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The Start

This is the post excerpt.

About four years ago we made a decision that was to change our lives completely. We suggested to my then 96 year old mother that she comes to live with us. There were sound reasons behind our decision as she was not looking after herself very well and was looking very weak and wobbly. We also felt that her relationship with us was good and vice versa and we would make this work. We really had no idea what we were doing; what we were taking on or how it would affect us.

 

Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible.

A Bhuddist prayer that is just so right but how do we find inner peace? It is something I keep asking myself and as yet have found no answer. Looking after the AP is a thankless and soul destroying task which leaves both the LSO and myself living on an emotional treadmill. It is one that we just want to get off but there is no easy solution to help us do this.

The AP thinks she is being really clever but sadly we now see her for what she truly is, a devious and manipulative old woman who thinks she can do and say what she likes no matter how hurtful her words may be. She doesn’t like it when we retaliate but just thinks that it is all forgotten in a few days. After nearly five years of her selfish and self centred attitudes we tend to be permanently on our guard against the next stretch of nastiness. What a way to live our lives. It is so true that words have the power to both destroy and heal but in this household it is only the LSO and myself who employ the latter. Some would see that as a weakness on our part but I believe it is our strength. I refuse to play her at her own game, the AP wants me to be a mirror image of herself but we are poles apart in every respect and thank goodness for that, I am not like her and never will be. It is a true irony that she lives with us. It was something I never wanted but I allowed common sense to rule my heart. That’s a paradox in itself but in this case has been proved to be true.

Meanwhile the AP just sails onwards, playing her silly little games and choosing to remember only what she wants to remember. 

 

 

 

AAAAAArgh.

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I think I could be in need of a padded cell or at the very least a padded wall to bang my head against. Last night the LSO finally had had enough of the deliberate provocation being displayed by the AP and told her that if she didn’t like or want to live here that it was time she went into a care home. He told her she was making our lives a misery and making me ill and that he had finally had enough of her and the whole situation. He even told her what was wrong too. I am cutting a long story short but it really was such a trivial matter that created the problem in the first place and it doesn’t warrant a discussion. But what does is the AP’s unbelievable reaction this morning.

She is absolutely fine she announced when I took her breakfast in and everything that had been said had obviously been conveniently forgotten or swept under the carpet, that is if she even understood a word of what was said last night. The AP isn’t suffering from dementia, although her short term memory is shot to pieces but she is very cunning and manipulative. Her powers of comprehension are definitely waning too except when it comes to money and whether she has won anything on the lottery.

Lunch was a quiet affair with a smattering of talk about the snooker final she will watch this afternoon and nothing was said about her leaving/staying/attitude etc. She obviously has no intention of going anywhere and we have to hope that she understands the thin ice she is standing on although somehow I doubt it. I have little to say to her, she clearly has no concerns about me and is locked in her own small selfish world. Sad really because for me I no longer have any deep feelings for her and certainly there will be no fond memories when she finally departs. I don’t even want to be in the same room with her and am beginning to fight an active dislike of this self centred person who was once my mother.

All this because we thought we were doing the right thing nearly five years ago. Five years of our lives on hold at a time when we should be free spirits and enjoying the twilight years. How utterly naive and stupid we were.

 

The shadow is back.

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I haven’t written a blog for some time mainly because life has either been good or at least acceptable but not anymore. The AP is back and with her comes continual stress.

It is astonishing how one little old lady can cast such a long shadow over our lives. Having had almost six gloriously stress-free weeks the AP has been back less than two weeks and I have rapidly rising blood pressure and a sense of utter frustration that we took on this ungrateful, selfish, arrogant and now, ultimately stupid old woman.

It is absolutely horrendous how quickly she has destroyed the equilibrium that existed in our home and in our lives. We try so hard to help, to aid, to put simply, look after this person but it is a thankless task and we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Nothing we do seems to help or be truly appreciated and I am now back to being on edge and stressed. She seems to resent the fact that we deserve a life and is jealous if we go off on our own. Despite medication my blood pressure is hovering around hypertension stage two and I am fighting to remain calm and have some self control but she seems to delight in making our lives and mine in particular, an utter misery. Who is this woman? Certainly not my mother or the person I thought of as my mother

I really cannot allow this to happen and I must find some ways to counteract her nasty, selfish ways. But how?

