Hoo-ee! I woke up yesterday morning after 16-20 hours of restless sleep, through 42-degree heat, though a cool change was in the air, it hadn’t quite made it to the upstairs in our new house. I was totally betwattled.
Even the first coffee was no cure and I lurched around the supermarket uncertain why exactly I was there. I figured it out in the end and shopping done I contemplated going back to sleep again. The second coffee finally kicked me into gear but I had nothing to do except some reading and waiting for the man to come and give us internet again. I stayed awake with both fans blasting and kids shouting in their backyard, perhaps hunting the floppy-eared white rabbit I saw hopping down the street earlier.
In fact, by the time evening came round I was no longer sleepy, contemplating security in our new house and a message I got from my cousin Sharon, that my mother was sick again and back in the hospital. I got to sleep what felt like just a couple of minutes before my alarm went off and here I am back at work again, dopey-eyed with spinning stars.
My mother suffers from COPD, basically what emphysema develops into. She needs oxygen all the time now and gets chest infections very easily which knock her down. The infections are usually fixed with a course of antibiotics but consistently return when they are finished. It’s been like this for the last 12 months or so.
She finally had to leave her home and now lives in a nice care home. She was sad to leave and lose the independence she loved but she understands she couldn’t go on there anymore as she needs fairly constant monitoring. The sale of the house should cover her care home expenses for a few years.
Being a practical sort, my mother often told me not to return to the UK for her funeral as it is a waste of money. Amy and Sharon have both asked me if I want to go and visit but, practically, there isn’t much I can do for her, she will feel upset that I spent a lot of money to visit and I think she doesn’t want me to see her so invalid. She has always been so strong.
She has a Do Not Resuscitate order in place, saying she doesn’t want to hang around suffering and just being kept alive for the sake of it. She saw that happen with her sister. I hope she’s not suffering.
I did go and visit her about 18 months ago after she was taken to hospital for the first time. She was still able to do things to take care of herself at that time and it was really nice to be able to sit back and relax in my old family home, just chat and watch TV. I actually enjoyed being back in the UK, it was the tail end of summer so some days were comfortably warm but it was also nice to feel that clean English chill in the air some nights. These are memories I would like to keep of the last time to see my mother. Somewhat selfish I know.
My mother’s sickness it most likely smoking-related, though she quit about 20 years ago already, she had smoked for about 20 years before that. With cigarettes always around I soon started pinching some and the few times she caught me smoking she couldn’t really say anything to deter me. I finally stopped smoking myself when my son was born. My own father died of smoking-related lung cancer before I was two years old.