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Posts Tagged ‘hospitals’

Life was busy in my early thirties. I was married, had two small children and we were running a small business. I was also going to the gym and felt fitter than I can ever remember being in my life so far. Then I started to feel, ‘not quite well’.  Exercise would cure anything, after all it had cured my  weight problem so it would fix this. I exercised harder. I looked better but felt worse. The doctor said I was fine, fit and healthy.

After several years of increasing problems I finally saw a specialist and it was decided I needed a hysterectomy – urgently.  I wasn’t concerned, I had my children and as I explained to the doctor, if anything did happen to one of my children (even though I knew nothing would) there would be no way I would want to try to “replace” them with another child.  I don’t know how much that thought was caused by knowing my children were going to be okay, or the unacknowledged situation which was slowly deteriorating at home. Either way I wanted this problem solving.

I went into hospital and the operation went really well. For the first time in three years I felt really good. Apart from an injunction to rest for several days, no heavy lifting, I was allowed home several days later. Unfortunately my mother in law had been asked to come down and help with the children whilst I was “laid up”. Another irritant, my husband couldn’t be bothered taking a few days off to help me or his children until I could take over again. Work came first, last and everywhere else before his family – oh, apart from his mother that is! (Yes, I realise my feelings have yet to be exorcised about the M.I.L. but that’s another story).

image from iwuvtheoffice.deviantart.com

Two days after I came home I started to haemorrhage slightly. I was doing more than I should, M.I.L. simply didn’t want to really help. Back to the specialist but everything seemed okay. However, by the next day it had become something I couldn’t ignore and I had to tell my husband. Another day went by as I felt things becoming worse. Finally it was apparent that the “wait and see” attitude wasn’t going to work.  It was now Sunday and the caring response was, “Well, let’s wait until tomorrow and see if it has changed at all”. OK, apparently I could bleed to death before it was urgent enough to take me to the hospital.

By 11pm I was really ill. I was losing buckets of blood. (It may be a slight exaggeration but that’s what it felt like). I had become as white as a sheet and finally the decision came to call the doctor.  Would you be impressed to be called at 11pm on a Sunday night? We were sent off to the hospital and whisked into Emergency. Of course, not knowing what had been happening the doctor had instructed the hospital staff to “monitor me for a few hours and let him know how much blood I was actually losing”. In retrospect that was so funny.

Ensconced in a room with an adjoining bathroom I barely heard the door close before I needed to rush into the bathroom; Hubby buzzing frantically for the nurse. Of course, by the time she arrived I was perched on the edge of the bed and she was holding a bedpan for me. Oh – too late! I wasn’t happy to be berated for not waiting, or finding out I was to be monitored for a few hours. Bedpans, oh how I detest bedpans.

image from commons.wikimedia.org –

I was in clean pyjamas so I took the nurse’s advice and climbed into bed. Oh dear! It appeared climbing up into the bed set things moving. I “yelled” reasonably quietly for my hubby to grab the bedpan and precariously climbed “on board”. Well, she had her sample to check but the altitude (or the blood loss) had an unexpected effect.

Weaving atop my bedpan I said, “You’d better call the nurse, I’m going to pass out!” Nurse appeared and bedpan was unceremoniously removed as I said, “I’m going over now” and backwards I toppled. There was a delicious feeling of floating and I watched the scene from above the bed. Mayhem ensued. The nurse called the sister who called the doctor on duty. From somewhere another sister appeared.

image from astralsociety.net

There I lay with someone at each arm and leg, blood pressure cuff tight and everyone patting an arm or leg and none too gently, trying to find a vein. My blood pressure reading had tanked. I got the giggles. I felt as though I was watching everything from a huge distance, my hubby wringing his hands in the corner. I heard my voice saying, “It’s alright, it’s not my time to go yet.” The startled looks set me to giggling once more. There was a feeling of drifting away yet being connected to what was happening. Sometime later I realised I was looking at a nurse who was looking somewhat uncomfortable and an IV line was in my hand. Whilst I knew on one level it was wrong I have to admit I felt strangely vindicated when I saw the ashen look on my hubby’s face.

