It was Sunday evening, and TDT's phone rang.
"It's Ianymeany. Mum's not well, can you get home?"
"What's wrong," TDT asked.
"Just get here," he replied.
We leapt into the car, and raced down the road to the house. Upon arrival, Ianymeany greeted us with hushed tones and a concerned look on his face.
"She was complaining the TV was broken, but had forgotten how to plug it in. She's talking all sorts of gibberish."
We went into the room, and sure enough MILTB (Mother-in-law to be) was sat in her favourite chair. She had a vacant look on her face, and you could tell that even years of watching Judge Judy wouldn't have caused damage to this level. Something was wrong, very wrong. TDT and her brother were both sceptical about calling an ambulance, "it'll take ages to get here" she said. Eventually she called the emergency services, and the guy on the other end of the line asked us to do some tests. Her face wasn't drooping, and she could lift both arms, but when he asked her to quote "the early bird catches the worm" she replied "the erm, early?, worm, thingy, ah, y' know." This warranted a real bona fide visit from Mr and Mrs Paramedic, who turned up in 10 minutes. I waited out on the road for them, and filled them in when they arrived. "My mother in law seems to have lost some marbles, but not all of them" I told them. We were all concerned it was a stroke, but without so many prominent symptoms I was hopeful it was something less serious and less dangerous. Again, inside, the paramedics asked some questions. She knew who we were, and the dog's names. They asked her the day, and she identified it was definitely Wednesday. When they asked what month she replied, "2, no 16, or is it 48?" They agreed the condition required further investigation and a trip to Limerick and Ianymeany's favourite A & E department (see here) and left. Ianymeany and I left immediately after locking up the house and sorting the dogs etc.
Arriving in Limerick just after 9:30, and I park in the huge 'pay a couple of euros an hour' car park, and we rush in to see how MILTB's doing. TDT is thirsty, and so I got her a chilled bottle of water, hopefully to calm her down. It was whilst sat there, waiting to see someone we make the horrific discovery we have no money. I have just over 2 Euros in change, of which I'd just spent €1.50 on cold H2O. TDT and Ianymeany have nothing. And to be fair, MILTB wasn't in a condition to remember her purse. I then realised I wouldn't be able to get the car out of the car park, and raced back to the car park to get the car out in the free 20 minute period. 21 minutes had passed. I needed €2. Eventually I asked someone if I could tailgate them out of the car park, and they agreed, so then I parked up on the main road outside of the hospital and returned to A&E. Meanwhile, Ianymeany was inside with MILTB, and TDT was outside, puking up her ring in a real hedge.
Anyway, after a couple of hours of nothing much happening, TDT said to us to go home and she'd stay with MILTB. Meanwhile, whilst I slumbered back at home, TDT heard some funny tales. The highlight was Michael, a local drunk who had turned up, truly paralytic. Sat across from her, the nurses had propped him up on a bed where he was settling into whole new levels of comatose. The nurses were trying to stir him from his slumber, with pulled ears and hair, but nothing was working. One nurse was particularly stern with him...
"Michael. MICHAEL! Do you have to do this every time you're drunk?"
"Mumble mumble mumble mumble."
"Michael. Do you know how many times you've been here like this? Well let me tell you Michael, 93 times. That's 93 times you've called an ambulance when you're drunk Michael."
"Mumble mumble mumble" *fart*.
Then the priceless question was asked. "Do you not think you have a drink problem Michael?"
I promised to be back first thing, and sure enough left home just after 6 the next morning to return to the hospital. Her mother was to be transferred to a ward soon, and we could phone up later to find out where. So, we returned home where we caught up on sleep.
Numerous trips were made back and forth to the hospital, twice a day, every day this week. I now know how to get to the hospital in numerous routes, and which ones are quickest. The long and the short of it all is MILTB has a couple of things wrong. First of all, she has Pneumonia. A quick look online on Monday morning showed that lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to confusion. This would explain a lot. But when we were there on Monday afternoon a large white board with all the patients had what was wrong and which doctor was dealing with them. There was TDT's mum, with "TIA" after it. I racked my brain, wondering if I'd ever heard of that term and what it could stand for. Only on Tuesday did the nurse mention the thing we'd been dreading. A Stroke. More importantly, and positively, it was probably a mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA). It would appear that almost everything was functioning apart from the circuit that controls memory with regards to speech. She goes to say something, then forgets what it is she wants to say or how to say it. On Monday I asked about her lunch.
"Did you have anything nice for lunch?"
"It was ok. It was mash."
"And what did you have with the mash? Was it sausage?"
"No, not sausage... it was... erm...."
TDT then asked, realising she couldn't say it, "Was it meat or fish?"
"Yes, fish, that was it. It was chicken."
All these symptoms signified that she was still confused. I kept reassuring TDT that everything would be ok, and that the brain would probably re-route the systems and heal itself. Sure enough, yesterday afternoon she seemed a lot better. TDT came home with a definite skip in her step, and I looked forward to seeing her last night. She was however very tired last night, the 6am starts and lack of comfortable sleep not helping, and you could see the old confusion starting to return. At least we know it is repairable and she should recover fully. In the meantime I have written this blog today to let her family know that she is loved and will be better. Most of all, I'm missing her most excellent cups of tea, something it would appear so's she.
"The Nurses couldn't make tea for toffee."
The mind boggles.
"Thankfully lacking in sheep." Ricardipus "Better than Typhoid" Vicus Scurra "Force of Habit" Mosh "Done, but with errors on page" Sharon (formerly known as Adrian) "That'll do, pig. That'll do." Dawn "I feel all warm & fuzzy here among my fellow deviants." Bryn "Another Ricicles fan." Debster "It's a GREAT website." Big sis in Florida "Your website is the best thing since sliced bread and gravy granules" Cuz'n Doug