Saturday, 15 September 2007


It's evening, and I ring Mum to tell her to take her second anti-biotic of the day.
"It's okay, I've taken them already."
"Them? What do you mean 'Them'?"
"All of them. I've taken all of my pills already."
I calculate quickly - that would mean that Mum's taken at least 8 strong anti-biotic tablets in one day. I don't know how your heart can sink while it's leaping into your mouth, but my heart has been showing off lately. I'm wondering who I should call about this, because I imagine it could have serious medical consequences, when it occurs to me what might have happened.
"Mum.... can you look at the strip of pills that you've taken, please?"
"It's gone. I've taken them all."
"Do you mean that the box is empty?"
"Is it possible that the strip is somewhere else in the flat?"
I get her to look. She finds the strip. The pills are not all taken. We take some 10 minutes to establish which ones are gone, despite my care to label each and every one by the day it should be taken. After I've listened to Mum swallow her 'Sat PM' pill, I say my goodnight.
"Are you ringing tomorrow morning, then?" Mum asks.
"Yes." I answer, thinking how we are on the fourth day of a week's pill-taking, and how each day's pills are a fresh new challenge.


BigAssBelle said...

i've often wondered how many elderly folks living alone end up dying of poisoning because of this very thing. and who would know? it's the loneliness that kills me: to think of how lonely it must be for them all wrought up in their heads, with a mind that doesn't understand anymore trapped in a functional body. sometimes my dad will tell me that he never hears from my sisters anymore (and i'm sure he tells them the same thing about me), even though i know he talked to them that same day. the hurt in his voice is heartbreaking and it doesn't do any good to tell him he talked to them if he doesn't remember. fucking disease.

witzend said...

Thank you for being the first person to comment on my blog, Belle. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have someone to compare notes with.

I hear you about the loneliness. My Mum seems to have lost all her friends, her ability to read and any interests she may have had before. I know she spends a good deal of time asleep sitting in a chair. Like you say, it breaks my heart. On the bright side, she is almost totally unaware that anything is wrong and it's only her pesky son who insists on rubbing her nose in it all.