The Long Trek.

The story of my battle with the Lymphoma continues. I am never giving up.

So, here we were, Edna and I .At about 22.00 hours a nurse accompanied Edna to another ward for the night.After a few further bits of nursing attention I finally settled down for a night’s rest.

I was woken just after midnight by one of the nurses to be told that Edna was  causing difficulties and that the nurses could not cope with her behaviour. I was asked if I would mind if a bed would be set up for her next to mine.Naturally I agreed to that.

What followed was a very dramatic episode.As soon as Edna arrived I realised that she was having a spell of behaviour  the like of which I had never seen before in her.The change of environment and the fact not being with me was just too much for her.

There were four or five nurses standing around not knowing how to cope with the situation. such was her behaviour.

She was screaming and hurling abuse at everyone in the room including me.This was not a hospital it was a prison and she demanded to be discharged immediately.The nurses were prison warders, and as for me, why did I not go back to where I had come from? I asked her if she meant Germany to which she replied that I must be thick, Cornwall, she said.

All the time her walking stick was being used by her a a weapon to threaten everyone.Once or twice she managed to hit the windows, which fortunately did not break due to their thickness.It was heart rendering to see my normally quiet wife behaving in such a manner.

After a long time I decided to approach the situation in a different way. I appealed to her in a way I thought that might work.

I pleaded with her to help me, as the nurses were not being able to, and as I was thinking that I was not getting any better. I was frightened and needed her support so very badly.The change was almost dramatic .She put her arms round my shoulders, and assured me that she would help, as she loved me.

By this time the doctor on call arrived, and suggested some night medication for Edna, which she took from me.We both settled down after that. Peace at last.

I was very grateful for the kindness of the staff when we were moved into a double room for the rest of my stay.

We had another disturbed episode the following night, when Edna kept demanding a double bed in order to be able to sleep with me.One of the nurses had the brilliant idea to put the two hospital beds together.It didn’t really work all that well.However we had a better night, with me being looked after by a nurse at my bedside.

After a reasonable night I decided to discharge myself in order to avoid any further disturbances.I did so against medical advice. The doctor wanted me to stay another night or so in order to keep an eye on my condition.

Having finished my course of intravenous antibiotics I was able to leave.I was told that a nurse would phone me the next morning to check if I was allright.

On arrival at home we had another episode of disturbed behaviour on Edna’s part, but I managed to deal with that albeit with difficulty.

We both recovered well after all that and my Edna could not remember a thing about the whole tragic episode.It just goes to prove the importance of a settled background for anyone suffering from dementia.

I had to continue for another two sessions of Chemotherapy after which I was told that I was once again in remission,and that I would be put onto a maintenance dose of one of the drugs at two monthly intervals for the next two years.That was it then.I am going again in two weeks time.I shall always remain optimistic that all will be well.I never give up.

I won’t have my darling Edna coming with me anymore, as she passed away in April.I am sure she won’t mind me sharing a funny thought with you all. Edna was born under the sign of Cancer.So you see,I have lived with Cancer for the last 68 years, and it has done me no harm.

This is now the end of my long trek for the time being. No doubt I shall come back to the story when there is something to report.



© pommer 2023
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Hello Peter, This moved me very much. As a nursing sister I often had to deal with distressed relatives. Many were family of a stroke victim or, as you say in your case, a nearest and dearest of a dementia patient. They were so distressed many times as their loved one displayed aggression and used foul language they had never, ever used in their lucid life. We understood both the trauma of the relatives plus the condition beyond the patient’s control. Many times relatives were distressed to think the staff would think this was everyday language or behaviour for their… Read more »

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