In my youth it was Blue Nun that was considered the height of sophistication and if feeling really extravagant it was a bottle of Vinho Verdi or Chianti in a straw casing that people loved making into table lamps all bought from an Off Licence. Thankfully things have changed in more ways than one and in most cases for the better.
After the LSO has given the dogs their afternoon walk when, weather permitting, I occasionally walk as well, it becomes gin o’clock with the LSO as the ‘Gin Jockey’. I have only recently discovered the huge variety of gins available for the discerning and that was thanks to a cousin who lives on Vancouver Island B.C. On a visit over a year ago she brought me a present of a bottle of Rhubarb and Ginger Gin and it was a revelation. I have not looked back since and look forward to the evening when I will enjoy a delicious Bramley Apple and Rhubarb Gin, with ice and just a hint of tonic.
A slippery slope you may say! Most likely but a much needed anaesthetic to cope with the incessant burbling of the AP whilst we have a visitor staying. In fact I am writing this listening to a constant stream of rubbish, mixed up, made up and generally wrong with a smattering of truth. She’s just announced that she could go back to live in Newcastle if her tenant wasn’t there. At 101 years old, blind, doddery and unable to do anything for herself, she can’t even lift a kettle now and needs help showering and she still thinks she is capable of looking after herself. I find her attitude so utterly insulting, the LSO and I have just given up nearly six years of our lives looking after her and she is so utterly ungrateful and graceless. Will the AP ever accept her limitations, no I guess not but we are going to have to limit the amount of people staying otherwise I will become an alcoholic. It’s not even midday and my mind is thinking gin.
But in the meanwhile I am endeavouring to turn my mind off and keep calm in order to contain my frustration and irritation. We made the choice to have the AP live with us and we must survive the consequences. It is just such a pity that she has never appreciated what we had to offer. I heard her make a comment to our visitor about walking on eggshells but as I hadn’t heard the rest of the conversation I couldn’t be sure of what was meant. If she meant with the LSO and myself she should have thought twice about pushing us around because we stupidly put up with her behaviour for several years unable to comprehend her attitude but not anymore. This has resulted in a very unnatural state of affairs because we have come to dislike her and she feels we don’t want her here, but had she been the person we thought she was, enjoyed life with us, hadn’t tried to dominate and control us, it would have been a very different situation.
The LSO and I are in a strange place at the moment and I am dealing with a raft of mixed feelings and emotions. The new puppy arrived on Friday to much excited barking from Barney and much squeaking from Lucie but that didn’t last long as her feisty little character popped out and she barked back. I don’t know who was more surprised, us or Barney.
In the meanwhile the arrival of Lucie has put the AP’s nose firmly out of joint as she really is an adorable little scene stealer. The AP’s way of dealing with it all is to make a point of not listening to anything that is said to her and to talk over us when we reply to her questions so she doesn’t hear the answers. It’s a real catch 22 as we have to ask her to stop talking and listen which makes her instantly bad tempered and unpleasant. The thin veneer of niceness disappears in a blink and anything or anyone is responsible for her own failings but never her.
It also looks as if the third grandchild due in August will not happen but that is another situation which has deeply saddened us all. Not of course the AP, she has lost the ability to understand the depth of the problem and can only relate to those things that directly impact on her.
Our daughter arrived for a flying overnight visit yesterday despite the appalling weather conditions and I cooked Sechuan beef but that meant creating a separate meal for the AP who cannot cope with the chilli heat. Not too difficult to do, I just had to make a separate sauce and use the same vegetables and fillet of beef. But because we were all chatting and a great fuss was made of both the dogs it meant the AP was not the centre of attention so she didn’t eat and just pushed her food around the plate. I felt a real sense of irritation, why did I bother, in fact why do I bother at all? It is such a thankless task and meanwhile the LSO and I just see our lives slipping away in a sea of monotony.
She did manage to have a glass of wine with the meal and a very small glass of Vermouth with lemonade beforehand but then decided to go to her room. This morning she was particularly demanding and probably not feeling one hundred percent but it is never a good plan to drink any alcohol and not eat. I don’t deal at all well with the AP’s mood swings in the mornings so I just let her get on with it all.
However Lucie continues to be a real joy and a breath of fresh air in the claustrophobic and frustrating environment that has become our world.
I woke up this morning feeling extremely under par. Nothing I could put my finger on, just a general feeling of not being right.
I can probably nail it all down to a really restless night, worry about my brother, guilt that I am unable to ease in any way the unbearable burden his children are having to shoulder, guilt that I really wish I wasn’t looking after the AP. Concern about my own health as well as my seeming inability to lose any weight (I did lose half a pound last week) and just to top it all off, worry that the whole situation is getting the LSO down. He really doesn’t need that as he is still recovering from being so very ill earlier this year.
Nearly forgot, the problem that actually brought all these feelings to the surface, for two days now we have had no heating and no hot water due to a boiler malfunction. This will be put right by this evening but we had a flush of the central heating system booked in for today and that cannot be done now as hot water is needed. That is now booked in for next Tuesday but I felt a great rush of frustration that was totally silly but is all part of the huge emotional trap that being a carer entails. The situation does not improve with time; most days I can ignore the feelings and by compartmentalising keep my sanity but I guess when the resistance drops it’s a bit like a breach in a sea wall and the waves of emotion rush in to drown me.
Is there any help out there? We have a lady whose professional title is a Care Navigator, coming to see the AP and presumably us too on Monday afternoon with, I hope, some suggestions to help break this immense feeling of being trapped and unable to sort our own lives out. Hopefully she will encourage the AP to get out and about but without us, perhaps even suggest respite care but I’m not holding my breath. The AP won’t think any of it is necessary.