The train is surprisingly full. A lot of the passengers are eating their lunch. I did too. Well I have had the substantial sandwich I made last night, drunk most of my water, and I have cake and apples to sustain me for the rest of the journey.
I am going to see Mother. I had a message yesterday to say the doctor had visited as Mother had complained of an abdominal pain. The doctor has told staff to monitor how Mother is. It may be nothing, it may be a touch of constipation, it may be a hernia. Or, as the doctor put it, it may be something more sinister.
We move into the alert zone.
Keeping Mother out of hospital is a top priority, so she is not being whisked in for tests. After I have seen her I can call the surgery and arrange to speak to the doctor early next week. Maybe we can stand down from the alert then, maybe we’ll be scaling up. High alert. We have been there before.
This time two years ago, Mother made a miraculous recovery from near death. I stayed twelve days with her. Twelve days of anxiety, relief and joy.
Much of the joy came from Cat. He was with me. I didn’t know then that these were to be the last days of his life. He was on fine form, and I am glad he had such a good time at the very end of his life. He lay on Mother’s bed beside her, rubbed his head against her hand, purred at her, blinked at her through narrowed eyes. He charmed the carers, entertained the residents. He approved of the garden and decided it was his. The pretty tortie from next door was vanquished. In the evenings, when it was quiet and I had finished the round of ‘phone calls he was my anchor in normality, and the confidante of my fears.
The thin line between life and death was vivid in those days, and for the past two years as I celebrate and enjoy the arrival of spring, I mourn my cat and the end of Mother’s slight independence. For this is when it began. Eight months later she went from hospital into the nursing home where I am visiting her today.



23 thoughts on “Alert

    • Thanks Speccy. I am still travelling. On the second, mercifully warm, train now that will trundle across country then it is a walk into the town and up the hill on the other side. I hope she is well enough to enjoy seeing me. It is very hard to get a clear picture from the message. I have a new poem for her that I think she will like.

      • I have a few scars from Charlie at the moment…we went back to the vet on Thursday for a chiropractic treatment on his back…he was not impressed. The vet just loves him though…said she has never seen such a forgiving cat. One minute after causing him some pain he was all over her. He is such a little charmer. On the way home though he got the cage open and while trying to stop him escaping as I was driving, I think I poked him in the eye…I feel so guilty…it is a little weepy.

        • Has he forgiven you? And how is he progressing? Cat hated the vet (an Australian) but she loved him. MasterB’s attitude is harder to determine. I think he is just nervous of her. But he has given me no scars.

  1. My heart goes with you Isobel…..I remember what being on high alert is like. The similarities between Cat and Sam are so startling sometimes….your boy was so gorgeous and I know BEYOND DOUBT he’s with you now as you journey to see your Mum. I hope you can enjoy some quality time with her and that she’s OK.

    Hugs, Pam

    • Thanks Pam. I just posted an update. It’s not quite the gates at Buckingham Palace, but it is my version.
      The alert thing is a bit of an emotional roller coaster isn’t it. Cat is with me at this time of year in particular, but I think he will always be present in my memory.

  2. Thinking of my own mum, 3 years ago, and my own dad, 5 years ago…

    What a gorgeous cat! Reminds me my woofie, Looping, I will never have such a dog again.

    Life… I wish you strength, Isobel. Are you an only child?

    We think our feelings are special, fekt for the first time, but… how did our parents feel about their parents’ death, and our grandparents?

    Smoochies to Cat, the only and actual one,

  3. You are brave, Isobel. What if both of you could not cope with your mother’s illness? I don’t judge, because I think that if you were not there, or if you did not react like you do, maybe your sister would act differently and would get acquainted with interior forces she does not know…

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