difference who became Prime Minister for whoever it was would just continue kicking real issues down the road and lying about it. However sick I had been, the body politic was in a much worse state.