Sunday, 26 February 2006


I have to read between the lines these days and I'm sure that, to an extent, she was really just crying out for attention. However, the 3 hospitals she eventually visited were all "horrible places" where she was always made to wait 5 hours in the cold, and then the ambulance crews treated her at home a couple of times. Someone at the last hospital used some sort of big hook on her nose which was apparently very painful. My interpretation of this is that the services saw right through to her loneliness and were trying to discourage her from wasting their time. After all, at the end of each event all they'd done is what she could have done for herself. There's something about the way she talks about the nosebleeds now that suggests to me that it's a strategy she won't be trying again. I had begun to refer to her nosebleeds as her "hobby" - god knows she needs one!

I'm sorry she didn't find a hospital she approved of, though. It would be good to know where she'd like to be looked after next time, as I'm sure she'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the one where Dad died. The whole thing has focussed Mum's attention on the dog, as well. She now realises that there's nowhere for the little mop-head to go if she needs to go to hospital (she's unwilling to use kennels) - I expect that I will be asked to drive down and look after her. Great. Well, maybe that will keep Mum healthy....

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

doctors and nurses

Well, we had a couple more nights of ambulances being called out for Mum, but they've started treating her at home now when she calls. All they do is stick cotton wool up her nose and wait with her until she accepts that it has stopped the flow. When I ask her why she doesn't try this herself, she says she doesn't know why she doesn't think of it.

She's very unclear about the events, but I've been keeping notes from daily conversations and I try and correct her when the district nurse suddenly morphs into the doctor in mid-anecdote. She's pretty angry with me when I do this, of course.

She's also started to worry excessively about what's going to become of her dog if she's taken into hospital to deal with the nosebleed problem. This is despite the fact that she has been told that surgery is not an option and that all she needs is a cream and nasal spray. Now I get calls at all hours with her ideas on who will take the dog. I think she's found a hobby at last.

Saturday, 18 February 2006


At about 11:40 last night, I was rung by Careline, the company that provides the virtual-Warden service for Mum. They told me that Mum was having a nosebleed and was en-route to a hospital, though they couldn't tell me where that might be. I rang the apartment and found Mum was still there, loving all the attention she was getting and thrilled that she was going to be looked after for a night. It hadn't occurred to her to try and put cotton wool up her nose to stem the flow, even though she remembered that we used to do that for me as a kid when I had frequent bleeds. She told me she was being taken to the local hospital.

At 8:45 this morning, Mum rang to say that she was back. I asked her what they'd done to stop her bleed, but she was too excited telling me all about the ambulance, the coldness of the ward, the kindness of the nurses, the slowness of the taxi-ride home that it took me about 20 minutes to establish that all they'd done was....pack her nose with cotton wool.

Since then I've had a call every 5 minutes or so, as she remembers things. About half an hour ago she told me that the hospital had left something in her arm, which I established was one of those things that allows them to inject multiple times in one site. I told her that I thought it was a mistake that they'd not removed this before releasing her and told her to ring her Doctor about this. I got a call back to say that she'd done so and that someone might be out to see her at some point. As we were talking further about it I expressed surprise again that the hospital hadn't removed it and she said, "Oh, well, they said that they'd leave it in as I was likely to be back soon and it would save time". This put a completely different spin on things and I was worried that I was messing things up by arranging to have the thing removed. I asked her to ring the local hospital about it. At this point she exploded at me, telling me that I was stupid to think she'd been at that hospital, where they don't have accident emergency. She told me that she'd been to [another one] instead. I didn't bother arguing back. She rang me later to say that the hospital confirmed that it was an error to leave the thing in her arm, so I think her memory of why they left it there was one of her "explaining lies" that make dealing with her so difficult - she just doesn't know what's true and what's made up any more.

Just had another call (why??) to tell me that she's asked her neighbour to let the dog out on her lead in the garden "as I'm not decently dressed". I daren't pursue this one as she'll think I'm getting at her, but if she's decent enough to see her neighbour, why isn't she decent enough to open the french-windows and let the dog out on the lead herself? I really worry that she treats her neighbour's husband like her own too often.

Wednesday, 8 February 2006


"I want to pick your brains about something: there's this film I want to see, called 'Geisha Girl' "
"Do you mean 'Memoirs of a Geisha', Mum?"
"That's it. Now what does it mean by 'BBC4 on BBC2'?"
"That's when the BBC shows digital programmes on BBC2 for those of us who haven't got digital TV. What channel are you looking at?"
"Well, that's all you need to know, isn't it?"
"Oh, well it's on tonight"
"I'm sure the movie isn't on TV tonight, Mum. It's only just got into the cinemas. Maybe it's a documentary. Shall I look for you?"
"Yes, please"
"Mum, there's nothing on tonight with that name, no BBC4 programmes. What day are you looking at?"
"That's strange. Tuesday 7th February"
"Mum, it's Wednesday the 8th now. You're looking at last night's television"
"Maybe I can leave the tape running to record it"
"No, Mum, it was shown last night. You can't see it. It was shown yesterday"
"Oh, I suppose I'll have to wait for it to come out on video, then. I was just too tired to watch it last night."

Mum doesn't know what day of the week it is. She doesn't know that Wednesday is after Tuesday.

Thursday, 2 February 2006


Mum rang me this evening for me to help her with her remote control - It took about an hour to sort out what she was doing wrong and by the end she was obviously embarrassed, because she tried to change the subject with:

"....anyway, I'll let you get back to settling in after your 3 weeks away."
"Mum, I wasn't away for 3 weeks"
"Oh, that's right, you didn't go anywhere in the end, did you?"
"No, Mum, that's not right"
"Oh yes, you just went for one day - how was it?"
"Mum, I was away for a week"

This is all despite the fact that I sent her a letter tersely listing where I was going and between which dates. I mention this letter to her and she says "I DID so much enjoy reading it - it was so beautifully written, I thought".

I'm convinced that when she encounters a gap in her memory, she 'invents' an explanation or bridge, and she's not quite aware that she's doing this. She often talks to me about conversations we've never had, about things we've never done.