Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Not so good

Goodness me, it’s been an exhausting week and it’s only Wednesday.

On Monday, Daughter 2 phoned me at work to say that the doctor’s surgery had phoned her, telling her that my mother had been taken into hospital with a suspected stroke. She’d had a friend round for coffee and had suddenly been unable to speak coherently. The friend had phoned the doctor and the doctor had come and phoned for an ambulance. I rushed to the hospital to find Mum, thankfully, already much better

We were at the hospital all afternoon. The doctors thought that she’d suffered a mini-stroke. She had various tests, which were inconclusive except to show that that her blood pressure was very high (it always is) and one of the arteries in her neck is a bit narrowed. Eventually she was allowed home, but not before she’d developed a terrible headache, which led to suspicions that her symptoms suggested migraine and possibly not a mini-stroke at all. Which would obviously be better. But there isn't a test to prove it one way or the other.

Doctor Son came through from Glasgow after work, which was lovely because he has a very kind bedside manner and while he’s just a baby doctor, he actually knows quite a lot. Certainly more than us. Then Daughter 2 came up with roses and stayed to chat to her granny while I took Son home and we both had dinner. He also fitted in a bit of cat-time before going up for a final visit to Mum and then returning to Glasgow. (Sirius is such a soppy cat!)

Daughter 1 was meanwhile on her way to Bristol for a conference.

Mum is reasonably recovered now, but still slightly muddled – she's asked me the same question several times about her new medication, for example. And she’s tired and anxious – understandably. I’ve had to go back to work but have spent the nights at her house and phoned frequently throughout the day. We’re all worried. She’s 87 and very much aware of the implications of her health situation.

And oh dear, work! Our students are now back in college and teaching is tiring. And I have toothache, which really doesn’t help – I had to make an emergency appointment at the dentist for tomorrow. And I have two students in different classes who may be a bit difficult - though I haven’t met them yet. One was stroppy in a colleague’s class last year and both lecturer and student have refused to be together again this year. Granted, the lecturer is not the world’s most accommodating person. I just hope that the student is so pleased that I’m not the other teacher that I’ll start with an advantage. The other student has a very pushy and unpleasant father, so I’m told. Ho hum.

And today I was teaching Communication to a class of computing students. Often these students have remarkably poor keyboard skills – tapping away with two fingers. I was going round, looking at what they were writing and there was one student using only his right hand and I said…. and how I wish I’d engaged the brain before opening the mouth… words to the effect that he might find it easier if he used both hands. At which he raised his left sleeve, which dangled empty from the elbow…

Two more days to go to the weekend. I think I might just make it. Not quite sure.


  1. oh, Isabelle....

    after reading this I think my week may not have been as bad as I might have thought.

    My best wishes for your mother's recovery. She odes sound like a such a strong and healthy person, amazing for her age, I am sure she will get through this quite well.

    The work comment, oh, you must have died from embarrassment...but it probably happens all the time.

  2. The one handed student... I laughed. I hope you both did too.... it's an honest mistake.

    I hope that your Mum's muddleheadeness is only temporary and that she's back to her old self soon. Look after yourself.

  3. Not an easy week. As for your mum, if I had a mini-stroke, I can see myself getting a migraine after.

    Good luck with the tooth, you have my utter empathy.

    As for the right handed student, that is funny. I too, hope you laughed. Still, your initial statement IS factually accurate, it would be easier, if he had another hand.

  4. Anonymous12:06 am

    I hope your mum's head clears soon. How wonderful that your kids were there to offer their support to both her and you - they must be very well raised!

  5. "Get Well Wishes," for your Mum.

    I think I would have added some thing Like - "Maybe I need to brush up on my observational skills," to the one armed lad.

    I hope your week improves.

  6. No, not an easy week - I do hope you and your one handed student were able to have at least a chuckle about it afterwards. It sounds like you needed one by then!
    All the very best for your Mum - you do seem to have a lovely supportive family. Take care.

  7. I'm so glad your mom's friend called a doctor quickly. Time is of the essence in certain health matters. I hope she'll make a speedy recovery.

    I echo Fifi's comment about the young man who was missing a limb. It happens.

    I don't know if it'll make you feel any better, but I pulled a good one two or three years ago. A lady responded to a notice I'd posted on the Freecycle network, and dropped by my house to pick up several boxes of excess fabric. She brought along her children, who were quite wonderful. Before long we were chattering away like crazy, instant friends to the point that she gave me a warm goodbye hug.

    Now, her abdomen was protruding quite a distance. She looked to be seven or eight months along, so I congratulated her and asked her when she was due.

