Apologies for this. If you don’t like reading personal news, especially bad news, don’t persist. I am writing it down in the hope of putting it behind me.
Back in early April, Rosemary had a very bad fall on the Fife Coastal Path. She tumbled over a six-metre cliff into a rocky river bed, full of icy water. I was able to lift her head out of the water, but it was an hour before the ambulance and coastguard were able to get her out of the river on a scoop and into a helicopter to take her to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. She had multiple fractures to vertebrae and pelvis as well as scalp lacerations, and her right eye had moved out of position. She was in hospital for two months. She is home now, but I am her full-time carer. I don’t mind doing this, but it eats up time and energy, and I know I am not coping well with other things; I try to get some things done but there is no way I can deal with everything that arrives.
The medics expect her to make a full recovery. She can now walk several blocks on elbow crutches, and the eye is moving back into its correct position. But the vertebrae have not yet mended, so she still has intermittent pain. Part of my job is administering painkillers four times a day. Of course I have all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and so on, as well as helping her wash and dress herself. It will be months rather than weeks before she is recovered, so I will be on the treadmill for a while yet.
I know this is all very mild compared to what she has been through, but one of the worst things I have to deal with is the memory of watching her fall and being completely unable to help. In the first weeks after the accident it took all my mental strength to stop this scene replaying over and over. I am coming to terms with it a bit better now.
So finally an apology for the rather intermittent updating of this blog. I have been to two outstanding on-line conferences over the past couple of weeks: the British Combinatorial Conference and the Portuguese Mathematical Society’s 80th anniversary meeting. Normally I would have reported on some of the wonderful things I learned at these. But because of circumstances I had to skip many conference talks that I would have liked to attend, and have not had time or energy to write about the ones I did hear. I will just say that, at the Portuguese meeting, several plenary talks which appeared at first sight to be some way from my interests turned out to be absolutely fascinating. The BCC plenary talks have already been posted and the Portuguese talks will appear soon, I hope. When this happens I might try to point you to some of my favourites.