Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beryl the Tea Lady

First of all, whatever Mum and Dad are paying for their internet connection, they're being overcharged. It's allegedly broadband, but it's as temperamental as the British sun. Now you see it now you don't.

Mum is still making the most of her taxes by staying in hospital, with an as-yet undefined diagnosis. Apparently it's looking like it's not appendicitis, but they haven't exactly ruled that out either.

We try and smuggle Anna in to see her every so often, but bringing a toddler in to an adult ward is never a good idea, particularly one who likes to touch and taste everything in sight. My Mum loves seeing her, but is terrified at the thought of her catching some horrid hospital super-bug, so she makes us smuggle her back out as fast as she came in. We keep Mum entertained with photos of Anna and anecdotes, but it's so bloody unfair that this is precisely what we've been doing for the last year when we've been thousands of miles apart.

Happy Birthday Mum!

Obviously our plans for this trip have changed somewhat, but at least we're over here. I can't imagine how I would have felt if all this was going on and I was stuck in California. I may yet find out, as it's unclear if she'll be 'released' by the time we fly home. I asked my Dad what he would have told me if I was still in the States, and he said 'oh we probably wouldn't have said anything'. Reassuring. Mind you, that would be hard to do now that she's been in hospital nearly a week, and had to spend her 60th birthday there too.

With all of this going on you can't help but draw parallels between the British and American healthcare systems. My Mum is in a ward with five other beds, and a blast-from-the-past tea-lady called Beryl wearing support tights up to her knees that reveal a jaunty three inches of pallid knee before the hem of her uniform. My Mum has a bed by the window, and free radio, but pay-by-the-day TV and phone (so far ignored). She couldn't get a 'scan' ultrasound/CT or MRI for several days as it was a bank holiday and they were seeing emergencies only. Her test results were similarly held up.

So far her hospital experience is more akin to Tenko than Grey's Anatomy. There are absolutely no good-looking nurses/doctors/orderlies (is it just me, but does everyone in North Yorkshire look like they'd be much more comfortable knee-deep in sheep dip?), but she is developing quite a strong bond with her other inmates - one distinct advantage of the ward-system as opposed to the isolation of a private room. I can imagine them trading cigarettes for a TV-viewing card and devising elaborate escape-plans involving orderly Keith Olrenshaw and his laundry cart.

I can't help but wonder, given the preoccupation with money and insurance in the US whether they would have been as happy to let her sit and stew for so long without a diagnosis and a 'plan'. Who knows. It may well be that she has something that's not easy to pinpoint, something that will require a battery of tests to define. My uncle who's a GP seems to think so.

At least at the end of this, whatever the outcome, she won't be ruined financially on top of everything else.

In the meantime - can anyone find me a babysitter? I'm supposed to be on holiday. Who's the real victim here?


Anonymous said...

Hey there - I just tuned in in hopes of hearing wonderful tales of the English countyside. My heart is with you and MUM and fam! I'm sending healing, happy thougts to you!!!!

AliBlahBlah said...

Thanks RedFox. She seemed a bit brighter today so we're keeping our fingers crossed!

Mrs. Kennedy said...

Dude!! We will be thinking good thoughts for your sweet mother, crossing fingers and toes, shoving crystals into all available orifices. Ours, not hers. OBVIOUSLY.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for your Mum Ali... Hope all goes well. M & C...Katie too.

Fresh Hell said...

I dreamed of you, LK and Anna last night, so clearly, my thoughts are already with you. The things a mother will do for attention! Sheesh! Seriously, I hope your mum straightens up quickly and well.

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