In last week’s post, JS Kicking Cancer’s Ass Theme 11 of 13: The Moments Of Happiness, I shared that I unintentionally took a month-long break from the ‘JS Kicking Cancer’s Ass’ series in November and that I would explain why in today’s post.
I put up this post on my Facebook page on Thursday November 19th:
And then November 21st came and went so here we are. The penultimate post in the series. Which almost did not go up today because it has been incredibly painful revisiting the last few weeks of my mum’s battle with cancer. I started playing around with the idea of having it go up on Friday December 11th, to coincide with the day my mum was discharged from a hospital for the last time. But I realised that doing so is only delaying the inevitable because I made a commitment to myself, and subsequently to you dear reader, to tell the story of my mum’s battle with cancer. In JS Kicking Cancer’s Ass I wrote:
I have decided to share her journey for two reasons; to comfort and to inspire. I remember feeling so alone when my mum was unwell. I would look around and not see anyone going through anything similar to my situation. It gets extremely overwhelming and it is easy to get sucked into a never-ending spiral of despair. If only I had someone who went through/was going through what I was to commiserate with. Someone to reassure and comfort me. Someone to offer a silver lining.
I also want to inspire. In five years my mum went through more than most do in a lifetime. She lost her hair, then her breast, then her ability to walk. She woke up every day in debilitating pain. Yet she was still so quick to smile, to offer advice and encouragement. Her wicked sense of humor remained intact and she made me laugh nearly every day. She never lost her faith and remained positive till the very end. Of course there were bad days where she was tired of it all, but her resilience always superseded her suffering. We can all learn a lot from her and I hope her journey will inspire anyone going through a difficult time not to give up.
Shall we begin?
That was the last text message I would ever receive from my mum’s phone. Maddeningly, it was sent by the nurse aide who stole money from her M-Kesko account barely two hours after my mum died. While it may have been the last text message I ever received from my mum’s phone, it was not the last message of any kind as my mum (who could spell better than that dumbass nurse aide) sent me a total of five WhatsApp messages in the three weeks she was admitted in hospital for the last time.
We also chatted briefly on WhatsApp the morning of November 19th before her health took a turn for the worse and she had to be rushed to hospital.
That November my mum started having issues with her kidneys and was admitted to Nairobi hospital at the beginning of the month for treatment. She stayed in hospital for one week before she was discharged and, ironically, was only home for one week before she became so ill she had to be admitted again, this time to HDU. After she was discharged following her penultimate hospital admission, you could tell my mum was still not well and two days after she got home, my aunt called me in a panic saying she was chatting with my mum and could feel that something was deeply wrong. She left her house in South B at 9 p.m. to come to ours in Kileleshwa to check on my mum because she was terrified my mum was dying. Or as my mum put it, “she was scared I was about to left the group chat.”
Two days after my aunt’s panic induced night-time visit, my brother texted me on our – now defunct – sibling WhatsApp group chat and asked me to find out why our mum was so low. Furthermore, my sister was leaving the nest that week but my mum was too unwell to assist with the move. Only after my mum was admitted to HDU we were able to grasp what a glaring red flag the latter was, because my mum had wanted my sister to move out for ages! It was deeply important to her that my sister and I moved out of home because she needed to know that when she “left the group chat”, my sister and I would be okay as we were living on our own and could take care of ourselves. But at the time we did not know how serious the matter was and once or twice we even joked with my mum that she had discharged herself as she wanted to be home in time for her dad’s visit from upcountry. But after she needed to be admitted again, after only a week of being home, the joke lost any humour it might have had. Consequently, during her final admission we agreed as a family that I would be the one in charge of my mum’s discharge and would only let it ensue if her doctor gave me the go-ahead.
At the hospital it was discovered that my mum’s condition was worse than it appeared and so she was admitted to HDU (High Dependency Unit) and I went to see her the following day during the lunchtime visiting hours as well as in the evening. I did not work too far from Nairobi Hospital and had a really nice boss at the time who was okay with me leaving around 11:30 a.m. so that I could make it to the hospital just as the lunchtime visiting hours were starting. I did not have a car at the time so more often than not I would walk to the hospital from the office and then take public transportation back. My boss also let me leave work early so that I could spend as much time as possible with my mum during the evening visiting hours.
