All is not well

The Period began as expected on Sunday morning. By Sunday evening I was throwing up con brio despite the fact I wasn’t in that much pain – I’d taken my painkillers on schedule and before the pain got bad in the first place, like a sensible woman. As H said to me, handing me a glass of water to rinse my mouth with as I staggered forth from the bathroom for the fourth or fifth time, clearly my body knows it’s in a lot of pain even if we’re not letting my brain find out.

I still feel pretty nauseous today. Bah.

It’s not the not-eating I mind. But not being able to drink more than a tiny sip of water at a time, and those sips spaced out by hours, in case I trigger the ‘eject’ button again, that gets unpleasant. My lips are dry, my skin is beginning to itch and flake, I have a headache which persists despite the industrial quantities of diclofenac and tramadol in my system. I am losing a fair amount of fluids anyway, what with Cute Ute Of Doom’s immoderately lavish attitude to menstruation. This sucks.

On the Pollyanna side of the matter, I’ll take being nauseous and vomiting but in mild to moderate pain over being not-nauseous but in severe pain, and I’ll definitely take it over the unutterable hideousness of being in severe pain and puking my guts out, which is the modus operandi of choice if Cute Ute and her infiltrating accomplices aren’t bludgeoned into silence with opiates and NSAIDs.

This week is my birthday week. Normally, H and I book this week off and Go Away, and so we had done, until it occurred to H that given the regularity of my cycles, this was bound to be the week The Period would turn up and ruin everything, so we cancelled and rebooked and are now Going Away next week. We both felt very clever when we realised this cycle was going to follow precedent and our birthday holiday was not going to be spoilt by my innards and their appalling shenanigans.

Therefore, of course, a couple of days ago the In-Laws called us to let us know H’s grandmother (on his mother’s side, not the widow of the recently deceased and much missed Paternal Grandfather) had had a stroke, and wasn’t expected to last the night. This was a bitter-sweet painful relief, in a way, as she has severe dementia, and hasn’t been able to speak, let alone look after herself, for a long time. She doesn’t recognise her own children now. Last time I saw her, well over a year ago, she certainly didn’t recognise me (she’s known me for 20 years), and I’m not sure she recognised her grandsons. Since then, in her bewilderment and growing inability to communicate, the poor lady has been prone to rages, tantrums, wandering about the nursing home screaming in fright at two in the morning, trying to fight off her nurses in terror. It was horrific, and very, very draining and distressing for MIL. So when we heard she was dying, we, well, yes, we were, sort of, sadly, relieved.

However, my Grandmother-in-Law has the heart of an ox, and a particularly young and athletic ox at that. She’s still alive. Unconscious, and barely breathing, and they think the stroke has done a great deal of damage, but she’s alive. MIL and her sisters are spending every day by her bedside, and are slowly going to pieces, and every day she stops breathing, and every day she starts again all by herself (she has a DNR order). It’s so sad.

Of course, if she does die in the next few days, the funeral might well be during our holiday. H is making plans for car hire and such – we are going to holiday in the UK, we usually do – so we should be able to attend. It’s just, and yes, I know I am being colossally head-up-own-bottom by saying this, that I’d’ve liked a holiday for once where nothing did go wrong, and we weren’t banjaxed by sickness and death and grief and family troubles. Ah, well. C’est la mort.


19 responses to “All is not well


    My person’s relative spent nearly 3 weeks unconscious or semi-conscious before her death, despite a DNR and removal of all fluid IVs and her not being able to swallow… you have to admire the body’s resilience. Though of course it is awful for the family, the waiting, and disruption of their lives and then guilt for being annoyed by the disruption etc etc.

    (I missed a performance of “Matilda” in London – and felt annoyed for missing it and then guilty cos my person said ‘go anyway’ but he didn’t mean it… etc. etc. )

    All this to mean I sympathise. Death is hardly ever convenient.

    And certainly having the godzilla of all hangovers without having done anything to deserve it is also (understatement) inconvenient.

    • May

      And I feel getting drunk would be such an appropriate response to it all. At least I could be having the hangover retroactively. Or something.

