Mum telephoned me last night to update me on her situation. The Macmillan nurse had seen her for the first time and this seemed to have made Mum feel much better. Inner rage - why do we have to rely on charities to give the necessary support to vulnerable people instead of the statutory sector? In a truly vocational way, the nurse had talked to Mum for hours. Mum admitted for the first time that she was in pain and the nurse ensured painkillers were with her immediately. The nurse was also of the view that Mum should live as she wants to in the time she has left. So it appears an Easter holiday to France along with suitcases filled with super-strength painkillers will now take place. I am not sure this is the wisest choice but I think Mum should set the compass for this particular journey so will not interfere. Mum said they had talked of many things - of Mum's deep Catholic faith, of Mum's ability to face death but fear of what lies between today and that unknown date. An unknown date that will become etched on my mind in due course. Mum also said one of the worst bits about terminal illness is knowing the ripple effect it is having on your family. I admitted that sleepless nights are now a big feature of my life, according to the MacMillan website a totally normal response. I told Mum I knew I was not losing her as like Freddie Mercury, she will live on for ever. I think she enjoyed the comparison - Mum has always stayed very into popular music and loved Freddie as she loves all great showmen. We spoke for a long time and the suddenly, the shutters came down as she moved on to practical arrangements for my visit to her at the weekend. I am now mature enough to know that she could take no more of the emotional stuff so found it helpful to focus on times of arrivals and meal plans. I ended the conversation by telling her that my eldest son is going for his first belt in martial arts at the weekend. "I knew he would do well at it" she said with absolute conviction.
I had a brief chat with Dad who wanted to know chapter and verse about my job offer. Very business-like my Dad still but I could hear his pride and loved him for it. My youngest son kept grabbing the telephone - he and Dad are best buddies.
Mum told me last night that she is heartily sick of being prodded and poked. Pitifully, she told me about her ultrasound and being covered in sticky jelly and hating it. She also is distressed at the fear in other patients' eyes as she knows she cannot help them. Mum is the eternal helper so this is one of the worst factors for her - becoming the helped instead of the helper.
I have been listening to Bette Midler's "Wind beneath my wings" - that is what Mum is to me and she will be ALWAYS