In JS Kicking Cancer’s Ass Theme 3 of 13: The Copious Hospital Admissions I wrote about how between 2014 and 2015 my mum was being admitted to hospital on a monthly basis. But there was never a point during any of those copious hospital admissions where my mum was admitted to HDU. She was always admitted to the general ward so that November 19th when my mum was admitted straight to HDU I knew we were dealing with something we had never experienced before.
When I visited my mum at lunchtime on November 20th she seemed to be doing fine, well as fine as one can be in HDU, though she was mostly asleep. She was also mostly asleep in the evening so I did not stay too long for either visit. That evening my brother arrived at the hospital after I had left and when he got home he texted my sister and I on our group chat to inform us that my mum needed blood.
I was running my first ever half marathon that week on Sunday so I was not in a position to donate blood, but my brothers were able to do so and we met at the hospital on the morning of November 21st. I passed by my mum’s hospital room first, even though it was not yet official visiting hours, as I needed to find out for myself why she needed blood so urgently. I spoke to the head nurse and then the doctor and when I was mollified with their answers I went to the lab to meet my brothers. After they had both donated blood I took them for brunch at the Java just down the road from the hospital.
After brunch we passed by my mum’s room and she was still mostly asleep so we said our goodbyes and left. Given that she was asleep for 99.9% of the visit, I decided against going to the hospital again for the evening visit because I figured she needed the rest. As I left I told my mum to continue resting and that I would check up on her in the evening via phone.
I went back to the office and later left work early so I was home by 4:30 p.m. Not long after I got home I received a call from my aunt who had gone to visit my mum and found the doctor examining her. It was glaringly obvious that something was wrong but when my aunt asked the doctor if there was a problem, the doctor refused to disclose any information about my mum’s condition to anyone other than her next of kin. For some reason my mum would list her husband as her next of kin in the hospital’s admission paperwork even though he had absolutely abandoned her when she became sick. So when my aunt learnt that my mum’s doctor was looking for him, she immediately called me and asked me to call the doctor because looking for my mum’s husband was nothing short of a fool’s errand.
I was in my sitting room when my aunt called and the second we hang up I called my mum’s doctor. She said to me, “I was just about to call you. We’ve been looking for your dad but haven’t been able to find him. Mum is not well and we need to move her to ICU immediately.” There was a way she said mum is not well that I will never forget. Her voice was laden with compassion, but it was also shrouded in sadness. I had a feeling that upon examining my mum, her doctor must have felt “the sense of an ending.” She had been my mum’s doctor for almost 5 ½ years at that point and seeing my mum in that state, knowing she might not make it, must have filled her with grief. Grief that came across loud and clear when she said “mum is not well.” I asked for more details which she shared before asking me to come in and sign papers that would establish me as my mum’s next of kin so they could embark on her treatment stat!
After I hang up the phone with my mum’s doctor I was momentarily overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness and terror. I have watched 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and learnt that, sometimes, being in ICU is just one step away from being dead. For a few minutes after the call I stared outside my sitting room window as I tried to process the dire information I had just been presented with. After that I called my BFF Adelle Onyango to let her know that my mum was being admitted in ICU, to which she immediately replied, “I’m on my way.” After that I texted my siblings on our group chat to let them know that mum was being admitted to ICU. My sister was stuck at work but my brother was able to join me and my aunt at the hospital.
I called an Uber to take me to Nairobi hospital and when I got to my mum’s room I found her still asleep. That did not surprise me though because the doctor had informed me on phone that my mum had been mostly asleep from when I left the previous day. That excessive sleeping is what signalled her to run some tests, upon which she discovered that my mum’s creatinine levels were fatally high. As they waited to move my mum to ICU they gave her an oxygen mask and when I got to the hospital I found my mum asleep with the oxygen mask on her face. Seeing her like that frightened me but the doctor was able to calm me down and reassure me that the oxygen was just a precaution, nothing to be alarmed about.
I tried waking my mum up a couple of times but each time she would only open her eyes for a few seconds before going back to sleep. She eventually woke up though and that was when our ordeal as a family began in earnest. My mum was so agitated by the oxygen mask that the doctor had to tie her wrists to the bed because she kept removing the oxygen mask from her face yet it was imperative that she kept it on. By then my mum’s condition had gotten worse to the point she could no longer open her mouth to speak and she also had trouble identifying my aunt, brother and I as she would look at us but there was little to no recognition in her eyes. After she was restrained the look of little to no recognition was replaced with one of terror. I can only imagine how scary it must have been for my mum not knowing what was happening and why, in addition to having an unfamiliar, uncomfortable object on your face. Also, because she was restrained, she no longer had any use of her hands in addition to not having any use of her legs as she was paralysed from the waist down to begin with, and that only added to her terror.
