Today in various hospital departments

Today began with a hospital visit dropping back my sleep apparatus. Then home, at some point in the afternoon I could not stay awake any longer and had a nap. I planned to do a workout early evening, and was just putting my trainers on when Dad asked me to take his temperature. He’s had a virus, I took it and it was high. So workout cancelled.

This evening and another hospital visit with dad. Usual checks before they decided he was fine to go home. Exhausted.

Night peeps x

The second time dad went crazy.. A Christmas like no other 

Following on from my previous post when dad went crazy, spent time in hospital and then was sent home without psychological assessment… 

Three days later he had lost his mind again. Mum and I went to get fish and chips as dad had requested them, and while we were out dad got himself shut out in the cold with no keys or phone.. Knocking on neighbours doors and talking nonsense to them. The man over the road apparently shouted at him that he was crazy, before another neighbour kindly took him in and phoned us to come and get him. He was so afraid and confused. 

The next day at 5:30pm on the 19th we were watching the Apprentice when dad suddenly said “right that’s enough” and walked out. He went and grabbed a filthy bag of rubbish from the kitchen and took it into the bedroom with him. Then he shut mum in the bedroom with him and said rubbish bag. He would not let her out or me in. She had no phone or access to toilet or water. She called out and asked me to get help, and I don’t remember but I must have called 999 and my uncle who came. 

Shortly after, four police arrived with two ambulance people. Dad was against the door holding it shut with his body. Without communication or warning, the police burst the door open, dad went flying, the television went flying, mum was screaming, I was crying and telling them not to hurt him. 

Now with the door open mum was able to get out of the room. The police tried to talk to dad but he stared blankly into space. After a while, they told us that now Mum was in no danger there was nothing they could do. The ambulance people did not have the power to section him. So they said they would refer and they all left. 

Dad then shut himself alone in the bedroom and pinned himself against the door to stop anyone entering. He is stronger than one might think! We could hear him doing things but couldn’t see what. 

Eventually, after more phone calls, an out of hours doctor came at about 4 am. Doctor, uncle and I managed to slowly get the door open little by little. Dad just kept shouting ‘GO,GO’. That was all he would say. He was sitting on the floor in just his pants. 

Doctor decided that yes he did need to be sectioned, but that would require psychiatrists who don’t work out of hours. It would also involve organising three professionals to all meet here at the same time to assess dad and sign papers. We were told it would happen first thing in the morning. Doctor left. 

My brother and his wife tried lying on the lounge floor. I was on sofa, mum in arm chair, uncle was on an airbed in the hall outside the bedroom where dad was. 

Suddenly dad was trying to get out of the window. We ran to stop him, he hurt my hand, the curtains and rail were ripped from the ceiling. My brother ran outside to try and stop dad from out there. Mum phoned the police again. 

This time six officers attended. By the time they arrived, we had managed to stop dad getting out and had locked all windows and doors and hidden all keys. The police hang around a short time before leaving. After that dad pretty much spent the entire time pacing the hallway looking like a tortured zombie. Until the following evening. 

No, it was not first thing in the morning that we heard from them. It was the evening. We felt abandoned by the world, like no help would ever come. 

And so, at about 6pm on the 20th December (24 hours trying to get help, 36 hours with no sleep) my dad was finally driven away in an ambulance and admitted to a mental health hospital where he spent Christmas and new year. He spent three weeks there and mum and I visited him every day. It was the saddest Christmas ever. The hospital was amazing and staff lovely, plus I fell in love with a couple of other lonely patients. 

They think he had a bad reaction to the steroids. He is now on olanzapine. He came home a week ago, and it is so wonderful to have him home. His chemo has been delayed, but it restarts tomorrow. Hopefully it will only get better from here. None of us ever want to go through that again.. 

I don’t know if I have described events well. I think it would be impossible for anyone to really understand what it was like unless they had been there. I know how much I love my dad, and I know I would do anything for him. I appreciate every moment with him, every smile, every hug, every bad joke .. Everything 

 

The week my dad went mad

I’ve come up to my cold and lonely room so tired and in need of sleep. I struggled to sleep already, but the events of the last week have left terrible scars. If I were to explain, it would not ever put across quite what it has been like. But I shall try…

 

 

I believe my last post was about last Monday night when Mum was being sick and Dad started to talk nonsense. Well things got progressively worse as the week went on. Tuesday he was terrible and that night I managed to get him to go to bed eventually, Wednesday he was worse and showing serious signs of paranoia. He seemed to see me as the enemy and was trying to control which room I could be in and what I could do.  Mum and I both struggled to get him to go to bed but managed it eventually..

