Taking care of Mum – another step on the journey

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Mum had a small stroke today. Another TIA. Amazing how proficient we become at terminology, TIA’s, UTI’s, pressure sores, not mobilising, difficulty transferring. The language of nurses of care of old age and medicalisation. But I am very grateful for the care she has. Today it has meant than rather than have to go into hospital where, undoubtably on grim past experiences, she would become dehydrated overnight swiftly followed by infection and psychosis, she has stayed at home in her own room.

I was at work when I got the call to tell me that the paramedics had been out to see her. At first I was calm, logically there was nothing I could do right then. She was well cared for and sleepy/ half conscious. I would finish my afternoon at work then go to see her. 45 minutes later my head was in the shed and I had a little fall apart. That’s pretty good for me. Sometimes my delayed reaction response spans a day or two, even longer. So my fabulous colleagues packed me up and sent me off to deal with the important stuff in my life whilst they dealt with the important stuff in the lives of people I couldn’t deal with today. As the missus said tonight, ‘That’s why we work in teams!”

I collected son 2 for some emotional support for me and we went to see Mum/Nana. She has been pretty sleep all afternoon but opened her eyes wide when I said ‘J” is here and looked up ( and up as he is 6ft 7ins and smiled. She has gone off her food the last couple of days, its like she forgets to eat or how to do it and she isn’t drinking enough either. And she has the beginnings of some pressure sores because she has just gone off her feet completely. So we have a new care plan. She has a new pressure mattress, staff will help her to feed and drink and they will treat her sore places. The district Nurse is on the case, the Dr has given us antibiotics for a urine infection and we will see how we get on.

I helped to sit her up so she could have a drink, she was burning up despite a fan blowing and the window open to let any air in. Whilst I went to get her prescription from the pharmacy mum had a cooling bed bath, a cool silky nightie on and decided that although she couldn’t manage a sandwich she could swallow a couple of mouthfuls of ice cream. I sort of know how she feels. I sat waiting for the medicine drinking an iced latte and eating dates ( 9 ww points, noy a great sugar-free choice and a completely emotional eating decision. Oy!)

On a positive note Mum knew who we were as always, responded when I talked to her and said she felt “perfect” when I asked if she was feeling alright. I am so glad she is where she is, I know she is with people who will provide good care, who have got to know her well over the last year and to know us as a family too. She has all her nice pictures and photos on the walls and she smiled at a new bunch of pink and white flowers when I held them under her nose.  I sat for a while after J had gone. I drank tea as she slept. She felt cool to the tough but in a good way and her colour was better. Sometimes her breathing was so quiet I couldn’t hear it. It reminded me of when the children were newborns and you wait for the next breath. One day, maybe sooner than we think, it will not come. When she was sound asleep I said goodbye and I love you and see you soon.

It is just another stage isn’t it? Lifes’ journey has one destination. Tonight I went for a walk with the dog by myself. We walked across the fields as the sun was getting low and the sky was turning pink at the edges. It was a perfect summers evening with a slight cooling breeze. I looked up at the sky and felt comforted by the vastness and beauty of it, so peaceful.   

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