Saturday, 4 December 2010

Long time passing .....

It's such a long time since I blogged you could be forgiven for thinking I had hidden away from the world. For those who appreciate this form of contact, I'll endeavour to write a quick update. The upside of my non-communication is that you will be spared a blow-by-blow account of my fortunes over the last little while! ;-)


re mother: my sister referred to the emotional roller-coaster, with good reason ... she is still here, despite our having been told twice that she was unlikely to last more than a week or two; she is frail and fragile and any hiccup in her care (non-appearance of the district nurse, any illness)results in a crisis which means my sister has to sort it out; she is on morphine because she has painful arthritis, so she tends to repeat herself and forget things more than we are used to; she still has her weekly German class (they come to her) and loves to have people come to see her. One carer thought she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, but my sister reassured me that was not the case (having trained as a Special Needs teacher she knows a bit about how the brain works) and on reflection I realised the symptoms described could very well be due to tiredness or the sort of confusion you get into when you feel hassled (and she will always feel she doesn't want to cause more bother than she can help, so that applies)and the morphine won't help, either. I wish there was more co-ordination between herbalists and the NHS as I'd like to see what alternative pain relief might do.

re: sister (Fiona) she is the one who has to organise anything my mother needs, along with a part-time job and a busy and demanding household. She has managed to have a couple of much-needed breaks (I sent her away to Aylesford Priory in Kent on one occasion, the other she spent in France arranging the juicing and bottling of their apples). All this makes for a lot of stress and any of you who read this and are the praying sort, please do.

re: brother (James) is now project-managing the security system for the shopping centre on the Olympic site. As it's right over the opposite side of London (he's West and it's East) he has a long commute and doesn't get home until 8pm; given that the morning commute must mean an early start that doesn't give him much time during the week, though he still sings in local productions.

re: me What happened to my immune system I don't know, but mid-August I got a nasty cold which turned into a chest infection and 10 days of antibiotics :-( I had been planning to clear the decks to be ready for the new academic year .... best laid plans o' mice and men .... and I was still taking antibiotics when I went to the opening course residential.

I am, as usual, way behind with my studies, but must catch up and complete this year because I cannot forever dilly-dally. I plan on getting Christmass wrapped up this weekend so that I can then have a straight road ahead. Preoccupation with my mother's health (predominant last year) leaves me unsatified: there is only so much I can do and I need to study, for myself (as well as for the very good reason that I will otherwise get thrown off the course - and that I don't want!). I did feel at one point last year that it was all of no avail because it wouldn't keep my mother alive, but since then I have realised how very keen she is for me to continue (she always asks what I am reading, however much of a muddle she might get into, and she isn't expecting to hear that I've been reading a novel!). After she dies it will be a fitting memorial to her to take the course through to the end. I could use her knowledge of St Paul when I get to that module, but I think I will have to rely on inspiration from above as its two years away! My assignment on him will be written in memorial to both my parents, both keen students of St. Paul, who between them had a wealth of knowledge through sheer familiarity with the texts.

We have had very cold weather early in the winter: today is a little warmer - just a short respite from the North/North-East winds - why can't it get stuck at South rather than North? Last night I heard a thud outside the conservatory that sounded like someone's boots on the snow: I think it was the snow sliding off the conservatory roof onto the snowy decking below.

That's it for now!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Sorrow of love (and a little joy) .....

I have been trying to get an assignment finished for the last little while ... and am still trying .... interrupted by quite some little while when I had more resemblance to a dormouse than anything else. I suspect it was genuine lack of sleep, concern about my studies and worry about my mother all piling up somewhere in the back of my mind and telling me I didn't want to know, thank you.

Sleeping pattern is now improved. That happened the moment I let the course secretary know I would have to intercalate. This was followed up by an email to the course director explaining my position and making a formal request to intercalate. He then rang me and agreed, so I've spent the last week or so luxuriating in being able to relax. The pleasure is somewhat clouded by knowing from Burrswood, who are giving my mother the once-over to check that she is getting what is the best option for her now, that her kidney function is markedly different from how it was in September when she went there to convalesce - not good news.

