Phone calls with the awful news that your Uncle Jason is in a coma in an intensive care unit are, thankfully, rare.
But I got one of those on Tuesday evening.
First the good news: Uncle Jason has come round and seems to be recovering.
He’s pretty lucky – not everyone is so fortunate after they collapse at the dentist’s on a Tuesday afternoon and require emergency CPR because their heart has stopped.
But if you’re going to collapse somewhere then do it at the dentist’s, because everyone working there is trained in emergency CPR. It could have been much worse, if, say, he’d collapsed while walking there and not been spotted.
So, he has a couple of broken ribs from the prompt and effective CPR, but that’s a small price to pay, considering he was properly dead for a few minutes – no pulse, no respiration, nothing.
Thanks to the dentist, as well as the paramedics who arrived within minutes, and without whom I’d be telling a very different story here.
Because everyone should have an Uncle Jason: a laughing, larger than life wide boy who I looked up to with a mix of awe and nervousness when I was little, because you never quite knew what he was going to do next.
I grew up amidst quite a big family, with six uncles and aunts, three of whom were less than ten years older than me.
The twins, on my Dad’s side, were the coolest people I knew when I was little. They could program a computer; made their own art using spray paint; could complete a Rubik’s Cube in under a minute; made mad films with a cine camera – and bought us great Christmas presents, too.
Jason was cool, too, but in a different, slightly edgier way.
He bought us our very first electronic game for Christmas, Space Alert – and despite our very best efforts we never managed to beat his high score.
He played pool semi-professionally. For money.
He smoked, he drank, he drove around on a scooter, he was 6’6″ tall and not skinny.
But best of all, he used to babysit for us in the ’80s, and along with whatever girlfriend he was seeing at the time, he’d always bring a video for us to watch.
And not just any videos – in my early teens I saw Terminator, Phantasm, Midnight Express and loads of other cool films that my parents would never in a million years have let us watch!
And years later Jason still took us by surprise when he split up from his then-wife after getting another woman pregnant – someone my youngest brother went to school with. Admittedly it wasn’t his finest hour, but you had to sort of semi-admire the cheek and the insanity of it.
More recently, he was picked to play pool for his country, even going abroad to do so!
It was a scary 24 hours after he first collapsed, but he seems to be on the mend now. Next we need to find out what caused him to collapse; as Millie asked, “Surely his dentist can’t be that scary?”
More likely is the possibility that whatever took Trev, my younger brother, back in 2011 also affected Jason. But we’ll see.
Get well soon, Jase – life wouldn’t be as interesting without you in it!