Time for one of my infrequent blog updates. This is going to be personal and a bit of a downer, no gaming related updates if you want to skip it, that's fine.
Mid-September my Mum was rushed to hospital by ambulance, with vertigo and vomiting. There she had a CT scan that showed up several small stokes and an anurisem (kind of like a bubble grown on the side of a blood vessel). Bad day #1. Mum remained in hospital for a couple of weeks while they got the vertigo under control. Previously we all believed she'd avoided the family weakness of high blood pressure by keeping up a good diet and regular exercise. When she left hospital she was noticeably less sure of herself. The consultants from Kings hospital in London say it's more dangerous to operate on the anurisem then to leave it, so there is nothing to do but monitor it.
In October I decided to take the plunge and order myself one of these fancy new 3D printers. Damning the expense I decided to go with the latest model from of the big names in home 3D printing and ordered a Replicator 2 from Makerbot industries. In just 6 to 8 weeks I would be printing my own plastic nick nacks, just in time to spend Christmas and new years pouring over the manual.
Then the "Super storm" Sandy struck. Lucky for me I don't live on the east cost of the US...
...where makerbot have their workshop. This bad news day #2, fallen trees, flooding, chaos and printer shippage delayed by several weeks. If you think this is going to be one of those "First world problems" blogs read on...
Around the same time my frail, 84 year old Grandmother (AKA Gran, my mum's mum) fell out of bed and couldn't get herself up. Neither could my Grandfather (83 and also not in the best of health). Social services and our family stepped in and it was decided Gran would go into care home for a couple of weeks, to give them both some rest. Bad news day #3. Gran's doctor prescribed a large dose of steroids to help rebuild her strength. After a few weeks Gran chose to stay in the care home with her friends, and we all adjusted our routine to visit her. However the home's doctor assumed she was still just there for rest and did not change her medication, so she ended up on the steroids for far too long.
In early December Gran was admitted to hospital, with stomach pains. Turns out the long, high dosage of steroid was having several bad side-effects. The mophine she received in hospital made her delirious, anxious and weakened. When she returned to the care home a few days later she had no strength in her arms to feed herself (no one in the family knew this). The care home not having actual nurses was not feeding her. A few days later she was admited to another hospital again with breathing difficulties. Here the stomach pains were determined to be caused by stomach ulcers.
Gran passed away in hospital mid-December of liver failure. Bad day #4
With numerous businesses and agencies shut down for chistmas and new years it soon became clear that we would not be able to have a funeral for Gran until the new year. That kind of cast a cloud of gloom over my families 2012-2013 Chsitmas holidays. Anyway the time was finally settle doe the afternoon of the 2nd of Jan 2013. Mum's did most of the organisaion, took care of the death certificate and everything.
Mid morning of the 2nd I get a call on my mobile, it's mum, something about having vistors and not being able to get out of the shower, she needs me to get there. I check the time, i'm not going to be able to get showered, suited up, drive across town and get to Grandad's in time to join him for the funeral. I'll have to change at mum's place. So I throw my suit, deodorant etc in a dry cleaning bag and hurry across town to mum's house.
When i get there the front door is locked with the key on the inside. It won't open. Typical mum. SO I go to the back door by my back door key won't open it either, I can hear the water running down the drain pipe, she must still be in the shower. Turns out the key actually fitted the patio door, so I let myself in. I head upstairs and fin mum collapsed in the bath, she sounds slurred, almost sleepy, the vertigo is back and she's too weak to climb out of the bath.
Not knowing what to do or how severe this was I called the NHS phoneline, described the situation and they put me through to the ambulance department. In the mean time mum's been sick in the bath. A few minutes later were heading back to hospital in an ambulance. While Mum's examined by the doctors I'm calling around the family, Dad and step mom are taking care of grandad, mum's boyfiend Andy comes to the hospital, all dressed up in his funeral suit. As mum is resting and their is nothing I can do we decide Andy will stay with mum and i'll go to the funeral.
Back to mum's place, clean the bath, shower, shave suit and off to the crematoium. The only person there is my aunt (on my father's side), she's obviously not in the loop, so I break the news about mum. As people arrive i'm wandering around the car park in the drizzle and mist of low cloud breaking the additional bad news to the mourners. As soon as Grandad arrives i'm sticking close to him, he needs the support, physically and emotionally. I turn my moibile off as we go in for the ceremony.
The ceremony was conducted by a retired priest that lived in the same my grandparent's road. He didn't do too bad a job, took his source materials a bit literally, but not bad. Gran would have loved the flowers we got her, all he favourite colours. Slightly annoyed by the miss-matched coffin brass, but I guess that was her choice (cunningly pre-arranged and pre-paid). The cermony ended with a piece of music with lyrics containing the words "every cloud has a silver lining". When doors were opened for us to leave, the valley was shrouded in mist and low cloud, all I could think was "that's one big silver lining".
At the pub mum booked for the "do" after the funeral I turn my phone back on. The pub's still all dec'd out for christmas. I'm about to tuck into the buffet when my phone goes, it's Andy, Mum's not repsonding to stimuli and she's been taken to Kings (London) by ambulance. he'll drive me up there if I can get home. This sound very serious. So I extricate myself from the do, without panicking Grandad and drive home with steely self control. Andy and I get to Kings around 11PM, mum's still not responding, CT scan show the anurisem has burst and is bleeding into her cerebral fluid, the pressure build up is what's put her out. So they perform a procedure to put a tube into her skull to drain off the excess fluid.. it runs red. With nothing more we can do Andy and I head home. In bed at 2:30AM. So ends bad day #5
Next day i'm up at 7 and dragging myself off to work, because I don't know what else to do. Mid-morning I get a call from Kings. I'm told the anurism is still bleeding and they want to perform an operation to block it up. It's dangerous, there could be serious complications and there is a 1 in 50 chance she won't survive. Those are chilling odds when you hear it about someone you're close to, but i'm OK with it because I know mum would want them to do something. The doctor points out that the odds of survival without the op are only 1 in 2. Back to work for a few helpless hours, until the call comes through... they did it, she pulled through and is recovering. And my Replicator2 finally arrived. I guess that makes the 3rd of January a good day.
Mum is still recovering in King college hospital London now. i've visited as often as I can, which is not as often as I would like. Her short term memory seems a bit off, but it's still early days yet. With a bit of luck she'll be stable enough to move a more local hospital in the next week or so. No telling if she'll ever be able to live independently again.
Get well soon mum.
TLDR; My Grandmother died and my Mum's life-threateningly ill in hospital.