A heart rending love story of a couple trying to come to terms with a dabilitating disease and whether to proceed with a new life-saving, but untested medical procedure.
Robert Essex Books
A love story about time and very special human beings, who, when confronted with an emergency requiring neurosurgery, find they are not technologically advanced enough to carry out the procedure. Decisions will have to be made requiring great professionalism, unshakeable teamwork and above all, a major step into the unknown.
When Simone is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the prognosis is death. Research has been taking place to perfect a life support system that is capable of holding a person in a state of preservation over a period of time, but the technique is difficult to achieve. As Mary and Michael continue their work, a devastating scenario presents and a chain of events that public opinion, the establishment and the law may find unacceptable, is about to unfold.
The great love of one person for another will not stop to consider anything other than saving the life of Simone and it is then that disaster strikes again.
As Heidi and I, at last, reached Bristol after our flight from America, I felt very tired. I dropped her off at Swazeby’s department store and went off to find a quiet area where I could park and reflect on what was to take place at seven o’ clock that evening, surely an event of staggering, mind blowing importance in the field of medicine and surgery.
I found a quiet area to park on the edge of the city and as I turned the engine off, the silence hurt my ears. The air is cool and cleared my head a little. It is now three- thirty in the afternoon towards the end of late summer. There is a blue sky with white clouds chasing each other liked large pieces of cotton wool blowing along. A light breeze is blowing and it is in fact a perfect day, or as near perfect as one could experience.
Born into a world war like many other kids, I was nothing special, no talents, but a survivor nevertheless and I always had this feeling about the future where we, the human race were going, but I didn’t know why. I suppose it all started when, having reached the ripe old age of seventeen, I decided I couldn’t put up with any more of my previous existence and decided to go into the Royal Air Force, which then became my Mother, Father and above all, my Mentor. I was able to educate myself and was paid for doing so. I was fed and clothed and my life started to turn around, quite drastically in fact.
I did so well with my education that eventually I made it to University – all paid for by beloved Royal Air Force. Could this go on? I hoped it would. I was experiencing a new way of life; a life that I could not even begin to imagine a few short years ago. And how did it start? Well, it started with one other human being, as all great stories start.
I had been in the Air Force for exactly eight months. I was getting nowhere fast until that day. It was a Friday, the seventh of December. I wasn’t going off for the weekend like most of the others and had decided to get myself fixed up with a good book from the library which was in the education block and then read my book, stopping for meals as and when they became available. That was the plan, but like all plans, they get altered and this one altered my life, totally.
As I went into the education block, it reminded me of school – you remember? The smell of polish on the floors, of books, other children, the lead in the pencils, all the very distinct smells. I went across the large entrance hall to a door marked ‘Library’ and opened it. The room was well-lit and very quiet. I didn’t think there was anyone working there. I surveyed the vast amount of books and wondered exactly what I should get.
As I stood looking, there was a movement underneath the desk. The first thing that materialised was this wonderful head of dark hair. It looked natural to me, but then I am no expert – well, I wasn’t then. As I waited, the face of a girl came up, followed by a body that the uniform definitely did not enhance.
“Hello,” she said. “You look lost. Can I help you?”
I swallowed hard. She was beautiful. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe. “Yes please,” I managed to get out. “I am looking for something to read over the weekend.”
“What exactly are you looking for? Crime? Adventure? Autobiography?”
“I really don’t know. Adventure, I suppose that would do.”
“Well now,” she replied. “We have a new book in. It is a really interesting, moving book. It takes place in a large hospital. It has adventure in Egypt and it also has the future and the past as its third composite. It is called ‘Hawksbury’. It is a trilogy, so it should keep you busy.”
“Yes, that sounds great. I will have that please,” I replied.
“Have a seat; I will go and get them for you. Oh, you wouldn’t like a cup of tea, would you? I have just made some and there is plenty in the pot.”
I couldn’t believe my luck. “Yes please,” I stammered. This girl really threw me; normally I had control of myself. This young lady had the effect of making me unable to think straight. What on earth was the matter with me?
She came back very quickly with the three books balanced on one hand.
