Well, the RMR regime continues to work and I have now lost a healthy sixteen pounds so far. Not earth shatteringly fast but steady at mostly a pound to a pound and a half a week and I am happy with that. I don’t feel hungry or deprived, well, maybe occasionally when the LSO makes his sourdough bread and I look at the luscious, plump and sweet plum tomatoes from the greenhouse and have to fight the cravings. I have always loved tomatoes on toast. Although I am still overweight I am aware of reducing in size now and that incentive certainly helps reduce the cravings.
Our month of freedom is approaching and we are both desperately in need of a break from the AP who continues to be obtuse and difficult especially when we have to explain anything to her. I do sometimes wonder if it is deliberate, this selective refusal to understand anything said to her or is it just that her brain is deteriorating. We sound like a record caught in a groove, constantly repeating ourselves. Now that the month away in Scotland is looming she seems to want to control what we do more and more but I have finally found what is probably the most important word in the English language, NO. I refuse to be bullied or harassed by the AP and have developed a detachment that is extremely settling for me and unsettling for her.
I am not cruel, but when you are treated like servants in your own home it really does become important to stand our ground. Please and thank you are words we seldom hear when there is just the three of us, then, when we have visitors staying this gracious old lady suddenly appears, God only knows where from and she plays the grand old dame, totally in charge of her faculties. It’s all rubbish of course, as she nods sagely and appears to listen intently and manages some reasonable responses even when looking at images on phones and iPads that she is actually unable to see. But all this play acting means that most people think life is fine and dandy for us but the truth is the opposite. We are trapped in our own home with this vain, at time unpleasant and demanding old woman and that’s only the half of it. She has no grace and no empathy for others. The AP is the centre of her own universe and is incapable of truly being content with her situation.
Why is she like this? It could just be that she can no longer deal with even the simplest things in her life, the television for one is becoming something she cannot use easily and her life is out of her control, so she tries to control us instead. Unfortunately in doing so she has alienated us both to the point that we really are hugely weary of her very presence in our home and that is just so very sad.
The LSO is finding the AP particularly tiresome and he has become run down and generally disinterested in all the things he likes doing. This is not good and we need to find a way of combatting this terrible feeling of ‘what is the point’. We need to restore our sense of equilibrium and humour, the latter being sadly lacking from our lives these days. The LSO has a marvellous sense of humour but even that is in serious need of revival, humour and laughter have in the past got us through some difficult times, we need to restore it.
At least we have a chance of some recovery in sixteen days time, thanks to my lovely cousin and his wife who are coming to stay for a few days and are then taking the AP back with them.
There is no doubt that this on-going heatwave is extremely debilitating. I find myself rushing to the coolest room in the house, which is our North facing living room and only emerging to prepare and cook meals then rushing back to my fan and an element of coolness but also an element of boredom. A trip in the car to the bottle bank is a joy because of the air conditioning which unfortunately our house doesn’t have. In fact the solid eighteen inch thick Victorian walls act as a giant storage heater.
It is also sad to see so many of the garden plants dying off whilst the weeds inevitably continue to flourish but the tomatoes in the greenhouse are looking good as are the chillies. But we really are suffering from the stifling temperatures. The two Jack Russells with their thick coats just lie around listlessly and a walk can only take place in the early morning. Not particularly good for them nor for us.
The LSO potters around but comes in looking exhausted. At least sitting in the relative comfort indoors I can plan my menus and check the balance of the carbs, protein and fat I am consuming. I am still loving the RMR way of eating and my weight is slowly going down even though it is not a given at this stage of the process, so a bonus. It is such a pleasure to find my love of cooking returning and to feel generally so much better. Unfortunately my blood pressure is needing a little more encouragement and the drug dosage has been doubled as it had only dropped to 148/80 after a month of medication. Still, it is going down and I cannot expect an instant recovery after four years of being in a permanent state of flight or fight mode, pumping massive amounts of cortisol and adrenaline into my system which in turn has caused a myriad of problems. Now at least everything is finally heading in the right direction both physically and emotionally.
The AP is being kept firmly in her place these days and we are quick to deflect her unreasonable requests and her difficult behaviour before they become a problem for us. Astonishingly she still keeps trying to push us but now has nowhere to go. The LSO and I have become a lot more relaxed and detached generally; we have become better at handling the situations that arise when she tries to bully and dominate us. How I wish we had understood all this four years ago. The LSO said today that the AP has wrecked the quality of our lives over the last four years; we can never have that time back. He’s right of course but it makes it even more important that we stay on top of our health and wellbeing in order to enjoy the years left to us.
