A conversation with myself.

IMG_9912.jpg

Ten months ago I began writing this blog to help me cope with the hugely onerous task of looking after my ageing mother. Writing has been a great release and has helped me to keep problems in proportion. I joke that it has kept me out of the asylum but there is some truth in that statement and although I still have bad days at least they are more isolated. The LSO reads the blog and hopefully it helps him too. It takes two of us to deal with the situation and even then it is often too much for both of us and it is at that point I feel a blog coming on and the need to offload the anger, frustration and resentment that has built up as a result of having a one hundred year old woman living with us whom we no longer recognise or truthfully, understand.

The situation deteriorates each day now. The AP has become ever more self orientated and sees very little beyond herself and her ability to compute what is said to her is lessening. This is difficult to deal with on an every day basis because meaningful conversations are an impossibility except in very short bursts. If she is trying to go somewhere her concentration is totally on what she is doing and even if you speak to her at that time, she doesn’t take in any information. If the AP asks a question, the answer has to repeated several times before any understanding occurs. She still tries occasionally to dominate us but we have put strategies in place to deal with those moments and I must admit to a sense of detachment growing which is a blessing.

Normal courtesies are forced when speaking to us and thank you doesn’t come naturally anymore. She does try but it’s sad to see how difficult it has all become for her. She gushes all over others which is definitely a ‘get me a bucket’ time for us but it is often a release to have people here then her focus is altered.

Before the the AP came to live with us the LSO and I were always busy, we entertained people, went out and had a spontaneous lifestyle, enjoying our retirement. In the last four years all that has gone and the current situation has left us despondent and depressed and although we realise that we must weather this period in our lives it is hard to know what to do to improve things. How do we regain the enthusiasm we had for life in general before the AP became our permanent house guest?

There isn’t a simple answer and it is a road we have been down many times during the last four years.

 

What a difference the sun makes.

IMG_4186.jpg

The long grey days this winter have been depressing and have done nothing to help the time to pass easily. I still have a deep sense of anxiety but a sunny day does a great deal to dispel some of the fog that lingers on the outskirts of my mind. I do feel that some positive thinking and taking some positive action would help to ease the angst but it’s finding the energy to stop being negative and basically shake off the torpor that has crept into my soul.

I am still very positive about the diet and although it is not a rapid loss, it is steady. My sleep patterns are slowly improving too which is a huge improvement. I enjoy the fact that the recipes I have found have been ‘family friendly’ and apart from a couple of times I haven’t felt the need to go down the ready made meal route. This has meant that no explanations have been necessary which in turn means no constant questions from the AP.

It’s interesting to note that as we are getting closer to the AP’s trip to bonny Scotland she becomes more imperious and words like ‘thank you’ begin to vanish and expressions such as ‘do this’, ‘can you’ and ‘put that’ become more prevalent. But this time I will not be provoked or harried and find that ignoring the situation or just refusing to jump to attention is a far better approach.

I just think the LSO and I need some time on our own, in our home and without the stream of appointments and demands from the AP. Just some space to do our ‘own thing’.

Fifteen days to go.

 

Finding some freedom.

IMG_9389 2

Its a week since I wrote anything in this blog diary but it’s not because I didn’t want to write but mostly that everything is so damned depressing. I really must find a way out of the feeling of doom and gloom that is shrouding the LSO and myself.

Just to put the final touches to these feelings of misery I caught a really violent tummy bug that is still attempting to linger on four days later. The up side to that, if there is one, is that I have lost some weight and the LSO became Captain Dettol!

We really cannot blame the AP although her presence is a big part of the situation but she is not to blame for where we are now, we did that all on our own. We really had no idea what we were doing when we suggested that the AP comes to live with us four years ago.

The AP had always appeared to be a thoroughly social and outgoing person but we soon found out that the reality is exactly the opposite. She is highly critical of others and at times quite malicious about our friends basing everything on what she sees as a slight against herself. My god, who is this person I am writing about, I am shocked and horrified to say it is my mother, heaven forbid that my own children would feel this way about me or the LSO.

She has a better social life than us but that wouldn’t be difficult because, at the moment we don’t have one. The highlight of last week was trip to the bottle bank! Unless we instigate outings with the AP or arrange for her to go anywhere she will do nothing to help herself, just sit in her room watching television or staring into space or nodding off in the chair. That’s all ok and to be expected at 99 years of age but the downside is her attitude and general demeanour when spending time with us. The AP becomes bored and wants entertaining, like a child really. She gets everything mixed up now and is forgetful but is equally insistent that her absolutely wrong statements are true, refusing to accept the correct versions of events even when they are about us and not her. Her own mixed up memories of her life are no problem but it becomes more difficult when she makes incorrect statements to visitors and family about us and others. It’s all very sad really but in the meantime our lives are slipping by in this fog of extremely slow moving boredom.

It’s easy to think that we should snap out of this but it is becoming increasingly difficult. Before her arrival here we never stopped, we went out and explored, socialised, laughed a lot, the LSO did his printmaking, fishing and enjoyed his gardening. I painted in my studio, even selling the odd one, enjoyed my experimental cooking, the joy of living here and of course my bread making and now? Well it’s all too much of an effort.

We are trying so hard not to be resentful but I think we should put our energies into being more determined to change our situation and start going out more. There is a whiff of wallowing that can become habitual and we do need to stop that in its tracks.  We have contacted the Careline that supplies the personal alarm and key safe but as yet no-one has come back to us. That should at least give us some peace of mind when (not if) we go out. We must also ignore the inevitable guilt trip the AP will put us on the minute we do it.

Well here’s to at least some guilt free freedom at the end of the rainbow that would be more welcome than a pot of gold.

It’s always the straw.

……….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.