2010-07-19

When bygones are bygones

Friday evening was spent at the Usual Place in the company of friends. Just as we got up to leave, my mother called.
“Hi, when are you coming over tomorrow?”
“…… Oh! The cherries! Right, er, uh, I’ll get in as early as possible.”
And so I did.

Mother’s cherry tree had excelled this summer and was full of plump red cherries. In a few hours we had picked perhaps 15 litres of cherries, and there were still plenty left in high branches. Being a mother, Mom admonished me sternly when I stood swaying on top of the ladder and reached for cherries, yet had no qualms at all about standing on the selfsame ladder, taking the saw to branches she decided were better off gone.

All picking done, I took some bags of cherries to take home and then we took some bags to my aunt. Chatting over cherries, coffee, cake, and Coke.
Then I got home for an evening of nothing special.

In the morning Mom called:
“Auntie said there were worms in the cherries, you should throw yours away.”
“Moom, I ain’t afraid of no worm. Anyway, I’ve put the cherries in the freezer, so any worms will be dead now.”

Honeybuns and I prepared for a day outing to somewhere, but just as we were ready to leave Auntie called. She’d just been on the phone with Mom again and Mom had had no recollection of any cherries, any visit, or anything. This surely couldn’t be good?
Uh-oh! I immediately called Mom and indeed she denied having talked to Auntie recently, did not recall having spoken to me either and certainly I hadn’t been there yesterday. Oh, no! 112 connects me to a nurse who listens to my explanation and suggests that it probably isn’t anything dangerous, but to go and check on Mom and call again if anything further happens.

In the taxi out I review the options and decide to take Mom straight into hospital anyway. As I arrive Mom is very upset, since I’m so clearly agitated.
“What’s happened? What have I done?”
I try to explain that she may have had a stroke and that I want her to see a physician. Further conversation makes clear that she has no memory of the last day or so, but neither is she aware of having lost any memories. She is much confused by my insistence that there is a problem, since she feels perfectly OK. When we get to A&E we are within minutes received by a neurologist and further testing bears out that this is the case: Mom is in good shape (for her age), knows perfectly well where we are, what day it is, who I am, and it’s so nice to see Honeybuns again. So, everything OK, except that Mom does not remember the events of the last day.
The neurologist explains that this probably is a case of transient global amnesia—causes are unclear, but it should clear up by itself with no aftereffects. Nevertheless, they’re going to run some additional tests and keep her for observation over the night.
After a CT Mom gets rolled up to a Neuro ward. More tests. She passes them all with flying colours. Some bits of memory seem to be returning, but Auntie’s phone call is still completely gone.

My brother and his girlfriend arrive. Sis is away, but is informed of events.

A decision is made and Mom gets rolled into the monitoring room. Four beds, all monitored from a central desk. Mom gets hooked up to a machine that goes bing. I’ve always found medical machinery comforting. Nothing shows that you’re taken care of as well as a machine that goes bing. Or breeep, as the case may be.

More tests are done in the course of the evening. Mom is perfectly clear and lucid. Eventually visiting hours are over and I have to leave.

In the morning, all us siblings call the ward in turns and get updates. More tests and then Mom is discharged. Probably nothing to worry about, but keep an eye open and do follow-up tests in a couple of weeks. Mom is much pleased to come home, but is still wondering about Auntie’s phone call that she just can’t remember.

Presumably I did the right thing taking Mom to hospital, even though it worried her and us others—it could have been something much more serious. Still, if Auntie hadn’t felt like making an extra phone call, possibly neither Mom nor anyone else would ever have noticed that anything was amiss, just another day in the life blurring into all other days and might not merit any specific mention.

3 comments:

Martin said...

Phew! Hope it'll be long before you have a scare like that again.

kai said...

Indeed. A rather humbling experience: How would I know if bits of reality went missing? For a few seconds I almost wondered if I had made up the memory of picking cherries, but since we were several people that had met and talked with Mom, we basically decided Reality by majority vote.

thnidu said...

Criminy, that is scary! (Just trying to get a little bit caught up -- you know how too-busy I've been.)