My Mother Collapsed Yesterday And The Doctor Was Called – by John Taylor

My mother collapsed yesterday and the doctor was called. She lives in a retirement village in Sydney and I live in Melbourne. My sister rang with the news and provided updates as the doctor decided hospital was a good idea and an ambulance was called.

Pneumonia in her right lung is the diagnosis with assurances she is in good hands. My sister is keeping tabs on everything.

Its moments like this when reality sweeps in and bites you on the bum. While my mum doesn’t have a lot to say about much of anything she is still my mother, the woman who raised three children and looked after us as best she could. The fact she herself is the result of an over domineering father and a soft pampered mother who couldn’t cope with raising her own two kids resulted in my mother lacking a confidence in her own abilities so much of the time. She admitted once that she used to go back to bed at one time when the last of us was finally out the door and off to school.

I think I’m reminiscing here because my mother’s mortality is suddenly in my face. She’s 94 and I thought I was prepared for whatever might suddenly happen with her but yesterday’s call shows I was wrong. As John Lennon sings, ‘you don’t know what you got until you lose it’. My mum is still hanging in there but the fact she is no longer invincible is more real this morning than it was 24 hours ago. And I feel a fear with that now. 
She’s my mother… the woman I instinctively turned to as a child, the woman who nursed me, cared for me and helped me get through childhood. She did what she could as well as she could and I will always always love her unconditionally for that.

So now I wait for the next update from my sister who has been managing my mother’s affairs and everything else to do with her primary care and wellbeing for the last few years. I don’t know what I’d be doing without her steady hand. Sydney is only a short plane trip away but my sister assures me the doctors are confident for now that she should come through and be back in the retirement village as soon as possible.


Yes my mother will die at some time as I will. We don’t know when but that simple fact is inevitable. We all die.
So why is that impending feeling of loss so unsettling? Mum said years ago that she was tired of it all yet her strong constitution defies her body which just keeps pulling her along. I expect that to be what happens now. I expect her to be getting a telegram from the Queen or King Charles or whoever when she reaches 100. She may still break the records for world’s oldest living human being.

I’m scared anyway. She’s my mum after all and now she’s got pneumonia. I’m down here and she’s up there. She’s probably ok. We’ll know more tomorrow.

I love you mum.

PS: It’s the day after and my sister reports mum is looking soooooo much better today than yesterday when she was looking like crap, constantly removing the oxygen mask and pulling out the monitor things. Her amazing nurses report she’s keeping them on their toes. My sister got a bedside phone set up and we rang her this afternoon and I managed some chat between the coughing.

She’s still right in the middle of this and fragile, and her usual confusions are there, but I did get a laugh or two. For me that is a reassuring indicator that I can maybe call the Queen back and re-book that telegram. Wishful thinking? I hope not.

Go mum.



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