Maybe I feel like this more than I realise these days. We are almost a week into our twenty-eight day break from the AP and it has been a glorious relief to be free from the tensions and the manipulation.
Then just as we are truly beginning to relax and enjoy our space and our time together we get a call from my cousin to say the AP has had to visit the hospital because her leg has swollen up. An ultrasound has revealed a clot in her groin and that her kidneys aren’t too good but at almost one hundred and one years old its to be expected. But she isn’t so ill that they needed to keep her in overnight and she returns for further tests on Wednesday.
But none of this is what has left me feeling the way I do. No, it was the conversation I had with my cousin that left me reeling a little. Apparently the AP who has resisted all attempts to even look at a care home just for emergency purposes down with us has been hinting that she could go into one in Scotland near them. I also heard from a friend down here that she had told them that her nephew wanted her to live with them but I didn’t want that. News to me!
So how has this left me feeling? Hurt that we have lost five years coping with this difficult and selfish old woman, who at a manipulative whim thinks she can just up sticks and depart? Sad that she obviously feels that all our efforts have been a total waste of time and have been utterly unappreciated? Angry that she is so devious and controlling? Well, I guess all of these things.
But at the end of the day anything can be arranged. I can handle all of her affairs from here and my cousin and his wife can visit her in a home up there. If it all comes to pass it will probably be the last I will see of her. The drive up there is only something to be done once or twice a year. Would I be happy with that? If it’s what the AP wants I have to be, sad, but at the end of the day what does any of it matter. I don’t really know what I feel about any of this and cannot understand why she feels the need to play these games with everyone’s emotions. Maybe it is all just part of being so old, so out of control of your own life and in need of finding a way to simply feel wanted. But in truth if that is the case all she had to do when she came to live with us five years ago was accept what we had to offer and to relax and enjoy life.
In the meanwhile we are visiting a Care Home near us later next week.
I haven’t written a blog for some time mainly because life has either been good or at least acceptable but not anymore. The AP is back and with her comes continual stress.
It is astonishing how one little old lady can cast such a long shadow over our lives. Having had almost six gloriously stress-free weeks the AP has been back less than two weeks and I have rapidly rising blood pressure and a sense of utter frustration that we took on this ungrateful, selfish, arrogant and now, ultimately stupid old woman.
It is absolutely horrendous how quickly she has destroyed the equilibrium that existed in our home and in our lives. We try so hard to help, to aid, to put simply, look after this person but it is a thankless task and we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Nothing we do seems to help or be truly appreciated and I am now back to being on edge and stressed. She seems to resent the fact that we deserve a life and is jealous if we go off on our own. Despite medication my blood pressure is hovering around hypertension stage two and I am fighting to remain calm and have some self control but she seems to delight in making our lives and mine in particular, an utter misery. Who is this woman? Certainly not my mother or the person I thought of as my mother
I really cannot allow this to happen and I must find some ways to counteract her nasty, selfish ways. But how?
Up until now I really have been doing well. Since starting the diet I have lost 26lbs and have gone from being Type 2 Diabetic to non-Diabetic. As the practice nurse put it, I am normal and I must keep on with what I am doing, it’s working! I was utterly thrilled to get the news and now need to get the BP down to a healthy level. Whilst the AP was away it had stabilised around 130/70 but since the return of the shadow, the bat hanging in the rafters, it has risen at an alarming and dangerous rate. The AP has no knowledge of any of this and even if she did I doubt it would dent the ego. She is incapable of accepting any responsibility for her actions and always blames others when things go wrong
It really would be ironic that if anything happened to me the first thing the LSO would do is sell up and put the AP into a Care Home. That is obviously something that hasn’t occurred to the AP.
I am delighted to report that the weight loss continues to be slow but steady although I haven’t had the best of weeks, for some strange reason I have been fighting various cravings. They have not been the usual desire for carbs in the form of the LSO’s lovely sourdough bread slathered in a really good creamy butter, no it’s been for something sweet. I have seldom felt the need for sweets or desserts and have always been able to take them or leave them unlike savouries such as crisps, pastry and bread. I found myself indulging in some dark chocolate and had to stop myself from gorging it all in one go. Is this going to be like every other diet tried in the past?
