…. and in more ways than one. I am actually back to swimming two to three times a week after a couple of months break, not because I wanted a break but heavy colds and Christmas just got in the way. Once behind us an element of almost normality had emerged briefly. Then our good farmer friend and neighbour went into hospital for a double bypass and thanks to Mr Cameron’s Big Society ideas we are now helping to care for him during his recovery. No NHS care package in place or District Nurse visits either. Just discharged from hospital four days after the operation with a bag of drugs and instructions to make various appointments with his GP. He is 82 years old and lives on his own and is unable to drive for at least six weeks. Fortunately we are extremely fond of him and don’t mind doing all this but it has added another layer on top of what we already have to deal with in a normal day.
The additional responsibility has certainly made following the RMR diet a lot more difficult because there is no time to spend on prepping for myself so I am just keeping carbs to the minimum, limiting protein, having bulletproof coffee for breakfast occasionally, filling in the tracker most days and trying to be sensible. I reached a plateau during Christmas and beyond that is refusing to budge at the moment and that is despite intermittent fasting but hopefully that will change after next week. I am not getting paranoid about it but I am resigned to the situation because it isn’t going to last forever and then I can have a portion of my time back to focus on what I need to do. I do wonder if after a couple of stones of weight loss my body needs time to adjust before continuing to reduce. A plus point is that despite everything that is going on my blood pressure is remaining pretty steady.
The AP has been reasonable while we have had to deal with our neighbours needs but for how much longer? We know from experience that she can’t keep up the pretence for too long but whilst he is eating with us she is having to. It will be interesting to see if there is a backlash when things return to normal.
But for the time being I am swimming physically in the pool and also swimming mentally through the days.
A couple of blogs ago I mentioned that our eldest grandson who at the age of ten is representing his area in the Independent Schools Association athletics. The LSO and I are going to support him but it involves a huge amount of organisation to ensure the AP is looked after.
The drive down to the South East from Norfolk gave me a good deal of thinking time about the situation that the LSO and I have found ourselves in and the difficulties we have encountered from taking on the care of the AP. I made several decisions about many things and not least was how to cope with her inability to accept her shortcomings with some grace.
Last night I told her what was happening next Tuesday which I knew would cause the screwed up face because she feels she is being off loaded onto people. The fact they are happy to help seems to completely pass her by and her reactions are totally self, self, self.
It was an opportunity for me to tick one of the items on my ‘thinking list’, to talk to her about her inability to really look after herself. Her reaction was definitely lacking in grace and what I expected, a screwed up face and I was told not to say things like that. I understand the reaction but at a hundred years old, arthritic, blind, deaf and with short term memory loss it does mean there are limitations to what she can do and for how long she can be left on her own. I explained that none of us are getting any younger and we too have had to accept that there are some things we cannot deal with anymore. This applies particularly to the LSO who has never really been the same having been so very ill last year. I also pointed out to the AP that should an emergency arise suddenly, we would need to consider respite care for her.
OK, that didn’t go down well. The response was that my seventy-eight year old cousin would drive down for her and miraculously spirit her off to bonny Scotland, a mere twelve to fourteen hour round trip. The fact they may well have their own responsibilities or even, lucky people, be on holiday never occurred to her and when I challenged her on that she said she would get a taxi. If it wasn’t so ridiculous and self-centred it would be laughable. She did stomp off to bed soon after this chat making me realise once again how difficult she makes things for us.
Well at last the seed is sown and perhaps next time I tell the AP the LSO and I are out for the day and she will be looked after elsewhere, she won’t screw up her face. But in the meantime we need to look into respite care or the possibility of a carer coming to the house.