Binary

Prompt logo - Flashback Track Friday

This is my response to the earlier Flashback Track Friday prompt, where today we are thrown the track Wah Wah and asked to answer:

What conversation would you like to have with your parents, that you never had yet?

I set the prompt this week and I already offered an answer from my point of view. So I thought I’d answer it from my daughter’s perspective. While I had an averagely close relationship to my mother, she and my daughter were inseparable, and when Grandma died, it hit my daughter, just eleven at the time, very hard. So I’ve tried to construct my poem as an eleven-year-old might to describe that event.

I loved my visits to your home, I loved your silver glow,
But won’t you tell me Grandma, Why did you have to go?

Those steps up to my bedroom, Your peacefulness forego,
But won’t you tell me Grandma, Why did you have to go?

Our little phone calls special, When I was feeling low,
But won’t you tell me Grandma, Why did you have to go?

You soothed when I was lonely, To hear my tale of woe,
But won’t you tell me Grandma, Why did you have to go?

We visited the city, We criss-crossed to and fro,
But won’t you tell me Grandma, Why did you have to go?

I spotted in an instant, Your love would overflow,
But won’t you tell me Grandma, Why did you have to go?

I settled about 250 miles from Grandma, so we visited only two or three times a year. When we went there daughter had a great time, a special occasion. At the time of Grandma’s death, daughter had already been diagnosed with some mental healthissues.

Mum and I discussed health at a general level. She’d had a kidney removed a few years earlier, but had never revealed why. Her clear instruction was DNR – do not resuscitate – as she told me that she was going for an operation. She didn’t say what the operation was, although she made it sound small-scale. She went in and it was only a few days later, when she didn’t answer the phone, that I worried.

She had caught an infection and was still in hospital. We visited at the weekend, chatted, she was overjoyed to see daughter, and seemed well on the way to recovery.

We drove home, and the next day, she suffered a cardiac arrest. She was not closed up properly following the procedure, and suffered internal bleeding into her heart. Because of this, and because nobody noticed her, it was 45 minutes before the resuscitation process began. At the end of this mum was alive but in a coma, on life support.

We started off with bare details, speaking to doctors over the phone to work out the prognosis, and then drove back up. Speaking to people in person, it was clear that they didn’t expect her to recover. There were no signs of life in her brain.

I discovered that her kidney was removed due to cancer, and that the procedure she just had was a biopsy. As it happened, she had cancer all over. I informed everyone so they had the chance to visit. This included my daughter, although given her age, we held a lot back. I was uncomfortable at an eleven-year-old being anywhere near an intensive care unit, but equally I couldn’t deny her one last visit. We returned to the hospital later that day (without telling daughter), when I allowed the ventilator to be turned off. Another tough call.

I did think afterwards about walking a malpractise route. To be in a hospital bed already, and not to be noticed, sounded downright negligent. Plus, the bleed itself sounbded at the very least, suspicious. I couldn’t have blamed them for resuscitating her against her wishes, because I don’t know if she made her wishes clear to them. But I weighed up her instructions, plus the cancer, and I let it go. To this day, I don’t think she’d have been up for that fight.

Daughter was devastated, aged eleven it is not surprising. It was like flipping a switch. While her issues had thus far been manageable, they now spiralled, including getting arrested, getting a police record etc. There seemed to be nothing Mrs Bump or I could do. And all the while during this, we had to contribute, to her notoriety. If she decided to stay out, we had to call the police. Because if we hadn’t, and something had have happened, fingers would have been pointed at us.

Fortunately, her “crimes” were something and nothing. Graffiti. A nothing crime – in London she’d have been given an award instead! Double-fortunately, all the times she went AWOL boiled down to nothing worse than a ride home in a police car. And triple-fortunately, now in her twenties she seems to be past all that. She even has a home, a car and a job!

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

12 thoughts on “Binary”

  1. A lovely poem. We get so wrapped up in our problems at the time, but life seems to have a way of rolling along and sorting itself out.

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    1. I worry that these posts are way out of my comfort zone in terms of length but yes, I was quite happy with the result, so thanks. I suppose mum must have felt unwell to have gone for the biospy in the first place but she never said anything, and kept on functioning right until the end. With hindsight, I’m grateful for that.

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  2. Great poem and a very tense situation. It sounds like daughter has healed somewhat?

    My conversation would be with my mom about what went on after my brothers and I were in bed after an “incident”. If mom interferred while dad was “correcting” one of us, she got a beating of her own. She refused to talk about most of it, but did tell me a couple things when dementia took her guard down.

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    1. It’s good in many ways that times have changed. We had rare occasions when dad would strike out, either at me or mum, but that’s not something I even dreamed of doing. Certainly with my wife, and even when my child was younger, it was a controlled, short sharp shock. I hope that’s a sign that society has moved forward.

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    1. I don’t know about me – mum and I valued different things so we judged things differently. But certainly daughter was unconditional. Grandma would have been a great steadying invluence as daughter got older. Daughter would maybe even have ended up living with her, it would have been a calming indfluence and she loved visiting Liverpool (where mum lived)..

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    2. It’s, like, you know I mentioned babies in a comment yesterday, “doesn’y seh look like Auntie Mabel?” and all that? That was mum, but I had very little time for that.

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