In the post today, I received a transcript of Geoff's Inquest in 2007. Actual words on paper. Yes, it was that long ago, can you believe. Soon it will be 4 years since he died.
I had ordered a recording of it straight after it was over, and then filed the disc and never had the energy to listen to it. Or the inclination, to be honest. I thought I did ok representing the family, but hey, I was not going to listen and find out that I missed a whole lot of vitally important stuff. And when I agreed to hire the lawyers, I handed over my disc to them, together with my mountain of files and research. (I will get the disc back one of these days - the files are back already!)
Well. Today I read that transcript, and I was GOOD. As I was reading what the doctors said, I noticed things, and thought - I wish I had noticed that at the time - it is totally wrong.... and then I turned the page and the words say - any questions, Mrs L?? And zap - there I was with just that question. Sigh. My brain was firing on all cylinders at the time, and then some. I don't often say this, but I was proud of myself when I read that. Really pleased to know I had not missed much.
Of all the things in the world I thought I would do when I read it, grinning was not one I considered. But I was grinning. And reading it from the perspective of knowing what caused the massive abscesses round the base of his aortic valve, which caused the valve to "dehisce" - separate - as we all now know, I could see where the pathologists' theories were almost but not quite there. They had never seen anything like it. Of course they hadn't. Until then, they had never seen what toxic gluteraldehyde can do to heart tissue. Now they know. They have had a number of opportunities to see for themselves, unfortunately. Did I mention that there are a number of deaths, and not just Geoff's here? He just happens to be the first.
I have been thinking about how much more I now know. How much more the surgeons have found out. The government officials. The lawyers. The hospitals. In essence, reading the inquest is like reading a first year med student's notes, in contrast to those of a consultant specialist. We have come a long long way, and it is not over yet. I am just eternally grateful I kept asking questions. Not to mention that I feel as knowledgeable as a consultant surgeon as well by now.
The surgeon said that in 20 years he had never seen a heart destroyed like Geoff's heart. Never. Not quite the "unique-ness" Geoff would have preferred, however.
And it is actully quite nice to see spluttering doctors asked difficult questions (by moi) on paper. Facts - you cannot dispute facts. I still understand all the terms. I think they are engraved on my heart and mind deeply. They will always be there. Scars. Battle scars, in a way.
And now I need to go through it and correct the transcription. I was there, and I know the names and the terms well. That will help speed things up a little. Light reading for the long weekend. I don't actually mind, you know. I defeated the "fears" when I read the papers this morning.
As it is raining and likely to keep raining all weekend, I will curl up on the couch with a red pen, and feel like a teacher again for a while.