Landing back in UK after two weeks in Egypt was bitter sweet. Sadly, my mum who’d decided to come on holiday for the first time in five years and since losing my Dad, became incredibly ill with pleurisy whilst there. She suffers from it now and again but a few experiences triggered the worst bout of it she’s ever had.
A Challenging Journey
Looking after someone so ill is a challenging journey in itself. For the first time in my life I was having to look after mum – showing me potentially what lies ahead for her and of course myself if I live to a good age. While she was bed ridden it was easy for her mind to venture into dark places where she became despondent and upset.
Keeping Our Spirits Up
Keeping her spirits up whilst feeling terribly worried myself as well as trying to ensure the rest of the family had a good holiday proved to be a huge juggling act. Every morning me and my husband would wake up feeling worried about the night mum had had and wether she’d improved or deteriorated. As she wasn’t improving at the rate she had hoped she became more and more despondent. After sorting her out for the morning I’d then have time to be with the family and organise the day so everyone is looked after and happy.
Egypt is Challenging for our Latter Years
After a very challenging journey home, exacerbated by EasyJet’s cramped seats, she then experienced severe leg ache which we were worried was DVT. Since no-one wants to use the NHS anymore we wanted to avoid going down that scenario as it could bring on a whole new level of stress. On Radio 4 a woman had broken her hip and was still waiting for an ambulance 27hrs later. We didn’t want to spend hours sat in A&E unless we really had to. Thankfully, 24 hrs after leaving our hotel in Egypt, she seems to be on the road to recovery.
Listening to Our Bodies
Egypt teaches me so much but this journey taught me something else too – how important it is to listen to, and respect, our bodies. No matter how fit we are, emotionally and physically, there comes a time when going on these sorts of holidays is not suitable for us. Mum has taught me that. I have always seen my mum as very able and up for challenges. Despite being 80 she has energy and vitality levels far higher than many people I see walking mindlessly through their lives, plagued by ill-health of body and mind. However, that does not mean travelling to countries like Egypt is a good idea. If we’d realised that despite her mind being incredibly active and being able to walk miles whatever the weather her body is ageing and needs more looking after in our latter years.
Happy to be Home!
Fortunately, trips like this make us appreciate home on a whole new level. Being able to ask someone in my language for a wheelchair felt heavenly. Knowing that if she did get worse I knew where to take her, who to call and having family help with her care feels like a huge weight has been lifted.
A big Shout Out to all those who care for people
I’m in awe of anyone who has to regularly care for people. Keeping their spirits up while they are sick is a huge challenge let alone ensuring her body is doing all it can to improve is not an easy task. Especially if the people you are caring for is part of your job and you don’t know these people well, if at all.
Care Should Be In-House Where Possible
I wouldn’t want strangers to be looking after my mum and it was a positive experience for both of us that I was there to look after her. My older brother now, who I barely see, is showing me that he is incredibly caring too and despite having very different beliefs to me he also agreed taking her to A&E was going to add far more stress to her. I’m hoping this time will help create a better bond between him and I after a few years of being pretty much estranged despite having no specific fall-out. Where possible, I feel looking after anyone who isn’t at maximum health should be done in-house, meaning by their own relatives.
Onwards and Upwards
My love for Egypt remains but I won’t be rushing to get back on a flight just yet. I’m so happy my mum is alive and on the road to recovery – at some points I wondered if she’d ever see her home again. Being with her these last two weeks has showed me, yet again, how important it is to live in the moment. Leaving mum to be with our children in the pool or taking a walk down the Nile showed me that it’s ok to be looking after someone very ill whilst also enjoying the rest of our life. I have never been so happy to be back in the UK and seeing my Mum return to the fit and healthy person she was before we left. However, I am also incredibly thankful we will never be going abroad with her again – as is she!
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