Time gone by

I hope this doesn’t distress anyone — It’s something I feel I must write.
A follow up to last weeks post
It is also a fairly lengthy post — so you may choose not to read it

It all began with a tight painful feeling in the chest and shortness of breath……an ambulance was called and it was off to the hospital where they ‘didn’t know for sure’ but thought the problem was ‘a travelling blood clot’ (pulmonary embolism). Various unknown tests done, oxygen levels low so assistance given which helped.
Tests ‘inconclusive’ MRI needed, no clot but ‘serious lung infection’ so decision made to be transferred to a hospital closer to home where lung specialist is.

Oxygen level going up, chosen antibiotics seem to be working, Covid test negative, possible if all goes well she could be home for Christmas. Happy once her phone was charged and she could talk (breathlessly) to family.
Days later (Christmas Eve) told not well enough to go home…..”seriously pissed off but knows it’s for the best”.

Sudden turn for the worse, now sedated and intubated to help with recovery…… then septicaemia (sepsis) reared its head, medication changed, next 48 hrs vital but so far response is good.
31 December: Condition – serious but stable
2 January: Condition – deteriorated now critical but stable

By 5 January Drs are taking a different tack.
Covid negative- responded to septicaemia treatment but original lung infection has re-emerged. Trying to wean her off life support but lungs keep collapsing so ‘they may ask permission to perform a tracheostomy’. Cardiologists are monitoring her heart, on steroids for weak muscles. They’ll keep trying to ‘wean’ her.
The next day her husband signed the consent form
No luck getting her to breathe on her own so operation went ahead four days later
Now being ventilated in a different manner.

Day after operation there is the first bleed – a known complication. Appears she has a ‘weak trachea’ ??..hence the bleeds so more steroids to try to strengthen it.
Days pass, problems getting her lungs to work on their own without the ventilator, other organs strong plus good brain activity. Drs say it’s just a matter of time before she responds.

19 January: Decision made to give blood transfusion because of trachea bleeds – blood count good, transfusion has not been rejected, no change in condition. Hopeful this will make a difference.
Couple of days later news she now has an infection….family told nothing to worry about “ it’s something that can happen if you’re in hospital for a long time….however (not actual words) it’s playing havoc with her vital organs, but don’t worry they are dealing with it”. (Bloody golden staph!)

Many days of no change, respiratory condition still the same, no progress. Has been un-sedated at times but not responding as they would like.

29 January: Not doing well, getting weaker, drs doing all they can 2 steps forward 1 back. Condition gone from critical stable to critical.

1 February — Goodnight Patricia ….sleep well my little one ❤️

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s been a difficult time for family spread over 3 ‘continents’ – a husband and a son….hers not his…. living locally, other children plus extended family in UK and us out here.

Because of different time zones communication was difficult (husband not internet savvy) so son set up a messenger group where he posted up dates. Even though we all spoke independently to each other it meant nobody could complain they ‘weren’t told that’ even if they read it at a different time to others. It also meant I was able to refresh my memory to be able to write this post.

Language could have been difficult – English is mainstream now not the 2nd language it used to be but it was a help to have son’s Cypriot partner available when meeting with specialists.

Covid regulations meant no visitors – same worldwide restrictions only eased in exceptional circumstances. After applying (and reapplying) to the hospital director husband was only allowed four very short visits in the eight weeks, he was reliant on daily bulletins same as everyone else. Patsy’s son none (except to ‘view his mother’).

COVID stopped any travel in its tracks. One of Patsy’s daughters booked early on to go and visit and help husband- then all flights cancelled. Sister planned on quarantine before being able to help nurse Patsy (for when she would be discharged) but it became difficult after flights were cancelled….and then sadly not necessary. Strongly voiced emotional disappointment.

Also something that happens many times after a traumatic event like this. Strongly felt views on ‘decisions taken at hospital’ are emerging, little cracks are appearing……..why the operation….we know it’s not what she would have chosen , why not have left her to recover slowly in her own good time (or not) how on earth was she infected with golden staph (we should sue them )

Now there are other ‘arrangements’ to make. Husband and son are doing that without the healing cocoon of family close by. Something that expats, still with strong ties to family (and a country) elsewhere, have to cope with.
Patsy is being repatriated to England- her long time wish – the decision made to honour her wish feasible but so difficult to execute (well, involved more than difficult) especially with a pandemic ‘raging’ . It will happen, all in good time. So will husband’s return to England sort out other legal ‘problems’ but nobody knows when.

