Sunday, 15 August 2010

Where Have I Been Recently?

Well, it's a long story.
This lady's been taking up a lot of my time. Just a short while after this picture was taken, she got married, and her second child just happened to be me.  As a child, I suffered a lot from severe asthma and eczema, and she had more than her share of sleepless nights, hospital visits, nursing, and worry. Now it's my turn to repay some of that debt.
This year has been difficult. Bit by bit, time is stealing her memory. Clarity comes and goes, some days she's sharp as a tack, doing the crossword, telling me stories of people long gone, and it's all there and fluent, other days, she'll repeat several times what she's just told me.

This year, this year might be the year in which I say, "I lost my mother". The memory thing seems to have started over the last winter. Then there was/is the lump.  The lump. In her neck. Scans, mri, ct, x-rays, biopsies... I've been taking time out of work to take her on hospital visits, luckily, my employers are very understanding.
This week, we finally got the diagnosis, Hodgkins Lymphoma (it's causing trouble in her spleen too). On friday, she started chemotherapy.

Then there are balance problems. A couple or three weeks ago, I got a call at work, from my sister, who lives about three hours away, that my mother'd called her to say she'd had a fall, had been helped by a passer-by, taken home, but was in pain and seemed confused.  I left work early, got the doctor to see her. No bones broken, just lots of bruises.

This week she started the chemo, took a double dose of some of her drugs because she couldn't remember .... So now we've had to get a visiting nurse to come, every morning, to be sure she takes the right ones in the right amounts. I go there every day, make her a meal, make sure she's eating and drinking regularly. 
Some days she's up, positive, full of ideas and plans, other days, she's had enough. Wants not to be here any more.
It's not easy, I'm not any sort of expert at being a nurse. But then nor was she, in those years when she would sit by my bed through the night.

It's my turn now.


  1. ((hug))
    As you say, favours returned.
    You look as if you have a very nice mam.

  2. my heart and prayers are with you both
    hugs and xxxx

  3. Good for you & hang in there!
    I've had some experience with older folks & am happy to give you the benefit of my advice. :)
    Like every one else, they want to live life on their own terms as much as possible. My advice; don't be too bossy. Let them think the things that are good for them are always their idea.
    Another thing, & this is very important...never talk about them in their presence like they are out of the room or address them in the third person.
    Give your mom lots of personal attention when you are with her & everything will be fine.

  4. Thank you, all.
    She had a fall last night, went to bed in pain, the nurse called the doctor this morning, and she's just bruised.
    She said she couldn't get up, so lay on the floor and cried for a while.

    "Why didn't you call me?" "I didn't want to trouble you, I knew you'd had a long day at work."

    She's got an alarm button, supposed to wear it in the house, one push and it dials out to a switchboard operated by nurses, they'd talk to her, assess the situation, get help, whether it be me, or an ambulance. but she "doesn't want to be a nuisance".

    gz: Of course she's very nice. Otherwise, how would I have turned out so well?

    Rdg. Right back xxx!

    Rita, Thanks, I've been in 'care homes' and seen people being treated in the way you describe. It's horrible.
    My mother would prefer to die rather than be treated as a semi-sentient creature.
    We've had the discussion, made out a document, signed and witnessed, as to her wishes, should she be unable to direct her own life. Effectively it's "If I lose my mind, I don't want to be here."

  5. So sorry to hear your Mother is ailing. Mine, this summer, as well. I thought this was also the year that I would say goodbye to her. But, she's a feisty one and hanging in there too.
    Sending you prayers and wishing a good result for her.
    Take care of yourself too. That's just as important.

  6. hi soubriquet, sorry to hear about your mom's troubles. your commitment is an inspiration that i fear i may have to put to use myself in the coming years.

  7. Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts.

    I've got a couple of weeks off, she's with my brother and sister-in-law, she's a nurse.. So she gets a break, ha! from me giving her the fourth degree over "What have you eaten today?", and me, I get to not need to call her three times a day, go shopping straight after work, and then cook a meal.
    Sometimes I get a bit snappy with her, when i think she's being unnecesarily obtuse, but hey, I'm unnecesarily obtuse too, where did I get it from? And hey. When i was a kid, did she ever get snappy with me? Yes. Of course.
    We forgive each other.

    I can't help but wonder how I'll cope with the next months.


Spam will be reported and swiftly deleted. I will put a curse upon you if you post spam links.