Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cycles of life

My mother-in-law has been in hospital now for over 14 weeks. Initially at Warwick Hospital and subsequently moved to a smaller, cottage hospital, where the care has been exemplary. We have seen the worst (well, almost) and the best of the NHS.

By the way, I feel that the best the NHS offers is when good, qualified, reliable and experienced nursing staff are allowed to do their job with pride and not be 'controlled' by faceless, penny-pushing managers.

Despite having radiotherapy for a brain tumour (she's had, and has been treated for cancer for the past 6+ years), the treatments have not worked and we're in that awful situation where the most that can be done is to keep her as comfortable as possible. A reaction to the steroids didn't help, neither did a bout of shingles.

We kept thinking she'd be recovering "if only she'd get over the steroid side-effects..." and then "if only she'd get over the shingles...", but the reality then hit us all, that she's not going to get better. She's been in bed all this time, unable to even sit up, and nowadays, increasingly uncomfortable.

She has good days and not-so-good days. It's strange how the extra-ordinary, even the shocking can become your new 'normal'.

She used to come over and stay with us on a Tuesday night when she went out with a friend, but now I'm thinking, "she'll never come round and sleep in that bed again..." and "she'll never put the cutlery back in the wrong drawer and make us 'tut'!".

In her garden, there are some beautifully fragrant roses. In fact, I think they have the most wonderful, rosy, fruity scent I've ever smelt. It was such a shame that she wouldn't be able to see them or smell them, so her husband cut some flowers and took them into her.

She's a wonderful woman. Incredibly brave and well loved by family and friends. We are all suffering with her, but I am mindful that life is a part of a bigger journey.

Here are some of the magnificent roses in Anne and John's garden - I can almost smell the scent from the photos!

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