This week so far has thrown up a new set of challenges. The sister who came up for a week went away again and my mum got moved out of intensive care. Before then though – my note-scraps tell me it was Friday – I felt down in a way that I hadn’t felt so far. A more selfish down, a fed-up down, which is worse than a selfless down because it makes one feel like a cad. I know it’s allowed, and I know it’s perfectly natural, but it makes me feel like I’ve let myself down. And in a sense, of course, that’s exactly what I have done.
Later that afternoon, however, I made a sloppy Pad Thai and I baked some special cookies, enabling my sisters, my nephew and I to relax a little – actually, quite a lot. Someone even relaxed herself into a whitey. Classic. It was a lovely evening though, and a welcome relief.
But then I felt the tension yesterday morning too, and I got snippy. But I got over that too, and I’m super-aware of it and tackling it head on.
Then today was a whole new nettle facemask. Because today my mum was down. She was feeling sorry for herself. Upset over clumsy phlebotomists and the odd sharp scratchy nurse. Upset too, I think, at the new stoma she has to deal with, which is a visceral, heart-breakingly gory thing. I held her hand and tried to be uplifting. I reminded her how far she’d come, how brave she’d been. I read to her. Fetched another blanket. Did a crossword. I pulled everything from my care arsenal – everything I could reach. But nothing could penetrate her sadness. It was also the first time I’d seen her lose her sense of humour, which is just the absolute worst thing.
But I went up tonight again with my sister and boom! She was much improved. Smiling again.
Funnily enough, her bad mood coincided with being moved into a room on her own. She’d been there for two days. This afternoon she got moved back onto a ward with four other sick ladies, and, as I say, boom. Smiling again. People need people. Solitude is for the strong.
I’m trying to maintain an even keel and overall I’m very pleased that she’s gradually improving.
Also, I’ve finished my novel.