The AP heads North to Scotland in less that eight weeks and we have a whole month of freedom to do what we like and to have spontaneity back in our lives again. We will also have our personal space back be it only for a month with no bat hanging in the shadows.
Always in life there is are imaginary lines that are there in everything we do. The lines have a number of functions, some are warnings but sometimes they can encourage development. So which line am I standing in front of today?
Yesterday evening was a fine example of the AP dominating the conversation all evening with endless stories of the past. the LSO and I have heard them many times and tend to turn off to them. Each time they get a bit more muddled and embellished becoming a stream of endless drivel. The AP managed to have an inevitable dig at me but only succeeded in making herself look silly and causing me to mentally back off even further.
At the moment she is pretending to our visitor that she can see but because I attend all her sight tests I know exactly what the AP can and cannot see. I had to finally leave the room especially when a comment was made about wonderful teachers who make a difference to their students. She then went into a long diatribe about a teacher ninety years ago who apparently also taught my cousin and remembered my mother as this hugely clever girl. I suppose we all feel the need to blow our own trumpets occasionally. The AP seems to have chosen to forget that I had been a teacher for thirty five years and I was good at my job. It’s difficult to know whether she means to demean me or is just becoming plain daft. I would prefer to think the latter but sadly when I hear her conversing with people I realise that she still possesses some native cunning that manifests itself in a sly nastiness. It is hard to understand my mother’s desire for superiority, why is it that she cannot accept her own short comings? Why can she not appreciate what she has instead of making our lives a misery?
I guess the line I am crossing at the moment is one of disinterest and detachment and sadly I am heading towards thoroughly disliking the AP. I am finding it hugely difficult to make an effort with her and am instead retreating into my shell which I know is not the right solution to the problem. I can but hope that crossing this particular line will help me to survive, I feel I am drowning in a never-ending sea of greyness. I am mentally struggling to find a positive approach when every bit of my being is crying out for a release from this state of imprisonment.
I am told there is a light at the end of the tunnel but at the moment it feels like it is the train coming towards me and if it isn’t that, it is a very, very long tunnel.
After the astonishing revelation from the AP that she has never been made welcome here since day one and the worry about my brother, I have been forced for the sake of my sanity to take a step back from everything.
This pause for thought has been an interesting exercise. I am sorry for my mother that she may yet, God forbid, out-live her son but my own emotions about her are now very detached which is the only word I can find that explains how I feel. Its a bit like looking at a stranger with an element of curiosity. I have thought long and hard about this and her attitude generally and know that she certainly was not unwelcome in the beginning but her attitude towards us as time has gone on has become progressively unpleasant and we could never understand why. We have been at times, very distressed about this but could find no reason or solution to this behaviour. She has been and is extremely well looked after and even she said that she couldn’t fault her care. This did make the LSO and I feel like servants doing her bidding and perhaps that is exactly how she sees us.
Upon reflection I think that when the AP came to live with us she expected to just slot back into a life that was similar to when I lived at home many decades ago; she would be a bit like ‘mother’ again and we would satellite around her along with our friends. But, of course this has never happened and never could as we have long since grown up, lived our lives and had little to do with our own parents in that time other than to visit, telephone and communicate on a very different level. Our lives were very separate and I do believe that this is where the whole problem stems from and why it is probably unresolvable.
She has interpreted our need to have some space without her as that she is not welcome. The AP wants us to gush over her and include her in every aspect of our lives which just cannot happen. She has over time become I think, more and more resentful of our apparent detachment and as a result has become really rather nasty with us. The lies? Well I can only put those down to the confusion of old age and the need to lash out.
I am watching to see what her next move will be. This morning she is pleasant enough, my brother has survived the night so we are praying he has the strength to continue recovering. We did have a rather strange conversation after breakfast about her reading the Kindle last night and not being able to take in a word. This was a bit of her ‘poor me’ attitude appearing and the start of more emotional manipulation but for the time being I will put that down to worry over my brother and not herself. I am aware though that leopards do not change their spots.
We will still look at care homes so that we are prepared.