In August 2009 I reblogged an entry from Reconstructing Christina called “ You said “, possibly one of the best things I have ever read.
Click here to read You Said……
Christina’s story, her loss, and her struggle to rebuild her and her families life reached out and touched me.
Now Christina’s Mum, Penny, has published this book in Duane’s memory.
As Penny says, all the monies she receives will go to Christina’s family for now and in the future.
I’ve already bought it from Amazon, will you do the same ?
For Christina and Duane and their lovely brilliant family xxx
The Why About This
The Shy Butterfly is published. Now available at Amazon.com. As I write this announcement there are tears running down my face. When I first wrote this story six years ago, the inspiration for the story (which I shared with him at the time) was Duane Brownlee. My daughter’s husband.
A man endowed with an amazingly happy outlook on life and people. His, a gentle positive attitude about living each day to the fullest. This then was Duane. Three years ago on the weekend of his son’s tenth birthday, Duane was struck and killed by a drug using motorist, just several blocks from his home. I was there, a tragic traumatic event, his family’s life changed forever.
They’ve carried on. Filled with the memories of his loving and happy nature living within each of them.
This book is dedicated to Duane and all my monies received from the sale…
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And so began the worst 24 hours of my life.
We woke up early as we had to pack, and also because I had received a message from home.
mum had stable night, heart rate up to 70-80, responding a bit when you talk to her, still in pain so had more pain relief. Doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods tho
Thanks Al, that sounds quite good. I’ll take no news as good news. Have you managed to get any sleep yet ? X
We bogged off to a hotel last night and got a good 6 hours. We were not functioning at all yesterday.
Thats good news too, also that mum was well enough to be left 🙂 are the doctors giving her a better chance now or is it still the same outlook but just with a longer time span? X
We left because we could no longer function and they told us to go sleep. Not seen doctor yet so don’t know the answer to your question.
Ok Al, just grabbing at straws
So are we. Dont read too much into my brusqueness, it’s just text language 😉
;-)Okey dokey thanks for telling me. I was a bit concerned 😦
50 years ago
Again the untold story of the texts is that talking to my sister on the phone elicited the information that the doctors had said they were thinking about a chest drain ( more below) and if this was successful, then Mum would have to have it done every 3-4 days depending on how well they cleared up the infection…
EVERY 3-4 DAYS.. that’s what they said, every 3 – 4 days….
I told you mum was a fighter, but this was close on a miracle.
I thought about the email I had sent to my boss the night before.. “ I’m going to look a proper twat – I’ve just told my boss that my mum is dying,she’s got 48 hours to live, and here we are looking at a minimum of 3- 4 days but not only that , an ongoing EVERY 3 or 4 days.
This implied more than one op, and I was ecstatic..
Hope at last!
We finished packing and went to the beach barbecue relatively happy. Happy enough to enjoy it , and not be as miserable as sin.
I had forgotten those words No positive outcome
Stiil on the beach later that afternoon, more messages,
Doctors have decided that that mum is sufficiently stable for her to have a small op later this afternoon to put a drain in her chest to get the rest of the pus out. They think benefits outweigh risks as anti-bs will never clear infection on own and should also make her more comfy.
That’s got to be good news .when will they do op? Good Luck to her , fingers crossed . I’ll wait for news love to all x
They dont know the time yet, but hopefully this afternoon
Okey dokey Ali hugs to everyone especially mum xxx
We said our goodbyes to our friends on the beach,and went back to our room.
Showered and dressed , we were just about to go for something to eat before we went home, when a message arrived.
No news re op time, may be last thing tonight or if surgeon too tired may be tomorrow. We will probably go back to mums tonight if there is no change. I would suggest you go home from flight rather than straight here and then come over in the morning.
Okey Ali, we were just discussing what to do. Do you want me to come to mums first or shall I go to the q.e in the morning.? Also what ward / floor is she on? I gather she is stable now ( good) have the docs said any more about her long term prospects ( or am I grabbing at straws again ) see you tomorrow x
Suggest you come here, area d of critical care, opening visiting, ring the bell and say you’re mrs lords family. Stable is neutral, neither good nor bad, a plateau from which things will either get better or worse and there’s no guide as to which as this point.
Ok thanks Ali, keeping it real 😉 see you tomorrow morning x
We went to our usual restaurant, had our meal, and were just finishing when the phone rang. It was my sister.
“ The doctors have told us that Mum is dying. All her organs have failed and she is in a coma. She’s definitely not going to make it through the night, and you are not going to make it here before she dies.”
My whole world collapsed in front of me. I could hardly speak for crying. It hurts now to write about that night
“ Poor old Mum “ I kept saying.” Please tell her I love her, and I’m going to miss her “
“ I’ll try , but she’s not conscious and she’s in a coma. Do you want to stay where you are? “
I considered this for a few seconds.. part of going home was to see Mum before she died. That wasn’t going to happen now, so what was the point.
My family that was the point, my brothers and sisters who had stood guard over my mums bed for 4 days, waiting for me, their older brother to come back.
I suddenly felt the need to be with them, for their comfort and mine so I told my sister we were definitely coming back on the same flight and we would see them later.
Ok she said, and started to say something else, when she interrupted herself “ We’ve got to go now, I’ll phone you back straight away.
10 minutes later I was just sending
Ali please tell her I love her, I’m going to miss so much & I’m sorry I wasn’t there when she needed me 😥 love to everyone I love you,alla
When I received
Shes gone x
Oh my god !!!!!! 😥
That was it. The rest of the evening was a blur.
