Monday, 11 February 2013


I saw my mum yesterday.
She is in a humongous  leading-edge institute of care for the elderly. Specializing in neuroscience.
Focusing on elder behavior such as dementia, Alzheimer's,changes as we age,.memory,anger.mood.
Research money is incredible.
The staff, from security who gave me clear instructions on how to find her unit to the healthcare professionals, were very kind/thoughtful/sensitive.

Mum looked half way dead when I saw her in her bed. She had aged in 48 hours. I called her name with emotion. "muuuuuuum?"
This woman who has been strong in her wants and needs,narrow-minded to others, insensitive to me,demanding of my father,disrespectful to my spouse,and who would read the paper instead of talking with my young children almost had me in tears when I saw her in the bed.

I called her name. She partially rolled over from her left side and looked up at me through her one good eye. and said "I thought you were coming this evening."

It was about 4 p.m. and I was visiting her too soon?
and she really wanted to argue. She is actually in a mini ICU, "complex care" they call it and staff are right there all the time.  I want to be silent.

distract. general news-news.her damn night shifts.her sister.the dog. more bad weather news.get me out of here.change the topic quickly.peppermints.fix the lamp.


mum? you wanted your legs fixed



The nurse then wants to chat with me, so we go way down the hallway as mum's hearing is astute.
She has been ripping her IV out, pulling the leg dressings off,won't allow the nurse to do leg swabs nor will she wash.  She actually looks uncared for. dirty. it's gross.

you know. I think.   This is my mum. How can I call her gross?

I need to sit down. I ask for the staff for a clean pad to set down on the bedside chair. Mum has sat on that chair and she has MRSA and who knows whatever other 'bugs" so I need to protect my clothing,my skin. ME
I sit.
We chat.  softly.  gently.   easy.       I lean forward.   we go back and forth for a few minutes.

Within 10 minutes the leg swabs are done, the nurse is helping mum to bathe (A SHOWER!!!) and I have put on gloves, stripped her bed of the dirty linen and put the clean sheets on  in a flash,she has clean clothes to put on and the rest I have doubled bag and will wash today.  I stay until dinner   and it comes hot and smelling very,very good. I set her tray up and leave.

she says "What will I do all evening"

It breaks my heart. and though I didn't cry them,nor on the way home, nor last evening
I sure am crying now.

Mum, I'll bring you a coffee next time.

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