11 June 2013

Crying Wolf

picture courtesy of www.firstpeople.us
 
Thank you so much for all your comments and well wishes. I wish I could thank you individually but I have been seriously chasing my tail over these last few weeks. Both my patients continue to require 150% of my time and, as you know that is nigh impossible, unless you run yourself flat into the ground, which is pretty much what I am doing.

My mother has been with me for five weeks now and it is  six weeks since she had the fall. Sadly she is still in a lot of pain. I have taken her twice to our local Accident and Emergency Department (once at the three-week stage and again at the five-week stage)  to see if anything else had been overlooked, but each time they confirmed that all else seemed to be in order  and that she "just" has cracked ribs which will take many weeks to heal, especially at her age. The trouble is she has also had a flare-up of gastric trouble, because of all the painkillers she is taking, and is not eating, feels nauseous and has terrible indigestion. I did wonder at one point whether some vital abdominal organ had been punctured by a jagged rib, but with six x-rays on her spine/ribs and a further two x-rays on her abdomen, as well as an ultrasound scan, nothing alarming  was found, although the utterly charming Italian doctor said to my 90-year-old mum "we are just looking for babies"!  She has now been put on the very strong painkiller Tramadol which is helping to blot out the pain by rendering her comatose most of the time. Meanwhile, I run up and down the stairs in my lighthouse-like domicile with cups of tea, meals, snippets of news, a plump of the pillow and the drugs trolley. At least it's keeping me slim!

My other patient, Snoopy the dog, has been on the critical list. In fact on Bank Holiday Monday, when Kay was home for the long weekend, we were 95% on the way to the vet to have him put down. He was not eating, not drinking (which considering he now has kidney failure to add to his woes, it is essential he drinks), he was lying listless on his bed and occasionally trembling, we presumed in pain. The vet had very kindly left his mobile number on his surgery answer-machine - strictly for emergencies - so we texted him for advice and he agreed to come out to  the practice to do the deed. However, as one very last resort, I gave Snoopy a canine painkiller and within a hour or so, he had completely rallied round and was looking lively and full of geriatric zest. Since then it has been a bit of a roller-coaster, resembling a Whitehall farce.  Because of his incontinence, I have washed his bedding and sofa covers almost on a twice-daily basis, bought toddler nappies  for him to wear at night, but having to cut holes in them to accommodate his tail has meant wads of disintegrating nappy lining blowing around the room like tumbleweed in the morning. He has thrown up on carpets, come in from weeing in the garden and then, only once safely inside,  absent-mindedly pooed on the kitchen floor and looked so endearingly at me that I could not possible contemplate euthanasia. Talk about crying wolf!

My mother has my bedroom, as it has an en suite bathroom all on one level which she can manage comfortably. She sits in my lounge chair as it is the only one she can get in and out of without too much pain. The dog wees on all the others. I sit and sleep where I can - at one stage on a 1" camping mattress on the kitchen floor so that Snoopy, who has separation anxiety and always has to be in glancing distance of me, had quick access to the garden at night, when he was at his lowest point.  I felt like Cinderella sharing quarters with Little Red Riding Hood's wolf. And so you see how enriched my life is, right now, and why I haven't been blogging. Hope things are better in your neck of the woods.

13 comments:

Furtheron said...

A bit because my mother-in-law is still in the rehab center which is luckily only 10 mins walk away. The cat is all well and back where that is staying. Now NetBSD looking for bungalows that might suit her. The mother-in-law not the cat, although maybe she'll need consulting too!

Nota Bene said...

Your devotion is remarkable. I know just how painful cracked ribs can be when you're young...let alone at the splendid age of 90...my sympathies

Hippo said...

Goodness, cracked ribs. I have had a few in my time and it is miserable. Can't sleep, can't breath, can't get comfortable.

My symapthies as well.

K Ville said...

Oh Blimey Addy, you are made of stronger stuff than I. Don't turn yourself into a patient under the workload. Remember you must look after yourself too. Xxx

elegancemaison said...

Oh hang on to your mum, please. And help her enjoy her last days with your company.

You're doing well with both but I can't connect with the
sick dog. Let him go. At least you can do this within the law.

