Saturday, 4 April 2009

A Difficult Choice

Doc didn't c me bt saw nurse insted, they already given me usual injection 4 bloodclots - 1 that have been havin al wk, but he asked em giv me notha 1 much stronga! So just had that, gdnite mum + sleep wel, love Middle Son X.

I deciphered my 23 year old son's text speak with a frown instead of my usual wry smile. It was 10.30, on a Saturday evening, in the third week of March and I was concerned about my middle son, who had been admitted to the trauma unit of the local hospital almost a week ago. I wondered what the stronger injection could be. Perhaps one of the hospital doctors had finally taken the initiative to administer some treatment for the suspected blood clot in my son's right calf, instead of waiting for the results of an ultrasound scan, which wouldn't take place until Monday. There was no doubt that my middle son's pain had worsened since the scan had been requested on Friday morning, so it would surely have been a logical step to take.

Half an hour later, I lay in bed on my back, my novel discarded on the bedside table, staring at a 3 stranded cobweb, which had formed between the ceiling and the light shade. I mulled over the events of the past few weeks, not yet ready to turn out the light and settle down to sleep. 4 weeks previously, my 84 year old father had been admitted into hospital, at short notice, to have his right hip replaced. I had travelled up to my parents' house, in the Midlands, the day before he was admitted, so that I could look after my mother whilst my father was away. She was unable to manage alone due to her failing sight and occasional confusion.

After the operation, my father had suffered from low blood pressure and his wound had been slow to heal, so he had spent 3 weeks in hospital altogether. The Saturday before my father's discharge, my husband had travelled up to my parents' house to stay the night and at 6.40 am on the Sunday morning, our peaceful sleep had suddenly been disturbed by a telephone call from our middle son, to let us know that he was in A & E, awaiting an x-ray, because of a suspected broken leg. By mid afternoon, one of the hospital doctors had decided that Middle Son needed to have an operation the following day and would have to stay in hospital for at least a week. Shortly after hearing the news, my husband had left for the hospital, whilst I had remained with my mother, so my only contact with my son, over the next few days, had been by text.

My father had been discharged from hospital the next day and, after a kind offer from Student Son to take over my duties at my parents' house for a few days, I had finally been able to visit my middle son on the Wednesday after his admission into hospital. In fact, after visiting my son and seeing his x-ray, I had felt much worse. I had realised that my family hadn't fully disclosed the extent of the damage to my middle son's leg and it had occurred to me, for the first time, that he might not regain full use of it. I had become even more upset the following evening, when my son had found himself inexplicably suffering increasing and unbearable pain in his broken leg.

I returned to the present once more, my gaze falling upon my bag, packed and ready by the side of the bed, in case I needed to stay with my parents for a further week, after our Mother's Day visit, the next day. I hoped that it wouldn't be necessary, but I needed to assess the situation, once we arrived and to check with my student son, to see how well my parents had coped whilst he had been staying with them. I sighed, reaching out for my book, once more, succeeding, this time, in concentrating upon the plot long enough for my eyelids to grow heavy with sleep.

Mother's Day was a rather odd occasion, in the circumstances. I saw none of my sons in the morning. My eldest son and his girlfriend had visited the previous day, as my husband and I were anticipating a hectic Mother's Day visiting our relatives in different parts of the country. We intended to have lunch with my mother-in-law and my husband's family, in Staffordshire and then an evening meal with my parents in the West Midlands. My husband rang the hospital before we set off to enquire about Middle Son's condition and the Sister confirmed that the stronger injections being administered to him were clot busting injections, so we felt relieved that some action was finally being taken to try and deal with the problem in his calf.

We spent a couple of hours with my husband's family and then continued to my parents' house, as planned. My father was feeling very relieved to be without pain for the first time in 2 1/2 years. His wound had almost healed and he had managed a visit to the local supermarket without any major problem. Student Son reported that he felt that my mother and father were managing well and would be able to cope by themselves. When I told my parents that I was willing to stay another week, if they needed me, I could see that my mother would have preferred me to stay, although she stipulated that I should return home, so that I could be near to my middle son.

After a hurried meal, with my parents, I helped to load Student Son's belongings into the car with a heavy heart. I had decided to return home, but it had been a very difficult decision to make. I knew that my mother had become used to having me around and that she would miss my company and support. When everything was packed away in the car, we said our goodbyes, the slamming of the car doors confirming the finality of my decision. When we reached the main road, I leaned out of the window and caught one last glimpse of my parents framed in their front doorway, illuminated by the light behind them. I raised my hand as we headed off into the night, weeping silently under cover of the darkness, because of the decision I'd had to make.


