Tag Archives: sickness

Saturday Night Confessions

Tear the facade away. Open the beating heart and rip out the chambers filled with essence of youth. Ring the timer on life itself and give the last call. Drinks are on me.

As I confess my lack of elegance and maturity when dealing with death, I giggle at the obscure emotion – mourning. My mouth fills with bile as I try to swallow down reality whilst portraying calmness for those around me. Cry, scream, shred the walls down – do something but don’t sit still. Watching doctors dictate destiny diligently to delinquent daughters whilst they fight and strain not to cry through the news that Mummy is not coming back makes me admire the strength and emotional blackout doctors manage with each patient.

If my mother survives this week I confess I might have the pleasure of visiting the hospital and maybe poking the austere arrogance right out of his checkered shirt. I had a doctor friend like that once. Is that what young doctors grow into? Arrogant unemotional consultants? I blame death for the changes.

On a lighter note than death, I must confess I miss celebrating Valentines Day. Yup, I’m a romantic and love to be romanced. Nothing expensive or ridiculous but a little effort doesn’t hurt. We lie to ourselves that we don’t like a little romance and throw stones at the idea of naming a special day. Ever heard of birthdays and anniversaries? Special days people…all special days to commemorate love. If you’re single there is nothing stopping you from giving a stranger something nice to smile about on this day – nothing weird though! Share the love through kindness. That could be done on any day but let’s start with one and work from there. Small steps.

Okay, your turn. Some of you shared your confessions last week. Thank you for being brave. I’ve shared my fear of dealing with death and passion for celebrating love. What’s your confession?

Patient Care

I have to take a deep breath before typing this because I don’t want to appear emotionally blinded by what’s happened. I need some feedback from doctors, nurses, care staff out there who have had experience in renal care in a UK hospital.

Okay, this is what happened…

Hubble and I went to see my mum this evening and found out she had been moved to another ward again without the hospital notifying us. This is the second time it has happened during her current stay in hospital. I can understand if they have policies in place to protect the patient, but surely a woman whose next of kin have requested to be notified of any changes should at least be called? Am I wrong in thinking this? I even left my number on the case file for them to call me. She was moved on Monday night a few hours after we left her in the evening.

Now putting aside the fact that I panicked when I saw someone else in her place in her old ward, we found her placed in a new ward, sitting upright in bed when she is paralysed on the left side, her head leaning heavily to the right due to the fact that she can’t stay awake for long (the side effects of her infection) and the weight of her body leaning onto the same arm that had the fistula and graft. I woke her, only to find she was shivering with her neck and left shoulder exposed. When I tried to help her into a straighter position since there were no nurses about, she cried out in pain and I quickly checked her arm to see if it was in an awkward position. In the past I have come to visit her in hospital and found her paralysed arm put into an uncomfortable position with the hand twisting against her hip at a weird angle. It’s painful to see let alone move.

Anyway, I looked at the arm and the forearm was swollen by the fistula and an angry red. Alarmed, I searched for her bell which was placed on her left side…she’s paralysed on the left! How the hell is she supposed to ring the bell for help. Bear in mind she is semi-conscious and in a confused state too so I guess it wouldn’t matter where her bell is placed. She wouldn’t be able to ring it anyway.

The bell was pressed and we waited, me supporting her head and shoulder to try and take the weight off the arm whilst I waited for someone to come help me move her off it. Minutes later, no-one appeared so I left Hubble with Mum and went to see if I could find a nurse. I found a lady in blue and asked if she could help me. She followed me to Mum and I explained my concerns. By that time another nurse had arrived and was talking to Hubble. I asked them why mum was left in that position and was told she had just been moved to that bed not long before. When I explained that she shouldn’t be leaning on her arm with a fistula, they told me it was a graft that looked infected/inflamed and that it had been like that.

When we visited Mum on Monday at the other ward, her arm had been fine without any swelling and there was no sign of angry reds. I tried to tell them that maybe it was swollen because they had left her leaning on the arm and putting pressure on it. They didn’t look too impressed and said they would fix her. They said they weren’t aware of her fistula and they were not in charge of her care. They had called the nurse who was responsible for her. The nurse in charge of her care came and I went over the things that worried me again, and she told me that Mum was put onto stronger antibiotics and would be going to Oxford on Friday for a day visit to check the graft and fistula as they are still trying to figure out where the infection is coming from. I wondered whether they would have bothered phoning me to tell me this if I hadn’t come to the hospital.

What if I worked far away and wasn’t able to visit nearly everyday. Would she be left sitting on her arm with her head and paralysed arm at odd angles? Am I overthinking things and being unfair?

We asked the nurse to remove the plastic tags on the fistula arm as they had made indents into her skin where the arm was swollen and she said she would, but nothing happened whilst we were there for the next hour and a half. We also had to give the baseline for my mum’s cognitive skills again, even though I had done that in the other ward. Why is this never written down? Again, if I wasn’t there, how would they know that my mum could talk and knew who she was, where she was and could reason things out? I’ve given this information – it should be on the notes for the next set of carers to read. The last thing I asked was for her not to be left upright where she would end up falling onto her arm. The nurse said she would make a note of it. Am I cynical in thinking she didn’t? We asked if the stains on the side of her sheet were blood. She laughed and said it was probably spilled tea. Didn’t the other nurses say she had just been moved to that new bed? Surely if she had, she would have had crisp clean sheets? And if she was given a cup of tea in the time she had been moved, wouldn’t the stain still be wet and not dry?

From Monday night when we saw her on the other ward with caring nurses who did not walk past us like we were scuff marks on the wall, my mum was talking, smiling and responding. The nurse in charge came to give us an update and told us about her day, giving full details of my mum’s condition. She had a slight fever which was being monitored, but there was no sign of swelling on her arm and she as being cared for closely by the staff.

