Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sitting with Mum

I was in Leamington between Friday 20th and Tuesday 24th February, visiting mum and dad not knowing how long mum would be with us, but never thinking it would only be 2 days after I left to come back to London that she would die! Whilst I was sitting with Zena I made a few jottings.

Very interesting and very powerful to be sat with Zena when dad came in. To see the strength of their bond and the uncertainty of its physical longevity was extremely moving. Dad sat quietly, I think he might have been praying.

She is very yellow and raspy of breath.

I wonder whether she’d rather we all left her alone?

So much changes in a week, and even yesterday she spoke a little. ‘Hello Gorgeous’ she said to Joe as he entered the room – must have thought it was me:)

She signalled earlier to be moved and asked if she could skip and whether I’d set up her skillet for her. Having no idea what she meant I said that I would.

Everything is so different in a week and what a difference even a day makes.

Mary is like a balm Joe says; soothing everything and soothing all.

Laura may stay over; all of us will be here then.

I thought just I would be here this weekend and we all ended up here, like we are drawn by a star. 5 less than wise men. The star is fading and that is the draw.

Joe decided to come at 12.40 am. When he got here he sat with Zena until 5. The woman who is here during the night between 10 and 7 to sit with Zena, must have wondered why she was there as well as him. She was asleep every time he passed her on the landing.

Zena has a nurse (carer) 3 times a day now, a hospital bed. At every turn there is something new. Everything is happening so quickly. Each time I call or ask Joe for an update there is something new, some new routine, something changed, always something to report.

Chatted with dad about when he was a junior doctor working with the community midwife. He had to ride a bike with all the equipment on the back and the midwife would go so fast, and his bike was so heavy.

Mum’s breathing is very raspy now – stopped for a minute again just now – I thought it was her time.

I’m quite used to looking at her now, so even though she is concentration camp like it seems normal(ish), just asleep.

She is very yellow, her liver, and skinny and emaciated. She can’t get up, although I think she could last weeks.

Someone has stitched up her headscarf as it is now a permo feature. Her wig sits proudly on the other side of the room.

I’m not sure about this vigil, but it may be helping, although I’m sure it’s not helping her much. But if she wakes and wants something then that makes it a useful pastime.

Nan has gone very stressed out – Mary thinks there is a symbiotic link between mother and daughter. It’ll be the first ‘connection’ in a while. Mum hasn’t been able to cope with Nan going a bit ‘old’. I wonder how she thinks we’ll cope with her version.

Luckily at an early age I cemented an agreement with my mother that I’d never have to wipe her bottom.

3 weeks ago we were discussing dad having a sitter for one or 2 afternoons a weeks. Now every night and a nurse 3 times a day. What will it be like next week? Dad is administering the morphine otherwise she’d have to go into a hospice perhaps.

Sitting here with her I feel a little calmer than sitting at home thinking about her or being at work and worrying about her.

I have been so surprised by how sad her illness and potential passing has made me. It has crept up on me and given me a big shock.

Such a strong woman, now so weak. Too feeble to speak, in fact too sedated to speak, so no chance of her being able to moan or be rude. Mary said that she did say thank you to the nurse this morning.

It is strange the two Wards at different ends of the house. Joe wants to open a hospital and put them both in and call it the Ward ward.

The night sitter told Mary last night that Zena had 3 days left!

It’s getting dark. This used to be my room, and before that Joe’s.

Mum asked what time I got off duty. This is not the morphine as she hasn't had any today. She asked whether we had all got to know each other.

I think mum is seeing spirits! – Call Yvette Fielding.

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