I was looking with interest at the blogs I follow when I came across an article on why others choose to follow blogs and that they do it only to get followers on their sites.
I suppose it’s a tit-for-tat attitude, I’ll follow you if you follow me? It did strike me as a rather odd observation because blogging is a strange phenomena. It can be a form of networking for some but it isn’t really social media like Facebook or Twitter; it’s a little like Instagram with more depth. In all cases followers are encouraged and for many they are very necessary.
The LSO has had a blog for years that began as a website and the blog reflects his interests in landscape, in particular the area we live in, his love of printmaking and his passion for angling. I am new to blog writing and for me it is a kind of diary, a means of articulating my feelings and thoughts. My following of other blogs is a reflection of my own interests in art, reading and cooking in particular and although it is rather nice to have followers it’s not an essential. On the other hand it is very comforting to feel that you are not alone and to those who choose to read what I write, thank you. I am sure that many people feel this way.
I have found from a personal point of view that the whole blog writing process has been very cathartic and it has certainly helped me step back from our problems. This has helped me to cope with the stresses and strains of looking after a 99 year old parent who lives with us and to put things back into perspective especially when the LSO was so very ill this year. It has also made me more aware of my own shortcomings and to always bear in mind that no-one is perfect, even the AP. Ok, maybe that’s me being hopeful!
Fifteen days to go to our four week break, the light on my shrinking horizon is glowing brighter. The LSO and I will be using some of the freedom sorting out a few essentials in order to hopefully improve the quality of our lives when the AP returns from her four week vacation in Bonny Scotland.
I woke up this rather grey Sunday morning feeling pretty positive about life in general for a change. I got up, washed, dressed and came down to prepare breakfast. Our nephew is staying and for him it was bacon, egg, and fried bread. For the AP it was cereal, fruit, yogurt and a sprinkling of flaxseed. The LSO had already sorted his own breakfast earlier. For me it was grilled tomatoes on toast and they were delicious, straight out of the greenhouse. All in all a good beginning to the day then the AP started a conversation with her grandson and I felt an immediate sense of irritation wash over me as she bluffed her way to stardom making appropriate noises but having really no idea about anything. Why this feeling? It isn’t rational and is making me feel very unhappy. I need to have some empathy for the AP otherwise I am allowing her lack of it to affect my attitude to her.
So how do I turn all this around. I decided to refresh my memory about the Law of Resistance and it definitely rang some bells of recognition. I am becoming a victim, there is a definite sense of ‘poor me’ creeping in to my thoughts which I really must resist. I was reading that there is a Buddhist saying that says if we point a finger at someone there will be three pointing back at us. Interesting thought and it made me stop and think.
Our health is our karma, in which case I am affecting my own health and vitality with these feelings. Time to change, time to not resist the negatives but to embrace the positives. I feel like I am jumping into a void but I must find the person I was before the AP came to live with us. We, the LSO and I, need to discuss how we change things for the better for all of us. Not necessarily huge changes because I do believe that it is the small things that count.
Do we really reap what we sow? I guess so but if we study the Law of Grace everything can be put right but we have to make the necessary effort to do so.
Seventeen days to go to some clear thinking, to freedom, to spontaneity and to having some personal space back even if it is just for a little while.
Well that is the question. I have opted for both really, low carbs and low calories and so far so good. I lost nearly 5 pounds last week but doubt I will be as successful this week. Having visitors to stay is a difficult time to diet especially when eating out. I am still a novice at all this but after much reading I understand that if I wish to be back to pre diabetic I must lose weight and the quicker the better seems to be the maxim.
Fortunately I can still enjoy a glass or two of wine with my meals and that certainly improves things. Lots of vegetables, protein, small amounts of carbs, not many fats but good ones like olive oil and even cheese is on the menu with as many herbs and spices as I want, then with the addition of fruit and small amounts of milk and yogurt we have the basis of the diet. The biggest problem for me and the LSO is that I love big flavours and hot ones too and these don’t work for the AP.
AP isn’t really a foodie we have discovered despite her earlier protestations to the contrary. If it can be sucked up through a straw it is acceptable and it must always be easy eating, lots of gravy and very bland. On the other hand I can grill Lemon Sole for her, which is a particular favourite, with chips of course and her plate will be swimming in vinegar and lemon juice. At the end of the meal the AP will sit back and announce how much she enjoyed the delicate flavour of the fish! Still, everyone to their own.The long suffering friend was talking to the AP the other day and they were discussing last meals. I have no idea where the conversation came from but when the AP was asked what her last meal would be the answer was a tin of Ambrosia Creamed Rice. I guess that says it all.
Seventeen days to go.
It’s difficult to explain the feeling of being under pressure. Something like a feeling of having your heart squeezed combined with being surrounded by an unseen fog. It feels like you can’t breath properly, you can of course because it is all in the mind. The AP continues to sail on like a galleon oblivious to the hurt and chaos left behind in her wake.
Not only have I a long suffering husband but I now have a long suffering friend who thankfully is a good friend and understands the problems because she also has a difficult AP of her own. She arrived on Monday and has been a breath of fresh air.
A horde of family descended on us last Wednesday which was really enjoyable and ten of us had a very chatty, noisy lunch out but the AP had to try and assert herself by as usual, being unpleasant to me. No, I hadn’t done what I was accused of but still had to take the flack. It did nothing to aid my enjoyment of lunch and if it hadn’t been for the pleasantness of the family, my stoic friend and the laughter it would have been unbearable.
The AP is still implying to all and sundry that I have as she puts it, ‘squeezed in another week’ of her staying with my cousin in Scotland. The extra week was suggested by my cousin and we have gratefully accepted his kindness. I really wouldn’t dream of asking him to have her longer than the usual three weeks but he, God Bless him understands instinctively how difficult things are for us. Given the year we have had both of us are really in need of a decent break. So why can’t the AP just accept the situation with grace instead of harping on and making us feel so guilty.
