In the early hours, about half-past two, I was settling down. I'd had an odd Thursday night full of secondary reading and journal searching that had kept me up then I'd unwound with the final episode of Mayday (don't get me started on how disappointing that was). Anyway, I was just dozing off when I heard the phone ring in my dad's bedroom. We'd put it back there because she'd gone quiet over the previous few days and it needed charging. I hurried down the stairs to find a very confused message on the answering machine from a woman far too alert for half-two in the morning. I called her back, though it took a few attempts because she was engaged. What followed was one of the most bizarre conversation I've had with her.
She was dressed. She said she'd fallen over but couldn't tell me if it hurt anywhere. She told me she'd been wandering - and that she knew she shouldn't have been - and that she fell over outside the flat in the corridor. Again, I tried to ascertain if she was hurt but what happened next made me doubt the validity of her statement. You see, she said there were two people, a man and a woman, outside in the corridor then she said that they'd come in and were in the bathroom. More alarmingly, she then put the phone down on the table and went to the bathroom to talk to them. I could hear her chattering to herself in the background but it was ages before she remembered me and came back to the phone. She was suddenly anxious about keeping me up and, after extracting a promise from her to go straight back to bed, I was pretty much hung up on. My options at this point were to call the night-number (which I didn't have because my aunt handles all that), call her back (I didn't want to confuse her more) or cross my fingers she'd listen to me. After a long calming-down session I chose the latter, rightly or wrongly.
On Friday I was woken at lunchtime by the warden requesting a call from my dad to arrange a meeting between herself, us and my aunt. After lunch (after I'd got the warden's version of events from my dad) I decided to call my grandmother to check how she was doing. It took her a while to answer the phone and, when she did, there was another peculiar conversation to get through. She'd hurt herself, so she said, and had been crawling on the floor all morning because she couldn't lift herself up.If that wasn't alarming enough I could tell from her voice something wasn't right. Without telling her what I was doing, I gathered all the loose change in the house and made a break for the bus stop, not easy given the way I was feeling myself.
When I got there she was at least on her feet again but she stumbled on her left side. When I sat her down as well, she sat in a very awkward position. The inclination that had driven me over there - a minor stroke - seemed plausible so I went to get the warden. After a lot of discussion we discovered something else alarming on the table - the course of antibiotics meant to last till Sunday were all gone. All of a sudden, that seemed to account for the hallucinations. The warden got onto the doctor for some advice while I inwardly cursed the very same man for giving a confused woman some antibiotics to take on an evening just after putting her on a regime of taking all her pills before breakfast. No wonder she got muddled.
I spent three hours there that afternoon and by the time I left she was considerably more switched on and mobile than when I'd arrived. I think just seeing me helped - and I made sure she ate something too. What the warden thinks - and what we think - is that she needs extra support and that'll be discussed at the meeting, whenever it happens.
I was in quite an unfit state when my dad got me back here on Friday night. Whilst making sure my grandma had eaten I had only had a few biscuits since the night before. I let go of the urge to do something work-related and instead just ate and watched a film before trying to go to sleep. It didn't come easily - I spent a good twenty minutes talking to thin air and crying - but I got there eventually and I slept like a log. Saturday was good too: I had an hour with two of gorgeous nieces with the biggest hugs ever then when me and my dad took my grandma out for her usual meal she seemed fairly okay.
It feels like the storm has reached its peak, for now at least. I'm under no illusions - it will be back and it will probably be worse than ever. All this begs the question of how I continue being productive and getting on with my PhD work as things steadily disintegrate around me. I was fit for nothing all weekend really, recovering and just about managing to focus on words in a book I was reading for pleasure. Some of you might suggest taking it easy but I refuse to 'waste' (I use that word because I know of no other that fits) her money on my PhD unless I'm throwing my all into it. So, once again, I find myself a bit stuck and the only option is to get on with it.
(Note: big thanks needs to go out to the friend who happened to be awake at three am on Friday morning and calmed me down, also had a very nice discussion about spiders and silverfish.)
I feel like poor Gene - it's going to hit but when?!