Well, a year has passed and what a year it’s been – full of highs and lows!
The situation continued during the first part of this year with Mum getting slowly worse and losing so much weight we were fearful for her health. She just didn’t look like Mum any more. She had to be moved everywhere by wheelchair, she was frequently very unhappy and quite verbally and physically aggressive when the staff tried to give her personal care. She obviously didn’t like being manhandled in any way.
By July she was down to 5st (which is hard to take when she used to be a size 22!) and hardly eating anything. She spent more and more time in bed and was having to be fed drinks through a syringe. Then finally the doctor put her onto ‘end of life care’ and with our permission took her off all medication. Apparently various medication was on hand to ease her through her last days when it was required.
Then for no apparent reason, she began to rally very gradually. She spent more time sitting up in the chair by her bed. She began to take small amounts of food. She seemed more alert and less unhappy.
Now she has put on 2st, sits quite happily in the lounge with other residents, can feed herself with a spoon and pick up a beaker. Indeed, her eating habits have turned full circle and she is now polishing off a dinner and 2 puddings – just like she would in years gone by! She is constantly chuckling (about goodness knows what!), constantly chatting (again about goodness knows what), still recognises her family and even walks with slight support from a Carer. In short, it’s almost a miracle. Obviously her dementia has not improved although she can seem to string together the odd sentence that actually makes sense which hasn’t happened for many months. When Mum became so ill, her eyes had this dull, glazed look which was horrible to see but now her face looks healthy and her eyes are bright and alert which is wonderful.
Whereas it had got to a point where we used to dread visiting Mum, now it is something to look forward to. The staff love her as she is so cheery and frequently makes them laugh, usually by her inappropriate replies to questions. She even told me she loved me on Xmas Day which was a real tear-jerker. Not sure she knew what she was saying but it worked for me!
So there we are, miracles can happen. Of course she’s not going to get better but at least she seems happier and comfortable which is all we can ask for at this stage. I guess she’s just not quite ready to leave us yet!