Sunday, 2 August 2015

The next stage in mum's illness

We went out into the park when I arrived at the nursing home to see mum today, and watched the dogs. There were nine dogs at one time while we were sitting there in the winter sunshine. Mum had on two jackets, one on top of the other. I asked her several times if she was cold but she said "No". Eventually the pain in her legs coming from sitting on a hard wooden bench made her get up and head back inside to the air-conditioned warmth of her residence.

But when we had gone through the front doors of the nursing home she had to sit down, out-of-breath and struggling with her legs, which were tired from her exertions. I sat down opposite her on the couch near the front door and after five minutes prompted her to go back upstairs to her room. I mentioned the episode to the nurse at the first-floor nursing station when we had left the elevator. The haematologist had already written a letter to mum's GP informing him of her low red blood cell count. Here it was again. The haematologist had also recommended blood transfusions. We have an appointment to see the haematologist again in less than two weeks' time.

I took mum back to her room and left, got in the car and drove back to the city on the highways, as I usually do. I wondered as I drove back how many more times I would have to take that route home, if mum was getting so much worse at this point in time. The blood disease had first of all attacked her platelets, but the haematologist had medicated her and those had gone back up, but now it was the red blood cells that were under attack in the bone marrow. You need red blood cells to carry oxygen to the different parts of your body, to stay alive. The shortness of breath was a sign they were low in her blood. A transfusion can help for a few weeks, but it's not a permanent cure, only a palliative measure.

In the photo mum looks lively and well, but in reality she's dying from the blood cancer, and day by day getting worse. I don't know how much longer she'll continue. Another reason to put off looking for work, in my case.

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