Neither Here Nor There

Oh the relief.

For the last few days I have had one foot metaphorically in Suffolk. I’ve been ready to pack my bags, scoop up Not Cat and head East. Mother has had a chest infection that was not responding to antibiotics. We had a bit of a wrangle with the home.

Aunt was very concerned when she visited. Mother was off colour, off her food and wheezing. No one seemed to feel a doctor’s visit was necessary. Aunt disagreed. The doctor was called. Aunt called me. I called the home and asked them to ask the doctor to call me when s/he visited.

I stayed home, sorting and shredding old papers in Mother’s files. Finally the ‘phone rang. Not the doctor; the senior nurse at the home who told me the doctor had thought her ‘more than capable of passing on a message’.

Not the point. If we didn’t think the staff capable, Mother wouldn’t be there. I still wanted to speak to the doctor. Fortunately, that was achieved. It was the out of hours service who did not know of the protocols we had agreed with the surgery back in March. She gave me some good advice, said my mother was on antibiotics and expected to respond in forty-eight hours.

I sent an email to the home expressing my full confidence in the staff and explaining I still needed to speak to her doctor myself.

Seventy-two hours later, Mother was still not responding to the antibiotics. At three this morning I woke, suddenly aware that now Mother doesn’t have a flat, we need to think about where to gather after the funeral. Note to self to ask Nephew who knows the area.

The GP was due to visit sometime after eleven this morning. My mobile ‘phone, usually on silent and often forgotten, was in my pocket with the ringtone turned up.

I got the call shortly after twelve. The GP was on her way. She was very reassuring, understood completely why I would want to speak to her drectly. We discussed what might happen should Mother still not be responding.

At one o’clock I was in the West End on my way to a job. The ‘phone rang. I ducked into a gap between two buildings. I was aware of my heart beating.

Good news. Mother has perked up today. She was drinking, looking forward to her lunch, chatty. The GP told her she’d been talking to her daughter. “Isobel?” said Mother, “Where is she?”

Passers-by must have thought I was a bit odd. I walked back into Market Place and gulped air. Suddenly the world came back into focus. The parts of my brain and vision that have been hovering around Mother’s bed cleared. I felt elated, tearful and extraordinarily tired.

It’ll be an early night tonight.

15 thoughts on “Neither Here Nor There

  1. Oh, I can see how painful this is.

    Last night at 8:30 the phone rang — nobody calls after about 7:30 because they know we go to bed early. At the ringing, I had a cat sprawled all over me and he wouldn’t move, of course, for me to answer the phone, which I did not want to do because I flashed on the conversation: your Mom has fallen and is being taken to the hospital.

    It was not that kind of phone call, but relief came slowly, much like your description of gulping air.

    I wish for you that this would get easier, but it isn’t going to, I know. Best to you… –Laurel

    • Yes, I know what you mean. I look at the ‘phone in alarm when it rings and I’m not expecting a call.

      I am glad your call turned out not to be about your mother falling.

      Take care.

  2. This sounds so very painfully familiar although my similar experiences were over 10 years ago with my Mom. At any rate I’m glad she’s responding to the medication and it’s good that the home responded to your request to actually talk with her doctor – it’s the best source of course. Hope you get the rest you NEED tonight.


    • Well, actually it’s all arranged through the surgery now. I don’t want to get up the noses of the staff at the home, but I find it very odd that they think I wouldn’t want to talk to the doctor myself.

  3. I am so glad your mother has responded – so now it is time to take care of you a bit. And you have every right to talk to the doctor – so stand your ground my girl. And give your Mum a hug when you see her – i wish i could give one to mine…

    • Thank-you Jo, I shall. I have a lot of work to do this weekend, but i am going to make sure I have some me time too. Big hugs and big kisses are always a part of visits with Mother. Nephew, who she adores, hopes to see her tomorrow.

  4. I’m relieved your mother is already responding to treatment. I hope she recovers well and soon.
    And I’m glad SHE understood YOU had been looking after her from the distance!
    Big hugs for you both.
    Take care, my friend!

  5. Hello Isobel! I read your story with my heart in my throat. And then I read the great part where she is responding to the antibiotics and asked for you. Hope you have gotten some sleep now that she is feeling better. Take care.

    • I am expecting to hear from my aunt and/or my nephew, both of whom hoped to see Mother today.
      I think these lurches of the heart are familiar to all of us with elderly frail relatives. it’s a bit of rollercoaster.

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