My BFF came through not too long after my mum had been restrained and to this day I will never forget how grateful my mum was to see Adelle. As mentioned, my mum was unable to recognise my aunt, brother and I, but when Adelle walked into the hospital room my mum’s eyes immediately lit up in recognition and for the first time since I got to the hospital, she smiled.
By the time Adelle came through I had already signed the documents that would instate me as my mum’s next of kin. I also had to sign a document allowing the hospital to take my mum into the ICU to perform an emergency 72-hour dialysis on her. When the time came to transfer her from the bed to the stretcher in order to wheel her to ICU, my mum began making these sounds like she was shouting at us to stop whatever the hell was going on. But because she was unable to open her mouth the words were trapped there and replaced with these low, guttural sounds. Sounds that called to mind the close-mouthed vocal exercises singers to do warm up their voice before a show.
On that day the ICU wing at the hospital was full but because my mum had excellent health insurance, the hospital set her up at one of the three Presidential Suites in the North Wing for the night. Guise! That Presidential suite is the size of my 1-bedroom apartment and the shower is much bigger than mine! It also has a nice waiting area for visitors complete with a couple of sofas, a centre and side tables as well as aWe only geeked out over the room for a little bit before it was time to get back to business. The kidney specialist arrived and informed us that my mum was suffering from acute kidney failure and she needed to undergo a 72-hour emergency dialysis to save her life. I was not entirely familiar with acute kidney failure so I asked the doctor to break it down for us. large flat screen TV.
According to the Mayo Clinic: Acute kidney failure — also called acute renal failure or acute kidney injury — develops rapidly, usually in less than a few days. Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already hospitalized, particularly in critically ill people who need intensive care.
Feeling drowsy or very tired is one of the symptoms of acute kidney failure, which explains why my mum was asleep for most of November 20th and 21st. Confusion is another symptom which explains why she could barely recognise my brother, aunt and me.
The kidney specialist painted a very grim picture of my mum’s condition and when he was done I asked him point blank what my mum’s chances of surviving the procedure were. My brother and aunt did not like that I asked that question, but I needed to know. The doctor did not answer the question directly though, instead choosing to go the religious route by saying that such things are usually up to God. On the one hand I found that such a cop out because I am not a religious person and do not believe in leaving shit to God. On the other hand I understood his hesitation to be frank with me as he probably did not want to upset my brother and aunt any further.
After he explained the procedure to us and I signed the consent forms, he then began the dialysis. The dialysis machine was a big, ugly contraption of a machine that was as scary to look at as it was to know that within 72 hours I would know whether it saved my mum’s life or not.
To perform the dialysis they had to make an incision below my mum’s belly button in order to insert the catheter in her body. Remember those low, guttural sounds my mum was making when she was being wheeled to ICU? Sounds that called to mind the close-mouthed vocal exercises singers do to warm up their voice before a show. The minute the cut was made below my mum’s belly button the sounds she was making exponentially increased in intensity and frequency. They sounded nothing like vocal exercises anymore. They sounded more like the noises animals make when they are in distress and it was extremely heartbreaking to hear.
It reached a point that the sounds she was making were so heartbreaking that my brother could not take it anymore and left the suite. I, on the other hand, demanded to be let into the room where they were doing my mum’s procedure so I could hold her hand if possible and let her know that she was not alone. The doctor and nurses would not allow me to hold her hand for obvious reasons but they allowed me to be in the room with her. I made sure to stand where she could see me so I could reassure her that it was going to be okay. Even if I was not so sure of that myself. After my mum was settled and the dialysis ongoing, my brother, aunt, BFF and I said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
The following day my mum was moved to a bed in the ICU wing and the next four or five days she was there were the most frightening days of my life. I have never gone through a more harrowing and heartbreaking ordeal than when my mum was in ICU, and I hope that for as long as I live I will never have to watch someone else I love fight for their life in ICU.
Having to visit my mum in ICU was extremely terrifying in and of itself, but it was made so much worse by the fact that everyone else in ICU was also in dire straits. It also did not help that I would visit my mum at lunchtime and there would be someone in the bed next to hers, but when I would go back in the evening that person was not there. That would fill me with dread because it meant one of two things: that person was either discharged or dead. I will never forget the day I went to visit my mum in ICU and did not find her in her usual bed. My heart dropped and for a few seconds the room spun because I thought my mum had died and her doctor waited until I got to the hospital to tell me. A nurse must have noticed my distress because she quickly walked over to me and let me know they had moved my mum to a different bed near the window as they thought she might enjoy looking outside.
