|Not France, but Cheshire...but it is a field.|
|At 92, Gill's Dad still exudes a real zest for life.|
|and manages to look quite dapper too/|
|Little Haven Hotel, South Shields - on New Year's Eve.|
|Denis's room in Harton Grange - Gill experiments with his mobility aid|
|He put on a brave face, but we know he never settled in the care home - not even on a short term basis.|
|Gill tests out the products at Gateshead's Stannah stairlift showroom|
In the end these dilemmas were overtaken by events. While still in respite care, Denis was admitted again into A&E after complaining of chest pains and breathlessness. After a scan, finally the doctors were able to make a diagnosis, he was suffering from metastatic prostate cancer, it had reached an advanced stage having spread to the bones of his spine, chest and skull. We discussed how this was not spotted earlier with his GP. The diagnosis of serious illnesses in dementia patients is a real problem, because they find difficulties in remembering symptoms. Furthermore, the symptoms themselves - weight loss, eating disorders, mobility issues - all can be mistaken for the effects of advancing dementia. I can appreciate how this is a problem, particularly for people with dementia living at home on their own, but the impact on Gill's dad.was devastating.
Gill and I were with the hospital doctor when she explained the results. She looked so young, in her mid-twenties I guess, nevertheless, she was very sensitive and impressive. She concluded, "Sadly, I am sorry say, we not going to be able to fix you this time, Denis." His reply was memorable. After a momentary pause, he squeezed the young doctor's hand, acknowledging, I think, that he recognised that it was difficult for her too, then said, "I know I cannot live forever, I am not afraid to die, I have had a happy life." It was a sad, yet powerful human moment. I was left pondering how many of us would display such a sanguine spirit in these circumstances. It was a remarkable response I think.
|Work in progress on the Temple of Heaven|
|Matthew Sarah and Rob drove up from London to visit|
Gill's sister, Jackie came over from France We took the opportunity to go home for a few days, though we did wonder as we drove south down the A1 if Gill's dad would still be with us when we returned later in the week. The concern proved prescient, Denis died the day after Jackie arrive. We wondered if Denis had hung in there until he could say goodbye to Jackie and her family. Dr Ed had commented some days earlier, 'He will go when he is ready to' and that indeed seemed to be the case. Our sadness at his passing was ameliorated by a sense that he had made his peace with the world, and that the suffering and indignities of his final days were now at an end.
|Surely I am not alone in finding mobile home sites profoundly strange, and somewhat sinister...|
|...see what I mean...|
|Small lakes - lovely places|
|Pete dong his Christopher Robin style trot...|
|It's One Hundred Acre Wood|
|What are these small blue flowers called again....|