She has a long and frankly astonishing history of cheating death. 15 years ago she had a massive stroke which left her permanently disabled but left her personality intact.
We have had quite a rough ride together and the boundaries of what it means to be a mother and son and she has taught me so much about being a human being. From age ten to eighteen I was one of her primary carers and even once I left home I was involved in looking after her.
In Febuary she had another stroke and spent the next six months in hospital before transferring to Pondsmead.
It appeared she had another stroke on Sunday night whilst at the nursing home she now lives in. We were all called and came to say goodbye. She was unconcious, her food and meds were stopped and we were told she would be gone most probably within twenty four hours.
Over the course of the week we noticed she was responding slightly to auditory stimulous. I had sort of decided to play Abba and Queen to her because they were her favourites. Ooops past tense, bad habit. They are her favourites.
All four of us, My two elder brothers and elder sister were together with my father while a vicar came to do some prayers. I must confess I stood to one side respectfully as I find christian worship somewhat redundant philosophically to me but have complete respect for the rest of my family’s beliefs.
My siblings stayed overnight on Sunday and Monday. It all seemed rather hopeless.
Without meaning to sound callous, I found myself able to find solace in the peace my mother appeared to have. She was sleeping and in no pain. I had no wish for her existance to end but compared to all the pain and trauma she has endured over the years, this was nothing.
I stayed over night on Tuesday, Mum began choking on her own secretions and I must confess I was very alarmed. I called for help and the frankly wonderful nurses did lots of oral care and suction to clear her airways. I was willing to accept an end but not like that, she deserved better.
Over the course of the night I tried to sleep in her reclining chair in her room but could not. I realised I was counting the seconds between each of her breaths. The figure rose and fell, erratic and shallow, deep and warbly. We thought she was going to leave us and at those moments it was all too easy to believe.
Earlier in the day my sister and father managed to convince the doctor to restart my mothers fluids and give her 15ml of water an hour via her ng tube. Thats a tube in the throat to allow a nil by mouth patient to be fed and given medications.
Everytime she came round, like a cough or a splutter shook her back into conciousness, I tried to talk to her. Sometimes she focussed, sometimes not.
I remembered she was supposed to be being fed water and that had not been happening through the night.
As the morning came, she seemed to be more aware, awake, responding to a squeezed hand. The words were like a radio tuning in and out. She kept saying the word ‘thirsty’ and I asked them if they had been doing the fluids. I had fallen asleep a few times and not kept tabs. Another lovely nurse started the water again.
My mother, unstoppable, stubborn, never wrong. Awake 🙂
I went home about 8am to get some rest, needed to feed Phil as well and have a bath. I left a note for the doctor. Explaining what had been happening.
I couldn’t sleep so popped over to Bristol to see my friend Maya and get some headspace. There was no guarantee she was out of the woods. Did some online research and it was clear that some people have a final resurgence before it is time for them to leave and I thought that may be the case here.
A phone call at lunchtime told me that Mum was chatting and popping in later on she was helping my father do the crossword.
She is frankly, awe inspiring. Her brain and body were dying and she didn’t. Not sure I believe in souls although I do believe in the complete indivisuality and uniqueness of a human person’s electrical brain patterns so perhaps thats my version.
I hope the lazarus ability is coded into my D.N.A but even if it isn’t I am glad my mother posesses it.
I spent Thursday catching up with my sleep and doing some sorting out. My collegue Alex came and took me out for lunch to check up on me which was lovely.
Away we go folks, 🙂