I didn’t rate the doctor’s bedside manner very highly. She measured Mother’s oxygen levels and seemed more interested in asking what we were giving her to drink than getting her pain relief sorted. I asked about the oxygen. She said a number that meant nothing to me in the context. What does that mean? I asked. Well, par for the course she said. I’m sorry, I said, but you need to spell it out; how is it par for the course? Near death, she said.
Then she disappeared with the nurse to get the patches to help dry the secretions in Mother’s throat and to give her relief from pain. They seemed to be gone ages. I rubbed Mother’s hand, kissed her and told her the pain would soon be gone. She had been whimpering with it. It is not a sound I ever want to hear her make again.
The patches were duly applied by the nurse and a care assistant. Within a few minutes, Mother was calmer. She accepted a mouthful of soya dessert, but her eyelids were closing. I read her story from a book about Hero Dogs and she fell asleep. The carers came to change her pad and move her to a new position. She was quiet, unresisting, and once restored with the covers over her, her eyes closed again. I left a few minutes later, drawing back the curtains to let the last of the daylight in, and turning off the light above her bed.
I spent around eight and a half hours with her today. Nephew and his wife joined me at lunchtime, and only left shortly before the doctor arrived. Other Nephew may visit tomorrow. Supposing there is no ‘phone call from the home tonight, I shall be there again in the morning, and Mother’s own GP will come. Nephew and Wife are on standby, warning their respective places of work that they may need to leave suddenly. I have left Aunt to phone family in Belfast. Tonight I shall email relatives in Malta. The doctor’s words were blunt, but maybe we needed to hear them. It seems there is no come back from where we are now.
At the marina, the last car left moments after I arrived back. It is windy, there are squirls of rain. MasterB and I are sitting on das Boot with the ropes creaking the other side of the window. We are both quiet, though we have had a game. He’s a good boy, and I am glad he is with me.