Today Mum spoke about my brothers bag hanging on the bathroom door and how he must have left it behind. Then she told me she would start cooking the sausages in the pan, not the BBQ, because that was just as easy.
In between telling me these things, she got her Catheter changed, got a sponge bath and cried silently whilst being turned on her side to have her back washed.
The dramatic change in Mum has both caught me by surprise and frightened me all at the same time.
Not less than a week ago, although in extreme agony with neuropathic pain in her arm, she could still relay her days events. She could still get up and go to the bathroom when required. Could still request and drink a cup of tea without jerkily spilling it all over herself.
Of course the majority of this change has taken place due to medication. Medication that has to be taken or else she cannot bear the pain of her arm which she basically described as burning “toothache” type pain in arm all the time. So she is in a catch 22 situation. No medication - she is lucid and knows what the hell is going on and is in a mountain of pain. Medication - she’s not really aware of her situation, but her pain is somewhat relieved. What’s better? Well for her, honestly I just want her comfortable. But it is so truly sad, I no longer think there is a better situation.
When I look at Mum, I see an infant in a woman's body if that makes any sense. She has lily white skin, marked with yellow bruises from the myriad of injections she is constantly jabbed with. She looks like a slightly tainted, tiny porcelain doll that is at rest. And it breaks my heart.
Prior to this, she has been somewhat cranky. I’ve spoken of this before about how, although she’s my Mum and in severe pain, she has been difficult, angry, awful and I haven't always been the most understanding daughter. But now, I just feeling incredibly sorry and sad for being like this.
It’s fair to say Mum was somewhat independent. She has lived alone for many, many years and would begrudgingly accept help only when absolutely necessary. So, you can imagine how massive this change has been for her. One day she was sitting at home looking after her grandson, the next, she’s having an adult sized nappy strapped to her so she doesn’t wet the bed.
I think the severity hit me today when visiting her, as I do most every day, and I could tell she was having trouble with something on her face. Since the radiation, she has lost 70% of her hair. Today she had put her hand in her hair and with it had come little pieces of hair. I glanced at her hair brush, full of fallen hair. I so wanted to pick it up and give her hair a brush. But I couldn’t. Because I just knew I’d lose it. And right now, that’s not an option. Because I think if I start, I won’t stop.
As John Lennon said – “All you need is Love” If he were alive today, I’d like to propose an addendum “ All you need is Love, oh and a cure for Cancer.