      Sympathies to you too. BUGGER on missing Matilda.

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    Oh, AAARGH.

    I’ve had some relatives who passed away after long since being mentally gone. And frankly, we had said goodbye years ago. The person we loved was long since elsewhere, leaving only a body. Which could have had the decency to die NOT during your holiday. Bah. (I mean, of course not really, C’est la mort indeed, but still BAH.)

    I do hope that her passing is… soon. And not too difficult.

    • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

      Also as a totally irrelevant side note, I have a bachelor’s degree in French, and am always delighted when it is used correctly. Merci beaucoup, mon brave.

    • May

      It’s rather horrible, because we all know we’ve been rather waiting for the poor dear lady to die for about a year now, and she, despite total annihilation of mind, was healthy as a horse – a nice sturdy cart-horse at that, despite weighing about 90 lbs and LOOKING like a tiny fragile wisp-of-straw old lady – and NOT GOING so there. Which was so hard on everyone, on her (lost, bewildered, unable to talk (the amount of time she spent angry and terrified, it breaks my heart into teeny weeny bits)), on her children, on her friends, on the nursing staff…


  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Oh, sweethearts. If any couple – ANY couple – needed a peaceful week of rest and relaxation, it is you; the banjaxing: it is becoming ludicrous. I do wish there was someone to whom I could complain on your behalf; they would have a sore midriff by the time I had finished prodding them pointedly, in a ‘How do YOU like it?’ fashion. Interspersed with sharp kicks on their shin for good measure.

    Poor Grandmother-in-Law; I’m sure this is not the way anyone would choose to go, but hopefully the mind is thoroughly detached from the suffering and somewhere else entirely. Somewhere very nice indeed. Somewhere with palm trees, sunshine, and a tall dark waiter and a tall sparkly drink, if that is the sort of thing she would like.

    • May

      I think I must’ve accidentally donned wet copper armour before clambering to the top of a mountain in a thunderstorm and shrieking ‘all Gods are BASTARDS!’.

      I think she’d’ve liked best the tea-room at the Ritz, complete with tea in a silver pot, cucumber sandwiches, and a tall dark waiter offering her fairy-cakes and calling her ‘madam’. But yes, I do very much hope her mind was THERE, or thereabouts, seeing as it was no longer here.


  • Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse

    Well, I liked the first part of this post, when I thought you’d thwarted the period by rebooking the going away, but then I got to the second part …. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother-in-law, but I can understand the relief that is inherent when the state of the body begins to catch up to that of the mind. I hope her passing occurs as smoothly and gently as possible, as well as in such a way that you can enjoy the getaway you deserve.

    • May

      Thank you, indeed. It was all going so well, with the plans! Aigh!

      Luckily, she fell asleep and stayed asleep and never woke up again, in the end, so it was peaceful and gentle. So there’s that. Which is something, for her children at least, if not for her.

  • twangy

    It is very uncomfortable to feel vexed and sad at the one time isn’t it. And yet so human.

    Oh dear. Hoping for best. And for you to feel better.

  • Katie

    We thought of putting off going away around Easter for the exact same reason – but we just decided that we could not put off life for uncertainty – a lesson we all learn in infertility.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    I am glad of the lessening of pain for you, though the nausea — too mild a word — is still awfully unfair. I know what you mean about the non-drinking kind. It is the most brutal.

    Sorrow for and sympathies to you and H. I hope you do get some kind of break, despite it all.

    • May

      I can’t tell you how nice it is to sit up in bed the next day and EAT A WHOLE RICE CAKE. Not normally one of life’s extreme pleasures, I grant you, but once a month, there it is, bliss in what seems to be basically a drinks coaster.

  • a

    Maybe H could learn to insert IVs for saline delivery? 🙂

    I’m sorry to hear about H’s Grandmother. I’m also sorry that you’re trapped in the waiting room. There’s no way that this won’t hang over your holiday, so I hope the influence is minimal.

    Happy Birthday, anyway.

    • May

      Considering H’s attitude to needles… Well, we don’t need BOTH of us pea-green and lying on the bathroom floor.

      Ta for birthday wishes.

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