My mother was actually wrong about being surrounded by old people, although her age group were definitely in the majority. The Acute Stroke Unit was an eye opener for me. You couldn’t fail to notice some of the younger patients in there and there were quite of few of them. Life can be incredibly cruel sometimes. So it was a kick up my lifestyle backside moment.
A stroke can be bought on by high blood pressure, too much alcohol, from smoking or from being overweight. All of which we can do something about. But a stroke can also result from various genetic defects, a build-up of plaque in any artery in the body, a whiplash injury or from a seemingly insignificant bump on the head.
On day one, my mother’s main beef, apart from being surrounded by old people, was being given a bed bath by a male nurse. ‘He’s seen far more of me than your father ever did!’ She slurred through gritted teeth. My mother always had a very loud voice. She always used to say that I didn’t articulate properly because she couldn’t hear what I was saying. She was deaf but refused to admit to it. I am not sure whether it was because she was ill, confused and frightened that she seemed louder than ever. Given that she was in a bay with three other very poorly people, her shouting wasn’t going down too well with both the relatives or the nursing staff. I tried to encourage her to whisper.
‘Why?!’ Boomed the response.
‘Because other people are trying to rest and you should be to.’
‘Rest! I want to get out of here and you are not doing a very good job in helping me get out, are you?’
And so it went on for about four more days. I would visit, my mother who would slur and boom her moans at me and the other visiting relatives would glower at us. I was mortified and my mother was not endearing herself to the nursing staff.
Next … Splendid Isolation