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.
Such a sweet sounding word for me and for the LSO. Tomorrow we begin our month of liberty, release and the right to do what we want, when we want to do it. It seems to have been a long time arriving and latterly the time has not passed quickly but I know the coming month will.
The AP has not been quite so vociferous about her month in Scotland as she has been in previous years but that is because we have taken no notice of the rather unpleasant little asides that get muttered at intervals. Things like ‘you’ll be glad to have me out of your hair’ or ‘it’s difficult to pack for a whole month’ as if my cousin and his wife don’t have a washing machine and it’s not as if this is the first time she has been there either. We have been treated like servants with a continual string of demands made without much in the way of please and thank you and although I would like to think that it is just a foible of old age I know in my heart that it is very much how she now thinks of us.
Sad but I suppose inevitable. The AP always hated sarcasm and has always said in the past that it is the lowest form of wit but now she resorts to it as a way to get at us, thinking it clever but it only comes over as hurtful. Last week it was the turn of the LSO who had gone to the pharmacy to collect some hearing aid batteries for the AP. He managed to get a month’s supply and when told, the AP did say thank you but followed it up with ‘Oh, and you managed it all on your own then?’ said in a silly little voice. The one that is used when seeing chips on the plate, ‘oh goodie, chippies’. Fortunately the LSO didn’t retaliate.
It’s all so trivial really but when you live with this constant battering it’s hard to see things clearly and I am only too aware that the LSO and I desperately need this break if only to recharge the batteries ready for the month following our much needed breathing space.
The beginning of May will be the celebration of the AP’s 100 years. The LSO and I will become chief cooks, bottle washers, bed makers, chauffeurs and general dogsbodies whilst watching the AP gushing over everyone and playing the grand old dame for the benefit of the audience. We know that the minute everything has settled back to normal the AP we know and tolerate will return, pompous, vain, snobbish and capable of being extremely unpleasant.
Oh well, we will just have to smile sweetly and open another bottle!
Twenty-four hours to go to liberation.