Our family trip to visit my mother over Christmas turned out differently this year. A recurrence of pneumonia landed her in Kingston General Hospital just before the festivities began. My wife and eldest son had heavy colds so couldn’t visit the respiratory ward.
With all the wheezing and coughing on the ward I was a bit apprehensive but carried out the dutiful son role by bringing bananas and the Daily Mail to my mother using the frequent local buses.
Christmas day saw my youngest son and I visiting my mother before the big cook. The hospital staff were amazingly dedicated and friendly…a box of chocolates barely covered our gratitude. A cancer patient’s husband had been bringing mum her daily paper and banana before we had flown over. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to do more than shake his hand and express our thanks before his wife left the ward. His young boys found the novelty of handshaking amusing and came over to join in the ritual.
Mum was tormented by one patient on the ward whose crying out in the middle of the night and late night tv was disturbing everyone’s sleep. Mum’s description of her as “deranged” might be a bit harsh, particularly after I overheard her discuss her morphine dosage with a nurse.
There were some noble ladies on that ward who suffered in silence and were glad of mum’s newspaper deliveries.
No sooner was mum off oxygen than she was discharged. I had made plenty of stew which went down well that evening, but I was startled to find that mum was off her usual tipple.