Definitely not, and as a result of these emotions I decided to do a bit of research and came to the conclusion that I had to get my stress levels under control and perhaps needed to eat a little more protein. Today I am definitely feeling a bit more in control.
The stress of course is caused by the AP who as her impending visit to Scotland looms is trying to be more and more controlling with an attempt at emotional blackmail thrown in for good measure. Then there is the astonishing statement made to a friend of ours earlier this week that ‘I can be as rude as I like because I am a hundred years old and and people just have to accept that’. Unbelievable really and laughable too! Anyway she was firmly put in her place by our friend who told her that the only thing that’s acceptable about her age was that people needed to make allowances for the fact that she was slower at everything. But where on earth did that thought come from? No wonder I don’t know who she is anymore.
But suffice to say the LSO and are are really looking forward to our break from her, to having our freedom and our home back even if just for a month.
Well, our month without the AP is over and her one hundredth birthday has been successfully celebrated in style and is now over so we are back to the same old routine and the same old repetitive conversations.
At least with the summer looming the weather will be better and the AP can sit out under the shade and catch a few rays. They might work a miracle and improve her attitude and behaviour but I won’t be holding my breath. Sadly the AP’s very presence has ratcheted up the angst and watching her pretend to all and sundry during the celebrations that she is this dear, sweet little old lady has caused the LSO and myself much frustration. The reality is very much the opposite. At this very moment I am listening to the conversation between my lovely cousin from Canada and the AP and no matter what is said the AP manages with amazing skill to bring everything back to herself! I have to be thankful that there is some conversation at all because in truth I have nothing to say to her which is sad in itself but anything in the present is promptly forgotten, hence the repetition and the past is always the same old stories over and over again.
Our month off was pretty stressful but all the boiler work is completed and the results have been definitely worth it, just having a shower is a joy. But the LSO and I now need a break! What a joke but I suppose October isn’t too far away as long as my equally lovely Scottish cousins will have the AP back.
Now I must really get to grips with the diet and next Monday I will start the 5:2 diet in earnest. I am also looking at a low carb regime following Genius Foods. Our darling daughter has sent me some information on podcasts to listen too and the LSO and I will be following this new, according to the LSO, tyranny (typical male response) as soon as I have sorted the meals out. I haven’t gained the weight I lost originally but equally haven’t lost any more. I try to tell myself that being positive is the way to go but do know that as far as the AP is concerned it can only get worse but in the meantime I will endeavour to be a better person and think better thoughts.
A title that means a multitude of things to different people. Some will think of creatures lurking in the depths, others the rise, heralding a good summer’s evening fishing or even perhaps the irritation of eczema lying under the skin. For the LSO and I it is watching the AP and waiting for her innate nastiness which is never far away to ripple the surface and yes, it has started again. She is trying to dominate us, insisting things are done her way, making unnecessary demands and has returned to making snide and unpleasant remarks about the LSO, some just out of earshot. Today she was told by me again to stop being so unpleasant because it is completely out of order and also totally wrong.
The AP just can’t seem to help herself and doesn’t seem to understand that trying any attempt at divide and rule will only cause her trouble, I will not put up with it but, in truth, for us it creates yet another layer of stress and inner turmoil. It is difficult to relax in her company and there is no pleasure in going out with her, you never know when the next little smart arse comment will emerge. The AP has also added another ‘accent’ to her repertoire, along with the superior tones of all hallowed academe, the demanding ‘do this’ tone, the charming old lady gush, we now have a silly little girly voice which emerges at intervals and says things like ‘oh goody, chippies’ or ‘look a toot toot’. No, she is not suffering from dementia, she does forget things, gets situations mixed up but that is to be expected when you are close to a hundred years old. The problem seems to be that old age has stripped away most of the veneer of niceness and the AP can no longer be bothered to make the effort with us. She still does the show for others because she can manage in the short term.
But all of this is extremely hurtful for me, she is my mother and any attempt on her behalf to drive a wedge between the LSO and myself is despicable and really does prove that I don’t matter to her at all. As I said in an earlier blog we have been thoroughly used and if it hadn’t been for the LSO she would not be here now. She has become a very silly old woman but does need to be careful, even I have a breaking point and a care home could loom. I must put out the information again for her to find, I think the AP has forgotten the blow up last October and has become complacent but sadly the LSO and I haven’t because her nastiness and lies have left an indelible mark.
