Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Decline of Dame M

None of us realised how bad Dame M was. Does that sound familiar in reference to an ageing relative or friend? At 83, she ought not to expect to be a picture of health, but really the decline has happened quite quickly, over the period of a year or so. Her frequent non appearances at social events, even though she arranged them, ought have sent our bells ringing. Instead we got slightly miffed at her standing us up.

Although she had very bad eyesight, she was never the same after her cataract operations that were to help her. Her sight continued to deteriorate because of macular degeneration, a prime cause being smoking. She was told that unless she gave up smoking, she would soon go blind.

She gave up both smoking and drinking. I would advise anyone of her age to not take such drastic action. It was clear that she had no intention of going out anywhere soon. R and I visited her a month ago for a chat and to see her new aircon unit she had installed.

She rang last week, ostensibly to ask us to investigate some fit over sunglasses, but she said that she had stomach ulcers and complained that she had not seen our mutual dyke friend, T.

R rang T's girlfriend, as T was in Sydney on business and expressed some concern. Word got back and last night T rang us to say that she had been to see Dame M and she was very unwell. The boarder has been trying to get her to eat, but clearly her deteriorating physical condition was beyond him to deal with. Dame M was skin and bones and she has barely arisen from her bed. She just lies there listening to talking books supplied by the marvellous Low Vision Clinic. She barely eats a crumb of food nor drinks anything except for one glass of wine at night. Because of lying so much in bed, she has developed bed sores.

T rang Dame M's doctor to find out that he has moved on elsewhere. T made an appointment with her own female doctor and tomorrow night R and T were going to visit Dame M to convince her to see the doctor. Circumstances have changed and Dame M is quite willing to go to the doctor. She admitted to being frightened and sometimes disoriented.

I just hope this doctor is good. It is time for a bit of reality. She really needs proper help. Dame has gone in a brief time from being a social, outgoing vibrant and amusing grande dame, to being a shrivelled old woman who can barely cope.

13 comments:

  1. Yes, once it starts deterioration moves quick.

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  2. Cheered me up no end Robert.

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  3. She is lucky to have good and caring friends.

    I can never understand how smokers can continue to do it, despite ALL the information that it destroys health in 20 different ways.
    I hope The Quack can work some miracles.

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  4. Acopia is such an awful thing. Dame M is so lucky to have caring friends around her. It is the close friends who make a difference to a frightened person.

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  5. It's the same with my grandparents. I think I didn't notice when I saw them often, but now that I see them very rarely the difference is marked. But again, I noticed a lot of little things when I was living there that now I realise were signs of the deterioration then.

    At the very least Andrew, it sounds as if she has lived a wonderful life and so it is not so very bad that her body and mind are slowing down now. She seems to have plenty of people around to help take care of her - although perhaps be careful not to do too much? I think it is that Gma & Gpa keep their same routine that keeps them more mentally together in day to day life. And of course they have each other. That is a big reason I will not see them put on a nursing home.

    Re: smoking - if any readers do now, QUIT! My grandpa had a sciatica op and had to quit for a short while before the operation, but his doctor advised him not to quit forever, as the prolonged withdrawal could actually kill him. He's smoked since he was 16, now is about 80.

    I hope the doctor is good. It's always very sad to see a loved one going through this.

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  6. I'm sorry, Andrew, I know you're quite fond of her. It's got to be difficult to watch her deteriorate.

    You don't need me to remind you to tell her how much joy she's given you, but maybe you could make a tape for her to listen to that would remind her of more youthful days you spent together? I bet it would make her happy.

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  7. Hi Andrew

    Sorry to hear the Dame's condition has deteriorated. My best wishes.

    xxx

    Pants

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  8. Hi Andrew

    Sorry to hear the Dame's condition has deteriorated. My best wishes.

    xxx

    Pants

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  9. Dame M is depressed; losing her vision and isolated within her home where she knows her surrounds has ruined her self confidence,appetite and happiness.
    The lack of food will also add to her disorientation, which in turn will further scare and depress her.
    She needs feeding up, taking out in the sunshine for some easy social outings...along with,perhaps, a short course of MILD anti-depressants.

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  10. Sorry to hear about your dear friend Andrew. I know it is so sad to see someone suddenly get much older and frail. As has been said above, she sounds like a marvellous woman with a history you have already begun to record. She is very lucky to have you all in her life. I hope she is can recover some strength with medical help.

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  11. Thanks all. Very much appreciated.

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  12. My best wishes, Andrew.

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  13. One of the saddest things in the world it to watch someone you love grow old

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Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.