Day 2 - The things you do for love
My mum became very poorly in my last year of primary school, for a long time mum carried on working and looking after me and dad even though she was in pain and struggled to keep anything down.
Mum started to go in and out of hospital, which was extremely hard to get used to when mum had always been there for me. We used to have bets on how long she would be in hospital for. We still had to continue with our lives; I had school and dad worked shifts of two days and two nights with four days off. There was still housework and we still needed to eat - myself and dad began to realise all the things that mum did. Mum was admitted into hospital again and we all made our bets but none of us could have ever imagined the journey we were about to go through.
When mum was admitted this time, she ended up being in Kings Lynn Hospital for 18 months and was then transferred to St Mark’s hospital in London for a further six months. By then I was used to hospitals and never really thought much of it, I used to take my homework up to the hospital with me. It’s only now looking back on it I wonder how hard it must have been for dad and my nan and grandad.
After mum had been in for six months, we realised this was going to go on for longer than we imagined, Home, school and work lives were suffering so the decision was made to give me a bit of normality. I would move in with my nan and grandad and spend the weekends with dad.
Mum contracted viral meningitis and septicaemia and ended up in intensive care, Dad was called home from work early because they did not think mum would pull through. I did not know this at the time, but dad thought it would be best for me not to see mum. I could not understand why dad was not letting me visit mum because normally I would see mum most days. If I couldn’t, I would always phone her which ended up with a £600 phone bill one month! I was disheartened by dad’s view that I was not grown up enough to understand and deal with the situation. Fortunately, mum managed to fight the infections and I was able to visit again.
Mum was transferred to St Mark’s hospital, which is a specialist hospital. This was extremely hard for us to deal with as London is a good couple of hours’ drive away. It was not as easy to visit mum every day as dad still had to work, I was
lucky if I got to see Mum once a week. We would also miss the hospital staff at Kings Lynn because over the past few years they had become friends - from the consultants through to the cleaners.
Things started to improve when mum was in London, they managed to get her nutrition under control and there was a light at the end of the tunnel, I had left school by this time and met my future husband who would regularly take me to see mum. Mum finally got discharged after being in hospital for nearly two years and even though life would not be the same it was our new normal.
Mum struggled with being on parenteral nutrition (PN) but knew it would give her a quality of life. When mum had been out of hospital for a while and felt confident, we went to America, which had its challenges having extra luggage for all mum’s medical stuff and letters to explain everything, but mum is strong and was determined not to let this ruin our holiday. We had an amazing time in America memories to treasure forever.
Our lives changed again in 2002 when I surprised myself and mum with her first grandchild, He brought so much joy to the family after what had been an extremely hard and challenging few years. Mum had a new goal now to see Lewis grow up and cherish every moment with him. Fourteen months later Ryan came along and mum and dad enjoyed having the boys so Ian and I could still have time together and work. Ian and I got married which gave mum something else to look forward to. A year after the wedding mum's final grandchild was born - Olivia.
Life has not been easy and mum’s condition and PN have made things hard, but it has also made me who I am today. Dad and I take it in turns to do mum’s PN but everything we do is all done out of love!!
Lisa and David