It is impossible to truly express the level of relief that the LSO and I are experiencing now the AP is finally being looked after in a care home. We have a meeting on Tuesday with the manager of the home and hopefully a future plan will be put in place. The AP is very poorly now, the weeks of refusing to eat properly and being sick have taken a massive toll on her both mentally and physically and she has become extremely weak, unwell and struggling mentally. We are just thankful she is where she is because we could not be doing what the assistants in the home are coping with, she can just about walk with the assistance of a frame, is unable to leave her room at the moment and moans continually about how poorly she has been. Am I lacking in sympathy? Perhaps a little, having witnessed the pantomime of the past eight months, her ridiculous desire to have something wrong to get attention and the pressure that has been brought to bear on the LSO and myself. I certainly knew I had reached the end of the road and that changes had to be made.
But it is still sad to see how quickly she has deteriorated although having said that, there is still a spark of spleen in there. We arranged for the chiropodist who has done her hands and feet for the past five years to continue to do so by visiting the home. She doesn’t normally do home visits but agreed to this one. The AP’s response wasn’t ‘how kind of her’ or ‘I and so pleased about it’, no it was a vinegary ‘she will be hoping to get some extra work from the visit’. I certainly don’t miss this unpleasant aspect of the AP’s personality.
But for the LSO and myself it is lovely to have our space and our lives back but after so long being trapped in our own home we are finding it a slow process adjusting to our new found freedom and the fact that we can make spontaneous decisions. We have even booked a short three day week break in October in a holiday home in the Lincolnshire Wolds that allows us to take the two dogs. This is heady stuff!
The other situation I must address is my need to lose weight, the past six weeks have been so difficult that I have done little to keep on track but after this weekend I will start in earnest. I need to reduce my carb intake again, cut down the alcohol because I am no longer in need of the anaesthetic effect and also endeavour to do some fasting. I am at least back to doing some walking with the dogs which is a plus point.
Well hopefully I’m back on track with the dieting. It certainly feels like an uphill struggle at the moment but I am sure that is all down to my attitude and weaknesses when it comes to food and drink. I am not overly fond of sweet potatoes for instance unless they are fried which is a bit of a drawback and so many recipes include these rather tasteless vegetables. I can of course leave them out or substitute something else but I often look at a recipe, see them in it and move on and end up doing something utterly unsuitable because I am cooking for three very different tastes.
But I am not giving up and am back to the swimming and hope to manage to fit in walking the dogs with the LSO at least once in the day this weekend.
The AP is keeping a low profile at the moment which is good in one way but rather worrying because from past performances we know she cannot sustain a pleasant exterior for too long. Her short term memory continues to fade but not where money is concerned which is quite amusing, she is obviously hanging onto that faculty as long as possible but everything else is out of the window and we are definitely living in echo valley. She continues though to irritate me with her assumptions that when something needs replacing in her rented property it cannot be the fact that the item in question is just old and worn out but it is always that the tenant has damaged it in some way. We have also witnessed the return of the ‘I know’ attitude but we are just ignoring that at the moment.
As I have said before, it is just a matter of time before the vinegary spleen rises up and we will be forced to say something. She continues to try to bully and dominate us every now and then but we cannot allow that to happen again. I am hugely weary of the whole situation but also have to accept that we can only do what we are doing and try to keep everything on an even keel. It is now over four years since we made the fateful decision to have the AP living with us, it is a decision we both regret. I try to not be bitter or dwell on the lost years but the LSO finds it much harder to deal with it all. Friends do find it difficult to understand but in most cases they lost their parents when they were much younger and before their mothers or fathers changed and change they do. There seems to be some kind of watershed that takes place after about 94 years. I do not recognise the person my mother is now; all refinements have been stripped away as she has aged and the brain begins to die leaving behind the more unpleasant sides to her personality.
Well Christmas is over and it was a great occasion, much enjoyed by the LSO and myself. Having so many people around watered down the AP and gave us a much needed breathing space. But unfortunately like everything to do with the AP, the peace never lasts.
