Kelly's oncology meeting doesn't go exactly to plan. I have another sleepless night, the third on the trot and when Kate lets herself in at 7 o' clock I have had an hours sleep. They wake me as they leave and I leap like a gibbon from the bed, throwing clothes at myself in vain, they leave without me. I skulk around the house unable to properly wake and equally unable to go back to bed. I let caffeine take the strain and imbibe a kettle full of teeth staining tannins.It hits me like a live current, jangling me into life. A reluctant Frankenstein's monster I want to pull the electrodes out and get another five minutes's.
Deirdre rings me. Following the oncology meeting Kelly has been admitted for tests and further observation, could I pack her some pyjamas, her drugs and over night things. I'm mostly worried about her drugs - there have been so many changes and different ideas about drug combinations (sounds like Keith Richards' underwear) that I'm not entirely sure which ones are still "in". I pack them all, realising that in doing so Kelly's overnight bag is going to be an overnight suitcase. I add pants and a dressing-gown to the mix to make it seem less ludicrous.
Deirdre and I speed across town, pausing only for me to stand in a long and listless Post office queue, as I attempt to post back by outsize Dr. Martens. when we arrive Mo and Kate are already in attendance and Kelly is waiting on her new bed. She is tired and slightly glassy-eyed but she is smiling. Her voice, when it comes, is a hesitant whisper, breathless, but her cheeks and hands are warm and she is on funny, charming form. It takes her a little longer to get to the punchline but it's worth the wait.
We move up to the hospital room. It's a single room on the third floor so there is an excellent view of Black Hill and the protean Belfast skies as fat clouds tumble across the skies like sheep with bruised arses. The room is en suite, spacious and clean! You wouldn't get that in that London. Nurses come in and ask a lot of questions, upsetting Kelly briefly, clod-hopping around the question of her never-born children. A junior doctor does the same, prodding in the same places. Kelly gets a laugh by claiming her religious faith is "Catholic agnostic" and asking the doctor to send in the nuns!
Now we are sat alone in the hospital room. "Open Book" is playing on Radio Four and Kelly is drifting in and out of sleep; wading back into consciousness occasionally to deliver an enormous grin. She has been hallucinating fuzzy insects (though she isn't scared of them - reasoning that they are hallucinations) - I hope she recognises me.