Friday the 14th November. I was in Kmart in Townsville, doing some shopping on a flying visit whilst Kate attended a pre boarding workshop in the Towers. My list was long if not haphazardly written, and my plans were to cross a fair bit off that list sans kids.
My mum rang. Her blood test results were back, the results weren’t looking good. She was matter of fact and we discussed what the plan of action was; she was waiting for specialists referral appointments to be sorted out for next week and we would go from there. I stood in the Christmas crockery aisle, drew a deep breath and marched forward. Mum wasn’t unwell (apart from feeling a bit tired, dr had decided to do some routine bloods)
About an hour later, my brother rang. They’d been having smoko, mum was sitting on the floor playing with Violet. A vehicle pulls up, brother goes out to find its an ambulance! Are you lost mate?! he says. No, they say, we are here to collect Jean!
Of course, the fact that an ambulance arrived to collect a woman who was fairly hale and hearty and very surprised to see them was quite a shock.*** She went and packed her bag and was taken off to town, where they were to fly her out to Townsville that day. This was starting to look a lot more scary and serious. And not really the sort of phone call one should be taking by oneself in the middle of Kmart.
*** Turns out that Tvlle registrars need to realise that mobile phones don’t work in the bush and when they didn’t get her on the phone to ask her to come in for an urgent appointment, they pushed the panic buttons. Nor were there any local staff working at the local hospital that day, nor did anyone think to talk to the actual dr’s surgery.
I was able to finish off my shopping in Kmart, quite distractedly, before haphazardly throwing the overflowing trolley of shopping into the back of the car. I sat in the air-conditioned car for awhile, gathering myself together and texting The Husband the news of the morning. I know that if I’d called him, I wouldn’t have been able to string a coherent sentence together. I’ve been in fairly scary situations before, when Kate was bitten by a snake, and when our neighbour had hurt himself seriously, but on both occasions I was too busy doing and organising to loose the plot however this time I had nothing TO DO.
Anyhow, I pulled myself together, and continued my day. Being in Townsville already was turning out to be quite handy, with mum to arrive at some point that night. And that list of things to do was pretty handy as well, to give me something to do.
After booking into a motel and estimating that the plane should have arrived, I timed my arrival to the hospital perfectly that evening, as mum had arrived and was just being settled into a bed in oncology (which is scary word in itself, but you get over that quickly).
I’ll shorten the story at this point, as its ongoing of course. A great range of Dr’s and nurses are looking after her throughout the raft of prodding and taking blood and testing. They are currently talking a thing called Waldenstroms, which simply put is a form of blood cancer. Its somewhat similar to Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, except it is of course RARE. It does appear manageable. Mum said to the dr that she’d hoped to have made her 90’s, the dr replied lets not get too excited but we’ll see about the 80’s, which gives us much more hope than the rather long and unfriendly sounding names the other doctors were speaking of to start off with. They think its been picked up early in the piece, which again is hopeful. So for now, mum is sitting (somewhat impatiently) in a hospital bed, in the lairy printed soft pants I bought her for comfortable yet non-nighty bed lounging (not an item of clothing that would usually grace mums wardrobe!) and armed with a new touch screen phone that in theory she can send and receive texts from. (receiving going sort of OK, sending NOT at all unless cheeky brothers send messages on mums behalf!)
And added to list of rain that we are hoping and praying for, is mum’s health. We’d appreciate it if you could add it to your list as well.