Friday, December 29, 2006

What happened at Christmas

I got a new digital camera for Christmas so here are some moderately seasonal photos.

We had all the family around for Christmas Day – Daughter 1 and her husband came over from their house; my husband, Daughter 2 and Son were here anyway; and my mother came for dinner along with my brother (my only sibling), his wife and my lovely nephew and niece; also my aunt. That’s just about my whole family. I only have one more aunt; no cousins. My husband is an only child and his parents died some years ago, though he does have an uncle and some cousins.

The missing member was of course my father, who’s still in hospital because he can’t walk – or at least, can’t get up by himself, though is allowed to use a walking frame occasionally with assistance. He’s also pretty confused. This didn’t stop us feeling very guilty that he wasn’t with us. Apart from this, we had a lovely day except that my mother wasn’t at all well. She had a bad cough and was unusually quiet.

Because my mum’s house has more spare rooms than ours, my brother and family (who live in the south of England) are staying with her, though they all eat with us. On Boxing Day, my sister-in-law came down in the morning to find my mother lying on the kitchen floor, semi-conscious. My sister-in-law and brother phoned for a doctor and for me. The doctor did various tests and decided that she’d just fainted, so we got her into bed, but during the course of the day, Mum passed out several more times, was very feverish and at times delirious, and, in brief, we ended up calling an ambulance and she was taken into hospital.

This was the third time since September that our son has accompanied a grandparent in an ambulance to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and I have gone behind the ambulance in my car. It’s actually the fourth time this year that I’ve done this – the first time, my mum was in the ambulance with my dad when he fainted when out to dinner, while the next two occasions were when my dad fractured a bone in his pelvis and then broke his hip.

So currently my dad is in the Royal Victoria Hospital, about 15 minutes’ drive north of our house and until this morning my mum was in the Royal Infirmary, about 30 minutes’ drive south. A lot of hospital visiting has been going on. We also heard today that my dad is having a small operation about now, to clear out an infected sinus on his behind.

Mum isn’t too bad. They think that all the fainting was due to low blood pressure combined with a high fever – though she normally has high blood pressure. Mercifully, there are plenty of us around at the moment to look after her. But I dread to think what would have happened if she’d been lying on the kitchen floor at 9 am on term-time morning. I always phone her during the day from work as well as in the evening if I’m not seeing her, but she could have lain there for hours.

My husband and I have been feeling for a while that she shouldn’t be living on her own. So we’ve offered to move in with her and I think she’ll accept. I’m feeling very low about this, since we love being at home with beloved Daughter 2, who is just perfect, like the ideal sister I never had, and lovely Son, who is also the best boy in the world, and cheery and cuddly. (We also adore Daughter 1, but she has her own house now.) But what can we do? I don’t think Mum would want to live in our house, though this is just about possible to manage now that Daughter 1 has left home. Our bedroom is downstairs, and there’s also a downstairs bathroom, so my husband and I could move into Daughter 1’s vacated bedroom, leaving our room for Mum. But I think she’d prefer to be in her own house, with her own things.

Sigh. Poor Mum, poor Dad. They’re 84 and a half and nearly 87, so have done well to live independently so far. But it’s so sad to see them frail and wobbly. It seems no time since they were strong and capable. Tempus fugit, folks. Gather ye rosebuds and that sort of thing.


  1. oh Isabelle I am sorry to hear about your mother. How is she? It was very lucky that your brother and his wife were staying with your mother when she collapsed.

  2. This must be so hard for you. I hope your mother recovers from her mystery collapse and that your father's operation goes well. Good luck with the housing decision facing you. And thank goodness your brother was there to care for your mother on Boxing Day.

  3. It wouldn't be Christmas without some drama! Wow -- I hope all goes well from now on.

  4. Your holidays were rather dramatic, Isabelle! I hope things have settled down and that your mom is on the mend. Good luck with the decisions ahead.

  5. Wow! And I thought I had drama in my life.....hope the parents recover their health and that you get all the living arrangements sorted. Fortunate that you all live close by.... 2007 is starting out with a bang for your family.....Maybe things will calm down and the rest of the year will go smoothly. Good luck isabelle...

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your Mum (and Dad remaining in hospital), it is truly awful seeing someone you love become so dependent upon others - my dear Moomin has Rheumatoid arthritis and goes through stages of high dependence (though thankfully right now she's okay). Re the housing, that's an enormous decision, and a difficult one, I wish you well with everything.

    Doesn't feel quite right typing 'happy new year' when it's started off so wafty for you, but here's hoping 2007 gets better as it goes on.

    B. x