Up until now I really have been doing well. Since starting the diet I have lost 26lbs and have gone from being Type 2 Diabetic to non-Diabetic. As the practice nurse put it, I am normal and I must keep on with what I am doing, it’s working! I was utterly thrilled to get the news and now need to get the BP down to a healthy level. Whilst the AP was away it had stabilised around 130/70 but since the return of the shadow, the bat hanging in the rafters, it has risen at an alarming and dangerous rate. The AP has no knowledge of any of this and even if she did I doubt it would dent the ego. She is incapable of accepting any responsibility for her actions and always blames others when things go wrong

It really would be ironic that if anything happened to me the first thing the LSO would do is sell up and put the AP into a Care Home. That is obviously something that hasn’t occurred to the AP.

A shadow has lifted.

 

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I have always been aware of how the AP’s presence casts a shadow but I actually hadn’t realised how much of one. We are half way through our month of freedom which is why I haven’t written a blog for a while. When the AP departed for Scotland a great weight seemed to lift off the LSO and myself and the lack of pressure due to the lack of the AP is just wonderful and invigorating.

We have done so much in this time so far, loving every minute of our freedom and are determined to make the most of the rest of the time we have left. Just being able to visit a friend when the LSO goes fishing is a joy in itself. Those lucky people who have no restrictions on their activities may find this all a little sad but for us it is as if a ray of sunshine permanently shines in our home. I only wish I could find a way of preserving this feeling when the AP returns at the end of the month. Sadly we know from experience that it will all vanish once the shadow comes back and again we will return to having a bat hanging in the rafters.

But we still have twenty one days left and although six of those are taken up having our two grandsons here it will still be great to be free. With them we can just head off for the day, not worrying about anything and eat out if we want to since we do not have to rush back to cater for the AP. The two terriers can come with us if it is a long day out and just planning what we can do is liberating in itself.

Weight-wise things are progressing, 23lbs lost so far at a steady 1lb or so a week. I struggle a little with cravings every now and then but really nothing that bothers me too much. I am by no means sylph-like and still have a way to go but I feel so much more positive about it all and to have finally found a regime that really works is a miracle in itself.

So all in all, life is good for the time being.

 

The cracks are appearing.

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I am delighted to report that the weight loss continues to be slow but steady although I haven’t had the best of weeks, for some strange reason I have been fighting various cravings. They have not been the usual desire for carbs in the form of the LSO’s lovely sourdough bread slathered in a really good creamy butter, no it’s been for something sweet. I have seldom felt the need for sweets or desserts and have always been able to take them or leave them unlike savouries such as crisps, pastry and bread. I found myself indulging in some dark chocolate and had to stop myself from gorging it all in one go. Is this going to be like every other diet tried in the past?

Definitely not, and as a result of these emotions I decided to do a bit of research and came to the conclusion that I had to get my stress levels under control and perhaps needed to eat a little more protein. Today I am definitely feeling a bit more in control.

The stress of course is caused by the AP who as her impending visit to Scotland looms is trying to be more and more controlling with an attempt at emotional blackmail thrown in for good measure. Then there is the astonishing statement made to a friend of ours earlier this week that ‘I can be as rude as I like because I am a hundred years old and and people just have to accept that’. Unbelievable really and laughable too! Anyway she was firmly put in her place by our friend who told her that the only thing that’s acceptable about her age was that people needed to make allowances for the fact that she was slower at everything. But where on earth did that thought come from? No wonder I don’t know who she is anymore.

But suffice to say the LSO and are are really looking forward to our break from her, to having our freedom and our home back even if just for a month.

Not earth shattering.

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Well, the RMR regime continues to work and I have now lost a healthy sixteen pounds so far. Not earth shatteringly fast but steady at mostly a pound to a pound and a half a week and I am happy with that. I don’t feel hungry or deprived, well, maybe occasionally  when the LSO makes his sourdough bread and I look at the luscious, plump and sweet plum tomatoes from the greenhouse and have to fight the cravings. I have always loved tomatoes on toast. Although I am still overweight I am aware of reducing in size now and that incentive certainly helps reduce the cravings.

Our month of freedom is approaching and we are both desperately in need of a break from the AP who continues to be obtuse and difficult especially when we have to explain anything to her. I do sometimes wonder if it is deliberate, this selective refusal to understand anything said to her or is it just that her brain is deteriorating. We sound like a record caught in a groove, constantly repeating ourselves. Now that the month away in Scotland is looming she seems to want to control what we do more and more but I have finally found what is probably the most important word in the English language, NO. I refuse to be bullied or harassed by the AP and have developed a detachment that is extremely settling for me and unsettling for her.

