More exhausting perhaps is the fact that mum recovered from the chest infection has its own problems. The thing is that the infection - which is largely dismissed now, although she is still coughing a bit - appears to have made mum's dementia worse.
The hospital called me this morning for example at about 9am before I had got out of bed. They had handed mum the phone so she came on immediately and started recounting how she was at loggerheads with the staff who would not let her leave. "I have a mind to call the police, although of course I would never do that," she told me at one point in her diatribe. Because that was what this was: a diatribe against the staff whom she had taken a dislike to.
She didn't know where her clothes were, or her shoes, or her handbag (although she had been brought to the hospital in an ambulance). She wanted to get out and she wouldn't take "no" for an answer. I got out of bed and made coffee, then I headed straight up the motorway to the hospital in the car.
When I arrived she was wheeling a wheeled walker around the ward. It contained on top a sketch book and a white hospital blanket. The staff looked relieved that I had come, and I took her back to her bed and sat her down and poured out the coffee that I had brought for her - I had bought two coffees at the kiosk in addition to my breakfast, a cheese-and-hem croissant - so that she could sit down and relax. She had made some drawings, it appeared, in her drawing book. She showed them to me. I didn't really know what to make of them other than they were relatively realistic. "They're lovely, mum," I said.
She sat down in the chair situated next to the hospital bed and talked. I sat back in the visitor's chair and listened, interjecting every now and then to set her straight. The story was confused but at least the delusion she had yesterday - that we had suddenly rematerialised in New Zealand - had gone away. Instead she rambled on about this and that and none of it made any sense whatever. This despite the fact that the infection seems to have disappeared due to the administration of antibiotics through her arm. (They had put in a new canula for the liquids to her forearm this morning; the previous one she had pulled out.) But now I am wondering if the delusions are going to go away after she returns to the relatively well-known confines of the nursing home, or if they're going to stay.
Let's hope that she settles down once she is back in her familiar surroundings. The way things are now though the hopsital needs to have someone stationed at mum's bed looking after her all the time. It's not just that she might pull the canula out of her arm again. It's that she might just wander off and abscond. I cannot imagine what that would look like: a little old lady in a hospital gown and orange ward socks walking down the street with a wheeled walker muttering to herself about catching the bus and having no money.