Put in an impossible situation

So my nan decided before Christmas she wasn’t gonna go in hospital again and refused to go the last time they wanted to take her in. She had dementia but it was not affecting her too badly for years but then it did suddenly get worse the last few weeks. Then the last week or two she hardly ate or drank.

I had prepared myself or so I thought for losing her, I thought ok she’ll pass at home and I’ll make sure I sit with her, talk to her etc. it’s going to be very peaceful, sad of course but it’ll go as well as it can do. Plus I knew how lucky (or so I thought at the time) we were to still be able to keep her at home with my mum looking after her. However if I had known what would happen I would’ve tried to get her into hospital instead.

She was suddenly quite unresponsive and the doc came and put her to bed and told my mum don’t get her up and just put a nappy on her and said she’ll have to go in that. I think it’s so irresponsible to let my mum (who is not young herself) look after a dying woman alone (I don’t think the doc knew I’d even be going later) and didn’t give any hint as to how long she might have or what might happen or what she might need. Just leave her in bed.

Suddenly my nan who was talking a week before (although making less sense) could not talk or move or tell us if she was in pain or not. My mum and I are not medically trained we don’t even know much of the basics. I thought she’d be gone in a few hours I didn’t know it’d go on for 2 days and that she wouldn’t be able to tell us if she was in pain or cold or needed the toilet (turns out she needed a catheter which the doc never mentioned as a possibility either). Plus we had to struggle to turn her which was really difficult and clearly hurt her as she did cry out when you moved her. I guess she was so weak suddenly at this point she couldn’t move which I hadn’t really prepared for either.

So now my mum and me got put in a horrible situation and I can’t stand how uncomfortable my nan might’ve been or in pain and I just wasn’t prepared. Usually I’d be googling all this stuff but I thought you just sit there and comfort her and wait for her to pass and everything else the doctor would’ve covered but he didn’t really give my mum any info at all.

I go over and over how we could’ve convinced her to go to hospital-I know it was against her wishes but she might’ve changed her mind this last time. I also go over and over the signs I should’ve read and what I should’ve done differently. It was all such a mess and not what I had hoped for at all. I should’ve googled, I should’ve come on here and asked I just was concentrating on trying to sit with her all day I just didn’t imagine this. I blame myself most but we just didn’t have the support everything else was in place and I can’t fault the NHS for all the rest of her care but I just think we needed help so badly professional care where they can tell if someone is in pain or can’t urinate etc. Most people would be in hospital in this situation we just tried to keep her at home because that’s what she wanted but it was such a bad idea now I’ll feel guilty forever, if she even passed a day earlier I’d feel so much better.

Dear @Bethany2022

Thank you for sharing a personal post. You have been through a difficult time bless you.

One line that stands out in your post is that your nan did not want to go back into hospital. You and your mum have respected her wishes along with giving her the love, care and support she needed.

It is very difficult looking after a loved one at home than in hospital as no one can prepare you or tell your what you should be doing. You and your mum supported and cared for your nan and that would have been re-assuring for her rather than nurses in a hospital she did not know. Your nan would have taken great comfort in that.

Your nan had her family and memories with her and she would was in familiar surroundings and was not alone.

Hard as it sounds please do not blame yourself and feel guilty. You did want your nan wanted and she wanted to be at home.

You could always book an appointment with your nan’s GP and express how you feel and get answers or write them a letter. You may want to consider booking an appointment with your GP also for someone to talk too or if you should so wish have Counselling to help you with the way you are feeling. Your GP can refer you for this.

Please continue to reach out here and most importantly along with your mum, take care of yourself.


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Hi Pepsi,

Yeh we knew she didn’t want to go into hospital but I don’t think we realised what that might entail. I mean there were certainly situations where she would have had to go in like if she was vomiting or something. I know going to hospital would’ve been an upheaval and I no doubt would have felt guilt about putting her in there but nothing compared to this-she would’ve been in the best place.

I should’ve known it’d be hard because my dad was at home too-the hospital had released him and my mum couldn’t find a hospice to take him. We were stuck with no help then too! But I thought this time won’t be so bad as my nan didn’t have cancer so I didn’t think we’d have to worry about if she was in pain or not. My dad went quicker so I was expecting my nan to go quick as well.

I don’t think my mum would want to drag it all up again with the gp and I know it’s our fault more than anyone I just wish we had known more. Surely if someone is suddenly going to be bedridden you need some sort of advice and support and idea how long it’s going to go on.

I just can’t believe they didn’t organise to send someone round the next day just to check how my mum and nan were doing. There were 2 nurses and a doctor and no one thought to get some support in place. My nan not being able to communicate would’ve been something that needed professional care. I wouldn’t have agreed to let my mum or me look after her in that state but it all happened so quick and by that time it was too late to have all the upheaval of taking her into hospital. But the day the doctor checked her over he could’ve sent her in she was almost non verbal at this point. As usual my mum didn’t tell me or make out how bad she was she has a tendency to play things down. I should’ve known whatever she says you should probably double the seriousness of the situation to get to the reality.