Whereas before Fiona was speaking in terms of depression or whatever being the cause of mum being under the weather, she is now talking in terms of her age and that it cannot be long before we lose her ... I have had the feeling all along that this has been the case and hoped against hope I was wrong, as things are often attributed to old age and left, to the detriment of the patient. Hence the once-over. We are both concerned that what time she has left should be the best it can be and that she feels love and warmth around her so that she can relax into the presence of God to be ready for the last great adventure.

It is a shame that she spent what looks like having been her last Christmass with us in such a state of distress: she was very low, in pain and just could not relax. Hence the concern that she should be able to do so: if she cannot any longer DO, it is time that she should enjoy BEING. I recently read a line which seems particularly appropriate for her:

God loves you because of who He is, not because of what you did or didn't do.

and something for us all in those dark times of doubt.

Since I started writing this we have heard from Burrswood that her kidneys are failing and that we should think in terms of weeks rather than months. What a strange feeling! To know that in a very short time your mother just won't be there ... I usually send her a card every week: I was in the stationer's looking for new ones, and wondered as I chose whether I would soon be looking at them regretting that I was never able to send them.

I am not, now, sure of my priorities. Getting rid of what stuff I can from my own place is definitely high on the list, after doing what I still can for my mother: some academic work is a priority, so that I don't get behind again this year. I have emailed my course director to advise him of the situation, and I will be going to the September residential: how receptive I will be to theology remains to be seen! I need an interest outside of my mother's death - something positive when all is collapsing around me; I just hope I can concentrate.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Monday, Monday!

Hope a little more sleep means more effective study as I need to get my assignment wrapped up by early next week - not before time! Hope I can then redeem my reputation with the course director and make my intended intercalation official. That will, I am sure, relieve some of the underlying stress that is affecting my sleeping pattern.

Then I have to prepare for a course residential and think of some way of bringing a little joy and pleasure into my mother's life (more difficult now, as she seems to be too weak to get here, so I have to think of something I can send there). Today would have been her wedding anniversary, an occasion I don't normally celebrate, as I reckon it's for the couple themselves, or at most other married couples, to mark the occasion, but nowadays I am conscious that I need to mark every occasion in her life just in case it is the last opportunity I will ever have. A bunch of red roses is on its way, courtesy of M+S, who I hope will get it right this time!

I wish I could find some way to support my sister: she is bearing the brunt of caring for mum and needs a break. That is difficult because the moment she is out of contact my mother goes downhill: she relies on Fiona to ensure her well-being and feels insecure without her. Even to get mum to Burrswood requires a letter from the doctor, which Fiona will have to organize, but there she may feel secure and Fiona can feel confident she is well cared for while she is away.

The person who has been caring for mum is the best of the bunch: she is unfortunately due to leave this week and I fear the next one might be the occasion of another downward turn (through no fault of her own: mum is just so sensitive to any omission in her care).

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bumping along ...

True of both my mother and me! I have managed to do a little (far too little) study. A new textbook arrived this week which looks very interesting, but I must confess to having been rather relieved to find it was only loosely related to the topic I am working at: it can wait for perusal when I've more coursework under my belt. For the moment I am revising what I did earlier as I have become rather disconnected from it, and then I have another bit of reading which should wrap up the current topic, and I hope, at last get my brain into gear for the assignment.

Spoke to my sister yesterday: she was more than a little annoyed that, yet again, the doctor had been to visit my mother when she was not there. Even though the doctor had asked her to ring, the receptionist was obstructive about putting her through. One can understand filtering to a certain degree (not all on the books have been brought up, as we were, only to get the doctor when necessary: some seem to think a headache on the morning after the night before is worthy of medical attention .... ) but the result was that my sister arrived AFTER the doctor. When will the NHS realise that its patients also have busy lives and tight deadlines?

Fiona said that my mother was back to her old tricks as regards eating: making a meal of tiny portions. How can one get her to relax?? I suspect inability to do so is at the root of everything. She goes downhill if Fiona is out of reach, and Fiona needs a break: she said she was herself feeling very weary, and I am not surprised. She is dealing single-handedly with a teenage son doing exams and a frail old lady for whose well-being she has to keep constant watch and be ready to intervene.

