Published: Wednesday February 18, 2015.

The more you know

I know two people who are almost 90 years old. Neither of them are in good health right now. The nature of my blog posts means that I can’t say for sure whether either or both of them will be alive when 6am on February 18th rolls by and this post goes live.

Joyce, my nan and sole surviving grandparent, had a stroke last Thursday. She has kidney cancer. As I write this, she’s in hospital and one half of her is paralysed. She is, as I understand it, drifting in and out of consciousness. The prognosis, frankly, is final. This is hospice care, now. I last visited Joyce in November last year and promised I’d contact her in the new year to arrange a return visit. That visit was scheduled for later this week. I called and explained that I was going to be in the area and wanted to catch up with her, as I promised I would. I was offered a bed for the night, and I graciously accepted. There were various conversations about what I like for breakfast, and whether I’d be bringing anyone with me.

Around the same time, I contacted my parents to say I’d be in the area around the same time and that I’d like to cook a homemade meal for my mum’s birthday. Again, I was offered a bed for the night, asked if I would be bringing anyone, and had various to-and-fro email conversations about what they might like to eat, mostly so I could prepare the ingredients. My mum offered to pay for own birthday meal ingredients. I did that thing where I nodded in agreement but had no intention of her paying. Both of these plans are, understandably, on hold.

At the end of the opening night of the Craven Players performance of Rocky Monster Show, Jen told me there was a family emergency. All sorts of things flashed by my eyes. Had mental health problems got the better of one of my relatives and they’d tapped out? Had there been a car accident? Had someone gone postal? It turns out that nan — Joyce — was uncontactable over the phone, and the next-door neighbour had seen her either on the floor or the sofa, drifting in and out of consciousness.

I called my brother for an update as he was nearest geographically. He’d already called me a bunch of times and couldn’t get through as my phone was on silent for the performance. The ambulance was, as I recall, on site and waiting for the police to arrive so they could break a window to get in to help.

I was furious. Not at my brother, of course, but at this ridiculous idea that only the police can break a window when there’s someone who’s visibly in distress. If I’d been there, the window would’ve gone in before the police had arrived. I’d like to see anyone arrest me for that.

I have a window breaker and seatbelt cutter in my car. It’s a generic version of the ResQMe Car Escape Tool. It hangs down from my rear view mirror and it’ll shatter glass in a single blow. That could mean the difference between life and death.

If you forget everything else you learn today, do yourself a favour and remember this: the weak spot of windows — single or double-glazed — is the corner. Smash it. Save someone’s life. Please.

Today is my mum’s birthday. Happy birthday, mum. I love you. You’re the best. When all this is over, I’ll cook you a tasty curry.