Awake in the night 4


I can honestly say that I think that this last week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life and I know it is only going to get harder. I can’t believe it was only a month since my mum, sister and I were sat in front of a specialist who told us that she had cancer.

I think everyone knows someone who has experienced cancer and felt very sorry for them and their families but until it actually happens to one of your own you don’t realise it’s impact.

What made things worse for us was mum having a fall due to dizziness which we now know was probably down to a urine infection which I’m told in older people can be quite serious. We had no option but to call for an ambulance to have her checked out at the local hospital to make sure she hadn’t broken anything.

Nothing was broken but from the day mum got progressively worse, she was not receiving the proper care in hospital, she was put on a geriatric ward and the nightmare began. I honestly believe that some of the staff thought she was a little old lady who had fallen over and had lost the plot.

We were forever having to tell various staff that mum had grade four cancer and how she was acting was not usual, she had gone in one week from doing online supermarket shopping to an agitated, confused, in pain old lady.

The McMillan team in the hospital swooped in and were brilliant, they informed the hospital staff of the medications she needed and when they were required. At last we thought we could relax knowing that she was safe and understood in their care until we could get her home.

Unfortunately this was not the case, we noticed that mum was not receiving all her medications, she had bruises on her arms from not been moved correctly, she was actually being pulled around. My daughter is a nurse of 14 years and my sister is a manager of a care home they both know the correct way to manually move people. One doctor told us that mum was probably looking at 4/6 weeks left to live and another doctor filled out an application form to the local council to put into place a fast track request for funding to get her out of hospital and home .

Unfortunately the form was not filled out correctly and another doctor told us that the application had been rejected but not to worry because she would still be able to go home but with a reduced care package which would be reviewed in six months time.

Reviewed in six months time! When we knew she has only a few weeks to live tipped us completely over the edge. We hit the roof, my daughter, sister and I wrote a full report of what we had experienced from mum arriving on the geriatric ward and handed it over to ward manager.

The s***t definitely hit the fan then like you would not believe. Suddenly mum is having two nurses move her in the correct manner, she is receiving pain relief in liquid form instead of chewing on tablets! She is not sat in a chair for hours even though we were constantly asking for her to be put into bed.

The form was filled out correctly and instantly was approved for the correct package of care. All of the equipment needed is going to be delivered to mums house on Saturday. A hospital bed and other pieces of equipment that will enable her to have her final weeks in the comfort of her own home.

The only thing we are waiting for now is for them to find two carers who are of the right calibre to attend to mums daily needs. She has lost her mobility And is getting confused which I am told happens when cancer develops further and causes a chemical imbalance in the brain. The McMillan nurse has told us that she will get more and more sleepy and everything in her body will begin to shut down but she will be kept out of pain. In between the confusion we are having lovely moments remembering family holidays and laughing together.

It is so hard even to type this because of the pain that I feel inside. The family are all rallying round moving furniture out of her bungalow to make room for the equipment to come into the house, I’m going to give the house a good clean today ready for its arrival. Then all we need is mum home and then maybe we can all breathe a sign of relief, but yet knowing there is worse to come.

I know my sister reads my posts and I know this will probably upset her to read but I had to pour my feelings and grief out tonight. We are working so well together and I don’t know how I would have coped without her.

It’s 2.27 am now and I can hear an owl outside reminding me that life goes on and this period in my life will not last forever so I need to enjoy the good moments and appreciate the time we have left with mum.