In the two days she has been moved to this new ward, we’ve found her unresponsive, shivering cold (we had to ask the nurse to get her a blanket), her arm swollen and red and her outlook bleaker than before. One of the first nurses I had called over to help us asked me if Mum was capable of telling them if she was cold. I looked at her and said, “well I think it is common sense if you see a patient shivering and muttering she’s cold, she is cold!” I got the same ugly look from before.

Please tell me if I am unfair in thinking the quality of care on this ward is below standard. I’m so upset and to think my mum was showing signs of improvement, it’s distressing to think I have left her in the care of people who could turn the tables on her recovery. What should I do?

#Wensfriesday is here!

Woohoo! It’s Kinder Chocolate for the kids and lovely hazelnut chocolate for us this week. This has been a positive midweek mixed with a few upsets.

My mum is back in hospital again – she has been since Friday. She developed an infection after her operation two weeks ago. It’s a case of taking the positives and squishing those negatives right down. She will improve. We will see her getting her dialysis and finding a little more energy. It will happen. 😁

This was my morning…discussing my ideas for A Tale of a Knots and the illustrations for the book. Throwing everything out and drawing a plan to move forward and develop the series of books so that they have a signature style.

Tomorrow’s my interview for a role that will give me extra time at school. I’m a bit nervous but I’m not going to worry about it until probably bed time when my eyes won’t be able to close and I’ll be panicking inside! A good time to catch up on poetry, writing, etc. I have the library to look forward to straight after so that’s something in itself. Okay I’m waffling and in the back of my mind I’m thinking of trying to phone the hospital again and maybe someone will answer this time. Oh and the thought that a slab of hazelnut chocolate is waiting for me after this post!

With that in mind, I shall bid you farewell to celebrate my Wensfriesday.


That feeling of holding on to moments that resonate through nostalgic music, a smell, a picture or a place. I lived through a few of those moments tonight as we drove to and from the hospital in Oxford. Continue reading

Sicky Sicky Sicky All Night Long!

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the news from a small town in Berkshire, England.

Numerous families have been hit by the flu virus that is spreading like wildfire across the region. Sources confirm that most schools have reported low attendance over the past few weeks due to the viral outbreak. Not to be compared to Ebola of course, but nonetheless a serious matter for consideration for local doctors and hospitals. It has been said that if the number of infected keep growing, no-one will be well enough to cook the Christmas turkey, let alone keep it down long enough once consumed!

Closer to home, local mother Eloise, has given up on sleeping as she is now entering her third or fourth week of illness in her house. Thanks to the numerous children she decided to produce, each week brings new viral surprises for the family to share and enjoy at home. Her elder daughter felt that last week was particularly slow and therefore succumbed to a football injury to her wrist. She jokingly reported that if she hadn’t stopped the leather missile, she might not have had a nose on the front of her face today. Thanks to the aggressive footballers, she instead had torn tendons in her wrist. As an added bonus for being so careful, Eloise’s daughter caught the flu and stayed home with her mother for two days this week.

The ballet school known for winning most awards at festivals and trying to rival Abby Lee in the USA had to be shut down yesterday due to their teachers and students falling ill. Suffice it to say the studio was open the next day due to valiant efforts from sickly attendees. We await updates on how many more students will contract the flu thank to their generosity!

As this news bulletin is being broadcast at a time when the producer usually enjoys late movies, blogging and tweeting, we would like to point out that the producer herself is still ill but is on standby for the rest of the evening. This is due to the fact that another child had fallen ill with a fever and cold requiring frequent temperature checks to adjust clothing and covers accordingly. Paracetamol and water have been provided for this task. Flashbacks of having small babies again have been the running through the producer’s mind as she walks in the shadows and watches her sleeping family…and the pure amusement of listening to the Hubble’s snores as background noise.

Thank you for joining us on the Sickly News Round-up.

Keep well and enjoy the rest of your morning, afternoon or evening!

A Late Wensfriesday on Thursday!

I’m sorry folks. I missed Wensfriesday as I’m barking at the moment with a horrible cold.

No choccies or sweeties for me until the barking stops and the awful runny nose puts a plug in it! Yes, it’s winter and everyone catches at least one serious cold. It wouldn’t be winter and close to Christmas without it – but it’s come at the wrong time. Tomorrow is the last day of school and I have so much work to do in the library to make sure it’s up and ready for next term. Coughing over the children is frowned upon so how am I going to run the library/chess club?

I’m not giving up and I will persevere. I hate leaving a job unfinished and it would haunt me over the Christmas period knowing I had not completed something for the year.

So, as I drag my sick carcass out of bed, I bid you a happy WensThursday just for a change. Celebrate for me please and have a chocolate on my behalf (any excuse!😉) so that I can enjoy the knowledge that you are enjoying the day. That will bring a smile to my face.

Okay, time to rise. Have an awesome day and keep well. xx

Returning from the Ebola Front

I have attached a story written by Karen Wintraub for the National Geographics, covering the return of photojournalist Neil Brandvold from Sierra Leone and Liberia where he recorded witness events of carers and patients. He describes his self-imposed 21 day isolation from family and friends and the reason why.


I’m Alive!

I’m alive!

When Is It My Turn To Be Sick?

I love autumn. The incredible change of vegetation from different shades of green to hues of yellow, red, brown and even purple! ‘Tis the season that heralds the close of summer and entices the smell of hot chocolate and cinnamon as we prepare our daily lives for the winter to come.

Continue reading

Mellow Monday

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?