An absolutely genuine experience for once, but one I have doubts about, and I apologise for the cheap image above, but it’s the only I have that looks ‘spooky’.
Many people will be aware that I’ve been ill over the last week or two. What I thought (and what the NHS said) was simple case of muscle strain turned out to be much more complex. Yes, the muscles of both shoulders and arms are strained, but the problem has been compounded by a full-blown COPD flare-up which materialised a few days ago.
We’re quite familiar with them. I was diagnosed with COPD over ten years ago, and I don’t know how many flare-ups I’ve been through, but on Friday morning this fell into the category “one of the worst”. Intense pain in my left, upper back, breathing was agony, taking a deep breath impossible even with the various inhalers I use. I got through to the doc Friday morning and he doled out the usual prescription: a course of amoxicillin 500mg (antibiotic) three times a day, and course of prednisolone 5mg (steroid) six per day and all six to be taken at one hit after breakfast.
I’m not one of nature’s pill-poppers, but I’ve been through this process before and it’s good stuff. Saturday morning after only one day of the antibiotic (I got them too late in the day for the steroid) I was feeling better and after overcoming my natural reticence to take half a dozen pills first thing in the morning, the steroid began to work its magic.
The missus and I had a tour round town, and I felt good. I could breathe, I was in no pain. I was also cautious. It could have been nothing more than an immediate effect of the pills and fresh air.
At two o’clock, my wife, who’s not used to getting up early, was feeling tried, so she cleared off back to bed. I was feeling good so I got on with a bit of work. Two hours later, I left my seat to visit the smallest room and I saw her in her usual seat in the corner of the settee.
It was impossible. She was still in bed.
I have to clarify the term ‘saw her’. I wasn’t look at her corner. I was focused more on the front windows and the door to the hall, and ‘seeing’ her is my way of describing a fleeting impression on the extreme limit of my peripheral vision.
Over the years I’ve written all sorts of weird tales, and I’m not talking of my general work like the Sanford Mysteries and Mrs Capper. I’ve made an extensive study of the paranormal and come to the conclusion that despite the proliferation of unexplained phenomena, most are illusions.
But ever since we lost our beloved crackpot Jack Russell, Joe, five years ago, I keep getting peripheral visual impressions of him still in the house, and I had to ask myself, was this sighting of Carol the same, or a crisis apparition? To explain further, I’m 72, she is 78, and we both know that if life is a game of football, we’re both well into the second half, maybe looking at extra time.
I rushed upstairs to check on her and… she was fine. Better than that she was playing hell because I woke her two hours before she was due to get up.
So what really happened? This is pure guesswork, but based on logic, reason, rather than the esoteric. As a matter of routine, I have to use a steroid inhaler four times a day. Twice in the morning, twice in the early evening. Couple that to a large dose of prednisolone, a drug which can general illusions and hallucinations (although it has to be said that such events are so rare, they can’t estimate how many people are affected). What does this suggest?
And the impression was so fleeting that it might not have been Carol. It could have been my late daughter, Angela. The one time in her life that she visited us here, she sat where Carol sits, and her birthday was just a few days ago, so she’s been on my mind quite a bit.
I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was just a trick of the light and a tired mind. Maybe nothing happened at all. But I will tell you this. When I drop it into one of my darker tales, it will be a lot more sinister.