Monday January 27th 2014
I can’t say it started brilliantly. At home looking after my sick daughter who was recovering from having a ‘blood patch’ the previous Friday. Mostly she was lying flat, on the sofa, as her headache that’s been going on for nearly four months now, is at the moment a low pressure headache, which the doctors in Southampton had hoped to cure by this second ‘blood patch’. The idea was to get her raised up a little at a time, and gradually get her walking. We’d been trying to do this all day on Sunday, to little or no effect, she was in so much pain.
Anyhow, Monday started out okay. I got her sitting up, telling her that she had to have her feet on the floor, and sit with her back against the sofa, still enabling her to do the activity of her choice. She agreed, albeit slightly reluctantly. I set about working on my computer, which is situated right next to the sofa, all the time keeping my eye on her. She did a great job all morning, only having a few rest periods where she asked if she could lie flat because her head hurt so much. Who in their right mind would refuse such a request? Not her daddy, that’s for sure.
And so the day continued. I made her lunch, and wondered if there were any domestic jobs that needed doing, other than the washing that I was already on top of. One that occurred to me was………..cleaning the car. Not quite a domestic job I agree, but one that certainly needed doing, as I hadn’t got to it in nearly four months, because of my daughter’s illness. While I don’t claim to clean it out weekly, it does get done every month to six weeks normally, just purely because I can’t stand it being dirty, inside or out. Now the reason that this job cropped up in my tiny little head, was that the car, unusually, was parked right outside my house. “Where else would it be?” I hear you cry. Well, we live in a tiny one way street, with parking on one side of the road. The number of cars far outweighs the number of houses, and of course spaces. So getting a space right outside your house, is generally a rarity.
Off I toddled, first cleaning all the rubbish from inside the car (general mess that the kids have left behind…..you know the sort of thing). Then it was the hoover, running the extension lead, vacuuming the inside, as much as is possible anyway. It wasn’t particularly cold (for which I was grateful), but the possibility of rain was always on the cards. Nevertheless I plodded on. With a big bowl of soapy water, I wandered out, and with the living room window of the house slightly ajar (so that I could still hear my daughter, or the phone) I set about cleaning the car, hoping against hope that just after I’d cleaned all the dirt off, the heavens would open, and I wouldn’t need to rinse off the water, or go over the car with a microfibre cloth. No such luck. Although the black clouds continued to gather overhead, the rain itself stayed safely tucked away. So inside I came, rinsed out the bowl I’d been using, and asking my daughter to hold open the front door, out I went to throw said bowl over the car, and rinse off all the soapy water. Twice I did this, my sick daughter diligently holding the front door open for me each time. What I failed to mention earlier, was that the parking space in front of my car had been free the entire time I’d been washing and cleaning it. As I came out, for a third time, with a full bowl of water, a car I was familiar with had parked in the space, and the two occupants had got out, a male and a female, both walking back down the road, directly past me. I thought very little of it, that is until the male started speaking to me. Out of nowhere he said,
“Oi! While you’re out here…..you can clean that brake fluid off my car you threw over it.”
To say I was mystified was something of an understatement.
“Sorry,” I replied, “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”
I was polite in saying it, but at that point he started to get really arsy.
“I know it was you that threw brake fluid over my car. You always give my wife dirty looks if she’s walking down the street. I’ve seen you try and swerve your car into me as you’re driving down the street.”
It’s hard to know what was running through my mind really. All of these accusations are ludicrous. For a start, despite recognising him from living further down the street somewhere, I had no idea the woman with him was his wife, or even that they were a couple. If fact, I can’t say I even recognised her as someone who lived in the street. As for trying to swerve my car into him, it’s a tiny one way street we live in, barely big enough for any sort of lorry to get down……there’s no room to swerve anywhere. And as for throwing brake fluid on his car…….not only have I never even seen brake fluid, I wouldn’t have a clue where to buy it or what sort of packaging it comes in. All in all, utterly ridiculous. So what can you do? I just repeated that I had no idea what it was he was talking about, and stood there, waiting to throw the bowl of water onto my car. The couple continued walking, but after five or so paces, he turned round, while his wife continued on into their house. He marched right up to me, put his head in my face and said,
“When my court case has finished, I’m gonna destroy both your cars, and then I’m gonna put you in hospital!”
