Thursday, November 25, 2010

One year ago today

By this time today, last year, our lives had changed, irrevocably.
The morning began like any other morning. I may have skipped my walk, as the previous day had been extremely busy. The SRE and I had gone to Bangkok for a conference the previous week, and my sister had been staying with my parents during our absence. She had planned to leave on the day after we returned, but owing to one or other of the eternal threats of bandh or strike on the Monday, decided to go on Tuesday afternoon. A dear friend had lost her father, and there was a ceremony for him on the same day, so I went there after leaving my sister at the airport.

I remember meeting my mother in the kitchen early in the morning as she was taking the tea tray to her room.
A while later, I heard my father call for me. (The home nurse used to come in at 8 a.m- this was about fifteen minutes before that). He told me that my mother seemed to be stuck in the bathroom. I wondered if the lock had jammed, and went to open the bathroom door. The door opened easily, fortunately not locked. My mother was sitting on the floor, parallel to the wall facing the commode. The floor was quite dry, but the porcelain cup she used to dilute her shampoo in lay shattered on the ground, and there was blood everywhere. The SRE and I managed to get her onto her bed, and covered her as she seemed to be in shock. Our GP was called, and he promptly came and examined her. At that point he could not say for sure whether she had a fracture or not. He prescribed painkillers, and asked me to observe her till that evening- if she was still in severe pain, I should take her for X-rays. The home nurse was told to give her a bed pan when required, and not let her get up.

The SRE was sent to his office, lunch was prepared and other routine jobs dealt with. In the afternoon I went to buy sufficient provisions for the week, just in case. I came back home and found that Mummy's pain had not decreased. I called my orthopaedic surgeon, and he advised me to take her to the hospital and get the prescribed X-rays done, and then he would examine her. When she left the room, I don't think any of us realised that this was the last 'normal' farewell she would ever say to my father. That same night, once she was admitted in the hospital with a broken neck-of-the-femur, her delusions and hallucinations began.

In retrospect, I am quite sure that she did not slip and fall in the bathroom. Having seen my father through two hip replacements, and essentially being a careful person, she was really cautious with her movements. What had happened would have been something intrinsic to her body- perhaps a TIA, perhaps a heart related event. Whatever the cause, and whatever she suffered in the next three months, seems like God's mercy- she did not have to see my father's slow and painful decline. Although she had wanted to take care of my father till his last breath, I don't think she would have been able to bear to see him suffer as much as he did. Even while she was in hospital, her delusions mostly centred around my father's care- was he properly covered, was he wearing his socks, had he eaten, why were his things not in their proper place.......

She used to wish that spouses could depart this world together. I have a feeling that she was taken first so that she could get things ready for Dad, make the way ready for him. I can quite imagine her nagging the workers in the Great Beyond to make sure that things are just right for her dear husband...........

For me, though, today was the beginning of the end.

26 comments:

starry eyed said...

Hugs. It's very traumatic. I'm glad she was spared your dad's suffering.

Sraikh said...

Hugs Dipali..
I was thinking the same thing today. last year this time, my fil was diagnosed with his illness and it was the start to a very dark period in our lives.

Big hugs

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

Hugs, Dipali. Your parents must be together in a beautiful place right now.

kbpm said...

sigh.

Indian in NZ said...

((( Hugs )))

monikamanchanda said...

hugs...

and the last line it brought a very sad smile to my face

big hugs again

Rohini said...

Such a poignant post. Hugs. Another couple of weeks, and those hugs will be delivered in person :)

Amrita said...

I'm so sorry, Dipali.

Unmana said...

I'm sorry, Dipali. I hope you're okay.

eve's lungs said...

Oh Dipali dear. Hugs .what a lovely post

Sanand said...

It is painful to think of the message in this post but you have shown considerable strength and conviction that is admirable, I've got to say that. I don't believe I would be stoic. Hope that their souls rest in peace, knowing that you are dealing with it the way you have.

dipali said...

@starry eyed: Oh yes- that would have been unbearable for her.
@Sraikh: The dark days are so tough to go through, and yet we must.Big hugs.
@The Soul of Alec Smart: I am sure they are.
@kbpm: You sigh-ed it!
@Indian in NZ: Thank you.
@monikamanchanda: Thank you.
@Rohini: Soon! Much to look forward to.
@Amrita: Thanks, dear.
@Unmana: Thanks. Yes, I'm okay. I guess this recap. of events was cathartic in its own way.
@eve's lungs: Thanks and hugs, dear.
@Sanand: Thank you. I hope so too. Sometimes one just carries on as best as one can, doing whatever is possible. My father was amazingly stoic, and bore all his suffering with tremendous courage.

Thinking Cramps said...

A big hug to you, Dipali.

dipali said...

@Thinking Cramps: Thank you, my dear!
Having all of you in my life has made the hard times that much easier to bear.

Sands said...

Hugs dipali. I can't claim to even begin to imagine your grief and pain :( Your reference to her going first to get the place ready for him brought tears to my eyes!

Sue said...

Every time I think of her like that I immediately force myself to think of her coming to chat with The Bhablet-that was, all happy to see a kiddie in the house, and that's comforting.

I never thought of her chivvying folks around getting things ready for your dad, but LOL, why not indeed!

*buggy hugs*

radha said...

Very touching. My father died in his sleep, and I always take comfort that he did not suffer. He was one who hated to admit he was in pain and disliked any attention if he was ill. He was only 67, and otherwise fit. But I take comfort in the fact that he went the way he would have liked to. This was 20 years ago but it seems fresh in my memory.

dipali said...

@sands:Thank you.it is only now that I am able to think of those days. I guess my little fantasy consoles me immensely!
@Sue: Buggy hugs to you too!
Yes, Mummy enjoyed meeting the Wee One! She was very good with young kids.She'd love to peel an apple without breaking the peel just to amuse her grandchildren when they were little:)
@Radha: Your father was so fortunate, leaving this world in such a peaceful way. It must have been a tremendous shoch for the family, but at least you will always remember him as healthy and active. My father had been quite active till the age of 76 years. After his first heart attack and subsequent fractures, things took a marked downturn. Such must have been God's will for him, poor man.

Neera said...

This moved me to tears Dipali..you know reading what its like when parents get so old. My mom too feels that couples should go together or in the very least asks my father to pray that she leaves earlier than he does because he is stronger than her in all ways. But she too worries more about him than about herself when she is bed ridden.
Hugs to u and I admire your courage and in general everything about u :)

mnamma said...

Hugs Dipali...

Uttara said...

You are very brave Dips. The calm and measured way in which you've written about what must have been a very traumatic time is just like you. Hugs

dipali said...

@Neera: It is not easy watching your parents' age, and yet it seems inevitable. We have to be strong for them as they have been strong for us.Thank you for your moving words, my dear.
@mnamma: Hugs, dear.
@uttara: I suppose that is the only way I can deal with it! December comes with its own pack of sad and good memories. Thank you.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Hugs Dipali ...
I hope your parents are at peace and together ... where ever they are.

dipali said...

@Cantaloupes.Amma: I hope they are! Thank you.

Saumya Baijal said...

Its really traumatic.Saw mum go through it. And for Aunty having gone to settle things for Uncle, I saw Nani do just the same. In retrospect, i feel their pain was much less, since they didn't have to stay without each other for long. Thats the only way we justify their presence lost. A big hug to you. I know they will be together at a beautiful place right now.

dipali said...

@saumya: Thank you. It isn't easy- my father's birthday is coming soon, the first ever without him in this familiar world.
It was wonderful meeting you the other day- keep in touch.