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By Belinda

Mum made it safely through the night, and once I was up myself, I helped her through a wash and getting dressed in "real" clothes!

As she took off the pink, cotton hospital gown that she had come home in, Mum said, "I won't be wearing that any more!"

I gave her a bowl of warm soapy water to soak her feet in properly before putting on her pantyhose as I was sure she hadn't been able to do that for a while.

There was a special seat to aid in getting dressed, which I learned was called a perching stool. It was a great help as Mum could sit while semi-standing.

Once dressed, and enveloped in a spray of perfume too, I gave Mum her face cream and powder compact. She gave a little laugh and said, "Oh!" as if surprised by this perhaps forgotten ritual. Those were the final touches to Mum's toilette!

Although I longed to wash her hair, getting washed and dressed was a big enough event for the first day.

I gathered up two loads of laundry and washed them, changing Mum's bed and putting on a fresh sheet and duvet cover. Everything, including Mum, looked clean and fresh.

The District nurse popped in and was so helpful. It was apparent that there was a great system of support in the village. She said that she knew most of the carers and that they flagged her down in the street if they thought she needed to drop in and visit someone--even though that wasn't strictly going by the book.

Later on, when Rob came home from work, we went out together to get groceries and some more things to make Mum more comfortable. While we were out, Margaret the social worker dropped off a revised care plan that included a midday check and med administration as well as a morning and evening visit to get Mum up and help her get ready for bed. If Mum ended up not needing quite that much, it would be evident and the support could be faded, but for now it felt reassuring to have that much help.

On the way home, Rob and I picked up fish and chips for supper and we had just finished tidying up and putting away the groceries when our friends Chris and Eileen Ashton arrived to visit, with bunches of beautiful golden daffodils.

It was 11.30 when Mum finally went to bed that night--later than we planned because we were waiting for her cat, Sam, to come back inside. We both agreed that it had been a very good first day home, and I was amazed at the world of difference in Mum since I first saw her on Friday the week before.

In a week she had gone from depression to determination and in the previous 24 hours she had come from the hospital with a plastic bag of belongings wearing slippers, gown and blanket, to sleeping in her own bed, wearing real clothes, and wearing perfume, face cream and powder--small, important reminders of her humanity. 

To be continued...


Whenever God gives you the opportunity to make the journey from despair to hope, always make the trip.

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