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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Exactly ten years ago today, Chloe and I were sitting on the sofa in our spacious two-bedroom flat in Suffolk, eating a tuna bagel and quietly minding our own business, when I received an e-mail out of the blue from a woman called Lisa who claimed to live in Brighton. On a whim, I decided to reply. And a full decade on, we're still paying for that decision...

We might have a sofa and a two-bedroom flat, but we're now forced to share it with three mentals. And none of them like tuna. The only thing keeping Chloe here is the fact that she's got her claw stuck in the upholstery.

Anyhoo, if you want to read the five carefully chosen words that Lisa used to win my heart exactly ten years ago today, you can do so here. Although you might be disappointed. Fortunately her communication skills have improved a bit since then. She can now question my actions with nothing more than a look.

Officially, we've only been in a relationship for nine years, but in reality, Lisa's been the only woman in my life for the past ten. And there were precious few in the twenty-nine before that. Even if you include my mother. A decade ago today marked the biggest turning point in my life, when I had the choice of either replying to an e-mail, or ignoring a potential nutter. And I think I made the right decision. Although Chloe might disagree.

It was another ten months before we actually met, but in the words of one of my favourite Ben Folds Five songs at the time, "I loved you before I met you, and I met you just in time". I think we knew we were made for each other long before we ever breathed the same air and shared the same pizza. Although I never imagined that a decade down the line, we'd have a daughter who knows the word 'rhinoplasty'. I really need to rein in her TV viewing habits.

Anyhoo, Lisa has made me laugh more in the past ten years than anyone in the previous twenty-nine, and I look forward to her e-mails just as much today as I did in 2003. Although the one she sent me at work on Tuesday morning lacked a certain something:

"I've got bad news. I'm really ill. Have been sick and keep going hot and cold. Feel terrible."

So she's clearly not witty every time. Unfortunately, I was twenty-five miles away in Horsham, but I came close to abandoning my patients and rushing home to a more ill one. In the end, however, Lisa made it through to five-thirty without me, and by yesterday morning felt fine, so I think it was just a ploy to get me to come home and look after the kids.

On the downside, Lisa's miraculous recovery has coincided with her mother's descent into ill health. She's been complaining of breathlessness and an irregular heartbeat this week, so she went to see her GP first thing this morning, and was instantly referred to Hove Polyclinic for an ECG. I received an urgent e-mail from Lisa at 10:45am asking if I could give her Mum a lift over to Hove for some emergency medical tests.

Despite being at work, I dropped everything, and asked for permission to leave immediately on a medical mercy dash across the city. I managed to secure that permission in double quick time, after which I called Lisa and instructed her to phone her Mum and tell her I was on my way.

The whole process took a matter of minutes. But tragically I was too late.

She hadn't died, she'd gone out shopping. I had to go back to my team leader and tell her I wouldn't be leaving after all. My mother-in-law might have been close to a heart attack, but with the cardiac unit three miles away, she'd decided to pop down to Morrisons.


Phil's Mum said...

Having read all that, I'm speechless!

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