I suppose the title is not stricly true if you happen to be a pedant since given that Sunday is /monday is the start of a new week I’m actually covering parts of two weeks. I wasn’t sure that ‘TWTWTW with TITWTI’ wouldn’t sound like some demented owl calling instead of a title.
I left the story on Friday of last week with the hope that Julia would regain the will to go out or at least to give the ‘girls’ an outing from their cage. ( For new readers, I make the mistake of referring to my daughter and two nieces as the girls as well as our selection of pet rats. I leave it to you to decide who’s been caged).
The driver in place the pain must have been reduced but overall was still evident. So, on Saturday the dosage in the driver was increased, which required a doctor’s authorisation via the nurses. When it had to be increased again, and because of the snow passage to our home was even more difficult, the MacMillan nurse decided to try for a place at the hospice immediately. That wasn’t possible so a bed at the hospital where Ju”s treatment started was found. Neither my daughter nor I was keen on the idea because they’re large wards, patients have to go through the outpatients dept. before being sent to a ward and there’s no guarantee of visiting outside the stated times. But, any port in a storm as the saying goes. It was thus arranged by having an on call doctor come and assess Julia and sign an authorisation for hospitalisation. It was actually strange to see the doctor since both Julia and I had met him before. He has a surgery in a local town, obviously covers as an on call doctor and also has a job with ATOS, the firm employed by the government to assess people for Disability Living Allowance claims- and refuse them . We remembered him well from his assessment of my claim a couple of years back. He had me walk four feet from chair to door before deciding I could walk OK. He saved himself the bother of asking me a few questions by just supplying his own answers for them and talking to Julia said ” Please My Lady, let him answer the quession I ask” despite being told I wasn’t able to. But this was all done in the most charming manner. On arrival this time to assess Julia he acted as though we’d not met each other before and referred to me as ‘Young Man’ (eyesight not bad then) and said to Julia ” Oh my Lady, you’re far too young for this, far too young” ( and who could disagree with that).
A couple of hours later the ambulance battled it’s way through to collect Ju. An ecstatic Macmillan Nurse rang to say we could have a place in the hospice on Monday but they don’t do weekend admissions. The alternatives were a different hospice much further away or a bed at the local cottage hospital until a transfer could be arranged on Monday. Yvonne and I gave the problem our undivided attention for all of two seconds and decided on the local hospital. We told the ambulance men who were a little bemused as that wasn’t on their destination sheet, but it meant an earlier finish so they could cope.
Julia was transported by wheelchair to the ambulance which was a very painful journey but inescapable because of the state of the ground cover of snow and ice. I travelled with her while Yvonne followed in the car with Ugo. It was a very short journey and soon we were on the ward. Though this a main ward it consisted of only four beds. And though privacy was somewhat impacted everyone had automatically started speaking in whispers the minute we entered. Amazingly though, the staff placed no restriction on visiting times and even showed us to a family room where there was a bed enabling some to stay over. It was also a place where we could bring food to so that there was no need to leave the hospital to eat. Ju’s morphine doses were increased again so we expeccted all to be well.
There was no doctor at the hospital so when Julia felt pain the nursing staff had to phone one to get permission to increase the morphine 20mg at a time. This wasn’t achieving much. So, after a Sunday where we brought and ate enough food to feed the four thousand and left the family room smelling like we’d had a Turkish sauna in there instead of Just Yvonne and Ugo sleeping it was great when Monday and the time fo transfer came. I travelled in the ambulance with Julia again while Yvonne and Ugo went by car and Karen did the same.
The hospice (St. Kentigern’s) is fantastic. Though Ju is in a much smaller room than last time which doesn’t have it’s own bathroom, the kindness here is amazing. No restriction on visitors ( I mean number of rather than they can form their own Sumo wrestling team to perform there) and they’ve allowed Yvonne and I to stay over so Ju has our attention 24/7 ( who shouted ‘Poor Soul’ then?) as well as constant care from the staff here which includes a fantastic Doctor who is the most empathetic I’ve ever met and brilliant staff for whom nothing is too much trouble. There’s also the possibilty to order meals so you don’t have to leave if you’d prefer . All that being said, the dosage of morphine is now strong enough to kill the pain and discomfort but Ju is hardly lucid at all now. It’s Thursday at 7.15 am here and Yvonne or I have spent the night sitting with Ju and giving her occasional drinks to keep her hydrated. The tumour has now caused a blockage so she’s unable to eat at all. Any attempt leads to sickness so the liquid is important.
We spend time playing Ju’s favourite music, holding hands (hers) and stuffing biscuits and cakes down our gullets while Ju sleeps. We know this is the end, just not when it will arrive. Each of us hopes to be here when it does so we can say goodbye properly and not allow her to pass feeling alone. There have been important visitors here that have made Ju’s life better by their presence. Lis, one of those people who enrich the lives of all about them came as soon as the snow conditions allowed. Despite her lack of awareness Ju smiled from ear to ear. Little Mike came yesterday when he had a chance and I’m sure his cheeky banter lit sparks of recognition for her. Both Karen and Joanne (The Nieces) we here last night though Karen has been here all day every day suffering my jokes. Our nephew Lee and his partner Jen visited on Tuesday evening and Ju recognised them I’m sure. Today we know Karen will arrive early and be carrying bacon sandwiches for Yvonne and I and the three of us will sit and reminisce throughout the day trying to include Ju in the conversation where possible. We have no idea how long we’ll be sitting here for.