In January 2012 my mother had a stroke which was not picked up by 3 GP’s.  So it was a week later I threw all my toys out of my pram and demanded that she should be admitted to hospital.

My mother was 83 and despite suffering chronic arthritic pain, was still living independently, apart from visits from her right-hand-woman, Jane, who helped around the house every morning.

Monday   My mother had a little fall whilst Jane was in the house.  Jane later said that my mother seemed to lose her balance and fall against the fridge.   Her GP of over 20 years was called out and diagnosed that she was mentally and physically exhausted.

Wednesday – Jane calls me to say my mother had called the doctor out on Monday but she hadn’t wanted to worry me.  Jane told me that the GP found nothing seriously wrong but she was concerned as my mother was not wanting to get out of bed, was very sleepy and wasn’t eating.  So Jane had called the surgery again and another partner came out to see my mother and made the same diagnosis.  Jane, however, was not happy.  She said she would see my mother on Thursday and Friday morning but she thought it might be an idea if I came over for the weekend.

Friday – I live and work in Jersey, so I flew over after work.  Jane picked me up at Bristol Airport and drove me to my mother’s house near Tetbury in Gloucestershire arriving in the early evening. My mother could barely say hello to me and refused to eat any supper.  She was delirious during the night and had become alarmingly incontinent.

Saturday – I called the duty doctor first thing who made the trek from Painswick to make the same diagnosis.  My mother at 82, had arthritis, which slowed her down a bit but physically and mentally exhausted?  I didn’t buy it, but who was I to challenge the diagnosis of 3 seasoned GP’s?

Sunday – By that time I had taken on the role of an ITU nurse.  A friend came round at some point to visit my mother and on her way out she asked the question  ‘Do you think your mum has had a stroke?’ To which I respond ‘But the doctors say she is physically and mentally exhausted.’  Yet I know that I can’t leave my mother alone, so I ring my very understanding boss, to say that I won’t be at work in the morning.

Monday – After another night in the role of ITU nurse, the penny is beginning to drop.  This is not a case of physical exhaustion there is something far more serious going on.  So   I threw all my toys out of my pram, bawl at my mother’s GP and get her admitted to hospital with a Urinary Tract Infection that afternoon.

Next … Getting it Wrong

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