I’d hoped to do a proper blog post this week but I simply haven’t had time. Inbetween visiting Mum every day in the hospital, clearing up after my birthday party, seeing to the dog, helping my Dad, shopping, cooking, washing and going to Camera Club the days have passed in a blurry, exhausted, painful, hectic haze.
However, the good news is that my Mum came home on Friday afternoon so I’m hoping that life with return to some semblance of normality. Of course, once the adrenalin on which I’ve been running for the past several weeks has subsided I will inevitably crash, so I’m anticipating then spending a couple of weeks in bed feeling like the living dead and getting behind on my jobs all over again but that’s just the nature of the chronic illness beast. I’m also expecting hives to appear any day and am amazed they haven’t put in an appearance before now, stress being my number one mast cell degranulating trigger.
The Hospital arranged for Mum to have a carer come in the morning to get her dressed, but they hadn’t arranged for a carer at night to get her undressed. I did point out that if she can’t get dressed then she can’t get undressed (!) so before she was released I asked firmly that a night-time carer was put in place. She can walk to the loo on her own with her Zimmer but then can’t pull her pants down because she’s holding on to the Zimmer so my Dad does that bit. I asked what happens when she needs the loo on the night and my Dad is sound asleep in the next room and they apparently hadn’t thought of that! So this morning a commode has been ordered to put next to her bed. I honestly wonder what planet the social care team in hospital is on, because they clearly have no idea of the needs of their patients. I think they just assume that because Mum is married my Dad will do everything, and I had to point out that he’s nearly 80, has arthritis and dementia and if they thought for two seconds that he is going to make himself ill looking after my Mum they can think again.
Before my Mum came home I made my Dad tip all the alcohol in the house down the sink. He was reluctant and said he felt guilty doing it, which just shows the level of emotional blackmail an alcoholic has on those around them. I, on the other hand, had no such qualms but then I’m not the one who has to live with my Mother, my poor Dad is. I then had the unenviable task of telling my Mum that there was no vodka in the house so not to even bother asking. I lied and said the doctors had told me that if she drinks she’ll kill herself as she’s so poorly, but then she had a go at me for discussing her drinking with the Doctors. So I had to explain that you can’t go from drinking a lot every day to stopping suddenly because you could have a seizure, and the doctors needed to know that so that they could give her medication to help. Due to the shame of alcoholism she wasn’t happy I’d talked about her drinking with the doctors so I just said “well if you didn’t drink I wouldn’t have to would I?” I refuse to be made to feel guilty for her behaviour. I’m not totally heartless, however, and realize she drinks for a reason so I’ve arranged for her own GP to come and see her on Monday and I’ll have a chat with her about the situation. I’m hoping there may be some counselling available – my Mum definitely needs to talk to someone about her issues and should have done so years ago.
While my Mum’s been in hospital I’ve fully realized the extent of my Dad’s dementia. He basically has to be told what to do every second of every day and you still have to check that he’s done what he was supposed to be doing. He needs help to choose what to eat, help with phone calls and paperwork, and just general constant reassurance that he’s not alone. He gets incredibly stressed when asked to do anything outside of his normal routine and gets himself really worked up about life in general. And he’s only at the mild end of the dementia spectrum! It’s a bloody awful disease and my heart goes out to him.
People around me are telling me to get more help with my parents and have no idea that the help simply isn’t available. Yes my brothers should do more but the truth is they have no intention and would genuinely leave my parents to get on with it rather than step up to the plate. Carers only do things like shove a meal in the microwave and help with washing and dressing. They aren’t going to spend 2 hours re-arranging the furniture in the lounge to accommodate Mum’s zimmer frame as I did on Friday morning, or putting together the commode, perch stool and toilet frame which the hospital Occupational Therapist ordered and my Dad had to collect from a shop in town (the OT doesn’t even visit the house to do a proper assessment any more FFS). There is no-one to do banking, open and deal with post, arrange follow-up hospital appointments, chiropody and hairdressers to come to the house, no-one to fix the intercom at the front door which has chosen this bloody week to stop working and no-one to unpack my Mum’s case from hospital and re-pack it with new stuff in case she needs to go back in. All the things we take for granted that we do in a day until we can no longer do them. I admit I’m so knackered I’m a bit grumpy and people’s suggestions of getting more help (like I haven’t fucking thought of that!) are getting on my frazzled nerves.
To be a bit selfish for a minute, I think everyone forgets that I am also ill and while I’m looking after my Mum and Dad there is no-one looking after me (mind you, the fact that no-one looks after me has been ignored for the last 23 years so no change there then). I made sure yesterday that my folks had everything they needed, that their dinner was made, that Mum had a clean nightie to put on……..and came home, exhausted, at 6pm to find my bed wasn’t made, I had no dinner organized, my dishwasher was full and there were dirty dishes all over the kitchen counters from not only this morning but yesterday and the day before, my bin needed to be put out and I realized I hadn’t washed my hair since last Saturday (thank God for my wig!). These are one of the few times that I miss having a partner. Mind you, from the last few boyfriends I’ve had I would still have come home to an unmade bed, no dinner and a dirty kitchen because they were lazy bastards who did fuck all in the house, and the things they did do they expected a sodding medal for, so maybe I’m not missing much after all!
I’m sure things will settle down in the next week or so but just at the mo life feels a bit overwhelming. I could do with an afternoon at the Spa or an evening out amongst normal people but don’t have the money, time or energy for either! Maybe next month.