Rose said...

MMMM, I had wondered where you have been. You have had a very trying past few weeks...I do hope that everything is going better now, for both your son and your parents. You certainly fit the sandwich generation; it's not easy to shoulder so many family responsibilities. My thoughts are with you; do take care of yourself.

Mean Mom said...

Rose - Thanks for your kind words. I am still very worried, unfortunately. My middle son has been discharged from hospital, and cannot put weight on his leg for another 5 weeks, but his patient's discharge letter also stated 'then partial weight bearing for 3 months', which hadn't been discussed with him. He is afraid of losing his job, now. My father isn't so well, just at the moment, either and I am wondering whether I need to go back. Oooh, I think my head might burst!

Maggie May said...

Aw...... we have missed you. I am really sorry that you have been through such an ordeal and isn't it always the way that everything goes wrong together?
Hope your son is doing well. I also had my son have a bad break through a motorcycle accident when he was younger & he needed a bone graft to start it to heal. Was very worried for a while but he pulled through.

It is always a great worry when you have to leave failing parents. Fortunately we lived in the same place as mine, but these days things are very different.
I felt a bit stranded when my daughter lost her husband last year.

Anyway, my thoughts are with you all. Hope things take a turn for the better soon and don't forget.... there is help available for your parents, I am sure. Ring around and see if they are eligible for anything. Don't forget that there is meals on wheels too.
All the best.......... and don't forget you. You must look after yourself too.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Oh I know from your previous comments on my blog about the loss of my parents that this is something you dread. We are not called the sandwich generation for nohing what with ageing parents and children still needing our support. I could truly feel your worry and sadness as you left your parents. My heart goes out to you because I know what that is like. The distance makes it all that more painful as you are a journey away.

I hope all goes well for you soon. X

Mean Mom said...

Maggie - Thanks for your kind comments. My parents will hang out as long as possible without having help, particularly my father! He wants to be independent and he is very stubborn. My son is a worry. I hope that he hasn't messed up his life totally.

Motorcycle accidents are so common, but sons don't seem to make the connection! I'm so glad that your son recovered, but that must have been a scary time for all of you. Your daughter and her sons went through a horrendous sequence of events, which naturally affected you and the rest of her family, too. I do hope that life is settling down to become more normal for all of you. I find it hard to imagine how you all managed to cope, at the time and I'm sure that you must all still be feeling the effects.

MOB - Thanks for your kind thoughts, too. If I lived closer, it would all be so much easier, of course. I am fairly useless to them, most of the time, but often have to fight them to allow me to do some things, even when I go to visit!

Vintage Kitten said...

You have been through such a horrible time and it must have been a difficult decision you have had to make, but thankfully your parents have each other and they know you will be there if they need any help so that must be very comforting for them. I think your son needs his mum just now.

I wonder if there is any help your parents could receive as you are too faraway to be there quickly if they need anything?
Anyway, Im sending you all my best wishes for speedy recoveries. X

P.S. My comments are turned off for a little while as I have a few things on at the moment and Im trying not to spend so much time blogging!! but I do pop by Take Care of YOU too! X

Punkn said...

I am sorry to hear all that you are going through. You, like many of us, are truly part of the sandwich generation. I hope you are able to stay strong. You family needs you more than ever right now!

The Gossamer Woman said...

I had heard somewhere of your tribulations, so I was aware of the reasons for your absence. I am glad you are back, but you have a troubled heart and I can understand why under the circumstances. It's not easy being the daughter and the mother of people who need you all at once. You kind of feel torn into pieces. I hope you are able to find moments of rest and peace and quiet in this worrying time. I wish all people involved a speedy recovery and good health, and that includes you, the good health, I mean. Don't be a stranger, but I know that you are awfully preoccupied right now, so you're excused from regular attendance.

Much love,

Dusty Spider said...

My heart goes out to you mean mom I know how hard it is to have aged parents, children and grandchildren all needing a piece of you at the same time. Sometimes you just have to be strong for all of them. Do look after yourself though, try not to get too stressed. Flick xx

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

I have missed you too and wondered if there was a problem to be dealt with. So sorry to hear the past weeks have been so stressful for you and hope that things are now on the "up".

Know the feeling about having to wave goodbye, even if only for a short time, also not knowing which is the best course of action.

I still have my mum (now aged 87) but at least she lives within walking distance, even if my offspring are many miles way.

