Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Hospice

We have arrived home after a fairly successful visit to see my daughter and her husband and the two boys.
The coach journey was better than I had anticipated and the three hour wait for a connection did not seem too long as Harry and I found a cheap cafe where we had a meal. The time went fairly quickly.

It was a shock to see the change in my son in law, not only in appearance, because he has no hair and has a scar at the back of his head, but because of his changed personality. The first day that we went there, he was aggressive and everywhere we went, he said that he needed us to be out because he wanted to be there. He barred us from the spare room and we had no luck finding anywhere to stay as it is a very small country town. In fact, a village compared to our city! There was nothing for it but to bed down on the floor. Luckily he had decided to go to bed early. 
My daughter was very embarrassed by his behaviour to us, but we were not ruffled as I know that the "real" him was not like that.

The next morning, there was a phone call from the local hospice to ask my daughter to get him over there within the hour as they wanted to assess him. That seemed like a gift from God and Deb struggled to get her husband ready and that was a very difficult task indeed. He made every excuse to delay things. I telephoned the Hospice and told them that they were on their way and definitely wanted that place. (A complete lie as they were nowhere near ready!) The boys and Deb were already booked in for councelling that afternoon so we packed them all some sandwiches and they piled in the car and drove off.

Harry started working on the garden as it is huge and many shrubs needed cutting back. I started to work on clearing up a bit and ironing. After we made some lunch for ourselves we got a bus from the local stop and used our wonderful free bus passes that we can now use anywhere in England and we went to the larger town a few miles away. It was good looking all around and familiarizing ourselves with that lovely town. 
Eventually Deb rang us and we met up. She told me she would love to go to see Mama Mia at the one and only cinema, so I went with her while Harry took the boys to Burger King for a pile of rubbish! He then went to the park with the boys and had to fill in two hours till we came out!
It was lovely to lose ourselves in the film, which we thought was very good.
The whole atmosphere had changed back at their house and the boys made a lot of noise and we all laughed and generally had a good family time.

After more gardening the next day and a few simple repairs and several visits to the local tip to get rid of rubbish that had been lying about in the garden for ages, we decided to go to the Hospice to see son in law and we all felt nervous, suddenly. To be truthful, we are all afraid of him, or rather his moods.

We were pleasantly surprised when we got there as he seemed much more his old self and was pleased to see us. We walked to the day room and  attempted a jigsaw puzzle between us. This was enjoyed by all but the oldest grand child who was playing on his game boy, but it didn't matter. The time went quickly and I now have a vision of him in a happier frame of mind and much calmer. Just like he used to be when the boys were little.

I don't know how long he will be in the Hospice but it gave Deb a wonderful break and a chance to be with us and to act more normally with the boys. I think she is entitled to three days with him at the Hospice every six weeks. It is all voluntary and they are wonderful staff and there is a calm atmosphere there. I must do something for hospices as they provide such a good service for weary families like mine.

Anyway, we are back home now. I feel a little bit tearful but I now feel confident to make that journey on my own even, if needs be. I learnt a lot over my stay there and it has helped Deb to feel less trapped knowing we will be able to go again in the next school holiday, as he is not well enough to leave and she used to come to see us regularly.

Thanks every one for your support. It means so much to me to know I have friends on the net routing for me! Please help hospices if you can as no one knows just how important they are to families like mine, unless you ever find yourselves in this situation and I sincerely hope you don't. Sorry no photo this time!


Jeni said...

I could feel your sense of relief over your son-in-law going into the hospice as I read your post. I'm sure this will help to ease so many tensions for your daughter and the boys during this especially difficult time. Prayers for all of you and Peace, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Dear Maggie,

It sounds as if you're all going through such a hard time. It will mean so much to your family that you visited, and helped out, and shifted the focus, if only for a little while.

Thinking of you. Stranger.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Maggie you and your family have been through so much this year. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, Ann xx

Bina said...

It has to be hard to "know" someone, then they have a complete personality change due to their illness. I'm glad he was able to get to the hospice and I'm sure that whole family needed a little break.

It also sounds like you enjoyed your trip somewhat, and for that, I'm glad.

Anonymous said...


It sounds like an emotionally distressing weekend, but glad the boys were as ok as they could be. Well done for staying strong for your family - you know you can do it!

Peter x

aims said...

I was afraid to read this post Maggie. Afraid of what I might find. I bit my lip over the first night and wondered over the changes in your son-in-law.

I have no idea what a hospice is over there. Could you enlighten me?

I'm so glad you got to go and help your daughter. Just helping in little ways makes such a difference to everyone. Bless you for doing that.

what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

Beautifully written. What a wonderful mother (and mother-in-law) your are.

Sandi McBride said...

I know that this is hard to bear and you feel helpless to help your daughter, but your understanding is so evident in this post that I know she feels it, too. Our prayers go out for your family during this most difficult time...hugs

Anonymous said...

I admire the way you stayed calm when your son in law became "someone else". It must have been very hard for you all.

CJ xx

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Maggie,
You are a wonderful woman!
My thoughts are with you and your family at this very difficult time!
Big Hugs Dear Friend!

Suburbia said...

