The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Heading back to Herts and Points South

We will be packing up the Peugeot (I insisted NOT the MGB, The Husband bravely did not meep) later today in readiness for a return to Hertfordshire and a visit to a dear Uni friend who has settled in Surrey. 

Sadly, her husband won't be there as he has to be in Scotland where his father has just underdone surgery to remove a malignancy, so it'll be just the three of us for the weekend. Three of us humans and two dogs, ours and theirs. Theirs is still a puppy, they've only had him about six weeks.  He's a miniature Schnauzer, a divine-looking breed in my view.  I love the Prussian general face fuzz they have, a tremendous moustache of Edwardian grandeur and a very neat beard.  He has yet to acquire his full set, I guess, as he is only fourteen weeks old, but once he is an adult he will be a very distinguished-looking gentleman.

So we humans will need to be on the qui vive to supervise how the two canines get along.  The Dog is an elderly fellow now, at gone eleven, and the young whippersnapper may annoy him or tire him if he wants to play too much.  And it's The Puppy's home turf, so there may be some resentment there as well.  I am expecting some growling, and some reprimanding.  They will need to get their two-man pack in a pecking order, then they should be fine.

On the Sunday afternoon we will be heading to Herts to visit Our Ma, who is again in hospital on an acute admissions ward.  She has been there for a while now, since developing oral thrush and refusing to eat, drink, or take her medication. Her mouth and throat must have been really sore.  She has been re-hydrated on a drip, and had the medication administered in liquid form to try to clear up the thrush, but she still will not take her medication for other conditions. 

As she is 95 years old we believe she is signalling to the rest of the world in the only way she can that she has Had Enough. The ward says she is eating and drinking, but I imagine it will be minuscule amounts under some protest, if I know Our Ma.  As tiny and frail as she is now, she is still a stalwart force to be reckoned with and will NOT be bullied.  If she wants to go, we wish they NHS would just let her, and will say as much when we go to the hospital.  The Husband's sister agrees, so it's just a matter of finding out if the doctors are of a similar opinion, and she will be given palliative care only from now on, with no more interference and interventions.

She is a brave lady, one of that outstanding war generation, and (however much the dementia has reduced her) she deserves to have her wishes respected.  If you are of a praying disposition, please remember her and others in her situation, and ask that they are allowed to go in peace and enjoy that final rest they deserve at the end of their remarkable lives.


  1. Hari OM
    Oh Marion - absolutely am including Your Ma in prayers; as you will have gathered, aged care was my speciality and I have full sympathy with your words and sentiments here.

    On the lighter side - Schnauzers had not caught my eye until I read a most incredible story recently -"Following Atticus" by Tom Ryan (Amazon ebooks). I highly recommend this not just for the breed demonstration it gives but because it will also appeal to those who enjoy the outdoors as you do. Stunning tale, simply and elegantly told. Totally fell in love with Atticus!!

    Do enjoy your trip and look forward to the progress report on The Meeting of The Dogs.

    YAM xx

  2. Safe journey, Baby Sis, and have a lovely time with Dear Friend and New Puppy. I can just imagine the wary dance that will go on between the two canines until relations are formalised.

    I do so hope for Your Ma's sake that the doctors will see that this is the right path to take at this point in her long and very worthwhile life. It's time for the officious striving to keep alive to be put to one side and nature be allowed to take her course. Prayers of course.

  3. Warm thoughts and prayers heading east over the pond.

  4. Thank you, all.

    The Husband's sister rang this afternoon to say the Care Home wants Our Ma back ASAP, so she can rest easier and die in peace there, rather than on a hectic NHS ward. His sister said The Husband needs to prepare himself for a shock in the change in her, which was very kind, but we already guessed it would be the case. I have suggested that in the mean time we think about what we want to put in a eulogy for her, and what type of funeral would suit her best, and so we have been reminiscing about her outstanding characteristics over dinner. And laughing a LOT!

    The Husband has said a humanist funeral (even though Our Ma believes in Big G, JC and Spooky she is not very keen on God Clubs) but we need to discuss this further with his sister and the granddaughters. I have said I would be happy to read the eulogy, as it's tough for the closest family to pull that out of the bag, sometimes. Also, I have some experience of public performance, which helps.

    We are at the End Game. From the moment I heard Our Ma had broken her hip, I accepted this was most probably on its way. It's how it goes, in the very VERY elderly, so often. The shock, and the surgery, and the subsequent hospital treatment, is too often too much for them to withstand.

    I really do NOT want to go beyond 80. 75 will do me. If my cancer re-emerged before then and it was all up with me, I would be sorry for all those I would leave behind, but I'd rather die relatively young than struggle through another twenty-five or thirty years of failing health and increasing loneliness (especially if I outlived The Husband). This sort of great age takes GUTS and who of us knows we have what it takes until we are so tested?

    1. This doesn't surprise me, Marion. I can only wish her a rapid, peaceful and painfree end, with the devoted care of her excellent home.

      I think I must know a lot more old but fit and active people than you as I'm happy to go on for a good while yet. 67 has a slightly different perspective from 56. :-)

    2. Our Ma was fit and happy and active, though unsteady on her feet, until she was 86 or 87. Although a widow, she had a younger male companion who took her out and about and away on holiday in a comfortable car, and squired her about the place. Then she began to falter, after a series of mini strokes, and the very same year he sold up and left the area, to be nearer his family. Dumped at 87!

      Contentment is predicated on many things. Health, companionship (or at the very least company) and some sort of purpose and enjoyment in life must be paramount. Lose all those, as Our Ma did at one fell swoop, then one is merely in God's Waiting Room. She had adult children nearby, but didn't want to bother us or rely on us. However, she could not go out and shop, she couldn't clean, or garden, or even look after her own immediate needs. She could barely warm ready meals in a microwave. These past six years have been a sort of purgatory for her, punctuated by further decline. Having watched another feisty woman endure it, I do not want it for myself.

  5. Hari OM
    I'm split between yourself and Perpetua on this one - having seen both the worst and the best of age. I guess I'll take it as it comes. You remain in prayers for this time. May the joyful memories continue to outweigh the lesser. YAM xx

  6. I guess we will all take it as it comes, as a trip to Dignitas or a home-administered overdose takes even more guts, I suspect! I was expressing a preference, not making a plan...LOL!