The day the bubble burst

It's been a difficult week, which is why there's been a bit of a hiccup in terms of posting to Blipfoto.

I'm writing this on Thursday, just before going to a funeral. I got a call while we were in Berlin. It was from Robin, mainstay of our Grand Prix gang, concerned about our friend Niall, who's been ill since December and has been getting worse all the time since then. Robin was desperately worried because Niall wouldn't talk to him on the hone and wouldn't let him call round to see him, even though he'd collapsed several times at home and obviously needed to receive urgent medical attention.

Things came to a head after I got back home, Niall's partner eventually called an ambulance and had him rushed to hospital on Thursday night, blood transfusions followed, and an immediate transfer to Intensive Care. I got a text message this morning to say that Niall had had a really bad night and wasn't expected to last the day, and it wasn't long after reading this that I got a call to say Niall had died around 11.00 am.

Niall has featured in this journal before, obviously under much happier circumstances. He's the one who produced this greeting card which still stands on a table in my living room. He was a flamboyant, larger-than-life character, and it's really hard to believe that he's gone (only 55 years old). As I said, he's been ill since December, but all along he's stubbornly refused to see a doctor or go to hospital ('I don't do hospitals; I don't do doctors' -- that was his recurring mantra). He actually collapsed close to home a couple of months ago, a passer-by called an ambulance and he was taken to A&E. Rather than wait to be seen, he gave up after four hours or so, got up off the trolly and went home. None of us can understand what possessed him to neglect his own health as he did, even when it was obvious that he was very, very ill, but the 'I don't do hospitals' thing has been part of his makeup for as long as I've known him (and that's over thirty years).

I'll miss him terribly.

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