Monday, 27 June 2016

Mum goes into palliative care

So today brings the sad news that mum is being placed into palliative care. In the morning I spoke with my cousin who had brought my attention to mum's AHD, after mum had been moved overnight to the Cardiac Care Unit from Ward 7. Then I came back to the hospital this afternoon after Clare had returned to the road for the trip north and I spoke with mum's attending doctor. I had also earlier spoken with another doctor - who goes around to different units to help out where needed - and he had spoken to me about mum's AHD. (He was the same doctor who had spoken to me once before in the Emergency Ward about the AHD, and had advised me to think about what it contains.)

Mum's attending doctor examined her records and came to her room to have a look at her. He tried to get her attention but was not successful. We went outside the room to talk. There were two young doctors also standing there on their training rounds. The attending doctor told me that mum was getting worse. Her heart rate had gone up to around 140 bpm and she was struggling. Even when, two days earlier, she had looked well and was responsive, she was not mobile. Her likelihood of recovery was poor and even if she did beat the infections - in the right leg and in her bladder - and get out of the hospital she would likely be readmitted shortly due to the MRSA infection in her right leg.

He asked me if he could put mum into palliative care instead of putting her through more uncomfortable procedures, and I agreed. He said "Ok" and asked me if I was alright. I said I had been looking after mum for seven years and had seen the degeneration of her health over the previous months and years. I went back into mum's room and said goodbye. The doctor came in and turned off the heart monitor and a little while later a nurse came and disconnected mum from the machines. The room was suddenly less active. It was almost quiet except for occasional footfalls in the hallway outside the room where mum lay alone apart from me, sitting there in the chair in the corner. Mum lay there with her mouth open. A nurse came in to put cream on mum's lips to prevent them cracking and causing pain. I stayed for a while then I left and drove home.

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