Sweetly Sleeping

Lying quietly in her bed, the morphine pump doing its work to keep her free of pain, Aunt sleeps peacefully.


The pain, we think, is due to the fact that she fell out of bed sometime in the night and was discovered by Linda first thing this morning, lying on the floor, her head under the bed. The ambulance arrived in four minutes. It would have been three but the paramedics couldn’t get through the front door.


When Linda told me this just as I was about to leave home for the coach, I was whispering “oh no, oh no, oh no”, sure that Linda was about to tell me Aunt had been taken to hospital. But no. The wonderful paramedics checked her carefully and got her comfortable in bed once more. But she must have bruised herself, because she was wincing and grimacing in pain. Something the cancer has never caused her to do. So this afternoon, the community team arrived and set her up with a morphine pump that is keeping a steady flow of pain relief flowing into her. Continue reading

A Ticket to Aunt

How are you today? I asked.

Weak, said Aunt. I never thought I’d feel this way; just raising my arm wears me out.

So we talked about changing priorities; about how the main goal is for her to stay at home and for the first time she seemed to welcome the idea of carers.

I promised to call the Specialist Nurse tomorrow to see what we could do.

Thank-you, said Aunt. Continue reading

Of Tea Cosies, Vet Visits, Ill Aunts, Insightful Books and a Bit of a Rant

Octavia has a new and gorgeous tea cosy. It is ragwork, and beautifully done. If I drank tea, I should be seriously covetous. As it was, I just turned it around so that the ginger cat side was on show, rather than the likeness of the grey ninja.

Thanks to drugs making him dozy, the ginger ninja has spent most of today asleep under a blanket. He had another trip to the vet yesterday afternoon after more trouble peeing. It was a different vet in a different practice. MasterB is now registered with two vet surgeries. This one is open on Saturday afternoons and even on Sundays.



The diagnosis is idiopathic cystitis, meaning the cause is unknown, but this vet, an antipodean like Ellie the Vet, was prepared to rule out cancer. Ellie, knowing me better, would have ruled it out without telling me she had done so. But suddenly I am wondering how short MasterB’s life could be. This vet agreed it might well be stress induced – ie Cookie – hence the opiates to keep MasterB zen. He was very zen at the surgery. Remarkably so. A lot less zen this morning before I had administered a dose of the Metacam, and pretty lively now, and outside swishing his tail. I offered him the chance to come in away from his rather over-assertive girlfriend, but he declined. He seems to prefer to watch her, an Outraged-of-SE17 expression on his whiskers. There may be letters to the feline equivalent of the Daily Mail.

However, I prefer lively to sick, but I can see the timing of the drugs, which he is on for five days, may have to be thought through. Tomorrow he is back at Ellie’s, though I think it is her day off, so he’ll probably see her partner.


As it turns out, MasterB is not the only one close to me requiring medical attention. Aunt has had a suspected heart attack. She called her GP who called an ambulance; spent a day at the hsopital which she found exhausting; and much to her relief was allowed home. She has been told to rest, so I am resisting the temptation to call her every few hours to check up on her. She feels she has lost a lot of ground this year. When I see her next we are going to check out audio books to download to her tablet in case she has to go into hospital again. I have some spare head phones, so she should just be able to close her eyes, shut out all the busyness and bustle, and relax in her own sound bubble.

We had the chance of an extra hour in bed today as the clocks went back in the middle of the night. That’s the end of British Summertime until 2015, and it was dark so early this evening. Suddenly all the Christmas stuff in the shops doesn’t seem so out of place. But it is still mild, so I am hoping the heating will remain off for a few weeks yet.

Slowly catching up on yesterday’s Guardian today, and steadfastly ignoring all the mess and clutter around me, I reached the Review section. Last night I was clumsily trying to articulate how I felt hospitals and care homes put the needs of running the institution above the people in their care. Phrases like ‘care for the individual’ are well meaning claptrap. The individuals have to adapt to the institution; the institution is too inflexible to adapt to the individual. Continue reading

Wednesday on Water

One of us had a bit of lie in. Without naming names, it wasn’t me, and NotCat and I are here alone though we have company threatened for lunch tomorrow. An ex with whom I have remained friends. But I know what he’s like (and why he’s an ex) and I really don’t want my day so disrupted. Ah well, it may rain.

Today I have seen Mother and spent several hours with her. She has a rash which does not seem to be responding to antibiotics. The doctor told me it was infected eczema. Her nails, Mother’s, not the doctor’s, were so filthy I can only be grateful she hasn’t got Bubonic plague. So that was the first task; digging beneath them and filing them into shape. She wanted the toilet. After a few minutes in which she demonstrated she had left the asking a bit late, staff came to take her to the loo. She has to be hoisted so it is a two person job. I accompanied her. One of the staff suggested I leave. She thought it undignified that I should be in attendance. I disabused her. I have cleaned Mother up after bouts of diarrhoea, wiped her bottom and bathed her many times in the last few years.

Later in the day Mother had to wait twenty minutes before anyone was able to help her onto the loo. In that time she became increasingly agitated and soiled herself. That’s undignified. It was also interesting to note that she tried repeatedly to get out of her chair to walk to the loo. This is the woman who was refused physio last autumn because it was deemed she had lost the cognitive ability to walk. Continue reading

The Forgotten

When I read Pseu’s post this evening,http://pseu1.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/river-of-stones-v/ just after listening to the News Quiz and laughing incontinently, I wanted to bury my head in my hands and cry, or go outside and rage at the moon.

Gradually, as I prepared supper, despair moved to anger.
We should be out on the streets. People living with dementia are still people. Continue reading