However long my mother lives, she would not now be alive if my sister had not been to visit every day the last time she was in hospital: she would have been one more added to the statistics of those who die of starvation in hospital. What sense does it make to dump a tray of food out of reach of someone who is, anyway, too weak to eat unaided?? One fellow-student who works as a care assistant said they were told that to feed someone was an infringement of their human rights!! (That Act has been a pernicious nuisance: the interpretation of it has no respect for morality or humanity and it is constantly misused to wicked ends.) So it is NOT 'an infringement of Human Rights' to allow someone to starve to death?? My understanding of that Declaration is that it was made in response to the terrible abuses perpetrated by the Nazis: now it is used to starve the infirm to death - precisely one of those abuses. I gave my mother a stern talking to, to the effect that she was not a useless old woman because she could no longer do: she maybe had reached the time when she needed just to be. It is not for her to say if she is useful or not: she has given to various people over the years (foreign students, young and old) so she should not be ashamed to receive now that it is her turn.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Ups and downs (mainly downs ... )

Still have not completed coursework! I am finding it very difficult to concentrate on study as I have not been sleeping well and there is a limit to how much I can do when tired. I know that some of the problem has been coming to terms with the fact that I have not been able to study with the commitment I hoped this year: circumstances have conspired against my new start. The other factor is undoubtedly the knowledge that my mother is increasingly vulnerable to the slightest threat to her well-being.

Her carer appears to have been doing everything she can for my mother: encouraging her to move around, to eat, reading to her while she is eating so she doesn't have time to realise how much she has eaten and keeping her spirits up. Despite that she was very weak last week: it took her a long time to get to the bathroom and she would forget why she was there. I tried to speak to her on Friday and after a very short time (five minutes?) she said hadn't we better hang up. So I did. Maybe that was a mistake: she might have been distracted and would have continued to speak after a while. The carer, who by now must know her better than any of us, says it is just the extreme weariness of old age ...neither Fiona nor I are convinced.

I was much relieved to talk to her today for quite a long time: as I was doing most of the talking I'm not quite sure how much she was taking in. She responded to my query as to whether material of a spiritual nature (spoken rather than read) would be a help by saying she didn't know. I suspect that was her usual (maddening!) indecisiveness (which I have, even more maddeningly, inherited!) rather than incomprehension.

I was glad to learn that she was getting more visits from church people: I have felt they were neglecting her. I haven't dared suggest they visit, as the last time I tried the message came back on the grapevine that I had been critical of the person concerned. I only meant to be firm and stern enough to get something done, but either I was too straight (Northern fashion?) or it came over all too well as I meant it to without having the desired effect! Either way, I hastily sent messages that I hadn't meant to be critical (true: I did want them to pull their socks up, but wouldn't have wanted it to come over that way so obviously that that was what they remembered!) as they are basically good people. Even less would I have wanted them to feel bad as I discovered afterwards that they had suggested bringing my mother communion, only to be told they needn't as she wasn't used to it that often, having been brought up Church of Scotland.

I suspect that had more to do with not wanting to be a bother than her upbringing. I gave her a stern lecture today to the effect that she had given to so many people over the years that it was now her turn to receive and to enjoy as much as she could. She might not have been conscious of giving, but the fact remains that many people remember her with affection and thankfulness. I also gave her a stern lecture on the fact that her being was not defined by what she could do or her capacity to think: those are parts of her, but her being is greater than either capacity: her incapacity does NOT mean she has ceased to be a human being. I added that the last Pope had been greatly incapacitated, but that he was was precisely what the world needed to see and learn from. The fact that she is still here means she still has usefulness: it is up to the Lord to decide when she has no longer (at which point he will take her elsewhere).

I can see I shall have to have another look at the Philosophy textbook!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Even longer time ....

Have been trying to catch up with said coursework (unsucessfully) hence long silence/blank space.

Mother no longer has spasms but is always touch and go as to well-being and vulnerable to any omissions in her care. She is showing signs of failing short-term memory. This may well be due to the fact that the last person who came and cared:

- wasn't giving her enough protein supplement;
- didn't talk to her (if you keep a conversation going, she eats more because she forgets to worry about it);
- cooked, but because she was a smoker, the food didn't taste of anything.

Doesn't mean the lady is a bad carer, but she's not the one for my mother!

One day, when my sister telephoned, mum said she was so lonely and could sister come over ... and that was with someone with her full-time. Fiona is doing so much to keep her physical well-being as good as it can be (and that is hard work!). I would love to provide for her mental well-being a bit (can't help with the physical as it involved too much going to and fro) but I would have to get agreement from college to spread this year over next as well to give me time.

