Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Update Part 1: The Family

I'm back from my trip up north. It went far too quickly and wasn't particuarly relaxing, but thankfully I'm off work today too. The weather was great though - sunny but nowhere near as hot and oppressive as London is. To be honest, it turned out there was still a computer at home as my sister hasn't moved everything out yet, but I thought I should take a few days break. But now there is such a lot to write about, so I'm going to do it by subject matter, starting with the family.

My gran

We went to visit her on Friday afternoon and I honestly wouldn't have recognised her. The last time I saw her, her hair was still blonde (this was only a few months ago - she still thought she looked like Marilyn Monroe despite being 80). But now it is grey and she was tiny, the sheets barely disturbed by her being underneath them. She doesn't seem to recognise anyone and her speech is confused. The only flash of any sign that it was the same woman, was when her boyfriend (not sure that is the right word at their age) tried to help her with opening a card and she snatched it back, glaring at him - the only sign of her former feistyness. And Charles (the boyfriend, 92) is travelling down to the hospital everyday and sitting by her bed, pretty much in silence for six hours a day. Today, she is being moved to a home - my mum broke the news to Charles on Monday and he cried. There is no dignity in things ending this way.

My auntie
She was conscious and sat up, talking. At first she had no memory of going into hospital which we thought was for the best, but she did have some terrifying dreams of being strangled and going to a strange dark place. She seemed to be getting better although still in a lot of pain, but then she had a temperature and on Monday, we were told that she had caught MRSA. So now she has been moved to a ward on her own. They seem to think she will be ok, but it must be so awful for her - the last time she was in, she got the other superbug. To be honest, I can't say I'm surprised - the ward wasn't particularly clean - food trays left out all afternoon in the heat and blood stains on the floor not properly cleaned.

My cousins
I really can't help but think that my poor auntie deserves better daughers. One of them (who still lives at home) is sort of okay, but just not quite right in the head - too highly strung, mad trantrums (lying on floor kicking legs) over constant break-ups with boyfriend and still not properly over her eating disorder. The other one, who lives in Cornwall, though is a really problem. She is an alcoholic and causes so much stress that her sister banned her from visiting my auntie, but if I had been in that position, I would have come anyway to see my mother, but she hasn't even sent a card. I know its a disease et, but to be honest she was always an awful person and drink has just made her worse. A couple of weeks ago she thought she might be pregnant because her period was late - turns out it was a false alarm, but now she is thinking that she wants to be a mother and has a friend who is going to donate his sperm. She has already been told that her drinking may have messed her up so much that she can't have children, but really she can't look after herself, let alone a child. My auntie desparately wants to be a grandmother, but not like this.

My mum is just about coping with having to deal with all of this. I really wish I could have stayed up there longer and I come back once more to the guilt of living so far away from my family.


Lucy In The Sky said...

Don't feel guilty. It's not your fault. Is your over-emotional cousin Nikki from Big Brother?

Suz said...

I can;t imaging how hard all of this must be for you, but as Lucy said, you can't feel guilty - it isn't your fault.

SandDancer said...

I know it isn't my fault but I do feel bad that I live so far away, especially when I'm often not even that happy where I am now.

Lucy In The Sky said...

But people have to live their own lives, for better or worse. It's not selfish to not want to live your life around other people. Would you be able to really change anything if you were there? I'll pm you in the morning about the last bit x

northern monkey said...

I totally understand how you feel as I have the same thing - 200 miles between me and my family. But as Lucy and Suz say you can't feel guilty, people lead their own lives and make their own choices and you can still support your mum without being there.

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