A few weeks later, in early February, my daughter Tabby was admitted to hospital with a bad episode of ketoacidosis of the blood. She had had a vomiting bug, always dangerous for diabetics, which made her blood glucose shoot up to the point where she couldn’t think straight or inject right. She had been alone in her flat in Glasgow, vomming and hallucinating. She tried to phone the emergency people but forgot it was 999. She was dialling 222 for the third time when Macaulay Culkein, the boy from Home Alone, popped up beside her. ’Oh wow,’ she said, leering at him, ‘I never thought I’d meet you in the flesh.’
‘You’ve got to phone your boyfriend,’ said Macaulay.
‘What was it like, being in all those movies?’
‘You have to phone Kieran, it’s important,’ said Macaulay. (Jeez, thanks, Macaulay.)
Tabby phoned Kieran and slurred her story about Macaulay being there. Kieran called an ambulance and ran like the wind. Tabby’s blood glucose was 50.3 whatever-it-is-units upon admission. If you know about blood glucose you will know this is terrifyingly high. In the high-dependency unit Kieran made to sit in the chair beside Tabby’s bed. ’Shtop it! You can’t shit there!’ she giggled, cross-eyed, on two drips, ‘Macaulay’s shitting there!’
So anyway, three days later when she was still in hospital and eventually I twigged that she had been really quite ill, Grandalf zoomed me up there in his tiny car. I was pleased to meet the boyfriend as Tabby says he is very very good at singing bass, and acting. Who could be a better Mr Blood? (Apart from, of course, I add hastily, our 2007 Mr Blood, one James Richard Reginald Oscar Rowbottom, who was really excellent and very very scary. But he has moved to Paris, which would be tricky. We need someone constantly on site from around now so they can be mercilessly trained, he he, so sorry Jim…but I’m sure you are happy to be spared.)
‘Oh, hi, Kieran! Would you consider being Mr Blood in our show?’
‘Just say no,’ said Tabby. Still out of her head, obviously.
Kieran ignored her. ’Of course I will be Mr Blood,’ he said. He is a gracious, kind person.
I started telling him all about the scene where he would feed Mrs Blood aka Tabby her hot potato and peas, and the one where he would slosh about going mental in the sewer with the rats. I sang him some of the songs. Unfortunately, Tabby had pulled a muscle in her side from hours of intense projectile vomming. Every time she laughed she would go into an excruciating spasm. I was told off for singing: ‘Mr Blood runs an excellent establishment…but he’s FAT….WHO SAID THAT???’ I was badly berated for crooning: ‘These children can ruin one’s life…we gave them shelter, Mr Blood and his wife….’
‘Stop it, stop it,’ screamed Tabby, in agonies.
‘It seemed such a shame, to lose more than we gained, so we got evil, we got wicked, we got ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-aaad.’
‘Mum, I WILL SEND YOU OUT.’
I sat quietly for a minute with my eyes bulging with effort. Then I whispered to Kieran across the bed, ‘Do you mind being Pa as well? You’d have to wear a sack and sing: ‘Put your best foot forward and you’ll reach the top… you won’t want to stop.‘
Tabby had a massive spasm. Sigh. I had to sit there and say nothing. We realised our entire relationship since her birth (that’s almost twenty years) has been solid jokes and laughter. There was lits nothing to say. Even when I was being very good sitting there absolutely shtum, my very face made her laugh, so I had to go and sit in the caff. God, she had really lost her sense of humour. She even complained about the text I sent her the second day she was in hospital: ’Are there any dishy doctors?’
‘You really didn’t understand how ill I was, did you?’ she said.
‘Look, even a person on their death-bed can surely appreciate a dishy doctor,’ was my very sane view. I mean, let’s be honest, that’s the whole point of going to hospital, isn’t it?