Today I went to see my mother who is currently in the hospital. These situations are always difficult for me and have been since I was younger.
The problem is because my mum was the main carer for many of her brothers and sisters, I was often taken along with her as there was no-one to look after me.
I saw first hand the deterioration and death of two of my mum’s siblings and my father. I have seen these signs before, and in some ways, I look for them when they aren’t there.
My mum has had a series of problems over the past few months. Starting with a reaction to her chemotherapy for cancer, breaking her arm in a fall and now vomiting and no appetite.
This last problem, coupled with her arm is what’s giving us the most concern. Mainly because there doesn’t seem to be any attempt to get to the bottom of it. It has resulted in mum going from a fit, independent woman in January, to a thin and frail lady who can no longer walk or stand very well.
The fact that I have an anxiety to hospitals, and that my mum was unwell, meant that my anxiety level was at DEFCON 1. In many ways she was still like her old self, joking with the staff and the other patients. But she was also in a lot of pain and had no desire for food. Her hair was returning, giving her a short white downy look to her head that you might find on a baby.
Fear of what I might find was causing a lot of problems with my anxiety before we got there. Having been to hospitals before with my mum, I was aware of the many ways you can find someone who is very poorly. Reports from my brother were optimistic but also laced with agitation at a lack of diagnosis for our mum’s issues.
We stayed with her for a few hours but left feeling none the wiser about her condition or what they intended to do to remedy it. I think it is this lack of progress that caused the most anxiety and stress today. I am glad that I have my medication or I might have been a lot worse.
One thing that I was determined to do was to see her no matter how bad my anxiety got. I wanted to see for myself how she was and let her know that we are thinking of her. In some ways, it was a great achievement, but this wasn’t how it felt at the time.
Regardless of the outcome, I want to know that I have tried everything I can to help her get the best care she can.