The nurse said it would be better to come as soon as possible, rather than wait until the weekend. So some work has been cancelled, a seat booked for the coach, and only then did I wonder who would be looking after Himself. My panic levels rose as I left texts and got negatives for answers. Fortunately J&B, with whom MasterB bonded so well over Christmas, declared themselves up for the task. I have written the notes, stocked up the biscuit container (his, not theirs), and started to pack my bag.
Aunt, who was so wonderfully alive last week, is fading. She is now bedridden; too weak to support her own weight; unable to keep fluids down. She has, finally, agreed to care, and forms are being hastily filled to apply for funding so that she gets the attention she needs. Tonight she is on her own. A risk. But she has slept most of today and seems unlikely to stir much in the night.
Yesterday I had a conversation with one of the visiting community team. She was loud about her duty of care, about how Aunt would be safer in the hospice, how these things needed to be considered, and Aunt’s stated desire to stay at home could be overruled in her best interests.
I politely disagreed, saying that to my mind to move Aunt now would be an act of cruelty. Yes, the care would be better, yes she would be safer, but what she wants is to die at home with her friends near her.
We resumed the conversation a while later after the community team had been with Aunt, who, despite buckling knees, had insisted she did not need anyone. The team member’s attitude had changed. We will do all we can to keep her in her own home, she said.
A Marie Curie nurse was found by some miracle to spend the night with Aunt. Linda said she was lovely, and it maybe because of her loveliness that Aunt has surrendered to having carers with grace and dignity.
I was worried about tonight. Maybe she won’t try to get out of bed, but how about toiletting? She is wearing a pad, but that’ll need to be changed. Probably not, said the nurse. She was dry this morning and this afternoon.
Bells rang in my head of Mother’s death; how she stopped passing urine a few days before she died.
Does this mean she is going to die soon? I asked.
The nurse was matter of fact, almost surprised I needed to ask. She thought we were certainly looking at the last few days of Aunt’s long life.
So I cancelled some work and booked the ticket. There may be no more photographs of Aunt smiling.