    She wasn't due. No baby. She had a hernia due to complications with her last pregnancy. She was very kind and matter-of-fact about it, but I could have died. Because I didn't keep my mouth shut and mind my own business, I put this lovely woman on the spot and very probably made her feel unattractive. So much for the prospect of starting a new friendship!

    It will be a cold day in hell before I make another comment about someone's appearance beyond "don't you look wonderful!".

  8. Oh my Isabelle! I'm so very sorry to hear about your Mum. I hope she's feeling better already. I wasn't aware that a migraine could cause a loss of speech, but hopefully that's all that has happened -- it's such a worry! And eeek, with your student, but how could you know? Hopefully, your year will get easier!

  9. What a combination of worries - but that's your 'things go in threes' done with, I hope.

  10. Dear Isabelle I hope all goes well with your mother. It is indeed worrying when memory starts to fail and you have to wonder whether it is just memory and not the reasoning faculty. How wonderful to have the children rallying around.
    Good luck with the dentist. And with the difficult students.

  11. What a week indeed. I'll be thinking of you and sending nurturing and healing vibes to you all.

  12. In the words of the prophet - Shxx. You have had a terrible week. Hope your mum continues to improve (but still very worrying for you) and the students get back in their box quickly and remember where they fit in the big picture!!! (but there's always one who can hit the tender spot!!) Zxx

  13. Oh Isabelle... what a rotter of a week. I hope your mum is doing better soon. I felt mortified on your behalf about that student! Last year we were house hunting and went to our very first viewing. I was trying to be polite so said hello and held out my hand to shake the owners and HE DIDN'T HAVE A HAND but we just did it anyway I shook a stump of sorts and I felt like such an idiot. Awkward!

  14. Oh Isabelle, sorry to hear about your mum. My father-in-law has vascular dementia which just seems to be a long, series of small strokes, each one of which robs us of a little piece of the man we know and love. So hard.

    On the other hand, I would like to tell your other readers that I am thinking of opening a book on Isabelle versus the pushy and unpleasant father. The odds on the father are very very long!

  15. When I read about your mum asking you the same question several times I knew that she and I would get along swimmingly! Hope she makes a full recovery...And after such a week, surely things can only get better?

  16. Oh dear. Thinking of you and your Mum.

  17. Loth, I am a total wet!! The father would win. I go for soft soap and mollification whenever possible. Anyway, I trust he's not going to have anything to complain about.

  18. I was jsut feeling a mite sorry for myself about a touch of stomach cramps and now feel much better. Sorry you've had a testing time and I hope your mum feels herself very soon.

    Had to laugh at the one-armed student (well, not at him as such - I'm quite PC really). You must have felt a proper plonker!

    Lesley x

  19. Isabelle, what a trying patch! I do hope your mother continues to improve. How wonderful of your son to come when needed.
    You are a very close & loving family.
    Good luck with the students.

  20. You never know what life is going to throw our way at times! Wishing your mother a speedy recovery, must be such a worry for you.

    Ooops about your comment to the student....

  21. I'm sorry to hear about your Mum and join with everyone else in hoping she feels better soon. It sounds like you have had a rotten week anyway, let alone with toothache on top. I hope the dentist sorts that out quickly and inexpensively!

  22. After reading your post here, my own problems fall into perspective as usual. We went through similar scenarios with my MIL late last year, and felt so helpless. I do hope your Mum recovers enough to continue living on her own (with the help and care of you and your dear family).
    The situation with your student must have been embarrassing for you for a moment, but hey, we all have those OOPS! moments!

  23. Oh, Isabelle! I dropped in to read as usual, wondering how you were getting on ... oh, what a horrible time you're having! I'm so sorry. What a blessing to have Doctor Son help you all understand what's happening with your Mum (what can be understood, that is). I always find I can handle things better when I know exactly what I'm dealing with, and that's not always the case with medical things, so I can really understand your worry-- and your Mum's. Again, until you meet them, it's the same with the students. Hang in there Isabelle, I'm giving a virtual squeeze of your hand and lots of warm wishes to help you through the end of the week.

  24. What a week!
    But I hope you enjoy ( or at least manage a relax) this weekend.
    LOve the snap of Baby Doctor Son and Nice Black Cat!

  25. Came to visit you here after reading your comment about liking singing on one of the blogs I follow - don't ask me which one - the grey cells are doing too many things at once (I'm watching X Factor at the same time as typing - it's enough to put anybody off singing for life! Hopefully, neither you nor I come into that category!)Best wishes to your Mum...

  26. the mof4:54 am

    Things definitely go in threes, so my very superstitious Scottish mother used to say -- and when the first thing happened she used to break two matches to complete the three. I still find myself doing the same thing--tragic!

    Hope your mother has a speedy recovery.

  27. Sending healing thoughts from across te sea.