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.