For a few weeks in late October and early November D had a persistent cough. He was also tired but considering the stress of the previous year (money worries etc.), his tiredness seemed quite normal.
Back to November 21st. To Mark Ray's anniversary we planned to drop the kids to school and then collect my mother and visit Ray's and my Dad's graves and go for lunch afterwards. But our youngest child had been sick over the weekend so D offered to take my mother to the grave so I could stay home with her. That morning, while D and my mother were at the cemetery, I made a doctor's appointment for A for later that afternoon.
After their visit to the graveyard, my mother came back home with D. I was chatting to her and A in the living room when suddenly I heard D call out my name. It sounded urgent with slightly panicky overtones. I hurried to the kitchen. He was clammy, sweating and pale and was bent over holding on to the table. He said he had felt dizzy and very tired and nauseous and said he just needed a short nap.
As was his way, when it came to school collection time for the boys, he got up out of bed and insisted that he felt a lot better and felt up to collecting them as normal. D always did the school run and hated not to do it. He took his responsibilities as a father very seriously and was always there for all of us. He would drive anyone anywhere if it saved them time or trouble. Looking back now, he was too strong for his own good. I wish he'd have given in just how bad he was feeling that day because he really must have felt awful. It's not that he pretended... it's that his strength kept him from acknowledging it.
Back to that day... by now A was vastly improved, so much so that she no longer needed to see the doctor. Instead I suggested that D take the appointment and go for a check up. He was feeling pretty bad still so agreed that that was a good idea. Co-incidence number two: what are the chances of us having a doctor's appointment already in place that we no longer needed so that D could get the help he did need? No way would he have got an appointment by mid-afternoon ordinarily.
I waited for D to come home from the doctor. I was worried but not overly so. Eventually he got home (after also waiting for our son to finish his music lesson and give him a lift home). The doctor told him not to worry, it was most likely a virus. There were plenty of them going around. Just to be safe he took some bloods and said he'd be in touch in a few days with the results.
And so Day 1 of this 'new normal' came to an end with us thinking D had a virus or, worse case scenario, an infection of some sort.