They are lowering the Old Man's sedation in order to try and wake him, and to see if he will breathe on his own - without the tube.
He opens his eyes and then they drift closed again.
I talk - and now and then his eyes ping open.
I tell him things. His eyes ping open and widen at some of the things I have to say.
Later I find that he doesn't recall this impressive show of reaction, nor anything that I may have said.
They are moving towards getting the breathing tube out. And hours pass of this slow process of preparation.
He grabs my hand and tries to spell something out onto my palm. I tell him I can't read it. He gets agitated and taps me on the mouth. I tell him to stop it. The physio comes to clear his lungs. His nurse is there. We are around the bed and he grows more agitated. They want to know what's bothering him. Is it the machines? Suddenly he holds up four fingers. I say:
"He has four crowns at the front. His front teeth are crowned."
They understand what he is saying.
" The tube?" they say. "We will be careful. Don't worry. We will be careful of your teeth."
After the tube has come out, they are very pleased with him. The Old Man is awake. The Old Man is breathing on his own. He looks at me and taps his ear. We frown. He mimes a rectangular shape with his hands.
"His radio. He wants his radio." say I.
Everyone is pleased with the process and its result.
Say I: "Tube's out. He can talk. You will regret it. I'm off."
I say Goodbye. I am very relieved. I am very tired.
6 o'clock in the evening. Old friend and I go home.
Wine, talk, Bombay potatoes with spinach.