I Spy

“I spy with my little eye; something beginning with B.”

A challenge presented by my mum from her hospital bed to her grandson (my adult son Jonny) two evenings ago. Despite being on an end of life pathway following the discovery of multiple brain tumours, grandma using an impromptu game of ‘I Spy’ to display she still possessed the cognitive wherewithal to entertain visitors.

Bearing in mind the sparsity of items in Maggie’s room, I don’t envisage the observation game took up much of the duo’s time. After all, I’d guess following the use of B for bed, C for cabinet, P for picture and W for window, any items in view had most likely been exhausted.

However, these spontaneous scenes during her grandson’s visit meant he got to see a degree of lucidity from his much loved grandma. Heartwarming episodes which punctuated the overall starkness of the sorry events unfolding in front of him.

Today mum is scheduled to be relocated from her hospital bed into a room at a local residential home who specialise in palliative care. A place affording a more dignified domain in which to see out her final days/weeks.

Once residential home in situ, prior to visiting my mother I’ll be required to undertake a lateral flow test, ensuring I’m not an asymptomatic COVID carrier. I’m assured by my sister Helen this is a simple procedure which’s similar to taking a pregnancy test – Which, as a fella, I couldn’t help feel was an explanation which didn’t really aid my understanding of proceedings.

I’m of course only kidding; my younger sister’s description made testing measures pretty clear. Knowing my luck, though, when I get the results it’ll not only return a positive coronavirus test result but I’ll also find out I’m bloody pregnant!

Yesterday, conscious mum was keen on playing ‘I Spy’ when Jonny visited her, I inquired if she’d like a few of the absurd ‘True or False’ questions I’d previously written for Zoom quiz nights with the lads during lockdown.

These rounds containing intentionally ridiculous catechisms, such as: True or False – Every 10 minutes an unmarried woman over 30 acquires a new cat?;….. True or False – In a bizarre finding, historians recently discovered door handles were invented before doors?;…… True or False – TV chef Jamie Oliver’s door architraves are predominantly constructed from giant Bourbon biscuits?;……. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Maggie declined my invite.

It was good to see mum eating part of her lunch. While my brother Ian stuck name labels into her clothes in preparation for todays move to a nursing home, I fed mater chicken casserole with a fork, as she did me when I was a toddler….. Although, I doubt it was chicken casserole the matriarch funnelled into my gob back then!

While feeding mum, she declined my invite of being fed with fork being waved from side to side while I made aeroplane noises. Mags also shook her head in despair when I whimsically informed her, in a tone parents use to toddlers, that “You can only have your rice pudding dessert If you eat all this casserole up like a good little girl.”

During the four hours Ian and me sat at her bedside, when awake and lucid she was on good form. Not to mention it was encouraging to see her drink and eat, which at one point earlier in the week hadn’t been the case.

She’s showing remarkable strength as she meanders along her end of life path….. Keep fighting Maggie!

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