I went and sat on the beach, the sea crashing on to the sand, tears streaming from my eyes, rolling down my cheeks and dropping into the dark blue mass of the sea.
For a minute I thought about throwing myself in there too, but I pulled myself together enough to walk back up to the restaurant and announced
“ She’s dead… Mum’s dead! “
We said our goodbyes in a river of tears, I don’t know how we got to the airport, I drove apparently but I don’t remember any of it.
72 years ago
When we got to the airport, my wife told the rep what had happened and asked him to help us check in, which to his credit he did
We then had a nightmare of a check in, with the check in girls demanding that we open the cases up to show them what was in there
“ It’s all fucking dive stuff “ I exploded, tears rolling down my cheeks.
“ ‘I’m sorry “ she said “ I’m really sorry, I have to do this, I have to check, I’m sorry I’m sorry “
She could see what a state I was in, and to be fair it wasn’t her fault, but right then, out of all the times and all the flights I’ve taken in my life, I really didn’t need all this hassle.
We finally checked in and boarded the flight.
I had missed her by just a few hours.
If only’s were running my head then and are running through my head even now.
If only we had got an earlier plane, if only we hadn’t gone on holiday if only if only if only.
Mum was gone and my life was about to change.
Time to go home now and face the future.
This gallery contains 3 photos.
And God WAS willing. Mum made it through the night.. told you she was a fighter! Plans made were plans changed, and they were changing by the minute. We were supposed to be going scuba diving that morning ( … Continue reading
4 days of living left… less than 100 hours…
Sunday 10th July 2011, and Mums struggle to live was intensifying.
I have been reading through her hospital notes for this time and I have to say, some of it makes for a hard read. It details her ailments upon admission, the tests they did when she came in, and as her condition deteriorated, what steps they took to treat her.
I’m not going to go into fine detail now, the contents of the report are and will remain confidential, but I will disclose that even as late as the 9th they were arranging appointments for 4 weeks later…
4 weeks.. so if they didn’t know at the hospital, where Mum was receiving 24 hours care, just how ill she really was ( dying ), how could we?
My sister went to see her in hospital that day, where she noticed a dramatic improvement in Mums care ( mainly because of 2 complaint letters detailing lack of care ), but she also noticed that mums condition had worsened from the day before.
Mum had been coughing and very breathless, and the scar from her heart operation had become swollen and imflamed. She was very weak, barely conscious, and slept all the way through the afternoon and evening visiting hours.
Clearly there was a problem, Mum was getting worse, not better, and this problem was not going to go away by itself, so suspecting some kind of chest infection, the Doctor prescribed Mum some intravenous antibiotics, and sent her for a chest x ray, the results of which would be discussed later.
It turned out she HAD got a chest infection, that this infection had got in to her chest bones and chest cavity, and that the swelling of her scar was actually her body trying to rid itself on the poison that was eating its way through the bones in her chest.
The poor old lady was really very ill indeed, though at this stage we still didn’t know that in reality Mum was in fact dying, and arrangements were made for the doctor to discuss Mums condition and future care with my brother the next morning- please note – future care –
Meanwhile we were in Kos, in the sun, enjoying what was to be the last full day of our holiday, we had been to the beach, been on a boat ride, enjoying all the good things that a holiday gives you, but all the time thinking of Mum, and waiting for news to come through on my mobile phone… There’s an old saying that no news is good news.. not this time I’m afraid.
I thought I would share some of the texts that were exchanged at that time and over the next few days, just to give an idea of what it was like. It was about to become a rollercoaster ride of good and bad news for us, of hope and despair.
Text from my sister Sunday 10th July 2011
“Latest update to all; been in to see mum, fast asleep all visit (her not me!) as recently had morphine for pain relief (T, q for doc tomorrow is plan to treat rheumatoid so they don’t need to give morphine, C may be able to assist with additional info). Fluid build up in arms, doctor coming to review. No brace on knee (of either kind). Yesterdays letter of complaint clearly reaping dividends as mum looks much more comfy, swanky pressure relieving air mattress switched on, loads more assessment forms in folder (tho some not filled in recently) table within easy reach and staff nurse hovered all visit! Agreed she will refer mum to dietician re weight loss and build up drinks. T, over to you tomorrow to get full coherent picture of status and treatment plan when you see the consultant 😉
“Thanks, whats this letter of complaint all about? X”
“Them being shite at telling us what’s going on, not handing over info between different shifts and not paying her enough attention. All over her like a rash now!”
At the time, all the family was very concerned about this lack of basic care for Mum, and were worried that her condition was being worsened because of this, but in hindsight, that Sunday 10th July was the beginning of the end, the defining moment when things really went down hill, and Mum started to lose her fight to live as the infections ravaged her frail frame.
It breaks my heart to think of her there, drifting in and out of consciousness, doing her utmost best to win this final battle. She had always been a fighter, and an incredibly strong willed woman, there was no way she was going to give up without a fight, even if the odds were stacked massively against her.
I finished off my last entry with these words ” I’ll never forget our last words and sights of her… we were leaving her house about 10pm on 28th June last year. We had taken some food round for her, … Continue reading
As July approaches we are coming up to the first anniversaries of when it all started to go wrong, and my world collapsed…. actually this time last year it HAD already gone wrong, but nobody knew…. Mum only had … Continue reading