Ulcerated Aunt

I heard an owl when I went outside earlier, and then again a few minutes ago. Otherwise the silence seems intense. If I listen hard I can hear cars faintly. They are swishing through the dark streets of an East Anglian night.

Aunt was worried I might be cold. In her flat the heat was like a wall. She had at least five layers on that I could make out, and thermal leggings under her warm trousers. How the elderly must have suffered in the old days, and how some must suffer now when they economise on heating to be able to pay the bills.The guest room is what estate agents describe as cosy; but it will do. The first thing I did was open the window and turn off the heater. That was hours and hours ago. It’s still very warm here. Hot air rises, but I am on the ground floor.

Taking the various bits of recycling out to the bins the cold felt delicious, like when you go clubbing and outside the cool air on your skin is like a welcome friend.

Aunt is better than I had hoped. A bit vague. She told me things several times, was very unclear about what happens tomorrow, to the extent I am really not sure she has a hospital appointment at all. I hope this is down to her unwellness and not the start of serious memory problems. I had imagined her heading off to bed quite early, but in the end it was I who wanted to sleep.

She has an ulcerated oesophagus and it has also narrowed. Eating has been painful and difficult for a few weeks. She has lt weight. On Tuesday she had a procedure where a camera was put down her throat. She saw the pictures. She is not going to have them framed to hang on the wall.

She managed to eat some of one of the Alpro soya desserts I brought her and said it was the first thing that hadn’t hurt. Camomile tea also seemed to soothe her. She looked at pictures of Cookie and commented repeatedly at how alert she looks and what lovely markings she has. We progressed to Maru and his boxes, then to a video of Norman the cat that Sophie Scott serendipitously sent me today.

I left her so she could have a rest and I could eat. I promised I should be back upstairs soon. A game of bingo stopped as I opened the door to the communal room and all heads turned towards me. I just need to use the kitchen, I explained. Some nods, mostly stares, but when I emerged some minutes later with my meal on a tray the game continued without pause.

Back with Aunt we talked some more, called Cousin who had left a message on my voicemail this morning, watched Simon’s Cat. I am hopeful that her sore oesophagus will heal, and come the spring she will be well enough to resume our pub lunch programme. But in the meantime the internet’s cat videos are the best medicine I can offer.


20 thoughts on “Ulcerated Aunt

  1. Poor aunt. That sounds nasty. You were a star taking her the Alpro desserts. They are actually really nice and easy to swallow. Cat videos should be on NHS prescription.

    • Those Alpro desserts were a regular feature of Mother’s diet, and the one thing she could usually be tempted by when her appetite wained. I like the fact that they are long life and you can keep them in a cupboard, so there’s no pressure to eat them straightaway.
      Next time I’ll do her a banana blended in milk.

  2. I don’t like the sound of an ulcerated oesophagus, Isobel. It sounds really bad. Hope the hospital appointment goes well today. You are such a good person looking after friends and family, and cats.

    • She loved the cat pictures and I put the link in an email to her. She has revived so well with the easy to swallow food that I am hoping it is not going to turn out to be anything sinister.

    • She was given some Fortisips and we used her little stick blender to make the vegetable soup as lump free as possible today. That worked, and I left her some in a thermos so she could enjoy it later without having to mess about in the kitchen. Also got her some fruit teas after she joined me in drinking camomile and enjoyed it.

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