Monthly Archives: September 2006

The Comeback Kid

That’s what they call him at the hospice.

Mind you, he’d have got better a lot quicker if the Queen had been a little more considerate. After all, I didn’t really expect her to come swanning in and tip wine all over his bed.

I think the sign that he was getting better was when he started enjoying his hallucinations rather than being quite so distressed by them, and allowed us to explain that he was just seeing things which weren’t really there. Just as well, really, as his conviction that he had died in the night and that we were lying to him about being alive was quite perturbing. Luckily this was the day when our wonderful macmillan nurse (all power to their elbows) came to see him and the nurse was able to check his pulse and breathing and reassure him that no, the vital signs all seemed to indicate that he wasn’t dead after all and that he could trust what my sister and I were saying. As I said, just as well. Can you imagine waking up in heaven and finding ME there as an angel? 😉

Saturday and Sunday were more like Hell than Heaven. On Monday morning we were able to get more support from the doctor and the hospice, although the latter had been brilliant talking us through the weekend and providing advice and equipment. The boss from the care agency came, determined that Dad should not have anyone inexperienced while his regular carer was on leave. She and my sister and I spent an hour giving Dad a bedbath, rolling him from side to side to change his pyjamas and freshen him up despite the horrendous pain it caused. So you can imagine her amazement on Wednesday when she arrived to find him up and ready for his shower, to get dressed and go off to the day centre!!!

The doc had been unable to find any real trace of an infection but decided it was highly possible he had a hidden chest infection and prescribed antibiotics anyway. And within three days we witnessed the miracle once again of seeing him recover from death’s door and from the depths of depression and once more become his old self, if somewhat thinner and weaker. The radiotherapy that he missed has been rescheduled, hopefully for next week or maybe the week after, depending on whether the oncologist or his secretary win the battle of wills over whether there is space on this week’s list.

I am exhausted, mentally and physically, and actually slept most of today. However, I must say that I’d be in far worse state if it weren’t for the intervention of a veritable angel. Whoever would expect, out of the blue, a message from a virtual stranger (possible axe-murderer, of course) expressing a willingness to come and be a part of the family, sitting either with Dad or with the Smudgelets to give me some me-time and chance not to be torn in two? I know she reads this blog, and I won’t mention her by name… but you know who you are and to me you’re a veritable angel. Besides, how could you not be the champion of the day in giving me such a wonderful excuse to shift some calories? (in totally the wrong direction, I hasten to add – from the plate to my waistline 😀 )

A life in waiting

That’s a little how today has felt. A life in waiting. Not quite so blatent as waiting for Dad no longer to be with us. Less forward looking even than that.

Dad’s pain has considerably increased, a pitiful thing and as much as my heart can bear to watch, being powerless to take that pain away. The morphine just doesn’t seem to be touching it, but the increased dose has the single blessing, for him, of putting him sufficiently to sleep that only the sharpest stabs of pain break through and make him yell. Which is good and yet not so good – he’s a dead weight to lift and try to move and cannot get comfortable without assistance. We’ve been told to try to get him from bed to chair for at least a few hours, which is a grand experience for all concerned as we manoevre this willing but incapable, astute but foggy, dwindling yet still quite hefty man from one position to another. Heaven help us if he suddenly needs to go to the loo!!!

Trust him to take a turn for the worse at 6pm on a Friday evening, just in time for the weekend. They can do nothing really till Monday. So here we are waiting. Waiting to get through the weekend so he can be assessed on Monday. Waiting to see if he’ll wake or if he needs morphine. Waiting to see if he’s awake enough to give him his tablets or try to get him to drink. We’ve been told not to give him anything if he’s not awake to swallow properly without prompting, but how do you leave him without so much as a drink of water, let alone his painkillers? Simply waiting, unable to settle to anything, unable to know what to do for the best, daunted by the knowledge that with one less sister in the equasion for six weeks, we’ll be struggling to maintain the two people here that is so essential at the moment and I may face doing this on my own.