As Monday draws to a close, I sit here thinking of the highs and lows my family have gone through over the past few weeks. For those who don’t know, my mum suffered a fall at her nursing home and had a severe bleed to the brain. After two operations to remove the blood clots left behind, she has now been transferred back to our local hospital, still under critical care.
I think the lowest day was when she went in for her second operation. I was called into a private room by one of the junior neurosurgeons. He was given the task of explaining to me that the medical team had agreed not to resuscitate my mum if she coded on the operating table. I was informed she didn’t meet the mark for ICU care. He watched me silently and I fidgeted under his gaze. Was I supposed to break down and cry? Was he waiting for me to become hysterical? He kept repeating the words until I asked him if I should be reacting differently; should I fight for her and refuse the DNR status. He kindly informed me it wasn’t my decision to make. So why the long pauses?
My highest moment was seeing my mum open her eyes after the second operation and speak to me. I could understand most of her words and I felt so happy to hear her again. Just the little cheeky grin, a giggle at my youngest son’s antics was enough to make me feel whole again.
I’ve reached a plateau. The brain has to heal. We have to heal as a family. I have to be patient and stop pushing the doctors, but I fear the lack of momentum means they will push her back to the nursing home without rehabilitation. Another statistic in care that doesn’t need to improve her life. I fear that as I watch my mother slowly realise her predicament the light will die out in her eyes and she will relinquish her fragile hold on life. Already paralysed on the left side, this recent haemorrhage has caused a weakness on her right side. She doesn’t respond to her right foot being tickled.
As this night draws out I think of what the future holds. What we once considered difficult has now increased to impossible. The hope we once held is further in the distance. I’m sitting on the plateau and I’m happy not to move. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to stay where we are right now. Pity I’m not that kind of person. What would you do?