Jane Reynolds's Weekly Blog – 3rd March 2013

Well, here we are again.

Another week’s gone by and my father’s slept through most of it. He was awake on Friday morning (although very unresponsive; just staring blankly at the TV), but that’s been it – pretty-much … until the nurse turned up on Sunday afternoon after we’d had to call her out because he’d barely been able to swallow his medication half an hour previously and seemed to be choking.

When a cancer patient’s near the end of their life they lose the ability to swallow, apparently. This must be very frightening for them (it certainly is for US).

He’d struggled to swallow his two spoons-full of medicine and tiny little sleeping tablet on Saturday night; had slept right through three carer visits, and when we’d tried to give him a drink at about 1.00 on Sunday afternoon he’d started to choke.

This came 24 hours after he’d had to have an injection in his stomach to control the build-up of mucus in his lungs/throat, so we were rather worried and I called the District Nurses’ Out-of-Hours switchboard and asked if a nurse could give me a ring, but a nurse actually arrived a short time later.

He was barely conscious at that point and could hardly even nod his head to acknowledge her questions, but a moment later he suddenly opened his mouth and said quite clearly (and in a tone of voice which made it sound as if we’d been deliberately starving him) “I want … I just want something to eat and drink. I am starving.”

Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. Talk about embarrassing. There we were, worried that he was possibly about to die, but (yet-again) he’d done his trick of suddenly coming back to life – and right in front of the nurse too!

Luckily she was lovely, and didn’t appear to mind a bit about having (what had proved to be) a completely wasted visit. I felt terrible though, because it had proved to be a real false alarm and I felt so guilty at wasting her time.

My brother fed him a few bits of tinned mandarin orange then the very second the nurse left the room he immediately shut his eyes and has been asleep ever since. Now what was that all about, aye? It’s almost as if he was somehow trying to prove something to the nurse. Maybe he just thought he was going to have to have another injection and it was his way of trying to prevent that happening?

We’ll never know, but it’s now Monday morning as I write this and we’re entering the eleventh week of caring for him.

Our rota system’s become a real routine now, and it’s going to feel strange when we no longer have to be ‘on duty’ to do our shifts. I’m still barely getting anything else done though, and it’s frustrating to even think about it – so I’m trying not to – as it only makes me feel more stressed.

Each week I write this little blog and say that I think he’s not got long left, but I really am surprised that he’s still with us now. I’ll be even more surprised if he’s still alive by this time next week. It shows how fit and well he was before it all kicked-in I suppose, as I’m sure that if he’d not been as strong he’d have been long gone by now.

IMG_1594It makes us even more frustrated that there’s no law which could have allowed him to have been able to just drift away peacefully (and with dignity – which he certainly hasn’t got now), rather than have to lie there literally waiting to die.

Hey. Mr & Mrs S’s birds were young Guinea Fowl. I finally found out!

There’s no Soapy Corners again this week I’m afraid. Thank you to those of you who’ve told me that you’re missing them. I appreciate it.

I won’t be doing my ‘Soapy Spot’ on Alastair Greener’s Big Mid-morning show on Thursday again this week either, or my live Wednesday night Soapy Show on Tellyspy (it’s a bit hard to talk about Soaps when you haven’t actually watched them!) but I’ll hopefully be doing my TGI Friday show with Paul Dawkins from 4.00-5.00 pm on Friday on Swindon 1055.com.

PS ‘Jane’s Soapy Corners’ have gone digital. Simply download the Tellyspy Podcasts App onto your iPhone or iPad then search for Tellyspy and all the previous editions are on there.

Thanks for reading. Have a good week everyone.

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