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.