Her latest idea really doesn’t bear thinking about. She wants to cook for my cousin and his wife when she goes to stay with them in April. How she will do this I cannot imagine as she cannot see, is close to 100 years old, arthritic, hard of hearing, cannot stand for long without some support and hasn’t cooked properly for many years. She is an absolute liability in the kitchen and the thought of her blindly wielding a knife is horrendous. Even before she came here four years ago she was opening tins of soup as a culinary experience. She will also be in a strange kitchen with no idea where anything is kept. On top of all this she expects me to supply the recipes and also some of the ingredients. One necessity the AP wants to take up with her are tins of creamed mushrooms which apparently cannot be bought in Scotland which I find quite strange. I feel extremely sorry for my cousin, do I warn them or is it better to let them deal with the situation as and if it arises? It is all rather insulting really as the unsaid implication is that my cousin’s wife cannot cook and the AP can do better. But whatever the outcome the AP will not be cooking in my kitchen.
I wonder what will pop out next from the mixing pot that has become her brain. It’s astonishing that she has the idea that she can carry on as if she is twenty years younger and very frustrating for us because when things inevitably go wrong, her response is to lash out. She managed to wreck a perfectly pleasant evening out last night, picking at food with her fingers in a restaurant is not a good look. Snapping unpleasantly at me when I moved a plate to prevent food dropping onto to the table. Also pretending to read the menu whilst flashing her magnifying light in everyone’s eyes. The AP insisted some weeks back that she needed new reading glasses so appointments were made and attended resulting in a pair of spectacles that apparently do help or did in the opticians but we don’t seem to use them. But that is another issue. After some deliberation the AP decided to have what she nearly always has, a small portion fish and chips with lots of lemon, vinegar and salt and no vegetables. Somehow despite having well over the recommended daily amount of salt, the AP sails onwards with blood pressure someone half her age would love to have.
Her continued inability to accept her limitations is extremely frustrating for us and to add insult to injury she is utterly graceless.
Unfortunately not the brink of freedom, I think that the honeymoon time after the great revelation event is possibly coming to an end. I sincerely hope not because the inevitable upheaval will be enormous and the AP will HAVE to go into a home.
I really cannot deal with too many of her nasty little asides. The latest one was made after a conversation she had with cousin George who, god bless the man, had said after her 100th birthday which is the end of April she could go back up to Scotland with them. I did tell her that she would be up there anyway during April as we are replacing our boiler system and will be without water for some of that time but by all means do go up to bonny Scotland again, we would not mind at all. Her response was a touch of the old vinegar. ‘Well you would say that wouldn’t you.’ Interesting reply to a straight comment and why shouldn’t I say it. I would be lying if I expressed regret at having the chance of some freedom, some personal space and some privacy.
I have no problem at all with the AP being more independent and just wish she would stop constantly looking for trouble, comments like ‘well, you will be pleased to know I am going up to my room now’ don’t help her cause at all. There are signs that she thinks her place here is safe now that she has agreed to a personal alarm but that is far, far from the truth. I do understand that she needs reassurance that she is wanted, don’t we all, but her attitude towards us doesn’t help to engender love and devotion.
I may need to leave the list of suitable care homes that we have found in a prominent position, she is quite prone to having a nose through our paperwork using the excuse that she thought there might be something in there for her. The fact that we always put anything for her where she sits seems to pass her by. But then most things do unless they primarily concern her. She might just be needing a timely reminder that being pleasant costs nothing, just a teeny bit of effort.
Well, we’ll see. I don’t need one more iota of stress this year and nor does the LSO. Just to add an extra worry to our lives our oldest, at twelve years and much loved, Jack Russell has developed a strange cough and seems to have trouble breathing at times. The vet thinks her trachea may be collapsing but wants to X-Ray her to find out. We are not holding our breath that the news will be good.