 

 

But Thursday I decided that Mum and I could no longer cope alone. I phoned my brother and asked him to come and be with Dad whilst Mum and I went to talk with a doctor about Dad. Our usual doctor was away and so we saw a woman, and she was so unhelpful and unsympathetic, we were very upset. She did agree to send an emergency doctor to our house later to assess Dad.. At this point Mum and I were so upset, we didn’t want to go straight home so we popped for coffee.

 

 

When we got home, Dad and my brother had been chatting. Apparently Dad kept running out and chucking used teabags out the door. Not long after our return the doctor we had seen earlier came. Amazingly she apologised for being so unsympathetic earlier.. and then she talked to Dad, took his bp etc.  She suggested that she send a mental health assessor but that the soonest appointment would be the next morning.

 

 

As for the rest of the day.. you just had to be there to believe it. He was doing the weirdest things, wouldn’t let anyone go to the bathroom without a fight, wouldn’t let my brother cook for us and confiscated the shopping he brought. He peeled and cooked one potato.. and no word of a lie, he stood looking at this saucepan of cooked potato for 3 and a half hours. Nobody could go anywhere or do anything, and we couldn’t carry on like that. I phoned my uncle (Dad’s brother) and he came straight over.. and once he saw how bad Dad was we all agreed to try and get him in to hospital that night. Well.. that was the idea, but it took until 5am. We were all up all night and dad was still pacing around stopping anyone from going to the toilet or to get a drink. It was the weirdest, scariest, most heartbreaking  night I’ve ever had. Dad wouldn’t let me near him and his eyes looked empty like he wasn’t there anymore.

 

 

 

I will continue this tomorrow, as the story doesn’t end there.

 

 

tbc…

 

 

 

Christmas draws nearer..

Chemo day is upon us again. This is our life from now on, the hospital is our second home.

 
We were very relieved to get last week over and done with. Chemo is easy by comparison to the radiotherapy treatment. It made him sick and then the anti sickness tablets caused digestion problems. We had an impromptu hospital outing on Sunday as they were worried he may have a blockage.. but all was thankfully ok.

 
I’ve barely even thought about Christmas.. Is it really less than three weeks away? Help! I must admit I’ve always found it a difficult time of year. I’m not even sure my dad is going to let any family come this year, he is so worried about catching the flu or something because it could be really serious for him. My brother and sister in law suggested they get face masks!! What a bizarre Christmas day that would be, us all sitting around with masks on.

 
Oh well, one way or another it will be a Christmas like no other, I’m sure. Just hoping we are all able to make the best of everything together and enjoy each others company .. Because that’s what really matters. Screw the presents, I’m really not bothered about them.
Ho ho ho

Not enough Bubbles but ..

This is a sleepy-eyed late night post, don’t expect much from me 🙂

 

Yesterday was a bad day. Dad’s first radiotherapy session was pretty awful for him, and in the evening, whilst I was in the middle of cooking dinner, he came over really unwell being sick and feeling faint. He started to panic and so did I. He was asking for an ambulance, so we did call 999 and he spoke to someone who suggested he call his emergency chemo number. They reassured him and said he should take his anti-sickness tablets. Thankfully he  wasn’t sick anymore and got a good night’s sleep in the end (unlike myself).

 

Today his session was not so bad. We met a lovely lady in the waiting room who gave mum a hug and was so caring. Her husband had cancer 10 years ago, and now she is being treated for breast cancer. She left and when Dad went in to treatment we went over the road to the café, and the lady we had just met in the waiting room was there with her husband. The small café was rather full, so Mum and I ordered soup and asked if we could eat in the lounge area, which was sunny and quiet. They said that would be fine and we had our own waitress service.

 

After a while, the lady from the waiting room came over and gave us her number, in case we ever needed someone to talk to. We were very touched that she did that.. she didn’t have to.

 

On the way home we stopped off to get a few food essentials from M&S, and I picked up a coat I had ordered online (retail therapy again). It was the first time I had been in a big store in three years. It felt strange and daunting but it wasn’t busy and Mum was by my side.

