I’ve made a couple of passing comments about mum being in hospital, but haven’t gone into details, until now. Mum was quite a private person, and didn’t like a fuss being made about her.
Unfortunately, she died in the early hours of Friday morning. We are now telling friends and relatives more about what happened, so I thought it appropriate to post here, for those of you in the filk community who had met her at conventions, and knew her.
At the beginning of June, I took mum to Weymouth for a holiday, we were staying in Rupert, a converted stables cottage we had stayed in before and liked.
Although I had two weeks holiday booked from work, we had only booked Rupert for a week, as we didn’t know if mum would have the stamina for two weeks in Dorset. As it happens, she did fine, and we walked quite a bit. At the end of the first week, she said she wanted to stay on. As Rupert was fully booked, we found another little cottage which, while not as luxurious as Rupert, was pretty good too.
On the last couple of days of the holiday, mum said she was having trouble concentrating on reading her newpaper. We didn’t think much of it, putting it down to either tiredness or the lighting in the cottage. On the trip back home, we stopped for a cuppa, and mum was sitting there reading her paper with no problem.
We got back to mum’s home in Chingford and unpacked the car. I was going to stay for a day or so, before coming home, so we had a cake and a cup of tea. Mum said she was going upstairs to go on the computer to check her bank account.
When she called to me for help, I thought it was to do with a computer-related problem. However, mum had got stuck with answering a bank security question – her date of birth. We also quickly found that mum could now only understand 3 out of 4 words of her paper, and was having problems finding the odd word when speaking.
Suspecting a stroke, we took her to the local Accident and Emergency, where she was quickly admitted. However, it was not a stroke. We were eventually told she had a brain lesion. She was given high doses of steroids to reduce inflamation, and her symptoms improved greatly, being able to read and remember stuff again.
Mum was in Whipps Cross for a week, but they wanted to get her into the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. While waiting for a bed, mum’s condition was stable, so she was allowed home, just in time to watch the second week of Wimbledon on TV, which pleased her greatly.
Admitted to NHNN, the proposed brain biopsy was delayed due to other things that cropped up with mum’s health. However, the procedure was eventually carried out, without problem. Later we would be told that mum had suffered a lymphoma of the brain, which would have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but was – to quote a consultant – “quite treatable”.
Unfortunately, while waiting for transfer to University College London Hospital, where her ongoing treatment would be, mum contracted a chest infection, which turned into pneumonia. Over a period of a couple of weeks, we watched mum’s readings fall and rise. At a couple of points we had hope of her recovery, but on Thursday night we were called to her bedside. Steve and I stayed with her all night, but it was clear that she would not recover. In the early hours of Friday morning, after discussions with her medical team, we decided she had gone through enough, and said goodbye.
Her service is to be held the week after next, and I am going to be staying in London for much of the time until then. Her house is also my childhood home, so it doesn’t seem that strange to be here. I remind myself that we did have that excellent two weeks in Weymouth together, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Joy Anne Malme