Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother IX

Shortly before lunchtime yesterday a call came from St Margaret's to tell my sister and I to go there at once. Together with our respective partners we arrived at the Hospital to find mother awake, aware and relatively communicative. Connected in one way or another to a plethora of gadgets; electronic controls for drip feeding saline and blood, automatic blood pressure and pulse rate readers, a pneumatic bedsore preventing mattress and a device that warms air and circulates it under a plastic cover to keep body temperature stable, she appeared nonetheless to be comfortable. A nurse fed her with ice cream, of which she ate a full tub, and tea.
We spent the afternoon taking it in turns to sit by her bed, visit the hospital café and take a little exercise strolling around the hospital car parks (There are five!). As the afternoon dragged on into evening with no obvious deterioration in mother's condition – she was by now sleeping peacefully - we decided to return to Dollar.
Expecting to be summoned back to the hospital at any time we had dinner and turned in for a less than settled night. At nine o'clock this morning – post the doctors' rounds – my sister phoned the hospital and learned that mother had spent a quiet night and that shortly she would be offered breakfast and given a wash. If we hear no more from the hospital this morning we shall go there this afternoon at two-thirty, normal visiting time.
The peaks of this emotional roller-coaster sharpen!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

After watching coverage of rioting in Athens

‘Few men realise,’ wrote Joseph Conrad in 1896, ‘that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings.’

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother VIII

When I left the hospital yesterday afternoon I did not expect to see my mother again. Since I first arrived here I have doubted that she has known me as who I am but she has seemed to recognise my presence and, to a degree, responded to my attempts to make simple conversation. Yesterday however she appeared to be oblivious of even my presence or of anything else around her. She moved her head a little and with an emaciated hand tried pathetically to adjust her counterpane. Her arms are a patchwork of black, blue and purple a consequence of several intravenous invasions for drugs and nutrients; I can only wonder at the colours of the parts of her body that are covered. During my visit I was interviewed by a senior member of her team of doctors. He told me that she has been having transfusions because she is losing blood somewhere internally and that he would like to perform an endoscopy to 'see what is going on'; to do this he must have my permission. Reluctant to have mother subjected to further distress I refused, for the time being, to give my permission. I would wait to make a decision, I told the doctor, until this morning.
When I phoned the hospital this morning I was told that mum had had a peaceful night and that this morning I would not recognise her as the person I had left yesterday afternoon; she was sitting up in bed and 'chatting' to her nurses.
The roller-coaster we are riding runs on!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sound advice

"Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted. And human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect.…"
-E.M. Forster, Howard's End