“There you are,” she said, putting them down on the desk. “I will book these out to you and then I will get that cup of tea I promised you. Have you had any books from our library before?”
“No, I’m sorry I haven’t,” I replied.
“Oh, you don’t have to apologise to me. I will just make a card out for you and pop you on our system and that’s all there is to that. So the first thing I will need is your name, rank and your Service Number.”
I swallowed hard, my mouth had cried up again. “My name is Michael Kellman, I am an LAC (Leading Aircraftman) and my Service Number is 3514668.”
“That’s fine,” she replied. “See – quite painless wasn’t it?”
”Yes, thank you. Do I have to sign anything?”
“No, it’s all logged. You have two weeks before the books must be returned. Now what do they call you? Or what do you like to be called?”
“Well, everyone calls me Michael,” I replied.
“Then that is what I will call you,” she said. “It has a nice ring to it. Do you want to know my name?”
“Yes please,” I stammered. Why I was stammering, I didn’t know, but what I did know was that this girl, for some reason, made my hands shake and my legs feel spongy; my stomach even started to turn over.
“My name is Mary. What do you think?”
“Very nice. I like it. Do you have another name?”
“Yes, Mary Katherine Westlake, and what about your middle name?”
“Oh yes, sorry. My full name is Michael Thomas Kellman.”
“I like it,” she replied. “Yes, it’s nice. Tell me, how long have you been here at RAF Engerfield Green? Did you come straight from square bashing?”
“Yes,” I replied, “straight from initial training at RAF Swanton. I have been here just under six months, but I was lucky.”
“Why was that?” she asked.
“I had an immediate attachment to Kafrana in Cyprus. I arrived here on the Monday, went around all the sections and booked in. When I reached the orderly room, I was told to report to Brize Norton and then on to Cyprus.”
“What was it like?” she enquired.
“Absolutely wonderful! Blue skies, nice and warm – it was like a holiday really. I didn’t want to come back.”
“No, I suppose you didn’t,” said Mary. “It sounds as though you had a great time. So really, you have only been here a few days, literally, that is?”
“Yes, this is my first weekend. I decided to stay on camp and have a good, old read.”
“Well now Michael Thomas Kellman, you have two weeks to read the books. It’s the seventh of December, and look,” she pointed to the window, “it’s started snowing. How would you like to spend the weekend with me? Sorry, I am being very forward, aren’t I?”
“No, you are not. And yes, I would like to be with you. I like you very much indeed!” I couldn’t believe I was saying this.
“I like you too Michael, but we don’t know anything about each other yet, do we? Damn it, it’s only been twenty minutes,” she gave a nervous laugh, “but we have something here, don’t you think? But let’s not rush it.”
“OK,” I replied. “I agree, but you make me feel like I have never felt before. I wonder why?”
She smiled at me; she had a wonderful pout and deep dimples in her rose tinted cheeks. “Well then, let’s see what eight hours of ‘shop ‘til you drop’ does for your ardour. I have loads to get. It’s not long to Christmas now and fortunately, we have Bristol fourteen miles away, so plenty of shops.”
“It all sounds great Mary. When do we start then? This evening?”
“No, let’s start tomorrow. We could go out this evening if you like. You choose what we do. Is that alright?”
“Alright,” I thought. “I’ll say it’s alright!” I turned towards her from the window where I had been watching the falling snow. I felt full of a new confidence and hope as the light fell on her beautiful face.
“To celebrate meeting you Mary, we shall go off to a little restaurant out in the local countryside and have an evening meal.”
She looked at me quizzically, pausing before she spoke. “A romantic evening meal?” she asked, smiling.
I knew she was sporting with me and I liked it.
“Yes,” I replied, “if that is what you would like.”
“It is,” she replied, “and we do have a lot of talking to do.”
“I suppose we do,” I replied. “What time shall I meet you?”
“Do you have a car?”
“Yes, it’s only on old Volvo, but she is reliable, dry and warm.”
“Right then – six-thirty at the main guardroom. We can book out and be on our way in a couple of minutes then.”
“See you then,” I made my way out of the education block. As I opened the door, clutching my trilogy of the books she had recommended, a blast of cold air hit me and I could hardly wait to get back to my billet.