Tough Decisions

It comes to us all I know, but when parents are aging and unwell with underlying-can-happen-any-minute conditions, it can be a roller coaster ride of worry and emotions.

First comes the dreaded phone call, then the rush to whichever hospital, the inevitable tests, the prolonged monitoring and possible decisions on future care and perceived, potential 'outcomes'.

It can be such a nightmare and it's the unknown, human factor that can confound and ultimately amaze.

Or not.

We have been through this before and we have been going through it again for the past week.

I almost feel sorry for the doctors, trying to get a handle on the enigma that is my mother!

They have a difficult job, doctors. I admire them and appreciate the professionalism, understanding and care with which they they have treated us over the past few months. Whilst in hospital that is, post-stroke follow-ups leave a lot to be desired in my opinion.

There is no denying it, strokes are serious business and specific, prompt care must be afforded in accordance with accepted hospital practices. Depending on the resources of the hospital, that is. Other co-morbid conditions can cloud and confuse the issue so must also be taken into account. Although ultimately pleased with previous care received in a small local hospital (in acute ward only) there is no comparison to the care currently being delivered in a more acute hospital. None whatsoever. In fact I think all future medical emergencies should be scheduled to occur at certain hours in order to gain access ;-)

They do seem to be quick off the mark to make the tough decisions though. However doors are being kept open, within a time frame. A movable one, I hope.

See, I know there's an accepted time frame in which a patient should show signs of recovery post-stroke, in order to provide the 'best' outcome. Based on that doctor's will make decisions, or encourage the family to make the decisions, as regards further 'interventions'. Like feeding for example, where speech and swallow are affected. Such a terrible, life altering after-effect of a stroke. Truly awful.

However, sometimes the patient can defy the odds and decide what an acceptable time-frame for their recovery is. Quality of life and ultimate outcome is of course a whole other issue.

No-one wants to prolong the inevitable or to offer food in a way that may constitute 'force feeding' but neither do we, or the medics, get to play God. Sometimes patient care and interventions must be patient led and, in my experiences, doctors get that and amend decisions and treatments accordingly.

How do you respond, apart from becoming a sniveling and emotional wreck, when a doctor gives you some gently delivered yet brutal news as regards feeding and most likely outcome, within a set time-frame? Try to remain practical, the brain can only take so much battering from strokes after all, and re-iterate her amazing recovery stories?

The power of the body and brain to heal and the human spirit to fight never ceases to amaze me.

Yesterday, within five minutes of the above conversation my mam woke up and tried to talk, treating to me to a spark of her former self by giving out to me with eyes briefly bright in her head, before succumbing to more nurturing sleep!

Then today she was full of chat, stories and laughter with obvious improvement in speech! She adores her new night dresses, wants to get her hair cut and would love a cup of tea thanks-very-much!! Unfortunately she cannot have tea, or even water. Yet.

I am under no illusions here, who knows what tomorrow will bring as the risks are high, but you cannot deny a person fighting back to this extent. She deserves every chance.

Last night I was torn between saluting and encouraging her now legendary fighting powers and praying for a miracle. The miracle of release.

I know tough decisions still lie ahead but, for  today, I simply give you my mother.

The Fighter.

The Bounce Back Queen.

Never to be under-estimated.


PS: Please keep her in your thought and prayers.... 


  1. I feel for you so much, I'd say your emotions just feel battered at this stage. Though it sounds as though she was happy yesterday and that has to be good? xx

  2. @Blue Sky: Thanks, totally battered, don't know which way is up! But must keep going, life goes on all around us so need to pace myself and take things day by day. This could a long haul or over in days, who knows? Yesterday was brilliant!! Wonderful to see her like that and I want it to continue. Secretly I want it to continue and if there's no hope that she slips quickly because she was so very happy yesterday.

    Thanks for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

  3. Lots of love, this must be so hard on all of you. xxx

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  5. Big hugs and positive thoughts to you and your family. This is a tough situation but at the very least your mum sounded quite good today. Here's hoping. Beautifully written. X.

  6. @Midlife Singlemum: It is and thank you, much appreciated :-)

    @Booboy: I've seen the email of this comment and yup...that's my mam!! Like to think I've a bit of her spark in me ;-)

    @Older Mum: Thanks so much. And she was the same today too! She really is incredible. Thanks for the writing comment, means a lot.

    Thanks for your comments. I've only touched the surface with this post as it's my mam's story not mine. It is impossible not to say anything though and writing about it helps. Anything can happen from now on, it could end quickly or drag for months. Day by day....

    xx Jazzy

  7. Sorry Val, was signed into Liam's account earlier.

    I can't imagine being in charge of such a decision. But I kind of like the gal's pluck. xx

  8. @lisadom Grace App: Oh, no worries, I do that all the time! The decision making is SO tough but all we can do is day by day, step by step and accept that things may happen to change whatever decision is made. Or not....

    Thanks for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

  9. Sorry to read your mum is so poorly Jazzy, I didn't realise. This is a very hard time for you. I hope you're getting time for yourself & looking after yourself too.
    Love Vic, xx

  10. @Momx3: Thanks Vic, for your comment and for visiting. Doing the best we can, as you know life goes on around us at times like this! School runs, taxi-mums etc; etc. Thank god for wine, medicinal uses only :-)

    xx Jazzy

  11. I am so sorry to read that your mum is poorly. I hope she keeps on with that fighting spirit and that you get to tell some more of her stories. x

  12. I can't imagine having to contemplate such a tough decision :( Wishing the best for you and your mum. What a fighter though indeed. I hope she continues to improve and soon gets to have her cup of tea xX

  13. Oh Jazzy, I have only just seen this... How heartbreaking for you all. How is she doing? Has there been any progress? My grandmother had a bad stroke a couple of years ago, and I honestly thought I was flying to the UK to see her for the very last time. The progress she has made since then has been nothing but amazing. She does eat a hell of a lot of chocolate nowadays, but apart from that there is nothing different about her. Fingers crossed for you. xxx

  14. It's hard to cope with when your loved ones are ill but often is the case that they recover. We know friends who have survived serious strokes, one man in particular who is now in his late 80's and had a stroke about 15 years ago, still drives round the countryside and loves life.

    God bless,
    CJ x

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  16. @Bright Side of Life: Thanks. She's still fighting and making liars out of the doctors!

    @Beadzoid: Thank you. She hasn't had a cup of tea but she has had some sips of thickened fluids in the past 2 days :-)

    @Bavarian Sojourn: That is truly amazing about your grandmother.

    And your friend too @crystal Jigsaw.
    Like I say: 'The power of the body and brain to heal and the human spirit to fight never ceases to amaze me.'

    It's just incredible how some fight back. My mam has withstood a number of strokes at this stage though, including some massive ones so it truly is astounding how she continues to confound them all!

    Thanks so much for your comments, thoughts and prayers both here and on facebook/twitter although I am keeping it all low key.

    xx Jazzy

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