First of all, thanks you to everyone who commented on my post Endings last night. There are moments when the blogosphere is wonderfully supportive and that was one of them. I finished work at lunchtime today and hurried over to Kings Cross, arriving just to late for the train that would get me to Cambridge for a neat connection with the branch line I need to use to get to spitting distance of Mother’s. The train I caught instead was half empty and wonderfully quiet; people were whispering into their ‘phones.
East Anglia is famously flat, think of Constable’s paintings of his home in East Bergholt, lots of sky, and fields where the hedgerows have been removed. I took some pix with the iPad through the train’s grubby window.
Mother was in bed. She didn’t have her glasses on, and seemed unaware of my arrival. She was silent, and looked lost. I found her glasses, perched them on her nose, and she had a look at me. The nurse in charge today, a lovely woman who I have not met before, but of whom Aunt has spoken warmly, came in. I was doing my usual checking of Mother’s drawers and putting things where they belong. The nurse told me Mother was not eating much, and they were struggling to get fluids into her. I tried her with some water, and miraculously, she drank half the glass, holding onto it with a strong grip when I tried to remove it for fear of it spilling on the bed.
Mother has a supply of gluten free biscuits that we bring her. I opened the tin and offered her one. She ate it. I gave her another. That went too. Then a third and a fourth.
I started on the poetry while she munched. I told her I had a new one I thought she would like. It was Instructions. I wasn’t terribly convinced she was listening, or that she could hear above the biscuits, but when I finished, she said clearly, “That’s terrific,” and we rolled on into No Matter What, and other favourites.
She tired quickly. After about an hour, her concentration had gone and she was both restless and weary. Perhaps I should have left then. it I stayed on, and that allowed me to observe her, and certain things that mean further communication with management is necessary.
She tucked into her scrambled egg with such relish, announcing “I love this” the moment it appeared. She carefully removed the cutlery and used her fingers. I didn’t want to upset her by taking the food away, but no one had washed her hands. But watching her eat with such evident enjoyment, I can’t believe she’s ready for the next world just yet. She has definitely lost ground, is less lucid, and seems to be hallucinating more, but it feels more like the beginning of a new phase, not the end.