Although today I really have felt close to tears. The lovely sunny weather has only emphasised how our home has become our prison. I really must find a way of removing this feeling of being trapped and by someone I no longer know, who tells lies and makes up stories. We have a lovely home but the ever present shadow of the AP is sucking the light out of the place and we don’t feel the pleasure we initially had at living here.
Today, a friend came to visit the AP to ask if she would like to go out with her for a day and during the rather rambling conversation the AP announced that she was a hundred and six years old. God forbid because that would make the LSO and myself seventy eight and we would have lost ten years of our lives not a mere five and with more to go. Oh Horror! There is no way the LSO and I would be able to sustain a level of care at that age and if the AP is still in this life then she will have to be in a Care Home.
But there is a light appearing at the end of the tunnel. My lovely cousin and his wife in Scotland are indeed having the AP for a month and she leaves four weeks today. Am I counting the days? I certainly am and although I mustn’t wish my life away it will be lovely to have our home back, our lives back and some spontaneity back even if only for four weeks. She is trying to find excuses for not going and was secretly hoping she would be having an appointment at the hospital for the removal of the rodent ulcer. That will not be the case as the lead time is at least two months to just see the consultant, then a further two to three months before the actual event.
We no longer have our farmer friend coming to eat every evening because he has made a wonderful recovery after his double bypass. I should now be able to get to grips with the weight loss. Today’s weigh-in was a bit disappointing because although I haven’t put any weight on, I haven’t lost any either. On top of that I have developed another stye, this time on the bottom part of the same eye as last time. I am feeling a bit sorry for myself and the eye is swollen, painful, itchy and it kept me awake last night so no doubt part of how I feel is down to lack of sleep. Pathetic, I know but it all adds to the feeling of unhappiness and general malaise. I do think that once the weight starts going down again I will feel more buoyant and more able to cope with life in general, hopefully next week …
I really should change the title of my blog to Shrunken Horizons because if I stood still long enough I would go in reverse. Looking after an AP requires a mindset that accepts that no matter what you try to do it will be forever at the pace of the oldest member of the household. This, of course, in our case is living life in the slow lane with a one hundred year old woman who is soon to be one hundred and one years of age.
I have discovered that I am not good at slowing down so much. It means I become almost dormant, struggling to just deal with the simplest of household tasks. Suddenly even changing a bed is something I will put off until tomorrow. I have called this my ‘mañana syndrome’ and am finding it encompassing our whole existence because existence it is.
I still spend a great deal of time cooking and because of the RMR diet it is an essential to make meals from scratch and fortunately the pleasure is still there once I get started. It is motivating myself in this rarified and stagnant zone that is so exhausting but do it I must. I get enormous pleasure at just seeing the colours of peppers, chillies, onions and celery sautéing in a pan, smelling the addition of the herbs and spices that add such depth of flavour. I still avidly peruse recipes like others read magazines or books, that is when I manage to drag myself away from Gin Rummy or WordScape on my phone. That’s another issue that has come from combatting boredom, I spend too much time on these games. I do have my knitting but it isn’t easy to do it with two Jack Russell Terriers sitting on me so I have to choose my time carefully.
Our lives in the slow lane are a continual mental challenge and we are constantly fighting to find ways to not let life slip by unnoticed or unfulfilled. The LSO does his printmaking, although he too finds it hard at times to be self-motivated and he does love his pike fishing but this season it has been very sporadic due in part to the weather conditions.
At least there are signs that Spring is around the corner. It really is a time to feel renewed and invigorated and that is something the LSO and myself definitely need in our lives. We do need a break from the AP and hopefully that will still happen too with her having a month in the wilds of Scotland with my cousin and his wife but we are not sure just when.
I am beginning to lose the will to do anything constructive. Between looking after the AP and trying to diet I find myself between a rock and a hard place. I know I must pull out of this slide into apathy but am finding that life holds no pleasure as each day blends almost seamlessly into the next. There is so little reason to do anything as our lives are mostly spent in this house. We do have the occasional foray to get supplies and sometimes I get a couple of hours of swimming in a week and the LSO has managed a couple of fishing expeditions but generally we are stuck here with the walls closing in on us and this isn’t good. The AP is utterly oblivious, thinking only of herself. She never suggests that the LSO and I should go out together without her because we need some time on our own. No, it is always the royal ‘we’. We have actually made a couple of attempts at going out without her but there seems little point because there is always a backlash to be suffered the next day.
Then just when I think there is a light on the horizon and the AP will be going to the first of her twice yearly visits to Scotland in April, we get a letter to say she has to attend a hospital appointment to deal with what looks like another rodent ulcer on her nose. She had the same problem on the other side of her nose about 8 years ago and I just know it will delay her visit because of further appointments and the final removal of it. I should feel sorry for her but sadly I don’t, just utterly resigned to the situation we find ourselves in.
My attitude is not good I know but almost five years of dealing with her controlling nature, her vindictiveness, selfishness and ridiculous vanity have left little room in my heart for feeling anything but dislike for her. I am aware that this feeling is destructive for me and that somehow I must try to find an element of kindness within myself because I am not like her in any way. She has done her very best to try and destroy the LSO and myself but fortunately has failed so far but the AP must not have the last laugh, that really would be the final irony. We have put our lives on hold for her and have received no real thanks for any of it but we must survive all this.
In the last post I had vaguely wondered how long it would be before the AP could no longer pretend to be a dear old lady whilst we have had our farmer friend eating with us every evening. Not much longer it would appear, as inevitably we experienced a dose of her unreasonable behaviour only a few days ago. She had a hair appointment and was given the time it was occurring and the time of departure and as usual she didn’t listen because she was utterly focussed on herself. Nothing new there but it resulted in her getting everything mixed up, trying to leave an hour earlier than was said and we were to blame for her getting it all wrong. She stamped her feet, screwed the face up and stomped back into the living room to sit for a further hour with her handbag on her knee. It really is like dealing with a recalcitrant child but at least with the child you can explain how the display of bad temper is unnecessary. The AP is not suffering from dementia and is more than capable of being surprisingly normal with a little effort even given her great age but this makes it more difficult to accept. It’s a minor occurrence but because we have put up with so many it is definitely irritating. These displays are seldom seen by others and most think of her as a bit of a sweetie. They couldn’t be further from the truth!
But since I refuse to be irritated for long and I have adopted the laid back approach, withdrawing mentally and physically from any given situation, she has to stop behaving badly. It’s good that something works in our favour for a change.
Weight-wise I am still on a plateau but I am not worrying about it for the time being. It is so cold and frosty at the moment and some days so desperately grey that although I am continuing to keep as much as possible to the diet I do slip a little. My main weakness has been potatoes and that has surprised me but I guess when I am cooking warming dishes such as Caribbean Lamb Shanks it just cries out for a creamy mashed potato to mop up the delicious gravy. I know I should consider a creamy cauliflower mash instead but somehow that doesn’t have the same appeal. Even the thought is hard to resist and occasionally I just don’t and sneak a small spoonful of mash onto my plate. Chips cooked in duck fat have a similar effect, oh dear, maybe I should do new potatoes with everything as they don’t worry me as much!
I am also aware that more exercise would be beneficial but life seems packed with tasks that are not allowing me time for myself. I know things will finally change just as inevitably Spring will arrive and with it a fresh approach to everything. So for now I am paddling along and not being too bad or hard on myself when I just have a tiny slip here and there.