“Hello, is that Mr Peter Mansell”
“It’s xxxx from the Princess Royal Hospital here. I am phoning about your dad Henry”
“As you know he is due to be discharged home today. Can you tell me what time the carers will be at home”
“Yes from 2 to 3om and then for 1.5 hours in the evening”
”Okay. Well he had a bid of a rough night and his oxygen Sats were low and so we have put him on oxygen. So I will just need to check with a doctor to make sure Henry is able to come home today….”
This was not unexpected as I think dad’s feeling equivocal about coming home. However he got here.
He’s been in hospital (or the rehabilitation unit) since February 8th – 116 days. What people don’t realise is that he was never ill. What I mean by this is that if you give dad a scan you will find lots wrong because he’s 88 years old. But the only treatments he’s received in the period he was hospitalised has been two course of antibiotics.
Dad wants to be ill: he wants to have a pathway that ends the burden of life he can no longer face. But he wakes up each morning and has to march on and face the day. However each day is getting progressively harder. He can’t hear, gets muddled and is very very weak.
After Steve, Ruth and Edith the carer left I checked with dad about whether coming home was what he really wanted and suggested that if it were me I would prefer to be somewhere with people and help on hand all the time. But he was adamant, home it where he wants to be even though he can’t even stand up to get out of bed. I am not sure how long dad will be able to cope at home even with a care package of 4 hours per day in place. I don’t expect time to stand still and recognise – indeed embrace – life’s constant changes. But it’s hard when you see a loved one who has been …
“In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part”
“Is second childishness and mere oblivion”
Shakespeare knew his stuff. (The quotations are from All The World’s A Stage poem by William Shakespeare).