And please, please look after yourself. I've been there - you need your strength, your own good health to deal with all this.

Flowerpot said...

Blimey Addy - take care. Don't run yourself into the ground too much....

Achelois said...

I read blogs these days and rarely comment, I know not why as I used to comment too much.

Goodness me you are dealing with so much. I wonder if it would be helpful to contact your local occupational therapy department. They are delightful, helpful professionals who have really practical suggestions that genuinely make a difference when caring. I know because they help me. It may be that your mother could benefit from a profiling bed, just as an example, there is even one with an air mattress that is brilliant when in pain and also helps to prevent bed sores. They also look at how to help the carer, you need to look after yourself. I am not saying necessarily that you should have a profiling bed for your mother but I have one, because of my pain/condition and also because it helps relieve my husband from straining his back. He laughed at this as he is strong due to the physical nature of his work, but the OT said it was her job to prevent injury and he must listen. She may have suggestions as to how to help your mother increase her mobility gradually. Or will know how to access appropriate services who will. You may also be be entitled to carers allowance. To access your OT one way is just ring and ask your gp to contact them. Just a thought, caring is isolating and you must remember that you are IMPORTANT and as such reaching out for a little help is your right. If you suffer exhaustion and are ill who will be there for your mother. You are such a lovely person I wish sometimes I could pop round for a cup of tea! Physically I couldn't help much but chat is good.

Your poor poor pooch, its so so sad to see a much loved pet so sick. When we had to make the decision to have our last beautiful darling dog put down it broke my heart and I wanted the vet to take the decision out of my hands (they don't seem to do that these days) but I couldn't see the dog lose anymore dignity. His eyes said, no more, I don't want to leave you but no more. You will know when the time is right and I am sorry to say this but it sounds very near. I am sure that your heart will break and the grieving process will be so very hard. The only way I could deal with it was imagining my darling dog, when I closed my eyes, healthy, running free, tail wagging, eyes bright. I would if I could just make this go away for you, so all I can do is tell you, I understand that losing the dog is going to be one of the hardest things you have ever had to bear. But this too shall pass and over time, you will look at photos and laugh, say to Kay, do you remember when...

I send you a massive virtual hug, for you so so deserve one. This post brought tears to my eyes, to have a dog be so sick is every pet owners worst nightmare. I am thinking of you.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Lovely person you obviously are Addy - do remember and take care of yourself. Hope mums pain dissipates soon and pat on the back for Snoopy for defying the odds.

Massive hugs to you!

Anna :o]

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Goodness me, you have your work cut out!

Poor Snoopy, that must be have been heart wrenching to think he needed to be put down, but I do hope he shows signs of improvement and surprises you even more!

Hope you get a break soon.
CJ x

the veg artist said...

Sorry it's so tough at the moment.

I do understand the caring for a sick animal. They can look at you with such a sad face, so sorry for what they have just done, outside of their control. My elderly cat would mope until all evidence was gone apart from a strong smell of Dettox, then all would be alright with his world again!

Ellen said...

I am sorry that things are so tough for you at the moment. I wish your Mum a strong and steady improvement on her road to recovery. That sounded like an excellent suggestion from Achelois and I hope the OT department in your area are supportive and available to you. As for poor Snoopy my heart goes out to you. Having thought we were going to lose our darling Pippa (almost 13) last week (we thought she had suffered a stroke, but actually it was vestibular syndrome which she has almost recovered from)I do understand how you feel. Our dogs are such a good and central part of our families, faithful and loving to each individual family member through the good times and the bad, lovingly tying us toghether when, at times, on a human level that was impossible. I find contemplating our life without her very hard, and hope that your loving Snoopy rallies and makes a twilight recovery. We can only repay their love and faithfulness by honouring them with a dignified end, when the time is right for them. God Bless you x

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Oh Addy I do sympathise. Your poor Mum must be in lots of pain as I remember how my mother suffered when she fell and cracked some ribs at 87. I do hope your Mum gets some permanent relief very soon. Also very sorry to hear about poor Snoopy's plight and can completely sympathise with your feelings about that also. Do hope he can get some quality of elderly life back very soon. A x

Eurodog said...

Hang in there. Difficult times, I know.