I’m travelling to London (again) today. I have to go to accompany my 90 year old mum to a hospital appointment. She hates doctors (my doctor daughters are, of course, the exception), and hospitals, and taking any sort of medicine, including over the counter jobs. She really doesn’t want to go.
‘I’m fine. I feel fine. They’ll only give me pills, and they”ll give me side effects, which will make me worse’ she says.
Fine, except for the shortness of breath, the tingly hands and feet, the skin lesion that won’t go away, failing eyesight and hearing, the fact that she is housebound…
They’ve called her in over a dodgy blood test, and the implication is, that it could be something nasty. You know the one. Begins with a C. She hasn’t quite grasped that, and it’s down to me (with support from my girls) to make sure she goes, and doesn’t put up that knee-jerk wall.
I am of course, fervently hoping that the news isn’t as bad as I fear, and at 90 she will just play her remaining years out in comfort without any ghastly interventions. But, I’m going to hold her hand, and listen carefully to the experts, ask questions, make sure she understands and accepts that some treatment may be necessary to make her life more comfortable … Just like she used to when she took me to the doctors as a child. When she made me take disgusting medicine ‘for my own good’.
When did I turn in to mother?
Today, for the first time in seven weeks, I had to get up, tart myself up a bit, and go to work. Well, if I’m honest, it wasn’t really work, even though it was very nearly a full day of doing something other than pleasing myself.
It was actually my first shift helping out in the day care centre at the local hospice. I went with some trepidation. Did I know how to deal with very sick people? Am I up to standard re tea making? Without my realising it, Thursday’s are men only days at the day centre, and goodness me, despite their obvious sickness, they were a cheeky bunch.
Some of the time I was standing round like a spare part, but a lot of the time was spent chatting cheerfully, looking at rude jokes on one chaps phone, and playing Rummikub, a game I’ve never played before. We had a lovely lunch, lots of tea, biscuits and cake, and several of the men had aromatherapy sessions. I saw photographs and heard stories. I chatted to the other volunteers and found that despite some age differences we were like-minded. The overall atmosphere was warm and friendly.
One very poorly chap, who spent the day attached to an oxygen machine told me ‘you won’t find a person with a proper serious disease who hasn’t got a sense of humour’ and after today, I can believe it. These were all gentlemen with plenty to be miserable about, but instead of dragging me into the gloom, they brightened my day. It certainly wasn’t work.