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Monday, 30 November 2015

Final day in the hospital for mum, at least for now

... because she will probably get an infection again at some point in time.

She was restless when I arrived this morning at about 11am, and was trying to get out of bed but was being frustrated because the nurses had put up the side rails to stop her getting out. Unlike on the previous two days she wasn't very verbal this time, just unhappy with her predicament. By the end, before she dropped off to sleep finally, she was saying every 30 seconds or so, "Where am I?" "In the hospital," I would answer. "You said that but I don't know where I am," she would reply.

There was a bit of confusion about whether mum would be going home today or not. At first, the senior nurse in the ward came and told me that she would be going home today. But then the treating doctor - who had not been around on the weekend - came through the ward seeing his patients. He discussed mum's situation with a junior and then told me he was keeping mum in the ward for another day because she was disoriented, which might have indicated the infection was still present.

"The head nurse told me she was going home today," I answered. He said that he was concerned that she still had the infection. After the doctor had gone away I went back to the head ward nurse and told her what he had said. She told me she would talk with the doctor. About 15 minutes later, during which time I heard them talking in the background while I sat by mum's bed, she came back to tell me that the doctor had cleared mum to leave the ward today. "I'm like you," she said, "I think your mum would be better off in an environment she is familiar with."

By this time mum was sleeping, Earlier, she had been quite agitated and as well as trying to get out of bed she had been balling her fists and shaking them in frustration. At that time I had tried to calm her down by talking with her. When they first told me mum would be going back to the nursing home today, for example, I relayed the new information to her. "That's a terrible place," she said to me. My stomach sank. Mum had always said that she was ok living at the nursing home. "I was being nice," she said to me now. "You always said that you liked it," I remonstrated desperately. "I know all that, I know," she said.

"Oh darling, it's not a question of liking it," she went on. "So you don't want to go back there?" "I don't know, I don't care." She said she wasn't going to be comfortable in the hospital. "Where am I?" she asked again. "In the hospital," I answered.

When lunch came I was still sitting in the visitor's chair watching her sleep and playing with my mobile phone. The orderly brought mum's lunch on a tray and put it on the table next to her bed. But mum was asleep. The nurse who had earlier come to give mum her intravenous antibiotics had told me that mum had not slept at all during the night. I sat next to the cooling plate of hot food - it was pasta and pureed sweet potato, and looked quite appetising - and thought to myself that I should get some food to eat as well. I went down to the canteen and bought a meat pie and a bottle of orange juice. I ate the pie on the outside furniture before going back into the ward.

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