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.


21 thoughts on “Beginnings

  1. It is so good that she has you to visit. You are willing to take the time, and understand her so well, to be able to assess what is happening to her. And it also helps her that you take the initiative to speak with those responsible for her care. She is very fortunate to have you. You are a blessing.

    • My aunt visits regularly, taken by a friend of my mother’s who has plenty of troubles of her own, but is incredibly loyal. We are good at communicating with each other and asking questions. Unfortunately, not many of the staff want to answer them…

  2. It sounds like it was a good visit for you both. Lovely that she ate and drank for you – now if the staff could get that same response from her. My Mother would do that when we’d visit her almost as if she wanted to please us (which of course it did). I’m glad you’re able to communicate well with the management regarding her care and things you notice while visiting – I used to wonder sometimes if people in the care facilities get so used to seeing things a certain way that they don’t bother thinking of ways to IMPROVE!


    • We have a lot of problems with management. I need to contact the boss and go through things again. It is immensely frustrating to be saying the same things over and over again. Staff who have not been given the information they need by their superiors are left in the dark, and people like my mother lose out.
      Mum knew who I was, and there were moments when she was so herself, and we had fun.

      • That’s great Isobel….the problems you’re having with management are identical to the ones we had here with my Mom. Enjoy those “golden moments” when you have them – I know you are doing just that.

        Hugs, Pam

    • I believe the way that care homes are run, the priorities, the training, all need to be overhauled. Keeping people clean and fed is the start, but they need stimulation, company, and to feel loved.

      • just enjoying a break from a long none stopping chat with friends, during a boooooring class lol 😛
        btw, this time i am using my computer, cool to see that you chose this romantic photo as your header 🙂

        • Boring as in too easy, too difficult or something else? Maybe I should keep the header until after 14th February. Maybe not, as that night I shall be taking my boy to the cattery and leaving him there for a week…

        • it is not that easy, but it is just that i only studied for it the day before exam, and i took 90 out of 100, and it was my only passing grade in the partials, and the new stuff are weird, i understand none,
          oh, 14th will be the worse this year, having finals like hell, will not be able to watch any movie, but i plan to watch warm bodies after the finals hope it will stay in the cinema till then 🙂

  3. I am so pleased to hear how your mother responded to you Isobel…it must be so hard for you to see this happening to her. my thoughts are with you both…i hope you can get management to see your points when you speak to them

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