The first two days or so when my mum was in ICU she was still not speaking and her eyes had a constant look of terror in them. She probably had no idea where she was or what was happening to her because she was constantly looking around the room as if trying to make it make sense. Her lower jaw was also constantly moving and it was heartbreakingly obvious she was trying to speak but was unable to open her mouth to do so.
It was incredibly heartbreaking to see my mum in that state but I had to set aside my fears and be there for her because she needed me. During my mum’s previous hospital admissions I was very watchful of people’s energy as it was important to me that my mum felt nothing but positive vibes only. Her situation was depressing enough as it was and there was no need to add to it by visiting with a gloomy demeanour. That all flew out of the window when she was in ICU because the name itself, Intensive Care Unit, speaks volumes about the nature of the place. There is no room for cheery in the ICU. It is all gloom and doom because only the most serious of circumstances warrant admission to the ICU.
So instead of faking joy I would hold my mum’s hand, or place my hand on her cheek, and speak loving, calming, reassuring words to her. I would inform her where she was but urge her not to be daunted by the word ICU because she was the strongest person I knew and the ICU had nothing on her. I would tell her over and over again that I loved her and that I was there for her. I would tell her how privileged I was to have her as my mum and would share with her the many ways she had made my life remarkable just by being my mum. Talking to my mum like that always seemed to calm her down. She would stop glancing around the room and focus on me, nodding her head as she took in what I was saying. Her eyes would lose the look of terror in them and be replaced with one of understanding and, every now and then, determination.
Remember that 72-hour dialysis my mum was undergoing to treat the acute kidney failure that had landed her in ICU? Unfortunately she developed a blood clot, a potentially life-threatening side effect of dialysis, at around the 50th hour and the procedure had to be stopped.
Not long after the procedure was stopped my mum started talking and at first we were so relieved at the change it did not bother us that she was not making any sense at all. Her voice was raspy, from lack of use, and this is what she had to say (non-verbatim of course):
That doctor! And those nurses! Heh! Let me tell you they are bad people. Bad, bad people! Imagine they wanted to kidnap me and sell me. They wanted to kidnap me and sell me in Tanzania so they could take my Mpesa business from me. I was shouting and shouting and no one came to help me. Imagine. Not even one person. They also stole my ID and took all the money in my wallet. All of it. They didn’t even leave me with one shilling. Even my phone they took it to make sure I could not call anyone to help me but I’m going to report them to the police. Ebu give me my phone I call the police now. I must report them. Kwanza that doctor. Very bad!
She went on and on and on like that for about an hour. Starting the story from the middle, picking it up from the top, telling it backwards, altering tiny details like where they wanted to sell her to. Up until that point my mum had not spoken for a few days, so we were so relieved to have her speaking again that her tale did not worry us at all. If anything, we found it rather hilarious. Until 24 hours passed, then 48, and she was still telling the same story. That was when we began to worry.
Not only was she telling the same story, she was now telling even more ludicrous tales, mostly involving Matiang’i. She would tell us how he had come to visit her and when we gently let her know that was not true, she would get upset with us and tell us to ask the nurses if we do not believe her. She would say it with such conviction that once I actually went to find out from the nurses if Matiang’i had visited my mum that day. Obviously he had not, but my mum was so adamant about it and would get upset if you discredited her, I started going along with it to “humour her.”
Me: Ehhh? So what time was he here?
My mum: Yesterday night.
Me: Aaaah … so what did he want?
My mum: Si to see me. To see how I’m doing. He came in the morning and wanted to give me some money but I told him not to give me in front of the nurses. They are bad people. Kwanza that doctor. They just want to steal from me. But I’m not going to let them steal from me again.
There was a day two random gentlemen walked into ICU and when my mum saw them she immediately turned her head away from them and used her hand to shield her face. I found that strange but not alarming and was about to continue what I was saying before she shushed me.
My mum: Shhhh!!
My mum: Shhhhhhhh!! I don’t want them to see me.
My mum: Kina Duale.
My mum: Yes! *spreads her fingers slightly apart to peek through the gap* ebu tell me when he goes.
