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.
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.
Roll on April.