Have put out feelers to do so, and the other end (friend who is staff and student) says they are tightening up on that. I feel guilty because I promised coursework and it hasn't materialized (yet). I stupidly sent an email to the course director saying it would be delayed because I had a cold and he was not best pleased - said a degree course needed commitment. True. So can see sense of aforementioned friend suggesting that it would be unwise to ask favours without getting an essay in first. It looks all too much as though I was applying to study and then said: "I don't fancy playing this year after all - can I play next year instead?" which is hardly the way to gain brownie points ....

If the reason I want a two year spread is to spread the load to free up time to support my mother, leaving all the coursework till next year makes a nonsense of that, so I need some done anyway. What I would hope to do is to spend some time doing things to boost my mother's mental well-being; in particular, there's a bit of family history she's always wanted to research, and I could do a lot of that on the internet for her. I can't give enough time to study if I do that, but I need to do it now (next summer might well be too late) and so need to spread the study. My mother and I would both be unhappy if I had to give it up.

So I need inspiration - fast! And a sympathetic reception when I speak to our director.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Looooong time .....

since you heard from me. Reason being, I have been busy!

The good news is that my mother is now much better and more consistently so: even the spasms in her neck are hardly bothering her (thanks to the osteopath and a physio friend of Fiona's who is teaching her how to sit to suit her neck. Fiona is determined to get her back to where she was in the Autumn (which will take time) and not to let her lie back and make old age an excuse for not doing anything.

It's difficult to know what's for the best: she still needs full-time care. We are gradually getting a list of people who suit her and Fiona is briefing them to encourage her to do as much as she can rather than running around after her too much. She needs a project to get stuck into, but what? The weather has got warmer, so she will be able to go out for a short walk and perhaps Fiona will drive her to the park to see the Spring happening (while it is - we are back to North winds next week!!)

I have been to Birmingham for a course residential and got hauled over the coals by the course director (with good reason: study has hardly happened this winter). So the 'busy' is with coursework (which didn't get off to a good start even when I did get going, as I came back from Birmingham with a cold.) I swear to it Virgin trains recycle everybody's germs around the train!

Sometimes I combine business with pleasure and decamp to the local coffee shop with my textbook. I sometimes work better with a background buzz of conversation. This does NOT apply if someone is having a good chinwag just next door to me, and even less does it if said person is yummy mummy plus sprog, and sprog is whingeing/screaming (or both!)!!

I haven't had time to make any cards recently, but here are some I made earlier:

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Swings and roundabouts

I was sad to hear that the spasms in my mother's neck had been more frequent, but I understand she is eating rather than not (how much?) and she did put it down to her not having been able to get to the osteopath because it was just too icy, rather than just feeling horribly negative about it. She was expecting her German class to come yesterday and concerned that she wouldn't be able to speak much. What has happened since I do not know, as I always forget to ring when it's appropriate and remember at some awkward time (when she is likely to be eating or sleeping!).

We need a little light relief among all this concern, and we got it .... in a way ... with the mystery of the disappearing puddings

Last Friday, my sister had made some baked custard in ramekins and a dish of rice pudding for my mother. On Sunday she found the empty dishes, but my mother said she hadn't eaten it. James and Liz, who were visiting, hadn't had it either .... so where had it gone??

My brother in law had spent most of Friday with my mother and remarked to the carer that there was a fox in the garden that was looking a bit hungry. The carer said to my sister one evening that she was just going downstairs for a moment .... and, given that the carer had said things that suggested a sentimental approach to animals .... we wonder if she took the puddings down to the fox!!

I regard urban foxes as a nuisance only one step removed from rodents and think it a dreadful waste to feed such good food to them, especially as my sister is so busy and my mother so much in need of it! However we only have circumstantial evidence ...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

How come?

How come the chefs on TV are seen doing marvellous things to food, undoubtedly using a number of utensils in the process .... which all seem to disappear without any sign of washing up??

That fairy doesn't live in my house!

Definition of reality TV: one shot per cookery programme of the resultant washing up.