 

Then, when I got home I did the best workout I’ve done for ages. I actually really enjoyed it and am feeling a bit fitter. I rewarded myself by enjoying a long hot bath with music and candles. Lovely.. although the bubbles were missing. The water pressure from our taps creates a pitiful amount, so I use our power shower to run the bath and get masses of bubbles. Well, our power shower has gone wrong, and most of the water now pours out the back. Hence I had an annoyingly tiny pile of bubbles. It dawned on me how lucky I was to be able to lie in a bath at all and that I should not feel dissatisfied. So I had a blissful bath in the end 🙂

 

There was a knock on the door this evening from another lady who lives a few doors down the road. My family have lived here for 35 years, and this lady has lived down the road as long.. my brother used to play with their two boys and I sometimes tried to tag along. Anyway, all grown up now and we literally haven’t spoken in some twenty-something years. But here she was now with some nutrition shakes for Dad and shortbread biscuits to cheer us all up. What a lovely kind gesture. I’ve had such a negative view of people, but honestly I am finding out that there are some really decent ones out there. Such a small gesture can make such a difference. Sometimes even a smile can brighten up a dull day.

 

Dad’s treatment today didn’t cause sickness tonight, which was a huge relief. He really is suffering though, finding the sessions extremely uncomfortable. I keep reminding him that he is almost half way there now. He seems to be getting back pain now though, which is worrying. Tomorrow is another day and the dreaded double.. both chemo and radiotherapy. Fingers crossed all goes well.

Killed by Christmas Tree Lights

So today Dad goes for his first radiotherapy session.

 

I think back to the couple we met there two weeks ago. The man, Derrick, had just gone through an awful operation to remove a brain tumor and they were going to give him radiotherapy.. but they had decided it wasn’t worth giving him the radiotherapy as it wouldn’t help and may lessen his quality of what little life he has left. Three months, in fact. That’s the time limit they had been given. He and his lovely wife were now faced with breaking that news to their daughter. Incredibly, he was smiling and joking. I suspect that inside his heart was breaking and he was afraid. Her too. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hold them both, but I held it together somehow instead. I find myself thinking how Christmas will be for that family – knowing it is their last chance to spend it together, wondering how sick he will be. Tears well up in my eyes.

 

In our case, we have not been given a time limit. But we know Dad cannot be cured. The treatment they are doing is to prolong his life as much as possible.. to hopefully send him into remission and hope that it wont come back too soon. I don’t think there are any guarantees.. everyone is different and responds to the treatment differently.. but please God. It could be years, it could not.. but one way or another we will always be living under a dark worry cloud that it could return . And we haven’t even got him into remission yet.. nine gruelling months of chemotherapy are upon us.

 

In a sense, I suppose each of us does not know how long we have or what could happen unexpectedly. People are suddenly gone in terror attacks, car crashes, freak accidents.. apparently people are even killed by Christmas tree lights! With all the different things that can go wrong with our own bodies and minds aswell, it’s a wonder any of us are surviving at all.

 

But we are.. just about surviving.. each of us in our own way. Most of us are too busy rushing around, trying to remember all the things they need to get done that day, to even think upon their own fragility or transience. They don’t have time to notice the birds flying gracefully across that picture perfect sunset. They don’t have time to question why we are here and what we are here for, they can only just catch enough breath to stumble from day to day.

 

My own life has been rather a stumble. I feel like five minutes ago I was a fresh-faced teenager. I blinked and found myself here, with very little to show for it. What I do hold dear is now threatened, and I have never felt so vulnerable and afraid of the future. I’m afraid of so many things right now.

 

I have always had a faith, I was brought up with one. It is a simple one which dwells in my heart and consists of a loving thy neighbour ethos. I believe in being kind and caring. I don’t believe in judging others, but I do judge myself rather harshly. There are things I don’t know I will ever forgive myself, but I learn to live with that. People tell me God forgives, but how I feel right now.. it is as if he doesn’t much like me. I ponder upon that.. I shall continue to do so most likely until my own final breath.

 

So, anyway, I digress. Now I must sign off and get ready to take Dad for his treatment. Apparently it could cause vomiting, it could affect his short-term memory (tbh that has always been questionable). But hopefully it will shrink that bleeping tumor.

 

***The picture above is one of the moments I managed to capture those birds across the sunset.