Mum was asleep sitting up in her chair in the living room. The flat was as hot as hell and stank terribly. Mum looked hell, too. Her face was haggard and had a blue-whiteness to it. She looked scary-thin. I saw that her ankles had swollen massively, like Hobbit feet, from weeks of not ever being raised. I roused her, said hello, and set to exhorting her to sleep in her bed tonight. She finally acquiesced, but then she could hardly walk, even supported on my arm.
I let the dog outside and she immediately began shitting everywhere. I could see stains on the carpet in various places inside indicating that being outside was a rare treat for this dog these days.
It took me an hour-and-a-half to get Mum into bed. First we had to find her silk pillow and she couldn't find a nightie anywhere. I kept telling her to wash her face and clean her teeth, but she'd just stand in the doorway, transfixed, with her jaw flapping silently. The bathroom smelled worst of all: a mixture of mould, rotten food and possibly sewage. There were several frozen meal plastic trays in the bathroom, half-consumed, and dirty underwear stuck in corners. There was no toothpaste to be found, so I gave Mum my tube.
Mum couldn't undress without my aid - couldn't remove her skirt. How long had she been wearing it? How long since she'd showered? She couldn't give me a credible answer. I left her to get into bed, but she came back to the guest room naked. I found a slip for her to wear, made her drink something and filled her hot water bottle.
I was exhausted, but my night wasn't over. Mum came into my room at 3am and at 5am, talking crazy irrelevant nonsense.