I do find myself wondering what I must have done in an earlier life to be living like this now, I just hope it was worth it.
Actually I did laugh. The AP arrived downstairs yesterday after her weekly shower and announced it had been lovely. We do have awful water pressure problems here in the village and I asked her if there had been a good flow of water. Oh yes she replied followed by ‘but I’m not really the one to ask as I don’t need as much water as you do, being smaller’. For just a moment I was stunned as the implication sank in and I just had to laugh; you really couldn’t make it up. I was asking about the water pressure and didn’t expect a response that implied my much fatter body needed more water in the shower. I think the AP thought she was being very witty, not insulting in the least but it has made me smile at intervals throughout the day just because of the sheer gall.
I decided today, after a phone call from a good friend, that I really need to plan my menus in advance if I wish to have any success at losing some of my excess weight. That may sound easy for most but it isn’t for me. I tend to gauge how I feel each day about what to prepare for dinner. For instance ‘am I in a chilli or curry mood? Do I fancy cooking fish or shellfish? Perhaps a vegetarian dish would be something a bit different so as you can see I am not too good at wearing a straight jacket where food is concerned and I guess that explains partly why I have a weight problem.
The LSO has said that the AP will have to accept that if I am to lose weight she will either have the same as us or a ready or pre-prepared meal from the freezer. I will not be explaining any of this to the AP because I know from experience she will never be off my back. It will be a continuous stream of questions and useless advice based on no knowledge and I will become even more stressed out.
Low carbs are the way to go and tonight we are eating out which can sometimes present problems. But tomorrow, well I will start then.
Ok, it is official that stress makes you fat and it’s worse if you are over sixty. I can definitely relate to that statement because despite my best efforts my body refuses to do what it is told or so it seems. I am not a happy dieter, I love to cook and I love eating out so I am probably my own worst enemy in truth.
Having been diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic I have made a huge effort to toe the dieting line but generally I hardly lose any weight unless I survive on a lettuce leaf for every meal. I know, that’s an exaggeration but it really does seem that way. I tried a really low carb diet for a week and lost four pounds but the following week I reverted to a more mixed but sensible diet because we were on holiday and I put on three pounds. I do think the first part of a severe eating regime causes a large fluid loss and looking on the bright side at least I didn’t put on four pounds or more.
I am now restricting sugars which isn’t difficult as I don’t have a really sweet tooth and I am keeping carbs down by reducing the amount of bread, potatoes, rice and pasta I eat which is difficult as I am a carboholic. Hopefully I will see a difference in weight by the end of the week. I am aware that exercise is just as important and I do swim as much as I can but do need to walk more. The LSO suggested getting the bicycle up and running and provided the photograph above which about says it all really. It’s certainly a reflection of how my body feels at the moment, in need of some attention.
The AP returns on Monday but I refuse to become stressed out about it. Somehow both myself and the LSO must survive all this and enjoy life as best we can. Being resentful brings only misery and that can become a habit too hard to break and I really do not want to go down that road. The LSO and I have always managed to laugh a lot which is such an important part of being well and staying healthy and we must not lose that facility no matter what happens. So how do we do this? Well, by a sheer determination to rise above this situation and to not be beaten into the ground.
Well it’s official according to the AP, we are naive! At 71 years of age, having more experience in every respect than the AP has ever had even at 99 year of age we have been told we were this at the lunch table.
Part of the problem is her lack of hearing and the echo syndrome; someone makes a comment and seconds later the AP repeats this as if she is the first person to say it. All very peculiar. I got up to destroy her old bank card and said I would cut it up. Seconds later we were told it had to be cut up to which the LSO said yes, that was happening and then as if he hadn’t spoken she told him that we were naive and didn’t know about things like that. Oh dear!
The next issue will no doubt be over her passport which expires when she is 101! I used it to apply for her disabled sticker and am being accused of not returning it to her. Unfortunately I don’t remember handing it back but it isn’t something I would hang on too. I am afraid it will be another ‘oh dear’ moment.
Two days to go and we will be able to breathe again and hopefully the stress levels will start to recede. I feel at the moment a knot of angst inside and a feeling of not having enough oxygen in the air.