After an emergency operation I woke to find my hand the size of a grapefruit. The IV needle had “tissued” (gone through the vein and into the tissue) and I was uncomfortable. Actually it bloody hurt! Even though the emergency staff had put the IV in, because I had health cover, now that I was no longer “in danger” it could only be changed by a private pathology nurse.  You guessed it, they wouldn’t be on duty for several more hours. They refused to let me sign a waiver, I had to wait until someone came on duty and in the meantime the fluid in my hand continued to build up. Each inadvertent movement was excruciating.

Four hours later I had the IV moved, but my hand took days to recover. Strange that it was my hand I was more concerned about. My specialist popped in to see me. Apparently I had managed to lose a critical amount of blood, much more and they wouldn’t have been able to ‘save me.” I felt like saying “I told you so” but didn’t. He said they couldn’t find any reason for the haemorrhaging but neither could they refute that it had occurred. Tied up tighter than a trussed turkey I was allowed home several days later.

I have no idea ‘where’ I went when all the drama happened. I felt serenely peaceful and had the feeling that I was being told so many things, but I couldn’t remember anything later. I still believe that when the time is right I will remember. It was the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had, and telling everyone ‘it wasn’t my time to go yet’ still has the power to make me giggle. I simply knew that although it was really serious, everything was going to be fine. I wasn’t finished with this life; I had too much to do.

image from justchow.blogspot.com

Live life to the fullest and never ever look back, there is a reason for the future and a reason for the past. Love till it hurts and laugh till you cry and when your life flashes before you, make it worth while. Be happy for what you have done, and be happy for what you have over come, and most of all always be proud of what you have become.”   – Ritu Ghatourey

Some things as easy to explain. Some simply seem strange. Some are taken on faith or belief. I know what happened and one day I’ll remember what I need to from this experience. Years later I still find it funny.

.

Blessings.  Susan  x

© Susan Jamieson

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Mum 1980

Mum 1980

There are many ways of looking at anniversaries, but the first has to be the type of anniversary which is occupying your mind.  The best, of course, are the happy ones, the birthdays, weddings, births, graduations, when you met THE ONE, special holidays and holiday travels. In fact there can be so many highlights in our lives which can become anniversaries.  Strictly speaking an anniversary is defined thus:-

anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event.

Today I am deep in remembrance of an anniversary which, in itself is not as happy as the others I mentioned. It hardly seems believable that today marks the fifth anniversary of my mothers passing. I’m beginning to wonder if time stands still at times, since I recall this anniversary as an event which happened only yesterday. It is however the first time I have publicly acknowledged it. My normal practise is to withdraw for silent communion with a lady I revered above all others. A lady who was not only my mother but my best friend, the person I would turn to first and foremost to share the joys and sadness which populated my life. We were as close as sisters and I loved that special bond. So close in so many ways.

She was stunning, breathtakingly beautiful, and to me, wise beyond anything I could have imagined. I hoped to emulate her example as I became older and have to trust I honour that. She was a small lady, barely 5′ tall, yet she had a presence which made her seem much taller, imposing is the word I would use. She had the most amazing deep auburn hair which shone like a molten coppery gold. I wished every day to have her hair, and those beautiful curls, rather than my straight and black brown hair. Still, my beautiful daughter has inherited those incredible auburn locks, despite the pain they caused her as a child, being called ” carrot top” or worse still “Red”.

Mum and Dad 1977

Mum and Dad 1977

My mother, Patricia, was petite in every way. On her death I inherited much of her jewellery.  Her fingers were so small I am unable to wear any of the rings, not even on my little finger!  That, for me at least, epitomised her, small  and petite but she had a strength of will which placed her amongst giants.

