Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Advocacy and Straws

Today FL had his first bath for very many years.  He certainly hasn't had one since 2004, so it is reasonable to assume he hadn't had one for a while before that.  We have a shower over the bath at the farm, and it is easier to use that than turn on the boiler to heat the water, for the sake of a few shivery minutes sitting in the draught from the skylight.

The nurses and I bullied him into having a bath, because we (and initially he also) agreed his aching ribs would feel much better after a long soak in a warm tub.  However, halfway out of bed he changed his mind and panicked.  I am pretty sure he was afraid it would be a cold and painful experience and he just wanted to stay warm and safe under the covers.  But having got him that far, we decided to follow through.  I calmed him down and the nurses manoeuvred him into the special bath chair, which looked a lot like something from a fairground, with a bar at the front to stop him falling out in the middle of the ride.

He was gone for quite some time and when he returned he was subdued and just wanted to sleep.  I was worried and thought we had pushed him too far, but when I spoke to the nurse later she said he had been smiling and telling them stories about his home town while he was in the bath.  Wow!

He slept through lunchtime and pill-time and the doctor said it was best not to wake him.  At about 3pm, three of his golf pals turned up.  We made idle chitchat for a short while and then I realised that FL was awake, listening, but with his eyes closed.  I offered him a drink of the apple juice I had brought in (thank you to the commenter who suggested the cloudy sort, that tastes like pears!) and he was persuaded to sip some through a straw:  his new favourite gadget that makes drinking and swallowing an awful lot easier.

He then made a little pantomime of pointing at each of his friends in turn, before closing his eyes again.  I knew he didn't want to "entertain" them, but they had driven for an hour to visit, so I didn't feel I could just throw them out.  After a short while, he made it clear that he wanted to go to the toilet, and the pals took that as their signal to leave.  I was reminded of them visiting 8 years ago, when he was first ill, and him saying to them:  "Thank you for coming...  and thank you even more for going!"

After they had gone, he had a few more little drinks and I talked to him as he did so.  He was finding it painful to speak, but he agreed it would be good to see one of his oldest friends, who rang last night to ask me if he should travel up for a visit soon.

I have gradually been letting people know that FL is in the hospice.  He had told me not to contact his family, but it occurred to me that if I did not, they would assume it was my decision not to tell them the situation. They may not respond to my emails, but I have given them the opportunity to be in touch before it is too late.


Thank you for your assistance in locating pear juice, or nectar.
 One of you even identified the nearest branch of Lidl, which I pass on my way home from (but not to) the hospital.  I am going to stop there tomorrow.
I made FL smile when I told him that the only pear juice I could see in Asda also contained broccoli, spinach and kale:  the three green vegetables I love the most, but which he really really dislikes!
I was tempted...!

20 comments:

Louise Perry said...

Glad he enjoyed his bath. You sound more upbeat today.you are in my thoughts Roo.

Knitlass said...

Glad the bath was a success- and nice to hear FL is getting visitors too.

The pear/veg concoction looks vile - altho I'm quite partial to green veg it doesn't appeal at all.

Sounds like a good day

Glasto63 said...

Really pleased to hear that things are a bit calmer. It sounds as though you both benefitting from this proper care. Keep looking after yourself X

Mog said...

It sounds like you are in a routine, and both benefitting from being cared for properly. Far more positive than last week which is so good to read. Well done!

That bottle looks vile! I'm with FL! Have a good night, and a good day tomorrow.x

Jenny Larking said...

Glad he enjoyed his bath. I know a soak in warm water is a wonderful way to ease pain, if only for a short time and it would hopefully warm him up a bit. That drink is very weird. I can understand the fruits in one drink and the veg in another but why put them altogether? A

Twelfthknit said...

I had a very disabled aunt and I swear that one of the best inventions ever is the bendy straw

MaryinTN said...

Very glad the bath helped make FL more comfortable. And that he had a nice talk with the nurses. Also glad friends visited. The emails to family is also necessary to do. Glad Fl enjoyed the juice. And straws are wonderful. Sending hugs and vibes for strength.

Lizzi said...

Nice that his pals visited. I am sure he will think about this at a quiet time and be happy that they came.

Charlotte said...

As someone estranged from a parent (long story, mostly her side) -- I just wanted to say a word of encouragement for reaching out to FLs family -- and to his friends -- people need to know so they can make the decisions they need to make.
And yay for the bath, and the bendy straw, and for the both of you becoming less stressed out ...

Wakeymakes said...

I know he is still in pain but it sounds like both you and FL are more comfortable. Love you you both K xXx

Sarahel said...

This sounds more peaceful and positive, if that makes sense. A warm soak, sweet juice, knowing that friends have made the effort, all sound like highlights just now. By the way I love the quote relating to visitors - so true when one's ill.

For what it's worth, I think you're doing totally the right thing by informing the family of the situation.

Do hope the pain management may settle and you get some more times like these.

Athene said...

I think you've done the right thing to notify FL's family - I don't know the history but I'm assuming they're not in regular contact, better they know now. Glad to hear that things are settling into more of a routine.

Mary in Mo said...

Yay for precious moments with your FL. Thinking of you both, hoping you get to share more smiles in the coming days. A soak in the tub sounds like it was good for both of you.

LLBB said...

I am remembering so much of my mom's passing with this. painful but a reality that ties us all together. the straw....... .. Sending you continued strength and peace.

rosylea said...

The bath sounds good, cleansing and comforting I hope. I'm sure you are right to contact family, as you say it gives them a choice. Take care of yourself, R

sulkycat said...

Thinking of both of you (and Hero).

Laura said...

It sounds like things are becoming easier to manage in practical terms, giving you energy to deal with the emotional stuff. You've definitely done the right thing getting in touch, and letting the decision be theirs - that's all you can really do.

I have to say, while I know a lot of people swear by green juices, they're just too strange-looking for me to contemplate. I may have to try one with my eyes closed, just once, to see what all the fuss is about!

Jodie said...

It feels like generally things are better/calmer. I'm so glad for you. My husband too is estranged from his family...I think you are wise in your e-mail choice. Stay well - remember to take care of yourself as well. While you don't have as many comments on the "good" posts - know that we all tune in and watch and read daily and are thinking of you.

Carmel said...

Well said Jodie, ditto.

Linda said...

Tuning in late, but please know we feel deeply for you in this very hard time. By sharing FL's very difficult situation, we all become more compassionate and informed, should we face similar circumstances one day. I'm thankful he moved forward with the bath, and enjoyed sharing stories. Contacting his family seems the right thing to do...their response is up to them. You never know when much needed healing of relationships and words of remorse will take place. Prayers from North Carolina.