Most Important Call Of My Life
During the summer, we go on a Spanish villa holiday with a secluded pool. Behind the villa, a mountain towers high with wisps of cloud contrasting the vivid blue sky. To the right, seemingly at its highest point, a single tree overlooks the valley below. Beyond the pool, steps flow downward toward a dry riverbed and, on the other side, a small hill rises up. The kids and I sneak around the spiky plants, the rhythmic buzz of the cicadas overhead, and hide whenever ‘Baddies’ drive past until we make our way back to the pool. We’re having a great time. The kids play in the water during the long, hot days. Michelle and I read by the pool, cooling off with a dip every now and then.
After around a week, on a hot, cloudless morning, I’m in the pool playing with the kids while Michelle relaxes on a sunbed at the far end. As I swim, some water gets up my nose. I start to cough and retch at the edge of the pool. When the convulsing stops, I look down through watery eyes. My hands are blood-splattered with what looks like an oval-shaped scab. I lift my hands up charmingly to show Michelle, laugh and get out of the pool to shake the blood and scab into the dirt beyond the pool area. The rest of the holiday drifts between sunbathing, swimming, reading, barbeques and an occasional day out to see the sights.
When I return to work, the bleeding from my nose continues, even though my last operation was several months earlier and everything should have healed. Around once a week, I blow my nose and a blood clot comes out of my right nostril. This soon happens twice a week and, frighteningly quick, each day. I’m not in pain, but I can feel a constant throbbing deep inside my nasal cavity. I talk to Michelle and she persuades me to telephone Mr Hogan’s secretary, Clara. So, one lunchtime, I call her to explain my symptoms and say Mr Hogan has been happy with my progress. I ask whether I should just see my local doctor. Clara thinks I will be referred back to the surgeon, so she books me an appointment with Mr Hogan.