‘What the hell is that all about?’ I can remember thinking. As he turned and stalked off, I turned round, keen to go back inside. What I witnessed broke my heart. My sick daughter stood in the doorway, crying and shaking, having heard everything the crazed man had said. Quickly I ushered her inside to safety, all the time trying to comfort and reassure her………it wasn’t easy, as I was quite shaken myself, more from the fact that something like that can happen, when you’re minding your own business, right outside your own house. It didn’t take long for me to decide to phone the police. I did, and they arrived after an hour, by which time my daughter had just about calmed down, but was still pretty upset. Now before we go any further, I said earlier that I recognised the car the couple were driving. I recognised it because about a year to eighteen months ago (so long ago that I can’t remember exactly how long), the whole family came outside one cold morning to all go our separate ways, my wife to work, and the kids and I to school (me dropping them off, before going on to my school to works as a teaching assistant). Our car was parked almost directly outside our house, and there was a really long white scratch down the back drivers side, that hadn’t been there the previous day when we’d parked it. Behind my car, in an impossibly small space, was the white citroen of the charming, afore mentioned couple. I walked around their car, and in doing so, noticed a corresponding mark, with flecks of silver (the colour of our car), on the rear passenger side of their car. So we did what any normal people would do, we took some pictures, reported it……knowing full well nothing was going to come of it, and then forgot all about it. After 24 hours, it was well and truly erased from my mind. As I mentioned, that was a year to eighteen months ago……….and now this. In all that time, I’ve never spoken to either individual, never gone anywhere near their car…….never even considered doing anything to it.
So I explained all of this to the police, who were as understanding as they could be. They duly marched off down the road to speak to the couple, and returned ten or fifteen minutes later. On their return they said that the man had just claimed we were having a ‘bit of banter’. I can assure you, it certainly wasn’t that! They also said he saw me throw brake fluid over his car, whenever it happened. A LIE!
“Why didn’t he report it or stop me?” I asked. They just shrugged their shoulders and said unless I wanted my daughter to have to appear by video link in court to back up my story, there was little else they could do.
“What about the court case he mentioned?” I asked, something apparently he’d denied being involved in.
“We’ll check up on that when we get back to the station and get back to you,” they said, before bidding farewell.
What a bloody nightmare! Who the hell needs all of that, particularly when you mind your own business and are just trying to get by as best you can, looking after a two children, one of them really sick, having already given up your job to do so.
So anyway, as you can imagine, Monday late afternoon was subdued in the Cude household. And then my daughter became ill……..really ill. She started vomiting, the light hurt her eyes, and the pain in her head went off the scale. This went on for hours and hours, broken up my many phone calls to medical professionals…..the neurologists at Southampton, and much, much later, the doctors at the hospital in Salisbury. Eventually, at 2.30 am, I rushed her up to Salisbury hospital……no easy task in her condition. The first thing she did when we arrived on the ward was to vomit in the bowl I was holding. And things have been that way ever since……nearly a week now. Staying with her on Monday night, into Tuesday I had no sleep at all. Tuesday afternoon we were told we’d be transported to Southampton hospital, because she was so ill. That didn’t happen on Wednesday because there were no beds free. Eventually we were transported to Southampton Thursday night about 9 pm by ambulance (no other way because she had to lie flat). We arrived just before ten and got settled in. Friday was a manic day, me….constantly having to hassle the wonderful nursing staff, chasing up the promised MRI scan. My daughter had the scan about 4pm Friday….the imaging team were all fantastic and then we waited.
It’s now the weekend, and I swapped with my lovely wife on Friday evening, so that I could go home and spend 36 hours with my youngest daughter, get some rest and take her hockey training. The scans of my daughter seem to indicate that there is a CSF (brain fluid) leak in the front of her spine, somewhere it really shouldn’t be, and the consultants are waiting to speak to the neurosurgeons on Monday morning. That’s all as a family we know at the moment.
So to say it’s been a hard week for us as a family, is something of an understatement, something it would have been anyway, without all the absolute rubbish and lies from this person who lives in our street. What drives people to act this way? I’ve been asking myself all this week, and I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps the mention of the court case was something to do with it……..who knows? I’m nothing to do with any court case, but perhaps he’s got me mixed up with someone else. Perhaps, and more likely, he’s just got the hump because we took some pictures and reported his bad parking all that time ago. It’s the only thing I can think of. I’d forgotten all about it after 24 hours, and living in a residential area where so much bad parking goes on, you would think he would have as well. But clearly that’s not the case.
I really hate Mondays. I hope for my daughter’s sake that this next one is better than the last one.