Friday, 18 March 2011


My father has pneumonia. My mother is fighting against all that she's being told. It's understandable. He's slipping from our grasp. He's very sick.

He lies there with his specs on his bedside cabinet. Without them, he can't see. The world becomes even more confusing than it is already in the strange surroundings of an acute medical ward. Strange noises, lights and people with no way of reaching out to ask for what he needs.

I try to find compromise between my mother and the staff in award not geared towards those with dementia.

I understand her anger, it's really simple fear. Fear of loss. Fear of losing her husband.

A difficult exchange with an unprepared junior doctor ends with a little give and take, and a promise of better care. They need to treat his illness, but they need to care for the person and it's this bit that's missing. Simple things we all need, like respect, make such a difference. A pair of pyjamas and specs on him not on a table would make him the man and not a body in a bed.

He is dying. Maybe he will recover and go back to his unit, but for how long? Even if he is able to fight the pneumonia, each week and day brings fewer words and glances, more sickness.

He grasps at the sheets and gown with anxiety and all we can do is fight for him to be seen as a person and not an inconvenience in a busy ward.

I am scared of what is to come.

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