Let’s Start At The Beginning…
I grew up the only child to my parents. I was their one and only little girl. After 14 years of trying they finally fell pregnant with me.
You see, my Mum was ‘poorly’ (God, if she heard me say that, she would’ve given me a piece of her mind)
At the age of 8 she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Now if you don’t know a lot about Diabetes, In my opinion, its a ticking time bomb. I would honestly say that it is up there with the most hideous illnesses alongside Cancer, apart from cancer, there are treatments available that can put its patients into remission. With Diabetes theres nothing like that, it doesn’t shrink or disappear. Both are equally as cruel and hideous as each other.
For 24 years, I witness the effects of Diabetes.
With diabetes, its a very slow downward spiral, a domino effect. First it’s managing the diabetes, the blood sugar level, the diet. Diabetes, is manageable, but if not managed correctly and efficiently, even with the best of care and doing everything by the book It can cause and be linked to other health issues.
This was the case with my Mum.
As a child it was totally normal for me to go along to hospital and doctors appointments with my Mum. Sitting in waiting rooms, the consultants knowing myself on first name terms.
Growing up it was normal for me to treat my mum if she was having a ‘Hypo’ (low blood sugar), from a young age I knew what to do. Thinking about it, I was never actually ‘taught’ what to do, it was a watch and learn type of thing. Now these were the days (i make myself sound so old don’t i?) My Dad would be at work and there was no such thing as mobile phones, so it was up to me to deal with it myself. 9 times out of ten I managed to sort out my mum and bring her blood sugars up to an acceptable level. But there was the odd occasion when I would have to call an ambulance.
we received no help from local authorities regarding Young Carers, not like there is today. To be honest, I don’t think anyone actually knows the extent of having a parent with an illness, unless you’ve been through it. It can be lonely, confussing, worrying. An emotional rollercoaster.
As I grew older my mums health deteriorated. When i was around 8 or 9 my mum was told her she was losing her eye sight, her hearing wasn’t he greatest, she had had hearing aid for as long as i could remember. She had issues with her mental health, even being sectioned an inpatient at time as she was so depressed that she wasn’t looking after herself by not taking her meds and not feeding herself. She was on a cocktail of meds, she rattled as she walked…literally.
In 1997 when I was 12 My mum had her first heart attack, she was 44. She was diagnosed with angina and heart disease. This was an offset of the Diabetes.
In 2008 (i could be wrong) my mum was diagnosed with Kidney failure.
Having my Mum being in and out of hospital my whole life with illnesses and ailments relating to your diabetes. was, again, normal for me. Didn’t phase me one bit. I think that was because My mum would never complain or show she was suffering. She would always lay their and say ‘Im ok’.
On Wednesday 14th April, my mum was taken into hospital by ambulance with chest pains, this wasn’t anything new. It comes hand in hand with angina and heart disease.
I just thought it was going to be the usual couple of weeks in hospital, sort you out and you would be up and about causing trouble again.
I’d seen you more poorly in previous years in high dependency and intensive care. Darlington memorial hospital and James Cook in Middlesbrough were her second homes.
Over your last months I had noticed that my mum was getting weaker, more tired but that never stopped her being independent. She never complained! I noticed her attitude towards life change. She wasn’t even looking forward to her annual holiday to Ibiza.
A few months before she saw the Renal and Cardiology consultants and they had told her hat there was nothing more they could do for her. You see her heart wasn’t very strong, the option for a kidney transplant or dialysis was taken way as her. But she didn’t make a big deal of it. I honestly didn’t think anything of it when I asked how your appointment had gone. My Mum were so relaxed and just shrugged. I didn’t even take is as ‘Theres nothing more they can do’, I just took it as everything was fine and they just didn’t have anymore meds for you to take.
My Mums last 2 days stick in my mind. Mum was put on coronary care. Hooked up to heart monitors, fluids, morphine etc. Laying their smiling, telling me that she was ok. I took that ‘Im ok’ for granted all my life. She never got out of that bed again.
Friday 16th April 2010
I’d been visiting twice daily but on the 16th I was extremely tired, I was 12 weeks pregnant with my third child. I fell asleep and missed the lunch time visit. That night I went to the hospital with my Dad.
As soon we got there I could see she were uncomfortable, in pain. I can honestly say I had never seen her like that before. She seemed scared. All she wanted was my Dad. My Dad clung onto her and tried to soothe her, but there was no contenting her. I knew something wasn’t right.
The nurse, who we knew as she had taken care of you many times over the years, told us that morphine wasn’t touching the pain, because your kidneys were shutting down and not functioning they were limited in what they could give her.
My Mum started shaking, I’d never seen fear in her face before, but I saw it then.
I ran out to the nurses station to get help. That was the last time I saw her conscious.
Within minutes the crash team arrived. Myself and my Dad were escorted out of the room. I rang all of my family to ask them all to come to the hospital. We, My mum, dad and I needed support. A doctor came to see us and told us that they were trying to resuscitate my Mum, that she was very poorly.
I demanded to be in the room with my mum. I was adamant she wasn’t going to die alone! The nurse told the doctor to let me in. I stood and watched as a roomful of medical professionals giving my mum CPR. One Counting the reps another counting how long she had stopped breathing.
Everything Went Blank
All I remember is shouting at my Mum to let her know I was there. I can’t remember how I got back to the family room. Im guessing thats what happens when you’re in a blind panic.
All my Aunties, uncles and cousins were there. A doctor came in and told us that hey had got my mum breathing again, but my Dad and myself to make a choice. We could either ventilate my mum but there was no guarantee she would wake up again and even if she did there would be a risk of brain damage or the next time her heart stops to leave her.
It was the hardest decision we have ever had to make. Together we decided to let her go.
We all went into her room, stood around her.
I held her hand and stood and talked a load of utter rubbish to her. If she was awake, I swear she would’ve told me to shut the f*ck up! I just needed her to know we were all there and it was ok to go. No one else spoke, just stood and watched.
I watched her breathing get slower and as her lips turned blue, my Dads words were ‘That’s it, She’s gone’
Just like that.
She was gone.
Diabetes, heart failure and stage 4 kidney failure had taken her. She was 57. No age at all.
Mine and my Dads heart broke at that very moment.
Still to this day, I miss our ‘don’t tell dad’ shopping trips. Her love for ‘nice things’- only the best would do for her. Our annual holidays to Ibiza. Having a bacon butties (extra crispy) and cuppa in Morrisons cafe. Her buying your weekly magazines. Her tough love. The way she never sugar coated anything. Told it as it was. She had my back 100% of the time. She was a very strong woman! My role model and inspiration.
I Like To Think….
that she will be up there looking down on us. Laughing your head off at me surrounded by my 5 boys, Matthew and Dad. I imagine she will be sat in the sun with a fag in hand, pint of larger in the other, surrounded with shopping bags from only the best stores. With that cheeky and mischievous grin of hers.
Its that image that keeps me going. That I know she is finally at rest. No more illness, no more depression. Just a life in paradise.
Mum, I Love you forever and always! Xxxx
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