Wishing you all well and sending a hug. A x

Mean Mom said...

Vintage - Thanks for coming by again! I did visit your site, of course, today, but couldn't say anything. I do understand why you have your comments turned off. You sit down to catch up with a few posts, or read a few comments and the next thing you know, Monday has turned into Tuesday etc!!

My parents could have some help, I think, but it has to be paid for, these days. The man next door has offered to shop for them, but they will try to manage for themselves!

Jennysmith said...

Gosh, MMM, how did i miss this?

What you have been through! How torn apart you must have been! I expect Mother's Day was the least of your worries!

don't beat yourself up MMM, you have coped so well these last few weeks. And I know its a waste of time telling you to rest a bit.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. Have really really missed you xxxx

Suburbia said...

Goodness me, what a lot of stuff you've had to deal with recently. I wondered where you were. What a tough decision to make as well. My thoughts are with you, don't forget to take care of yourself as well.


the mother of this lot said...

I hope that as I write this everyone is on the mend and that you are feeling much better. I will pray for you all!

Mean Mom said...

Punkn - Thanks for your kind comment. I had never heard of the 'sandwich generation' until I wrote this post. It's certainly an apt description.

The Gossamer Woman - You are very kind. Yes, I do feel torn into pieces. When I was with my parents, part of me wanted to be closer to my son and now that I am at home, I am wondering whether I really ought to go back to my parents again.

Dusty - Thanks. Yes I have felt rather stressed. My heart sank when I returned home and saw how the housework had built up, whilst I was away, too. It's frustrating when you haven't been at home, but the house is dirty when you return, because people (plus 3 cats) have still been living in your house.

Strawberry - It would make things easier if my parents lived closer. I didn't mind moving when my husband changed his job, but I didn't want to move as far as we had to. I realised that there would be some difficulties when my parents got older, but I never anticipated the current problem! Thanks for the hug!

Mean Mom said...

Jen - It's nice to know that I've been missed. I managed to keep up with some commenting whilst I was staying at my parents' house, but I became very distracted and preoccupied once my son broke his leg. Thanks for your kind comment.

Suburbia - Yes, I hardly realised how much had gone on, until I started trying to describe it all. Hospital visiting is such hard work. I'm sure you know what I mean, even though it sounds like a rather selfish remark. I am certainly trying to look after myself but there is such a lot to do just at the moment.

auntiegwen said...

It's awful feeling helpless like this isn't it ? I wish all of you a speedy return to normality Sending you the love xx

aims said...

Oh sweetie. So much is going on that isn't pleasant at all!

How did your son break his leg?

It sounds terrible and would worry me.

It's amazing how well replaced hips and knees work on the elderly. I often wonder why they make them wait so long when life would be easier if they did it earlier - especially when they can heal faster.

I'll be thinking of you and yours.

Mean Mom said...

auntiegwen - Yes, the helplessness is now the worst thing. There's not a lot I can do for my parents or my son, just at the moment. Love to you, too!

aims - My son broke his leg, on the way home from the pub' on a Saturday night. He jumped off a wall in a spectacular fashion and landed awkwardly with all of his weight on his right leg. He walked home with support, not realising that he'd broken his leg. The paramedic wasn't sure, either and almost didn't take him to A & E. I'm hoping that my son will give up drinking now, but who can tell? ;0)

Robin said...

Poor Mean Mom, you have had such a time. I wish I was close enough I would bring you over some home made vegetable soup and a pan of lasagna. (When I don't know what else to do I cook...)

Thinking of you.

Working mum said...

Oh mean mom, how difficult for you. As a mother herself, your mum understands the importance of being with your child, so don't feel torn. He will heal soon enough (he's well enough to text you!) and then you can see your parents again. They do say middle age is being stuck in the middle of your parents and your children! Try to have a good Easter. :)

Mean Mom said...

Robin - I love vegetable soup and lasagne. I wish you were closer, too!

Working Mum - I think you are right. My mother did understand. I did have quite a good Easter, thanks, though the weather could have been better!

Suburbia said...

Hope son is on the mend, I forgot to write that in my comment on the post above.

Letty - A Little Girl With A Curl said...

oh I feel for you so much, sorry, been absent so it is taking time to catch up.

Just about to walk the dog, so will pore over this post with a cup of coffee on my return, just hoping all is well now, what a terrible time you have had!

We truly are "the sandwich generation", sandwiched between our childrern and our parents.

love and light, Letty ;0)