Sunday, August 19, 2007


Mum came home from hosital two weeks ago. We were thrilled and proud of her progress. She was not able to get into the specialist stroke rehabilitation unit immediately after leaving the severe stroke ward, there was a long waiting list, so she came home instead to convalesce.

Then it started to go wrong, badly wrong. Almost immediately, Mum went down with what was thought to be gastroenteritis which has left her exhausted, and very poorly as she can barely eat, keep down her pills, or drink. She has had this for a fortnight. We kept hoping she would get better. I did not blog about it. The doctor was called several times, and visited Mum at home.

Obviously she has not been able to make any recovery from the stroke, because of all this, in fact, she is now much weaker and more ill than she was when she left hosital. It appears that gastroenteritis may have been misdiagnosed and instead she has another gastric infection, which can be very dangerous. But we still don't know what the problem is.

The hospital doctors ran tests after the stroke. She has been diagnosed with heart failure and mylenoma and this may have contributed to her having a stroke in her early sixties, fit, healthy weight, lifelong non-smoker. The mylenoma is not yet presenting any symptoms.

My father is exhausted and afraid, but coping; so am I, the whole family is, we have to.
I can't do anything to help with this one, apart from try and keep it together and be there for my family, and it is so much worse when it happens to someone you love. I am frightened by the fact that I seem to be losing my ability to cope with bad things. I am reaching my outer limits and it scares me; I can't afford to go to pieces, not now.

Last week Mum got so ill that she had to go to A&E for emergency rehydration on a drip and stay in overnight, then they let her out but the sickness carried on.

Last night she had chest pains as well as the d&v. A locum came, this morning, he has ordered an ambulance to take mum to hospital. There is a 2 hour wait because she is not having chest pains now, so it is ''not an emergency''. I hope when she gets to the hospital they can run tests and see what is causing her to be so sick. I hope they can rehydrate her and help with the nausea, so she can start to get stronger, as she needs to be to recover from the stroke and everything else.

I hope. I hope. Because 2 weeks have gone by and she is getting worse, not better.

I am on standby to leave London and go to the hospital in Norwich, but there is nothing I can do. Nothing. That is the hardest thing.

I'll try and keep on top of messages but if you don't hear from me, this is why.


Blogger Katy Newton said...

Oh dear. I am very sorry things have got so bad so suddenly. I hope that they start to get better.

August 19, 2007 2:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Rachel, so sorry to hear about these events. I am praying for you and your family. B

August 19, 2007 3:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's turn for the worse - I will send good wishes her way that she makes a complete recovery.

August 19, 2007 3:22 pm  
Blogger Graham the Funky Aardvark said...

Wishing your mother and all of the North family well. Nothing else to say

August 19, 2007 5:24 pm  
Blogger Rachel Joyce said...

With very best wishes to you, your mother and family.

August 19, 2007 6:43 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

i'm so sorry to hear about this rachel, but your mum can only get better, can't she ? think positively, although i know that is hard, and your mum and your family are in my thoughts.

take care,


August 19, 2007 6:50 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks everyone. Honestly though, I am not sure if she is getting better, at the moemnt she is seriously ill, and it is not good.

August 19, 2007 6:58 pm  
Blogger Mopsa said...

All best wishes

August 19, 2007 6:59 pm  
Blogger pierre l said...

I too am very sorry to read this.

August 19, 2007 7:38 pm  
Blogger kiwi in london said...

Hon, My thoughts are with are you and your family. Sending my best wishes to you all.(especially your mum).Take care of yourself as well. Kia kaha.

August 19, 2007 7:46 pm  
Anonymous Joanna Young said...

Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry. Words fail at this point, but my thoughts are with you.


August 19, 2007 9:34 pm  
Blogger Spokane Gal said...

I just came upon your blog by accident and went back to the beginning to read.

Now, reading about your Mom, I remember a 5 year period my husband and I went through years ago when it seemed as though the bad would never stop.

It did but I too began to feel as though I had reached the end of my ability to cope.

I never did reach that end and I'm here now at age 64 to tell you that you may have moments of breaking down, moments of fearfulness, crying, ranting... but you will probably never have a moment when you just "reach the end."

It sounds as though your Dad will need you to be there no matter what happens. I watched the interview with you and your Dad and he looks a gentle soul, one who would need someone to help him cope.

