Life With Mabel: Part Thirty

This is the thirtieth part of a fiction serial, in 790 words.

Mabel didn’t go to Reg’s retirement party, as it was held at his head office in London. It would all be work people, and she didn’t know any of them anyway. Instead, she sat at home wondering what it was going to be like, having him at home every day. He got back late, in a taxi. They had given him a swanky new set of golf clubs as a leaving present, and had all signed a huge card that had got bent up on the train home. He went straight up to bed, the worse the wear for a day of drinking.

As it turned out, her fears were groundless. Reg had plans, most of them involving the golf club. He was going to oversee a lot of renovations to the buildings, and bring the club up to date to attract more members. By the end of his first week of retirement, he was at the club more or less full-time, seven days a week. Greatly relieved, Mabel was able to carry on as normal. Reg even employed a part-time gardner to take care of the outside jobs.

The next ten years seemed to fly by. For her and Elsie, the trips continued, and the occasional holidays too. Though their sex life tailed off, as they both got older. More like sisters now, they spent most of their free time together. When all the work had been completed at the golf club, Reg was off on golfing holidays. Scotland, Florida again, and Spain. He even talked about part-ownership of a flat on a golf course in Spain, which he said he might buy with Malcolm. Mabel encouraged him to go ahead with that, as he mentioned they woud be there for at least six weeks every year.

He was away to look at properties in Spain, when Mabel got a call one evening. It was Malcolm on the phone. He never rang her.

“I’m sorry to tell you that Reg had a bad turn in the hotel this afternoon. They got a doctor in to see him, and he sent him to hospital in an amubulance. I’m phoning from the hospital now, I’m afraid it’s a stroke. He is conscious, but he can’t speak properly, or move his right arm. I will ring you again tomorrow and let you know the progress”.

She was thinking about her mum. After a long silence, she thanked Malcolm for calling, then rang Elsie to tell her. Elsie voiced her fears. “That means you’ll be looking after him, darling. Doesn’t sound good, does it?”

When Reg got home almost a week later, he looked like a different person. He could only speak what sounded like babbling. He dragged his right leg, and had limited use of his right arm. Malcolm brought him home in a taxi. “Here is all the paperwork from the Spanish hospital, Mabel. Your doctor here will have to make an appointment for Reg to be seen in hospital in Cambridge. Let me know if I can help”. He handed her a business card with his number on it. She had to get Reg undressed, and help him into bed. Then she sat wondering how she was ever going to cope with an invalid to look after.

Elsie turned up the next morning with a full shopping bag. She had bought a plastic cup with a spout, a plastic device for Reg to use to pee into, some disposable gloves, and a big plastic bib that was washable. “I’ve been to that disability shop in town, Mabel. You are gonna need all sorts of stuff. Reg won’t be able to hold a cup properly, and he’s not about to manage keep going to the toilet without waking you up. There’s a phone number on the receipt, they said they can send someone round to fit bars for him to hold on to, and a seat that goes under the shower. Don’t worry about the money, I paid for these things”.

She stayed for a cup of tea and a piece of Manor House cake, then popped into Reg’s room to say hello before Terry came to collect her. Lowering her voice to a whisper, she spoke to Mabel in the hallway. “He doesn’t look good, does he? No more golf club for him. And you had better think about driving lessons now. He won’t be driving you anywhere ever again, that’s for sure”.

For what seemed like ages, Mabel sat staring at the receipt, wondering whether to ring the disability shop. But when she heard some incomprehensible yelling from Reg’s room, she realised it was time to start looking after him.

What else could she do? He was her husband.

27 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Thirty

  1. (1) As a retirement gift to Reginald, they gave him a hillary swank set of new golf clubs. Reg swore he would baby those clubs. But it wasn’t worth the effort. They were so poorly made that they ruined his golf strokes and amputated his career as a golfer. In response, the country club members expressed a million regrets.
    (2) Overheard:
    Reginald: “I hired a—”
    Mabel: “Gardner?”
    Reginald: “Yes. Her name is Ava.”
    (3) Reginald needs to turn back the hands of time. He should ask Mabel to order some bottles of water from Ponce de León’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park in Florida. (I’m sure the park can dig up some water to send across the Pond.)
    (4) Mabel couldn’t understand Reginald’s babbling, but the local babbling brook could. #LanguageCompatibility
    (5) Reg couldn’t move his right arm. He could only move the wrong one.
    (6) Reg is used to going to bars. He’s not used to bars coming to him.
    (7) Overheard:
    Elsie: “Reg won’t be able to hold a cup properly.”
    Mabel: “That’s okay. He won’t be winning any more golf trophies now.”
    (8) Overheard:
    Elsie: “He doesn’t look good, does he?”
    Mabel: “Actually, his stroke hasn’t affected his eyesight at all.”

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