It was time to let sister Ros know that Mum was declining rapidly – she needed to decide whether to make the flight out from UK. She arranged a flight to arrive several days before Christmas. Sue was headed down – to arrive the week before Christmas. I rang son Matt and told him to come home sooner rather than later.
The feature photo is the day that both Matt and Ros arrived – Mum was so happy to see them and I think the hours spent sitting and holding her hands were very calming and healing for her.
I was determined to bring her home for Christmas – even though it meant a major operation of getting her in the car and taking home oxygen and all her medications. We arrived Christmas Day and the first thing one of the staff said to me was ‘Oh – I don’t think you’ll be able to take her – she’s not good’. I said ‘Oh – we’re taking her – she’s not spending Christmas Day here’. It took forever to get her organised and it was a major operation to get her into the car.
Getting her into our house required all of us to help – we made her as comfortable as we could on the lounge – and she dozed peacefully. I asked her if she knew where she was – she did – and she was so happy to be there. I said to the others ‘I’m not taking her back – I’m not letting her die in that place’. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage but there was no way I was taking her back.
We followed Emma’s instructions on caring for her that day. It took four of us to change her. I realised this was going to be really difficult. She had stopped eating over the last few days – and stopped drinking. In the afternoon she became a bit restless. We lay her down on a mattress – turned so she could look out at the trees and the hills.
Later that night she became very agitated. I asked her what she wanted to do – she said she wanted to go to hospital. We rang an ambulance and Ros and I followed them in. The staff were horrified at her leg – shook their heads and said it was so typical of nursing homes. I told them the story – of the inconsistent care – they agreed that sadly it was ‘normal’ for the nursing homes.
Blood tests were done – and she was made very comfortable. The doctor finally came back with the results. He said “Okay – as I thought – it’s sepsis – the infection has spread through her body – all from the leg – I can pump her full of antibiotics to try and reduce the effects – but it’s really gone too far – and when she goes back to the nursing home – it will spread again – because they just don’t treat it. The alternative is that she may only have a few hours left – we can give her larger amounts of morphine to help keep her comfortable.”
We agreed to just keep her comfortable – she didn’t need to suffer any longer.
Sepsis!!!!! I really didn’t know much about this – only that others had died from it and it was ‘kept quiet’. I asked the doctor what her heart was like. He said it was fine – quite strong. I said she was always saying she was cold – he told me that was a symptom of sepsis. He also said it was very misunderstood – and that’s why she had been so erratic over the past month – not an increase in dementia – and that nursing homes should know the symptoms by now.
I wanted to kill Dr Ego – he was either stupid – or trying to cover up what it really was… Why? I gather because it’s too hard for the ‘system’ to treat. And since then I have read a lot about sepsis – just google it and you will find it’s in epidemic proportions – particularly in nursing home patients.
They arranged for a private room so we could sit with Mum and wait it out. The next day – Boxing Day – would be her 90th birthday…..
COMING UP – MORNINGTOWN RIDE….
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