A cartoon ran in our newspapers here last week which showed someone tearing the tags off of pillows, those tags which say that under penalty of law should not be removed. The next scene was a lightening bolt hitting the person. That is how I pictured myself reaching the end of my ability to cope. I would just crumble up and be struck by lightening....didn't happen.

Susan in Spokane, WA

August 19, 2007 10:05 pm  
Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Hi Rachel ~

I heard your story on NPR this weekend and searched for your post about the bombs. I'm sure you no longer want to talk about this, but I just wanted to be another supporter/admirer way over here in Seattle. Like one of the other commenters, words fail when you want to provide something comforting in the situation you're going thru w/ your ailing mother. I can't even imagine. I hope you have a strong support system and I'm sure it's so difficult. My thoughts and prayers are added to everyone else's for you. Take care.

August 19, 2007 10:13 pm  
Blogger Henry North London said...

Big sigh, I had no idea that things were getting this tough for you and your mum. Keeping you all in my prayers and hoping things resolve as soon as they can. Life is never a straight line is it?

All my love and regards

Henry xx

August 19, 2007 10:14 pm  
Anonymous IainC said...

Strength, Rachel. I think we're all with your Mum and you and your Dad.


August 19, 2007 11:16 pm  
Blogger Oscar1986 said...

Engaging blog, fascinating views, superior read.If you get a chance check out my strange newz:)love any comments, feedback.

August 20, 2007 12:05 am  
Blogger Josephine said...

Rachel...all the best...hope things turn a corner for your mum. Though things look bleak now, she is relatively young, her body has strength to fight back. And I understand what you mean about the frustration and agony of having it happen to others...and your sense of powerlessness. Though you aren't powerless honey. Your love for your mum ,and your ability to support your dad gives you power - truly.

You worry about finding the strength...I think you will. How did you possibly find the strength to deal with everything that has come your way in the last few years...? But you did, and you will again.

In my prayers hon.

August 20, 2007 12:55 am  
Blogger Caroline said...

Thinking about you all.
Take care.

August 20, 2007 8:30 am  
Blogger Leighton Cooke said...

Thinking of you. I wish your mum all the best.

August 20, 2007 10:41 am  
Blogger Kris said...

Hi Rachel

I know what it is like and it is hard.

August 20, 2007 11:00 am  
Blogger The Poet Laura-eate said...

All strenght to your mother - (and to you and your family also) I hope the hospital comes through for her and gets to the bottom of her worrying symptoms soonest.

August 20, 2007 11:26 am  
Blogger Clare said...

Thinking of you and your family, Rachel. I am sure that just by being there to support your family is enough for them right now.

Thanks for letting us know about your mum.

August 20, 2007 3:57 pm  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

I'm hoping and praying that your mum gets through this and recovers. Best wishes to you and your family.

August 20, 2007 7:39 pm  
Blogger seth said...

hi rachel,

i shall add my prayers also- is there any chance that theres treatments available in london that arent in norwich that could be beneficial?

August 20, 2007 10:34 pm  
Anonymous Mark said...

I'm so very sorry to hear this Rachel.

I hope things turn a corner for you all soon.


August 21, 2007 7:55 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks everyone.

Mum is dying. My family were all called to the hospital yesterday and told 'within 24 hours'.Total kidney failure, massive heart failure, blood pressure crashing,but Mum is still there, still lucid. But she is still hanging on: she wants to get her house in order. Being told thhat she was dying was a shock to her I think, and she wants to think about it,process it, and make sure we are all ok before she lets go.The consultant changed the prognosis to 'within 2-3 days'; like all of us he is amazed at Mum's strength. But there is nothng they can do for her save make her comfortable.

I stayed up all night bar 30 minutes, came home to sleep for 2.5 hours, woke up, checked in, am just about to go back to the hospital. Your thoughts and kind wishes mean a lot: if you are religious and want to pray, please pray for a gentle death, and that she finds what she has always hoped and believed in after it.

August 21, 2007 10:39 am  
Blogger Turbulent Cleric said...

Very sad news, Rachel. Your Mum is in my prayers as is your father and yourself.

August 21, 2007 10:57 am  
Blogger Fatih Nakış said...

Thanks fatih nakış nakış işleme Askeri malzeme

August 21, 2007 11:03 am  

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