I'm so glad everything went better than expected in the end. It must be so hard to deal with such mood changes.
You are a fantastic mum, you have done all the important things this weekend for your daughter and her family.
Thinking of you all
Suburbia X

RiverPoet said...

Maggie, I know it's hard to see your son-in-law that way. The brain is something we don't fully understand, but when things go wrong, they can go very wrong.

Hospice is wonderful, and just this afternoon I filled out my volunteer form. I tried to volunteer the year I lost Mom, but I got sick. I am now able to give them a few hours a week.

Peace - D

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Maggie, thank you for sharing about your trip to see your daughter and her family. I will be praying for them. My daddy had cancer and his was way before they had such a thing as Hospice. We work with the nurses in Hospice in my job now and I feel like they are angels. My mother could have had some relief. There are so many things I don't understand. I'm so sorry your grandchildren are going through this. I pray the Lord will reveal Himself to you and your family in a mighty way. I wish I could give you a hug.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Maggie - so glad to hear that your daughter and her boys (and son in law ) are able to have a brief respite from the struggle they are having.

The hospices are wonderful and certainly deserve any help they receive.

Thinking of you all.

A x

Irene said...

It must be possible for the sake of your daughter and the children for your son in law to be in some sort of day care, so that they can have as normal a life as possible. It doesn't seem very humane that three people should suffer under the very negative personality change from one person, because there is not enough help available. Surely they need help also.

I am speaking from my socialist roots, when I say that this kind of medical care should just exist and not have to be begged and pleaded for. It obviously happens a lot and there is a need. Families should not suffer with stress like this, that is unhealthy, especially for the kids.

Maggie May said...

Jeni .....Yes, it is only for a short while & we all find him hard to cope with.

Stranger ......... we are going back soon to do some more helping.

Ann....... many thanks for prayers, that means a lot.

Bina ..... yes, the trip was not as bad as we thought.

Peter.....thanks for your encouragement.

Aims ..... well there is a lot going on & I never know what will happen next. Not sure of anything. no one can tell us anything.

What happened ....... that is so kind, but I'm not special at all.

Sandi....... thanks for that encouragement.

Crystal....... Its OK if you don't have it all the time.

The Brit...... you are so kind.

Suburbia......... thanks for saying that. We are going again this weekend. My last chance before holiday finishes.

Riverpoet....... well done helping your local Hospice.

Nana Trish....... Many thanks for your encouragement.

Strawberry jam....... yes they are really good places.

Irene .......... yes..... you are SO right. I am going back to try & help with that kind of arrangement. Might not come to anything, but can only do my best.

San said...

Maggie, you and your family will be in my thoughts, dear. What an incredibly tough time for all of you!

I am glad that the hospice is such a nice place, a place where you know your son-in-law will be in the best of hands. And I am glad that you had that time with your daughter and her family--they will remember all of it, all of the help and support you provided, all of the love that was felt. The boys will remember the "rubbish" at Burger King because of the one they shared it with. Simple times can make for the most cherished memories.

And what a load off for your daughter--the knowledge that you will be returning now that it's harder for her to visit you.

Love to all...

Omykiss said...

It must be very hard, but you are doing such a great job just being there for your daughter.

CrazyCath said...

So glad you got some quality time with your daughter and that your SIL got a place in a hospice. Glad too that your daughter felt able to let him go there.

They are brilliant places, so unlike hospitals with the ability to monitor needs hour by hour, or minute by minute if necessary.

Great post Maggie. And welcome home.

Lavinia said...

Hello Maggie May. Summer has pulled me away from regular blogging, so I feel that after reading this, I have landed somewhere on unfamiliar terrain, and I shall have to go and read your earlier posts to get more caught up. I hope things improve, and I learned something I didn't know before---how important hospices are. You write quite movingly of your sympathies for your daughter and how full her hands must be right now....

Expatmum said...

He is lucky that you all recognise it's not really him that's being mean. Thinking of you and your family.

Robin said...

Maggie, I wish I could think of something comforting to say. All I know it that sucks for your family and I really feel for your grandsons. Sending prayers and hugs (and meals if I could, it is all I can think to do during these times.)

dottie said...

Dear Maggie,
There is a wee something for you on my blog. Wish I could give you a hug.
Dottie xx

Frankofile said...

Just to let you know that I happened across your post (thanks to dottie) and am grateful I did.

Anonymous said...

Hospice is a wonderful, caring place. I can't say enough about the care they give the patient and their families.

I know it meant so much to your daughter to have you there for emotional support and for everyday tasks. How wonderful that the boys got to see you too, during this very difficult time.

My prayers are with you and your family.
Take good care of yourself.

Gill - That British Woman said...

I just wanted to say I am thinking of you all through this difficult time.

Gill in Canada

cheshire wife said...

It sounds as if you rose to the challenge and that your daughter and grandchildren appreciated your visit. Very brave of you to be going again so soon.

Hope things continue to stay calm. Will be thinking about you.
CW x

Mignon said...

I defiantly understand the importance of hospice and the care they give. I send you lot's of prayers. And I think you are an awesome Mom. Peace

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Dear Maggie, am just catching up with all your trials and tribulations. I'm so glad you managed to go and see Mamma Mia with your Daughter - I bet it cheered you up a bit. It must all be so hard for you. Chin up. M xx