The end of last week saw considerable confusion as to my mother's health. Someone was obviously trying to contact me fairly urgently, which would suggest a turn for the worse (which I already know has happened, so what was so important?). Eventually got through, to find that the doctor had had a word with my sister to say that my mother had heart failure, and that was what she was wanting to tell me. We already know she has; she has had it for decades and the hospital said her heart was consistent with someone her age. It will undoubtedly, fail more as time passes, as will mine. The doctor also said there had been no fundamental change since she was in hospital in September: that is good news because she was recovering quite well after that; opinion was that she could recover fully, but it will take time, quite some time, because she is an old lady.

The bad news is that she cannot sustain other threats to her health in the way, particularly, of stomach upsets: that is the point at which it becomes dangerously critical, the more so as she stops eating (when she doesn't, anyway, eat enough to have any reserves to keep her alive when she doesn't). The tactic she has always adopted, and which she taught us, of fasting or eating very little until the infection has run its course, is not appropriate any longer. Now the thing to do is to take something for it and keep on eating while taking some care not to have anything that is too taxing on the system. It it these additional factors which will have changed the prospects of recovery. I no longer keep to the old habits: infection leaves my muscles weak, as I discovered when I was ill a while back, and I need all the strength I have got! Added to which, I live alone so do not have anyone to look after me if I am ill and need to stay strong enough to do it myself (and make sure I have food I can microwave quickly available!).

Where she is concerned just now there is a glimmer of light: she is beginning to remark on things other than her state of health, like the fact that she missed the chance to have a chat with me at Christmass due to being so ill. She still has the spasms, though not so badly. She still needs to relax: that would add so much to her life and health.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Colder still and colder .. (with apologies to Elgar)

I have decided I am not going to try to get to Mass this week, about which I feel a little guilty .... but it probably wouldn't be wise. It was just about possible last week (even if cold) but this week we have snow forecast (so no point in getting the path cleared beforehand) together with a considerable wind chill factor, so it will be more than icy sharp.

My mother is no better as far as I know - I didn't ring today. My landline phone is somewhere in the house ... I usually ring it on my mobile and the pager leads me to it, but the battery must have run down, because I got no response. I'd like to make her a card, but can't think how I could get it to her, given that the weather is not letting up for the forseeable future. It might be good to have one ready, just in case someone comes by.

I am distracted from studying because I can't quite convince myself that there is no point putting my own life on hold for fear of hers ending: I will more than likely end up intercalating (again!). Added to which, I don't yet have the essay titles ... not that I have the study done for them by a long chalk. I still feel very cut off from Maryvale: I NEED to get to a residential soon so that I feel part of it again (and in this weather I'm not sure it would be wise to travel; the inevitable hanging around waiting for taxis or trains would be a very chilly business.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Plus ca change ..... (again - what an exciting life I lead!)

Haven't updated for a day or two, so thought progess report on mother may be needed. She has those darn spasms back in her neck (again!) though not as badly, and still has a cough: the osteopath said her neck was better than it had been, so let's hope it isn't as bad this time. We are all encouraging her to eat and drink and she has maybe got a little more appetite than she had. She had a visit from German friends whose daughter is studying in London, so that will have been something a little different to cheer her. I sent Fiona with some miniature daffs in a pot and a bowl of narcissi to plant; as she has always loved to garden, I hope watching them grow will give her something to look forward to: as I can't do the practical stuff, I have made it my mission to do the extras - shame I can't help with things more necessary, because it means Fiona has to do it all.

We are not snowed in here, though I am hibernating (it was cold enough going to Mass last week!) It's not worth getting anybody to clear the path as we have more snow forecast. The next thing on the agenda is LOTS of study - I hope I might get the essay titles in the post and if so I will need to get on with it!!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Shiny new ....

(and very chilly!) Monday morning, first of the new year, shiny new coursebook, ditto textbook (embarrassing at this stage in the year ... LOTS of catch-up to do!!), shiny new essay titles to follow when Maryvale term starts (today or Thursday?), shiny new, accusing icons on desktop in due course!!

Two shiny new commandments, specially for me:

Thou shalt not spend the whole morning on facebook;

Thou shalt not eat like a horse.

Next stop: the sitting room (where I can put my little heater on and keep warm :-) )

Saturday, 2 January 2010

winter chill

The bathroom has been cold in the morning, despite the heating being on - must be all those cold tiles ...