I am not cruel, but when you are treated like servants in your own home it really does become important to stand our ground. Please and thank you are words we seldom hear when there is just the three of us, then, when we have visitors staying this gracious old lady suddenly appears, God only knows where from and she plays the grand old dame, totally in charge of her faculties. It’s all rubbish of course, as she nods sagely and appears to listen intently and manages some reasonable responses even when looking at images on phones and iPads that she is actually unable to see.  But all this play acting means that most people think life is fine and dandy for us but the truth is the opposite. We are trapped in our own home with this vain, at time unpleasant and demanding old woman and that’s only the half of it. She has no grace and no empathy for others. The AP is the centre of her own universe and is incapable of truly being content with her situation.

Why is she like this? It could just be that she can no longer deal with even the simplest things in her life, the television for one is becoming something she cannot use easily and her life is out of her control, so she tries to control us instead. Unfortunately in doing so she has alienated us both to the point that we really are hugely weary of her very presence in our home and that is just so very sad.

The LSO is finding the AP particularly tiresome and he has become run down and generally disinterested in all the things he likes doing. This is not good and we need to find a way of combatting this terrible feeling of ‘what is the point’. We need to restore our sense of equilibrium and humour, the latter being sadly lacking from our lives these days. The LSO has a marvellous sense of humour but even that is in serious need of revival, humour and laughter have in the past got us through some difficult times, we need to restore it.

At least we have a chance of some recovery in sixteen days time, thanks to my lovely cousin and his wife who are coming to stay for a few days and are then taking the AP back with them.

 

 

First milestone.

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Or in this case the first stone in weight off. I am thrilled to have finally found an eating regime that actually works for me and isn’t a penance, in fact I am enjoying the cooking and the planning.

The Real Meal Revolution (RMR) is a well thought out and balanced eating plan which provides support, advice, meal plans if needed and a huge supply of recipes to start you off which are family friendly and easy to do. There are also lists of foods that can be eaten always, those that need to be limited and the red list of ones to never eat. It is easy enough to devise meals using the green lists. The secret is definitely in the planning but you could probably say that of all diets in truth.  The difference with the RMR is that it actually helps you to train your mind and your body in order to enable you to lose weight. It is not a quick fix and is a regime to be followed for life. Being ultimately a foodie I was initially worried that I would find the low carb restrictions too difficult but that has not been the case. The plan turns everything we have always been told to do about a balanced diet, upside down and it did take me a few weeks to get my head around it all but that is a necessary part of the learning curve. I certainly feel better, have less aches and pains and walk the dogs with greater ease. Mind you, this stone is just the first hurdle, I have several to clear over the coming months but at least I feel positive about reaching my goal weight.

The AP is aware that I am losing weight but doesn’t seem to understand how because we do all appear to eat the same meals. This is one of the bonuses of it all, she cannot meddle or tell me what she thinks I should be doing from her standpoint of no knowledge. Before we made the fateful decision to have her live with us the AP was living on sugar laden Heinz tinned soups and bought snack cakes, full of artificial flavourings and trans fats. Need I say more!

The only downside to it all is eating out. I love to go out for lunch or dinner but it is difficult to find anywhere that gives me any variety of choice. Pub meals in particular seem to focus on chips with everything, pastry dishes, bread rolls, breaded and/or battered fish, shellfish or chicken. Then there is the ubiquitous prawn cocktail which is enjoying a revival. It is invariably coated in a thick layer of glutinous mayonnaise of suspicious origin served, you guessed it, with bread and butter and I mustn’t forget the inevitable British favourites, sandwiches usually with a garnish of salad and crisps, filled baked potatoes, the ploughmans, lasagne with garlic bread and last but not least, curries with rice, poppadums, naan bread and sweet mango chutney. In the midst of all this there may be the lone salmon fillet to be had with salad and when I am really lucky, chilli beef with salad. Never mind though it will all be worth it in the end and I guess there is always an omelette with salad for added variety.

Where are we with the AP? Rolling towards our month of freedom and trying hard not to wish the time away, only four and a half weeks to go. She continues to irritate with her overbearing and condescending attitude and it will be lovely to have some time together doing our own thing.