I’m very pleased to report that, as far as my mum’s health is concerned, things are definitely looking up. Monday was a very low point, when we were informed that as well as lingering intestinal infection, she also has pneumonia. To counteract this, she was pumped full of antibiotics and hooked up to a three-day epidural. Consequently, she looked terrible. She was rarely awake, and unable to speak above a whisper. The worst of it though, was that she looked scared. Defeated even. There was also talk of a return to the ventilator and it was no longer a given that she was going to survive.
When we left that night, they were just about to fit the epidural. Bodies busied and loomed at her bedside as she tried to say goodbye, her voice not quite making it through her oxygen mask. All of which gave rise to another tearful trudge through hospital corridors, out into the ever-present storm and into the adjacent supermarket to buy more wine.
Sometimes you hold it all back – the tears, I mean. But sometimes, revelling in the relative rarity, the privilege of such powerful emotion, you let the waxy mask twist and leak in the full glare of public scrutiny. Thinking feast – yes, my friends, feast upon the pain of proud love, tested and true-found, flowing unfettered from this baggy broken face.
But then things picked up.
On Wednesday, she managed to remain awake throughout our visits and at lunchtime she was even asking for her teeth. Unfortunately, her teeth don’t seem to fit in her mouth anymore and there was a moment of a panic when – having fought with the oxygen mask, the nasogastric feedtube and the pulse oximetre finger-clamp to get the teeth in – we couldn’t get them out. But we prevailed.
On Thursday her speech was clearer again, she’d had her hair washed, eaten half a sandwich and was eager to get out of bed and into a chair.
On Friday she asked for a mirror, as well as a nail file to work on her teeth.
This morning she looked great. We couldn’t figure out what it was for a moment, but then it hit us. Both the oxygen mask and the NG tube were gone. As soon as a bed becomes available, she’ll be out of intensive care.
And, obviously, we’re all very very relieved. And phenomenally grateful.