The post I started writing yesterday morning featured some rather jolly anecdotes about mobile phones. But those will have to wait for another day.
At half ten, we received a call from Fabian – the nurse at The Lodge – to say that GrannieBorders seemed to be even more poorly. Should he call for an ambulance?
En route, we wondered if, finally, this meant a hospital admission. GrannieBorders loathed hospitals; all those months in an iron lung after polio couldn’t have helped. Her last stay had been very grim. So, ActorLaddie has been putting the case to a succession of medical types that if hospital was not likely to affect the eventual outcome – and it seemed to be generally agreed that it wouldn’t – then please could she stay in her own bed.
However, for the last few days, she has seemed agitated and less able to communicate. It’s been hard to tell if she’s in pain. And it’s been getting increasingly difficult for the carers. So we arrived at The Lodge really not knowing what to do for the best.
But we’d been there no more than a couple of minutes when, as great fortune would have it, two brilliant nurses from the Palliative Care team turned up to see GrannieBorders, following a GP referral. They got up to speed medically and chatted at length with ActorLaddie, assured him that he was doing absolutely the right thing for his mum and a hospital admission was not necessary. There were drugs that could keep her comfortable in her own bed, surrounded by her own things and familiar carers. They went off to organise this, while we sat – much relieved – talking to GrannieBorders and holding her hand.
By the time they returned with the drugs, about an hour later, GrannieBorders had slipped quietly away.
The care-staff were very distressed, bless them. Fabian, a large African gentleman, had tears running down his face as he told us what a pleasure it had been to care for such an uncomplaining, gentle woman. GrannieBorders certainly couldn’t have had kinder, more thoughtful care over these last few weeks. It’s no co-incidence, I’m sure, that this was linked to the consideration she had shown to the staff and the effort she’d made to get to know them as people.
Since then, we’ve been on the phone. GrannieBorders has a sister in Edinburgh and a best friend in – well, the Borders; both too elderly to get down to London. GB and best friend grew up on the same Scottish country estate where their parents were grooms and gardeners and servants. The picture below is of all the children in their school! GB is in the top row on the left; best friend is third from the right at the bottom. At some stage in the early summer, we’ll take her back to the Borders.
But for now, there are things to do and I’m feeling a bit seasick from having washed down my sinemet with ginger wine.
I’ll end this blog with a story I was going to put into my hilarious piece about mobile phones.
We first bought GrannieBorders a mobile so as to check on her while we were away for a weekend. We tried it out as soon as we reached the hotel car-park. The conversation went:
ActorLaddie: “You’ve answered it OK then, Mum?”
GrannieBorders: “Oh yes. Though there’s a message on it which says ‘End Call?’ What happens if I press …”
What lovely pictures and an uplifting account of a difficult time for you. I’m really glad you managed the end in such a serene way. I can’t imagine GB would have wanted it any other way.