Then, all things being well and local Covid restrictions allowing it, children will be able to farewell their mother, grandchildren their Nana, and siblings their sister

~~~~~~~~~~~~

In a very reflective mood today, I like to think my early attempts at loving kindness meditation were felt by Patsy.
I’ve been assured she died peacefully with no pain, in a quiet warm safe environment

It’s nearly time for my second early morning cup of tea then to start the day. Supposed to be fair to middling 20c/68f cloudy with a low chance of rain……no grizzles from me about the rain because even though we’ve had enough of it lately to ‘float an ark’ I still have vivid memories of the 10yr Millennium Drought .

Joining Denyse for the latest edition of Life this week.

20 thoughts on “Time gone by

  1. I read this all the way through and am so very sorry that your sister lost her struggle. I cannot imagine how I would feel in your place, losing my own younger sister and can only send you my heartfelt condolences, and a virtual hug x

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  2. Not to be able to visit her, not to be there, so painful for her family.

    Not wishing to be upsetting, but given Leo’s experiences in French hospitals I made sure that I or friends would be there every day to see what was happening – and why,

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  3. I’m so sorry for your loss and especially with the restrictions COVID has placed on life. My MIL passed away unexpectedly late October and fortunately we could have a funeral for her. She wanted it in the aged care home where she lived so there were certainly many hurdles to jump over to make it happen the way she wanted it. It is such a difficult time for you all so thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and take care. Sending hugs to you and your family. #lifethisweek

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  4. I’ve often thought Love in the time of Coronavirus would be a good book title. Death in the time of Coronavirus would surely be a horror story. I suppose everyone did their best for her and made her treatment decisions for the right reasons at the time. It was a sad story indeed and my heartfelt sympathy.

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  5. I nearly lost my younger sister years ago when she had a traumatic birth and almost lost her life. A visiting surgeon recognised the rare condition that had suddenly presented and told the medical team exactly what they needed to do to save her – lucky or what. I remember my distress at the time and that awful feeling of helplessness. You have all my sympathy as you are dealing with a very difficult situation on top of the shock of losing your sister. I hope the family manage to sort out whatever they need to. sending hugs. xx

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  6. I cannot find the words to say but I certainly feel the tears coming just reading and your poor sister is just one of the many people who have died alone. Even in Canada here there are cases that family were not allowed in with their people because of this damn Covid. So sorry you did not get to say good bye – so sorry for your loss.

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  7. I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. What an awful time to go through. I know words can never be adequate, but I hope you know that we are all feeling for you.

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  8. Nothing is right with the world at the moment. And life is exponentially wrong for those who need, want, deserve, comfort, love and family to get through. From way up here, I hope my best thoughts and care drifts down.

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  9. I hadn’t read your post last week and am sorry for your loss. Any time is terrible to suffer through such a thing but at the moment it’s particularly challenging with limits on travel etc.

    Your words however are just lovely and you have honoured Patricia beautifully.

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  10. The hardest is trying to understand how a seemingly healthy and active person is suddenly so completely overwhelmed by ‘infection’. What triggered it? What was missed? These questions will go round and round… we hope you and all the family will find your peace in sharing your memories and ensuring her wishes are respected. It’s not just sad she was so much alone but sad for those who SHOULD in normal times have been able to sit with her and be able to make their own emotional preparations. Love to you all. F

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  11. It seems so unfair, doesn’t it? In these days of organ transplants and bionic ears, nobody imagines that an infection will kill them.
    I’m so sorry and send you all the healing wishes

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  12. It’s a very sad, difficult time you and your family are going through, Cathy.

    Writing this down has helped you in some way, I am sure…if only in a minor way. Your emotions are raw and will remain so indefinitely. There is no time limit on grief…allow yourself to grieve…to cry…to remember. But also allow yourself to smile…to laugh…to remember the good times share…the happy times shared.

    My best wishes and thoughts…take good care, my dear.

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  13. Oh Cathy, what a heartfelt, loving and frustrating post…about your dear sister. I am so sorry. When things go wrong, boy do they go wrong. We are not in control of anything really are we? I loved reading you used loving kindness to send to her. I too believe that works and am glad of its intentions. No words can help right now but sharing them may indeed continue to help heal over time…but not for a long, long time to come yet. Thank you for linking up your blog post today. Next week’s optional prompt is 7/51 Self Care Stories #1. 15 Feb. In this one, I am using the new category in my blog called Ageing Stories because it was a good fit. Look forward to seeing you there too. Denyse.

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