Seven Oh Seven Oh

Seven oh seven oh. Or 7070. Better than fifty fifty by far. Better than anything that happened to me in the last thirty one days. Then, on that first day, my wife asked for a hug and cried in my arms and told me she didn’t want to die. She didn’t want to die and leave me she said (always thinking of someone else). I didn’t want her to die either but the diagnosis by the memory clinic psychiatrist just a few hours earlier was a virtual death sentence. You, he said to my wife, have dementia AND Alzheimers. This is what we propose to do…….and the rest was, and remains, an incomprehensible dim and dark and distant echo.

This morning, thirty one days later, I gave my wife her new bank card which had arrived in the post, yesterday her PIN number arrived in a separate envelope. Your PIN number is 7070, I told her, knowing full well that I had just broken one of my own golden rules: do not give too much information out as you will be repeating it until you are hoarse and driven to large-scale irritability.

We had tea, planned the day in terms of shopping and having a coffee out, I showered and changed and so did my wife (I will come back to this) and then picked up my phone to enter her PIN number in disguise in the phone book and I just shouted out without thinking – what’s your new PIN number hon? Seven oh seven oh she replied instantly. I was the only one surprised. She was just being normal, but normal of last year, not normal of this last few months. Seven oh seven oh – they will name a champagne after it one day! It was that expensive bubbly moment. A small moment arguably, but not to me who knows her, me who held her when she didn’t want to die and me who drove her away from the clinic on a journey home with the appetite of the condemned.

Seven oh seven oh. Better than fifty fifty. Because thirty one days ago we didn’t even have a fifty fifty chance of life. Not even a one in hundred. But this morning we were given seven oh seven oh. And every day for thirty one days, I have fed her with our own concoction of seemingly magic potion and look forward to more seventy seventy or seven oh seven oh moments. It doesn’t matter how she says it – it’s just that she remembers it now.

And as for that shower moment – it’s been more than two weeks since she asked me which tap to turn on. That’s a big deal too!

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