Have used new casserole dish to make tasty stew: as I had a nibble yesterday and enjoyed it, I was so conscious of my mother who just doesn't enjoy food at the moment, worse, does not eat. Even if you have no appetite (and I have, believe it or not, been depressed enough, and anxious about eating to an extent that nothing I ate tasted good) you HAVE TO EAT. I most worried that I would be unable to eat because of the overbearing anxiety - I knew I had to. For some reason we cannot get this over to our mother.

I must get on with some study. It's not good to be worrying about my mother, especially as there's so little we can do. I need something else in my life (and it is urgent to study, or I'll have a serious case of exam nerves come the summer .... and that is one thing I am NOT inflicting on myself again!).

Rang Fiona (with some trepidation) to find that the news is better: mum had a decent supper last night and a good night's sleep. Both will, I hope, have broken the anxiety a little, enough to get her out of the vicious circle of being down because not eating and not eating because down: but, as Fiona said, she is not out of the woods yet. She needs to get used to eating properly and do so for long enough to get beyond the stage where she is in danger of collapse. She will always be an old lady who needs looking after, and will probably need encouragement, but that we can do; when care and encouragement seem to have no effect we can do nothing. It may be significant that she asked Fiona "Have I eaten enough?", rather than complaining she doesn't feel like eating and we were filling her up. She has failed to eat enough for over 25 years, and now that she is old she is vulnerable to the effects. When she is relaxed she is much more able to eat, so it is important that she doesn't worry, but it is so difficult for someone who is a born worrier to relax. It would be such a special gift of God if she could let go of the worry and relax for the last lap of her life - not just so that she could eat well, but so that she would live as the person fully alive that is the glory of God. Another positive, and a very important one, is that the person who is caring for her at the moment is someone who cares: practical things done with love and warmth can make a real difference.

Friday, 1 January 2010


Long time no blog ... things got busy (as they do). Had pressies wrapped for usual visit to sister and hoped to give mum a day to remember as she has been under the weather and down, so needed a boost. Also hoped to catch up with other family as we were only the immediate family, hence might have a chance to chat more than in a room full of various people.

A day to remember it was, but NOT the way we hoped. Mum has been weak ever since she was ill in the Autumn (not surprising: it takes time when you are coming up for 90 ... ) but was getting better. Unfortunately she again developed the spasms in her neck which had plagued her last time she was ill. So she spent the day inert and non-participant (those of you who know her will realise just how far away from her usual self that was, and therefore seriously worrying). Fiona did what she could to calm her, but she spent the day frightened of the next spasm. As they come on more when she is tense, come on they did, and so she got tense ...

Several events had combined to bring this about. She is tired of feeling weak (but I know from when I was seriously ill that it does take a LONG time) and I'm sure feels she will never recover (we are assured she will but it will take time). She has full-time care at the moment: inevitably it varies somewhat in quality and compatibility with her - some people are doing a job, the best really care and are on the same wavelength; just recently we had one of the "lesser breed" who had possibly gone back to work too soon after an operation herself. Added to that everybody was, inevitably, busy (apologies to the person at her church who thought I was being critical about the lack of visits: I didn't mean it to come over that way, only to say she needed visits.) She also has an infection which is giving her a cough (fortunately not in the chest, but higher up) and got the runs through taking syrup of figs to counteract the codeine she was taking for her neck. Not surprisingly, it is ages since she had a decent night's sleep ....

What a catalogue of ills! It's not surprising she is a more than little depressed ... but she needs to eat, so she can regain strength, and she just doesn't realise how little she eats even when she is not under the weather. She most needs love and warmth and companionship to encourage her to keep going. (Unfortuanately I cannot get into her place.) There is a little light at the end of the tunnel: the osteopath says her neck is easing up, and she now has antibiotics for the cough which should start working soon.

Rang Fiona, who has borne the brunt of this, to find she is at her wits' end as our mother will not eat. She apparently feels nauseous (lack of food would be enough to cause that, ditto anxiety) and tends to the runs (possibly antibiotics, though the doctor did go for the ones that don't?) ... so she worries before she eats and after she eats ... in case she sets either off. She HAS to eat, otherwise she will die just as surely as those who starved to death under the Nazis or the Japs and she so much deserves better than that. I hate throwing up myself, so I can understand how hard it is, but her digestion will go up the creek by reason of starvation in its own right and then she will genuinely be unable to eat.

Not the best start to the New Year! Let's hope it gets better!