Henry and Emma moved close to their daughter 10 years ago. They are 84 & 88. Henry has been in physical decline for about 4 years with Emma keeping everything organised , including their daughter Joanna who was 60 in April. With 3 siblings living between 2 and 4 hours away she is the first point of contact and enjoys her daily visits to her parents. Emma was driving until 12 months ago. Henry and Emma quite a double act!
It has been clear that Emma's memory has declined over the past 3 years and tests were commenced at the start of the year. Carers were employed to support Henry and Emma whilst Joanna continued with her full time job.
8 months ago it was not good with Emma fiercely defending their independence and being rude to the carers. 5 months ago there was an " incident" when Emma chucked the carers belongings out of the window. Then 6 weeks ago it hit a serious point with physical and verbal abuse to the carers.
She was sectioned and hospitalised.
Henry stayed at home with the carers for the first few weeks then moved to a brand new care home not far from the hospital. Joanna visited Emma daily and was disappointed to notice that she always signed in after her own name meaning that the other 5 patients on the ward did not receive any visitors.
2 weeks ago when she went to visit, Emma was not in the day room. She found her still in bed and not well. Checks were made and an ambulance called with a urinary tract infection diagnosed. Consultants advised Joanna that her mother's body was " closing down" and that they should all be prepared to say goodbye. Her sister came to support her with brothers soon after.
1 week later, Henry gave his care home cause for concern and was sent to the same hospital. After almost a day in A&E he was transferred to the ward. The same ward as Emma. He had not seen her since she was hospitalised a month earlier. The staff on the ward reminded Emma about her husband and brought him to see her. They held hands. She recognised him. He was pleased to see her. The siblings comforted to see their parents reunited. With all of them in their 60s to have 2 parents for so long is special.
Emma has rallied. Her infection is clearing and she is more cooperative. It doesn't look as if she is ready to say goodbye as predicted and so Joanna is going on her Asian holiday for a well deserved break. Her siblings will be with her parents. The plan is for Henry to return to the care home. The plan for Emma is unknown, but it does look as if she will return to the ward she was on before with the 5 who have no visitors. What a tale Joanna and Emma will have for them! As Joanna said
" You couldn't make it up"