Unfortunately she was ill for many years. The day my son was born in 1982 she collapsed in Brisbane and shortly thereafter was told she had inoperable emphysema and chronic asthma. It was heartbreaking to receive such glorious news of her first grandchild and the sentence of a slow death at the same time.

It was her indomitable will which refused to allow her health to dominate her life until much later. She saw her only granddaughter born two years later in 1984. She often said they were the most precious treasures in her life, and she and Dad spoilt them as much as they could. As their only grandchildren they were spoilt, but not overly so, and they adored their grandparents in return.

It is ironic how the future turns out. The family was as prepared as you can be in these situations, but we were all shocked when Dad suddenly learned he was ill. Terminally ill. He  passed away in 1997 and left her bereft at his loss. We all were, since Dad had been Mum’s rock for so many years. Despite  knowing how strong-willed she was, her health deteriorating, I prepared myself for the worst.

It is a terrible thing for someone with an active and clever mind to be confined physically as she was, yet aware daily of what was happening to her. The frustration and humiliation, for her at least, were a constant raw wound to her pride. To me she always looked beautiful, but when her health stopped her from being able to care for herself the way she liked she withdrew more and more. Her enjoyment came from her grandchildren, her craftwork, which we shared and the long, daily conversations we had in between visits.

Graceful and always ready with a smile.

Graceful and always ready with a smile.

During the last six months of her life I was privileged  to care for her so that she could remain in her own home as long as possible. She had a horror of dying in hospital, alone without her family. This stemmed back to her own mother who did pass away in hospital shortly after Mum had left for the night.

We talked more than ever before, and as much as her failing lungs would allow. We had one last Christmas together in 2007 before she finally went into hospital, another hard decision in February 2008. The next two weeks are indelibly etched in my memory. The hospital called earlier each day, until I was being called at 4.30 am because she was calling for me. I thanked the “higher powers” that my children were teenagers who understood and willingly worked around this so that I could be there for their grandmother.

I tried to get her to eat, bathed her and got her into her fresh nightgown, and made sure she got the only medication they could give her to ease things – morphine!  How she hated that, but at least it enabled her to rest peacefully. It was heartbreaking watching my beautiful mother slowly lose that will to live, to finally simply want an end to the torment. Still she fought it every step of the way.

The Administrator for the hospice was kind and gentle, yet even so Mum didn’t want to go. She decided it meant it was the end and the day of the transfer has been carved in memory as one of the worst I can remember. It was hot and she hated the heat. It was crowded and noisy, which bothered her then. The warder wanted her to lie down which made her breathing worse, so that was another problem. The short transfer from the P.A.to Mt. Olivet seemed to take hours. Once there I bathed her and settled her in a fresh nightgown. She curled up like a child in her bed.

My brothers all came for a brief visit. I think I was the only one who realised we were saying goodbye. I wasn’t ready to leave , although it was much later than usual. Bombarded with urgings and cajoling from my three brothers I finally left, intending to have a quick shower to freshen up and return. As I walked through the door the phone was ringing.

My darling mother had passed away as I was driving home .

I knew how much she hated the sombreness of funerals so I arranged a white casket to be covered with her favourite flowers,  yellow roses and red carnations.

So, one stage of her life was finally over and, as a soul in a human body she is now enjoying the next stage if her life, pain-free, able to run and dance and move freely once more. I rejoice in her freedom again and know that missing her is a normal reaction, yet I am disappointed that believing as I do I still grieve. I grieve for myself, my loss and somehow that feels selfish.

I wish my mother an eternity of happiness and joy, free to dance and sing as she wanted. I believe that one day I will be able to talk to her again and I long for that day.

So today I will look through my albums and with a heart overflowing with love, remember a wonderful lady who was my mother, a woman who taught me so many things, and be eternally grateful that she is free and happy once more as I lay flowers on her physical resting place.

This is for you Mum. Thank you for making my life so wonderful.

image from MATTCLARK_01’s media

Ever your loving daughter, Susan xxxxxx

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