Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Sister saw the doctor yesterday about Ma's blood tests, all of which are normal.
He is baffled by this and by the fact that she hasn't lost any weight although we know she's lost body mass. The tests weren't looking for cancer markers, just blood salts, thyroid function, diabetes. Heart is fine, blood pressure is fine, she's just parked her brain somewhere and can't find the way back.

One sister came to see her on Sunday and thought she looked wonderful. Now we're either doing a better job than we thought or stupid beetch didn't have her glasses on. So in one week the old girl had, a doctor's visit, pathology visit, podiatrist and sister. Confusion complete and it will be another week before she's back on planet earth.

The woman has kicked Death in the balls four times now so perhaps he's given it up as a bad job.
She had a pelvic abcess in 1988. Only two out of the last 10 patients at the hospital survived this and none were as bad as she was. Because she was opened up from hip to hip and packed with sterile dressings, they decided to send her home to try to keep any golden staph infection from invading. District nurses came in every day to do the dressings but they only came in once and she had to wait, with muck pouring out, for the next dressing. The finish for me was having one nurse come in, not wash her hands on arriving, dress what was supposed to be sterile, then leave without washing her hands.

Sis and I talked it over and for the next 8 months, until that open gut closed, we did it all. We didn't care that the one nurse who came to supervise me for the first time, said we didn't have to sterilize everything, including the cottonwool, we did. I wore a simple apron, washed my hands, washed Mum's bedding and clothing in bleach and never had a single infection nor did my mother. Sis would do the early morning before her shift at the hospital, I'd do the two during the day and she'd do the last one at night. She still gets the shudders about the early Sunday morning one considering the monumental hangover she always had after Saturday night.

Halfway through, the specialist discovered the abcess kept returning, thank you shithead for not listening to the non-medical person who had her head in an open stomach and knew something was wrong. She had a colostomy which proved to be the way to full recovery. That was fun. It meant doing a sterile dressing on one half and a non-sterile wash down on the other. We stuck with the routine of washing hands and clothes, no infection. The day that hole finally closed was a celebration, subdued while we waited to see if it opened again but it stayed. Another visit from a nurse who specialized in colostomies to check up. She roared at me for mollycoddling my mother and demanded to know why she wasn't up and caring for herself. My mother burst into tears and I told her to read her notes and look for herself. The look at that just healed hip to hip hole made her our very best friend.

In 2003, she had Pneumonia and Pancreatitis at the same time. The doctors told us to go home but it was 'How soon can you get back?'. She wasn't expected to last the night but she walked out of there 10 days later. So I don't know why we are surprised that breast cancer hasn't made off with her yet. I've left out the heart attack, the broken leg and the emergency appendectomy. There was also the septic hysterectomy in her early thirties, the tennis ball sized lump out of the right breast which was benign and the consequent breast reduction.

If I could bottle the will power that woman has, I could make millions. She won't give up. As Sis said to the doc yesterday, the woman is not leaving the house except in a box which is okay with us but does she have to give us so much grief before she goes.


Morgana said...

Ahh...shit. My eye's are stinging from being so rivitet to your post that I forgot to blink, JT.

Bottling female 'willpower' you say would make you a fortune but you forgot tenacity, understanding, empathy, caring and compassion.

I'm sorry about ya mum. Perhaps her time will come soon and peace will befall all of you.
All My Love Always......Zoe XXXXXX

JahTeh said...

Now look at what you've done Morgana, exited your secret identity, as if I didn't recognize your taste in calendar pin-ups

Brian Hughes said...

"The woman has kicked Death in the balls four times now..."

Does Death have balls? I thought he was some eight foot high skeleton. (Could never work out how he managed to stay together without any muscles or anything, to be honest...a bit like that scene in Terminator 2 when the nuclear bomb goes off and Sarah Conner's skeleton's hanging onto the playground fence...I mean, seriously...how?)

If Death has balls, are they little bony things attached to his pelvis by strings...like those 'clackers' we used to play with when we were kids? The ones that were eventually banned in Britain because teenager lads kept breaking their wrists with them. (At least, that was their excuse.)

I've lost track of my original point now. Must be my age and too much whiskey. I need a large coffee to kick-start my brain in a more intellectual direction I think.

Anonymous said...

'kicked Death in the balls four times'

You do have an unfortunate turn of phrase at times Jahteh. Don't plant on your mother your own issues with the wondrous organs, the gonads.

River said...

My mum used to often say God doesn't want me and neither does the Devil, to explain why she kept surviving her many operations for the bowel cancer that finally claimed her 3 1/2 years ago.

phil said...

Good grief, what a tale. The hidden costs wiithin society, Mrs VVB runs across them frequently.

You deserve a medal or, failing that, a drink.

Brian Hughes said...


If you're offering, make mine a pint...preferably of scotch.

JahTeh said...

Andrew I have no issues with gonads, it's usually the fact that they're attached to some prick.

"Clackers"? Sounds like a board game where you bash 'nads between two bricks.

River, we now have a foolproof plan. We're putting 200watt globes in all the lamps and telling her to go to the light.

I had a drink actually 3 cans of Smirnoff and I couldn't see straight. I don't know how people drive cars when they've pissed, I could hardly turn on the computer.

Typical Pom, they'll cadge drinks anywhere.

Brian Hughes said...

"Typical Pom, they'll cadge drinks anywhere."

Very true...except Downunder, of course, 'cos that's where the Ozzies have first dibs in.

phil said...

Ah Mr Hughes, you've learnt your place at last. Excellent. The beer we leave will be nice and warm and you'll enjoy it all the more.

"Eervyone's a winner."

Ann ODyne said...

I think River hit on the truth re Endora -
neither God nor The Devil want to risk having her take over their territory and they are going the 15 rounds in desperation not to lose the battle.

May I point out that you have inherited a fair slab from this monument of a woman raging against all the 200-watt bulbs you've got?

JahTeh said...

Phil, I thought that was an urban myth, that Poms drank warm beer. Actually they'll drink anything, well Hughes will, so keep all that home brew that's gone off in the cellar. You should be able to flog it off as 'boutique booze'.

Thanks, Annie, you just had to reinforce the 'gene inheritance' didn't you!

Middle Child said...

Ah Jahteh... "If only she used it for goodness"

still laughing...

you have so much material Jahteh...if ever you survive all of this...

Middle Child said...

I forgot... we once had a nurse who was working for Community Health but came to Don privately on the weekends for the shower...she wiped his face with the washer after wiping his bottom with the same washer... he went right off his brain which was fair enough and she got this "injured" look...creep she was filthy...filthy and defensive about her filth...

JahTeh said...

MC, that is bloody disgraceful but symptomatic of an uncaring person seeing him as a nothing and how many times did that happen.