Slowly live moves on

Since I last blogged a lot has happened. My father in law died suddenly, it appears the cancer we thought had been removed from his spine back in January had spread all over his body. No-one knew. Even the Doctors at the hospital were surprised. We are now coming to terms with losing him, having not had chance to say goodbye.

My mum came over to France to help me with the girls whilst my husband went to support his Mum back in the UK, the funeral took 3 weeks to come around, I decided to go back to the UK with him for the funeral and all went as well as could be expected.

We came back to a very hot and Sunny France and Mum was booked on a flight home with the plan being that my Mum in Law would be coming out to stay for while, well that was until my Mum took a sleepwalk and fell down my stairs at 2am.

I heard the fall, I heard the landing. I jumped out of bed and ran to her, I couldn't believe she'd gone top to bottom. It was obvious she was in a bad way. There was an open fracture of her arm, at the time I didn't know it was her elbow. She was stuck with her head against the external wall. I told her not to move. I dialled 15 and asked for les sapeurs. I explained what had happened, I talked to her, calming asking where she lived, what her cat was called,what day it was, when she was born etc. all kinds of simple questions to keep her calm and awake. I was worried about her neck and spine. She already suffers from Fibromyalgia and various other back problems. She didn't pass out which was a relief.

After half an hour (which seemed like an eternity) the trio arrived. They asked me lot of questions about her, it was clear she'd fallen top to bottom as she'd taken a wall fitting with her on the way down. I joked with her that it would cost us a small fortune to get that fixed and would need 3 different trades to do it.

By now she lay in a shiny pool of thick blood, I was hoping this was only from her arm. Her body was bruising all over. She said her head hurt. They managed to manoeuvre her carefully onto a board and put her in the ambulance. I followed by car. It was a very long journey. Tears ran from my eyes. I couldn't bear to lose my mum. I know 2 years ago she followed my Grandma's Ambulance to the hospital only to find she had died en-route. This WAS NOT going to happen. I shouted at her all the stay awake Mum. For once she did as she was told.

In the emergency room they were calm, took her details and sent her off for scans and xrays. I followed her around, eventually they gave her some pain relief and she drifted into a more comfortable space. We were so lucky; she had broken her elbow that's all. In 4 places and needed lots of metal work BUT importantly she hadn't damaged her neck or head. I was relieved. I waited till she was taken to the Operating Theatre and then went back home for a shower.

She was going to be ok.

She spent a week in Beziers hospital - 3 days with a dementia patient with a broken leg screaming throughout the night, then 5 days alone. When she was alone she recovered well. On Monday, with the help of her travel insurance I repatriated her back to the UK.

It was very lucky she had travel insurance. We assumed because she had an EHIC card she would be covered 100% for the emergency surgery and hospital stay. It appears it was only 80%. The 20% difference is to be paid by the UK citizen or their travel insurance. Thankfully, she was insured through Nationwide Travel Insurance and they liaised with the hospital to settle the bill and arranged flights back to the UK with special assistance for when she came out of hospital.

Mum lives in a bungalow and given her incapacity and need for rest I thought my 3 storey house with 3 very noisy toddlers is not the place for her to recuperate. So I took her back home.

Special Assistance at Beziers airport was almost non-existant, I had to manage her suitcase and push her wheelchair (she was very weak and on extremely strong pain relief) as well as my own backpack. Once we went through security we sat for 2 hours in the lounge. We had booked Ryanair’s reserved seating so thought we would be boarded first. Nope. We were told to wait till the end and then she was wheeled by a man in a fluorescent jacket (now he steps in at the easy point) to the plane. She was supposed to be lifted up the steps but they asked her to walk up. She did with his assistance but then nearly passed out at the top of the steps. Fortunately…he caught her weight and I told everyone still blocking the aisle to get out of the way of the entry to the plane so she could sit down. Yes I probably was a bit bossy.

Anyway I manoeuvred her into our reserved seat and the rest of the journey was ok. Mum slept most of it. On arrival at Manchester, we were lowered from the plane in a special vertical lift and then she was wheeled out to the hire car bus. There the driver (to my surprise) jumped from his seat and placed her suitcase for me on the bus. He was lovely. How refreshing I thought.

We laughed a lot on the journey as Mum had to sit in the back so the seatbelt wasn’t on her arm. She isn’t in a cast but has a soft support so she needs to be really careful not to knock it. After I’d driven her ladyship home she panicked and reminded me that my grandparents’ home was due to be sold on Wednesday and she still needed to empty the remaining items including my lovely Grandma’s ashes. So Tuesday I spent rummaging through their remaining possessions, old photo albums, mum’s dogs ashes (don’t ask), old Christmas decorations and broken ornaments. Sentimental, it truly was.

I went to take the gas meter reading only to discover some thieving b&gger had stolen it whilst mum was away so I then spent 3 hours phoning the police, the electricity company and the estate agents. Wednesday the house sale went through and I sighed with relief.

I drove down to Farnham, Surrey, to collect my Mother in Law, again a visit of memories. The sea of condolences was a demonstration of how well liked and respected my father in law was. It was weird him not being there.

Thursday we flew from Gatwick to Montpellier and returned to France to be collected at the airport by 3 very excited little faces. Izzy quite matter of fact announces 'Grandad is dead, he's gone forever'. What do you say? 'Yes Izzy, he's gone'.

Some days are difficult, some days fly by and some are long. The pace here is slow and slowly but surely we move on. One distraction is the clock ticking for our impending house renovation – the pressure is on and boy am I feeling it.

Suzanne, I am so sorry that you lost your father and for all the trauma afterwards. As you say, good days and bad days, but you are moving forward and it will be exciting when you see your plans finally coming to fruition.

I am thinking of you.

a slower pace of life always seems to have healing properties.

You never forgot lost loved ones but rest and tranquility helps.

Suzanne, As the saying goes, 'it never rains but it pours', my condolences, stay strong, and I hope things soon start to improve.

Yes, sympathy indeed :( . Stay strong. Thoughts are with you.....

Oh b*gger, sympathy lass.

Wow....what a story. Deepest condolences for your father in law and quick recovery for your mom. A lot of stress for your family, deep breaths for you and your husband. Thanks for sharing this personal experience.