Alert Stand Down

When I arrived she didn’t look great. She was asleep, frowning, the ceiling light on above her. Today’s nurse-in-charge came to speak to me. A lovely woman, but as we talked, I again found myself in the shoot-the-messenger position. Things management hadn’t told her, things I need to know.
We went through Mother’s notes for the last twenty-four hours. Worryingly, she had only drunk 150mls of fluids in that time. My head would be thumping. Mother likes fruit juice, especially anything with mango. We have said countless times that she is not to have squash. A jug of weak orange squash stood on the dressing table.
Mother woke up. She pushed away a cup of tea offered by the nurse. Try hot chocolate I suggested. It smells good, she likes it. It often works. Slowly but steadily, she drank most of it. The nurse thanked me.
I switched the lights so that the wall light was on. Mother remained awake. She wasn’t very receptive to poetry today, but Daffodils went down well. She perked up. Her cheeks, which had seemed pale when I arrived became rosy. She cuddled the giraffe cuddle blanket I had brought, though blanket seems a grand name for something the size of a man’s handkerchief. A one point she stuffed it up her pyjama top, but most of the time she stroked and held it. I am sure she’ll wipe her nose on it soon. It’s washable.
I don’t know about the abdominal pain. She has slipped a few more inches away from us, but unless it is the ‘sinister’ possibility, I didn’t feel she is in her last days. I left while she was having her early evening meal of scrambled eggs. She let go of my hand for the hand and arm of the young male carer. He told me she strokes his forearms, apparently enjoying the hair.
Thanks to everyone for the supportive comments in reply to the earlier post today. I do appreciate them. I had intended to post about Aunt Kath today as it is her 97th birthday, but she will get her moment soon.


42 thoughts on “Alert Stand Down

  1. I’m not sure if ‘like’ is the right thing, but you know what I mean. Keep your spirits up. All my best.

  2. I am so glad that things were relatively well – but it is a concern that she can change so quickly. My thoughts are with you, Isobel.

  3. Thank you for letting us know, Isobel. So difficult….

    MasterB is good to come home to, even if he keeps you awake because he *needs* to be outside *right now*!

  4. i havent been here for a while, but all i can say, keep doing it, it is said around where i live, heaven lies beneath the feet of mothers…..
    God bless you 🙂

  5. I’m glad you saw some improvement in the time you were there. That’s a reassurance, although it does mean you are making the way back up to the top of the roller coaster xxx

  6. I’ve just known your mother is in trouble. But I see she has shown signs of being down to earth with you and the carer. So I am glad she is all here responding to your loving messages. Keep your spirits up for you and for her! I am sending you a very warm hug, Isobel. I wish you all the best for these hard times.

  7. So glad the news is reassuring Isobel. I’m quite cross for you though that things that could make things better just don’t seem to have been taken on board! Why do hospitals & carers not accept that family does know key information that would help them in their jobs.

    • The whole visit gave me a lot to think about. Not just drinks, but the way hand hygiene is being addressed. I have to go to work now. But I expect I’ll post about it soon.

  8. It sounds like your visit was perfectly timed – your mother perked up during your visit. Hot chocolate was a grand idea apparently – same with the “blanket” you had brought…’s the little things…..too bad they can’t seem to consult the chart when taking care of her though – like what she should and shouldn’t drink! I’m sure both of you feel better for the time together though….

    Hugs, Pam

    • I think it is that they run things a certain way, and although they talk about personalised care, really it defaults to suit a system that is far bigger than the individual.

  9. Oh, Isobel…I so empathize with you. My mother was in a nursing home for several years before she died. Her condition was the opposite of your mother’s. She had ALS and remained alert and well within her right mind all those years. But her body deteriorated to the point that she could do nothing for herself.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mother. And hope your aunt is doing well in her 97th year. My neighbor is also 97, bless their hearts.
    Love and hugs,

    • Thanks June.
      My aunt, Cousin’s mother had that. We call it motor neurone dosease here. a cruel illness. Coincidentally, there was an article about it in the Guardian today. Here’s the link.
      Aunt Kath is also deteriorating, but remains serene it seems.

  10. Good news Isobel- you brightened her day, made sure she was well cared for and provided much comfort. I enjoy the fact that she was well enough to dump you for a young man!

    • You know, I can only be grateful I don’t have brothers. When my nephew is there my mother is glued to him. She doesn’t always know who he is, but she always refers to him in glowing terms. She does a bit of male attention, especially if they are young and good looking. 🙂

    • Thanks Kate. I am starting to think more seriously about doing the Reader Organisation training if I can squeeze it in. That, visits from animals, singing, pleasant multi-sensory experiences must add texture and pleasure to people’s life.

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