Friday, 14 May 2010

Waiting ...

Took today off. Cancelled the weekend away in Rotorua we had booked about 6 months ago. Took Becca to school, came home and crawled back into bed, and had a lovely slow start to the day. Visited mum in hospital again.

Tuesday afternoon mum had a heart attack. Wednesday afternoon she had a 'continuation stroke' - ie, the original one let loose again. To treat the heart attack, they would need to use blood thinners. If the doctors give her blood thinners, it will trigger another stroke. Oh goody - the ultimate 'Catch-22' situation.

Today, Friday, she can sit up in a big comfy armchair for a couple of hours, before going back to bed. During those couple of hours, you can have a conversation with her, although she gets confused quickly. After that, she is sleeping again, crying out and talking in her sleep. They are using a hoist to lift her in and out of bed, and every time she is moved she seems to be in pain.

All we can do is sit and wait and watch. I don't think she is going to get any better than she is now. I don't think she will ever walk again. I'm not even sure if she will leave the hospital alive.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Update - High Functioning Cognitive Skills

And the good news is .... High functioning cognitive skills. There doesn't appear to be a lot of damage to mum's brain from the stroke. While she is having problems getting the words out, they're still there in the brain, just 'mis-filed'. From what the speech therapists were saying this afternoon, it's mainly names she is having problems with, but, if given the first sound, can often get them out.

I spent the morning at the hospital, with Bill and Mick, first talking to a (different sort of) speech therapist, who was going to check Brenda's swallowing reflex and breathing. Pneumonia is a huge problem because food and liquid can go down the trachea instead of the throat, if there is no cough reflex. Hooray - she can cough like a horrid coughy-thing!

Next was an occupational therapist. Thorough description of the house and mum's daily habits, discussion of what her normal routine is, how much she was able to do for herself etc. Gives them a baseline to work up from, and an idea of how much help will be required.

Had a quick lunch of Nacho's with David to bring him up to date, before going to get Becca from school and take her up to see her Grandma. They both handled it very well. I had told Becca enough so that she wasn't too shocked by the change, and we had to wait while the speech therapists finished their test, which gave Becca time to adjust.

Took Becca home, and went to college - 1 hour tutorial, 3 hour lecture - Logic and Language. As usual, Mark Strom had more to say than time to say it in, and he's now 4 weeks behind on lecture notes. He has admitted that he's not going to catch up, and we'll have to buy the textbook the lecture notes will be turned into. Sigh. Still another week before we get essay grades. The tutor is spending 6 hours a day marking, at 30-45 minutes per essay, with around 100 to mark. As usual, the lecture was a lot of fun.

Now I'm home, had a couple of crumpets, a glass of wine, and a glass of cranberry juice - feeling a lot better.

Almost time for bed.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Stroke of luck?

Oh heck - It's 3 months since I last posted!

No, I haven't done the Faith piece yet. Started College instead - two B's and 1 B+ for my journal assignment. Hanging out for the essay mark.

More on that later. First, the bad news:

Why the title? Well, it could have been a lot worse.

Sometime early Friday morning my mother suffered a stroke – a blood vessel on the left side of her brain burst. She had been feeling nauseous in the night, and had “cramps” in her legs. When she tried to get out of bed and stand up, she found the right side of her body wasn’t co-operating, and collapsed on the floor. Dad covered her, called the doctor, the ambulance and me, in that order.

We spent all day Friday in the Emergency department, where she was poked, prodded and questioned by a number of doctors, had blood taken, and two CAT scans – the second with dye. It was 5.00pm before she was taken up to the Stroke ward.

I'm not really feeling any grief in all this - we've been waiting for something similar to happen for so long, it was just a matter of when. Friday morning, and the phone call from Dad, was actually the worst moment - I went into hyperdrive, making calls, and got to the hospital before the ambulance did. I just held mum's hand, and acted as advocate for her and dad - the practical me took over. One thing I've learned over the last six months, since becoming a Christian, is that I am a true "Martha" - practical service is a basic part of my makeup.

On Saturday night, we picked my brother Mick up from the airport – he had managed to get a flight from Melbourne, after receiving my email about mum that morning.

I stood up in church this morning to ask the congregation to pray for mum, and then the assistant pastor and his wife prayed with me in front of everyone - waaaay to much public time! (Our pastor is on holiday in Tonga at the moment).

Mum is actually doing surprisingly well - afternoons seem to be her best time - Mick and dad say she was looking pretty frail and unwell this morning, but when David and I got there this afternoon, she was looking pretty good, and joined in the conversation, laughing and joking. We're going to take Becca in to visit her tomorrow. We only stayed about 20-30 minutes, she got tired very quickly, but still looked pretty good, and could pick up a glass of water easily with her left hand.

We are going back in tomorrow about 1100 to try and catch up with the specialist team in charge of her care, and find out what's in store for us all. As of Friday afternoon, they were talking about 5 days on the Stroke ward, and then about 5 weeks on the rehabilitation ward.

I have no doubt that mum will be up and about again. It will take a while to find out how much damage there is to her brain, and at the moment, her right arm and leg are "disconnected" - we'll find out over the next few weeks whether the neural connections can be rerouted, and to what extent. I was joking with her today about getting her a mobility scooter, souping-up the motor, and having races with it. She thought that was very funny, and she was pleased to know that both I and my sister-in-law are praying for her. (Thanks Barrie – sisters-in law, and sisters-in-Christ!)

I've actually had a surprisingly good weekend - Saturday afternoon, after visiting mum, David took me to the garden centre, and got me a big terracotta planter, two blueberry plants and a bag of potting mix. Before going out to get Mick from the airport, I baked apple muffins for church. This morning was church, where the worship band absolutely rocked, and I was given a lovely cup, and a book called "Mary's Prayers & Martha's Recipes" for being the newest Christian mum (celebrating Mother's Day). Then we picked up Becca and went to the mall, where she got me a little resin wall plaque "If Mother's were flowers, I'd pick you!" Then back to the garden centre to get some little viola's. Put one in the cup, with some glass beads, and took it in to mum.

Tomorrow I'm having the day off to go in and see the specialist team, and then take Becca to visit mum after school. Then college for me from 1600-2130 - wow, what a day!

Stay tuned for the next update.