Not only was Duale not in the ICU wing that day, him and my mum did not know each other either. So she had no reason to be hiding from someone who was neither present, nor had any idea she existed.
Another time I walked into ICU to find her calling out for my niece.
My mum: Sahara … Sahara!
Me: Sahara is here?
My mum: Si that’s her over there *points at a total stranger*
Me: No mum. That’s not Sahara.
My mum: Ai! Kwani where has she gone? She was just here aki. Ebu tell her to bring my handbag and my phone so I can go home. The doctor was here this morning and she told me I can go home. It’s true. She said I can go home. Kwanza Junior was supposed to pick me by now. I don’t know why he’s not here. Ebu give me my phone I call him.
She was still in ICU at this time so there was no way her doctor had given her the go-ahead to be discharged. I reckon she was pretty fed up with hospitals at that point as she had been in and out of them for 5 ½ years. So there were times she would tell me that her doctor had said she can go home and would get really upset with my brother as he was not there to pick her up. Other times though, she would beg to go home and how she looked at me as she pleaded to go home always broke my heart. Her eyes would fill up with tears and her voice would catch with the tears she would not let flow as she said to me, “Lwile I just want to go home. Please. Just let me go home.”
After four or five days in ICU my mum was moved to HDU as her health had marginally improved, but she was still not lucid. I would walk into her room and find her having full-on conversations, mostly with my niece, but no one else was in the room. Other times she would halt conversations midway with those of us in the room to tell my niece, who was not in the room, something she had suddenly remembered.
Sahara! Where’s your list of schoolbooks? You know you’re going to a new class next year so we need to look for money to buy books.
Sahara! Ebu go get for me my handbag and my phone before uncle Junior comes for me.
Sahara! Ebu remove the milk from the freezer so we can make tea for my sisters when they come.
The day I ran the half marathon I went to see my mum even before I went home to shower and the TV was set to Gospel Sunday on Citizen TV. She told me how that morning as the choir was singing Matiang’i came out of the TV and gave her KES 10,000 (about USD 100 at the time) but because the kidney doctor and his nurses want to steal it from her she had to hide it.
By then I had asked her doctor to explain what the fuck was going on because my mum had been speaking for a couple of days but she was still not lucid. Her initial theory was the drugs she was on were doing a number on her brain, but after weaning my mum off the drugs with little to no effect, she realised that the procedure of being admitted into ICU as she was restrained and unable to speak was a traumatic experience for my mum. Which explains why when the kidney specialist made the incision below her belly button to insert the catheter, the low, guttural sounds my mum had been making exponentially increased in intensity and frequency. Why they moved from sounding like close-mouthed vocal exercises to sounding like an animal in distress. She was scared out of her mind.
I have since learnt a lot about the effects trauma has on the brain from my therapist who is a trauma specialist. In the season two finale of Station 19, this is what Meredith Grey said to Andy Herrera about trauma and the brain:
The brain is an amazing machine. If there’s an event or a loss that’s too traumatic, it has a way of walling itself off so you can survive the trauma. And then, here come the memories. They come back in fragments and little puzzle pieces that then you have to put together. And when that happens, that hurts. And I’m not talking about just emotionally. The body remembers the event. The brain remembers the trauma. And that… that’s a whole body ache.
Her doctor told me more or less the same thing, that my mum’s brain was trying to make sense of what happened in addition to filling in the gaps, and where it was unable to do so it created its own narrative. The day my mum was admitted to ICU I went home with her handbag and phone to keep them safe for her so her brain came up with the narrative that they had been stolen. She was also restrained during the ICU admission and that is likely where her brain came up with the narrative that the kidney specialist and nurses were trying to kidnap her. But where Matiang’i’s many stories came from, I have absolutely no idea.
10 or so days after my mum was admitted to HDU she finally stabilised enough to be transferred to the general ward. By then she was also fully lucid so I returned her handbag and phone to her, to her utmost pleasure. It was also to my utmost pleasure as I had really missed being able to reach my mum on phone at random times across the day.
My mum needed to undergo dialysis every two days and in order for that to happen she needed blood transfusions. However she did not want her sisters to know about the blood transfusions as they are Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusions are forbidden in their religion. I guess she worried that they would not understand and judge her so she would have the blood transfusions done at night when no one was around and that made me really sad.