It is a hugely frustrating situation. A friend asked me the other day if we had expected her to live this length of time when she came to live with us and yes, we had hoped she would enjoy a hundredth birthday and felt there was every chance of it. No, we didn’t resent the situation in the very beginning but what we did not expect was that her real personality would be so different from the person we thought she was or that she would become so self centred and lacking in empathy. It brings up the question of course which is ‘do we really ever know our parents?’ In our/my case obviously not.
Eighteen days to go.
In this case an emotional rollercoaster. I do at times feel sorry for the AP, it’s not much fun getting old and at 99 years of age she is very old but sadly she does little to endear herself to us. Maybe, in her mind, she doesn’t need to as she has everything someone of such a great age could desire really. A space of her own yet people around, regular meals, varied and considered, servants at her beck and call, washing done, all shopping done, cleaning taken care of, bills paid, chauffeurs when needed and all she has to do is care for herself and potter. She can still potter; the AP does several slow circuits of the front garden maybe once a week weather allowing, it is a good size to walk around and she still goes to a weekly keep fit class. We do occasionally arrange for a friend to come over and lunch is duly prepared for them or some wonderful kind friends take her off for the day and entertain her. In the meantime with the aid of magnifiers she can just manage to read and she has her own television.
Does this make for a pleasant and contented existence? Well, no, it would appear not to be the case. The AP announced the other day ‘that time flies by but why should that be the case when she does nothing and is basically bored.’
She has no concept of what her living with us has done to our lives or how bored we have become with the monotony of our existence. We live with, accept it and get on with things as cheerfully as we can but do feel that at a time when we should be enjoying an active retirement, spending more time with our own children and travelling we are here instead, looking after an ungrateful, graceless old lady who has become selfish and self-centred. Thank you and please are words that have vanished from her vocabulary where we are concerned. I know we made this choice but truth be told we had no idea what we were letting yourselves in for and really no-one can explain, only those who have done it understand how relentless it all is.
Tomorrow an old friend of mine is arriving for a few days and I have been told magnanimously that I must have a day out with her on my own. I am almost lost for words. Then later in the week a cousin and her family are arriving for lunch and we are already preparing ourselves for the inevitable gushing and pretence and are just thankful it is only for a day.
Twenty three days to a month of freedom and yes, I am counting.
……….that breaks the camel’s back or so the old adage goes and it is so true. I am trying to be positive but sometimes feel the tide is against me. The pain in my calf continues to cause me distress, it does go away when rested but returns the minute I begin walking. This is not helpful when what I need to do is get regular exercise and all I can do is limp slowly, painfully and miserably. I’ve always said its better to have spots then at least they can be seen and elicit some sympathy or do I really mean some acknowledgement that you really are not right, sympathy just makes me weepy. Then just to make things a bit worse the lady who cleans the house once a week is not coming on Wednesday and we have visitors arriving and commitments that take us away from here.
I know it’s all a bit pathetic and gammy leg or not I am sure I can manage to vacuum and dust and the LSO will clean the bathrooms, so the bedrooms will just have a flick round and stairs won’t get done but does that really matter? The kitchen is huge but apart from the floor it is always kept clean so what’s the problem? Frustration at feeling so trapped at the moment not just emotionally but physically. I do feel a bit overwhelmed sorting out my diet but just generally feel under the weather.
The AP is ok still and really trying to be pleasant. Occasionally the mask slips but we come back later as if nothing has happened.
Four weeks tomorrow we will be beginning our four week break from the relentless routine that has become our lives. I know we must not wish the time away as life is short but in this case I am counting the days.
I am beginning to slowly understand the challenges in front of me. I have purchased several books now on coping with Type 2 Diabetes. All are informative and two are most useful as they give specific recipes. During this early stage of discovery I really do need guide lines. I am back to walking the dogs but slowly as the pain in my left calf is still apparent but not as cripplingly painful as before and hopefully next week I will fit in more than just one swimming session.
The AP is being good at the moment and is making an effort to be pleasant which makes life considerably easier, I have no idea where this niceness is coming from and find it slightly unnerving as I wait for the next barb to be fired.
Today we visited one of the two consultant at the hospital involved in the ‘long suffering one’s’ illness. From now on to be referred to as ‘LSO’. Although he is much, much better and improving there is still some oedema evident in his sitting bone and the Consultant wants to see him in 6 months to see if all is still good. He gets very tired and this is a direct result of having been so ill. The Colorectal Consultant is like a breath of fresh air, honest, open, direct and very thorough. It would be difficult to ask for more. We have the next appointment with the Orthopaedic Consultant on the 11th September
Looking back at the last three years has seriously been an eye opener. From having had endless choice in what to do and where to go, ‘shall we have lunch’ out today to ‘I fancy going to the game fair’ we now have no freedom to choose. The stress factors have been off the scale and the demands made on us have been continual and with little thanks. I realise now that the last three years of such stressful circumstances have taken a huge toll on my well being both in a physical and an emotional sense and this is partly and possibly wholly responsible for the state I find myself in. I must not allow things to cause me further distress and the AP must learn to fit in with us now.
At the end of all this we need to come out of all this intact as a couple, we cannot allow someone we have brought into our home, who is incredibly well looked after and cared for, to drive a wedge between us. On the occasions that the AP has tried to cause trouble between us in the past, almost a divide and rule complex, I have been more than stressed and upset and have had to say something to stop any reoccurrence. This in itself does nothing for my cortisol levels.
This situation must not define us and I must gain control of my own body.
Easy said I guess but I am trying.