NERVOUS MOTHER, BROTHER CHOMPING at the bit. Yes, we did this yesterday. This one’s about funding… it’s how we pay for it and how the whole thing works. It’s okay. Handshakes and smiles all round. My, these folks dealing with us are pleasant.
Brilliant. Funding is now in place. All we have to do is get the old man up here now… and work out how to tell him. Ah well. That’s for the next visit.
Unexpected phone call from the house: mother tripped over a chair, will I still go down to the – NOT NOW! PHONE DOCTOR. REPORT INCIDENT. Phew. Will check later, time for a bath… oops. Spoke too soon… at the local hospital with a transfer to the main regional? Oh crap.
Slug the coffee, leave the food, out the door. Halfway to the hospital, the Discharge Nurse at the main hospital phones about my father… they’re looking to transfer him on Monday? I laugh crazily. Oh, the irony. The irony. She asks why and I tell her that mother’s fallen and we’re on the way down TO THERE for x rays and god knows what. We laugh together. Suddenly, everything’s become a comedy soap.
Mother’s fine except for an ostrich egg growing on the outside of her hip. Ambulance on way. I travel down and wait around with her, trying to keep her grounded and focussed – noticing that she’s still prone to a Swiss cheese memory but is able to do the ‘being brave’ thing effortlessly. I double-check everything with nurses and they ask about meds.
Oh joy. Keeping her in for obs overnight. Cool. She’s settled, the nurses are being frankly wonderful and… this is the time we would be leaving for the bus from visiting Dad… nurse overhears and asks if she’d like to visit. OH HELL YEAH! Put them in the same room together and lock the door! Everyone happy, I hightail it to the bus. By the time I get back to the house, she’s on the ward – a different one from my father and I phone through the list of meds and when she takes them. Happy dance and… since when did I start picking up bits of shorthand for things?
‘she’s in for obs… the meds list…’
It creeps. It all creeps. My brother is sort of rootless but I’d given him the job of putting an ‘emergency bag’ together for mother. It’s there waiting to go down tomorrow. Sister arrives by train and we mash the whole thing through… no, the doing of stuff has been fairly easy, it’s been the making sure that ‘they’ know the confusion and vagueness is normal, not the result of the fall and whatnot. Sister is doing the visiting tomorrow. Brother and I have the day off from that sort of thing.
I leave for my place and she comes with me ‘to get some food’ and remarks that brother is grumpy. Yeah. It’s because I told him to go home and I’d deal with this because it’s what I’m here for, he did his bit at the start… it’s also because I didn’t let anyone panic or be downhearted. I mean, the only time you see stuff like this is in a comedy show: so I say, let’s laugh and enjoy the delicious ironies all round, ready to follow the next interesting plot twist.
This shouldn’t be fun – or funny…
Oh wait; what’s that old saying?
The whole thing’s daft
I don’t know why
You’ve got to laugh
Or else you’ll cry…
Shit. My father’s not the only one who’s become institutionalised.