During the last week of my mum’s final hospital admission she was undergoing dialysis one evening when out of nowhere she started shivering immensely and also became dizzy and nauseated. I freaked out and immediately looked for a nurse, who examined my mum briefly before calling a doctor. As we waited for the doctor my mum said something to me that I will never forget for as long as I live. She said, “Lwile, there’s no beauty in this life.” She did not look at me as she said that. She was looking straight ahead with her chin titled slightly downwards but to this day I will never forget the look in her eyes or the tone of her voice. She looked and sounded like, after 5 ½ years, she had no more fight left in her.
There’s no beauty in this life.
It was at that moment the blinds came off and I understood, in no uncertain terms, that it was time to let my mum go. She had fought as long as she could for us and it was now time for us to let her go for her.
I visited my mum in the hospital every day between November 20th and December 11th when she was discharged from a hospital for the last time. When she moved to the general ward I was able to have two out of four very important conversations with her. One of those conversations was where she wanted to be buried and she told me, without the slightest hesitation, that she wants to be buried at her husband’s upcountry home. That did a lot for my peace of mind because I would have been deeply conflicted having to bury her there knowing what a shit husband he was to her. Not only did she suffer physical, emotional, verbal and financial abuse at the hands of her husband, he also abandoned her during her battle with cancer, more so when she became paralysed. So the fact that it was what she wanted gave me peace of mind. One of the two conversations we did not have was what should happen to the laptop I bought her earlier in the year for Mother’s Day. When I brought it up she replied that we shall talk about it after Christmas, but she died 12 days before Christmas so the conversation never came to be. To date, 1,094 days after my mum died, I still do not know what to do with the laptop so I keep it tucked away somewhere in my house.
My mum moving to the general ward from HDU meant there was an improvement in her health, but I could not shake the feeling that she did not have a lot of time. My mum was a very animated person and, unless she was in pain, she remained her usual vibrant self during her copious hospital admissions. But during her time in the general ward she was a more muted version of her usual animated self. She still smiled and laughed and cracked jokes, but it was not the same. It was like watching your favourite TV show but with the volume turned all the way down. So I reached out to my siblings, in particular my sister because she was very busy at work, and asked them to spend as much time as possible with mum and leave nothing unsaid in the coming days.
As mentioned earlier my mum was admitted to HDU just one week after her penultimate hospital stay which is why we agreed as a family that I would be the one in charge of my mum’s discharge this time around.
On December 11th my mum sent me the following text at 7:01 a.m.:
I wonder about that text from time to time, more so on days like this when the anniversary of her death is less than two days away. Did my mum know she was nearing the end and wanted to die in her own bed? In December 13, 2018 I wrote:
Did you want to die in your bed? Was that it? I try not to think like that and a lot of the time I succeed but from time to time I cannot help it. I really believed we had one more Christmas together. There were conversations you promised me we would have after Christmas. What the fuck happened mum?
I wonder whether my mum moved to the general ward because she was truly getting better, or because, as I learnt from Grey’s Anatomy, she was experiencing “the surge.” I first heard about the surge on Grey’s when one of my favourite characters (no spoilers) was gravely wounded, and even though everyone was sullen and worried, he became chipper and talkative. He turned to one of his colleagues, though, and asked, “is this just the surge?”
Apparently people often have an end-of-life rally shortly before death. They are more alert, hungry after days or weeks of no appetite, and often they communicate more clearly and assertively than they have in a very long time. The rally, also known as terminal lucidity, generally lasts only a couple of hours, but some have gone on so long that patients have been able to take a months-long break from hospice. There are theories, but no confirmed reasons for this sudden state of alertness.
My mum was admitted to HDU on November 19th and on November 21st she was moved to ICU for four or five days before moving back to HDU where she remained for 10 or so days. She stayed in the general ward for less than a week and from time to time I wonder if she was experiencing the surge during her final days in hospital at the general ward.
On December 11th, after having a conversation with her doctor I was not privy to, my mum was given the greenlight to be discharged. I passed by my mum’s hospital room at around 10 a.m. to speak to her doctor and asked her if she was sure my mum was ready to be discharged. She replied that she was, though she would need to come back every couple of days for outpatient dialysis.
I went to see my mum at home after work and shared details about that evening in a post titled ‘My Last Conversation With My Mother’ that you can read here so I do not have to repeat myself. I left the house at around 7 p.m. not knowing that was the last time I would ever see her alive, hear her voice or feel her touch, because a mere 31 hours after my mum got home, she died on December 13th at 1.10 a.m.