Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mother VII

Through the nine days that have passed since mother was taken to Hospital, I have driven several of the many possible routes from Dollar to Dunfermline, all of which have been pleasant forty-five minute rural rides. Attractive at all times, presently the scenery has been made more so with fresh spring dressings of blossom and new leaf. Exciting plays of light on steeply undulating, now shower-soaked, now sun-drenched landscape emphasise colour and form under chaotically dynamic skies. The journeys to and from the hospital have provided something of a healing unguent to their purpose.
For several days, post the operation to mend her hip, I have wondered why the professionals at the hospital thought it appropriate to put my mother through the rigours of an operation. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday she was insensible, still affected by anaesthetic; on both Wednesday and Thursday she slept through my visits. I quite expected that each time I parted from her would be the last time I would see her alive. Yesterday I found her awake and sitting up in bed. As well as the intravenous saline drip she has had since she arrived at the hospital, she is now being fed nutritious drinks through a feed pipe into her stomach which her doctors, one senior and two junior, and her dietician hope will help to strengthen her enough for her to be able to resume normal feeding. I had a meeting with the two junior doctors who appeared to believe that a full physical recovery is possible. They also told me that mother has had no painkilling drugs for four days; as she feels no pain she has no need of them! The evidence of my - admittedly layman's - eyes causes me to dispute the doctors' optimism. If they are proved to be correct I shall be amazed but, if nothing can reverse her dementia, I wonder what is to be gained for mother by her making a full physical recovery. Restored to full physical health she will be in excellent condition to meet with yet another accident and begin over a painful process of hospitalisation and repair. Alternatively she will be condemned to a life so physically restricted as to make the care and attention she is presently receiving rather pointless.
In solving so many of the problems of how to keep us alive, our technically-more-capable-than-ever-before society seems to have created some interesting moral difficulties. I quite understand that if the means are available they will be, perhaps must be, employed but I do but question, in many cases, to what ends?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mother VI

Last Saturday morning my mother had an operation to replace 'half of her hip'. The operation is normally effected with epidural anaesthetic but because mother was 'too fidgety' the epidural had to be supplemented with a general anaesthetic. She remained semi-conscious for the remainder of the day so I did not visit the hospital on Saturday. I visited her on Sunday afternoon when, although she seemed to be comfortable and was able to communicate with me, she was still very drowsy. Today she seems to be clear of anaesthetic and although making no sense she was speaking clearly throughout the visit.
This most recent fall and subsequent surgery has considerably altered mother's circumstances. For the time being there is no apparent reason why she should not make a full recovery from her operation but I now doubt that 'Ashley House' have the necessary facilities to serve her future needs which, I believe, will need a bigger nursing element than a non-nursing care home can offer. As far as getting mother satisfactorily settled the position seems not to have altered from that of eight weeks ago.