next

On top of everything else, Jenna’s mum has picked up a C. Diff infection. The subsequent diarrhoea has made her condition even more difficult to treat. As a service we’ve been sending in two people at a time, four times a day, as well as providing a hospital bed, commode, zimmer frame, washing equipment, sanitary supplies. Even with all this help Jenna is only just about coping. It’s horribly stressful for her. I can tell from the pale, taut expression on her face she’s coming to the end of what she can bear.
I’ve been sent round this morning to check on how things are going. It coincides with another liberal bowel movement, and as I’m on my own, Jenna helps me clean her mother up, change her pads, the sheets and things, and make her comfortable again.
They have a dog, Rufus, a solid, brindle-coloured Staffie. He always comes to the door with Jenna, gives me a stare then a grudging little sniff and nod of the head – as much like a doorman at a fancy hotel as any dog could be without a braided jacket and cap – then turns and leads us both into the front room where Jenna’s mum is living these days.
We’re half-way through cleaning her up, fistfuls of wipes, a bowl of soapy water, towels and pads, struggling to keep the whole dreadful mess in some kind of order, when Jenna laughs and tells me to look. I turn round and see Rufus, lying on his back on the sofa, all four legs sticking straight up in the air.
‘He thinks he’s next,’ she says.

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