Tag Archives: frustration

Being a Carer

As most of you know both my parents are nearly 80 – my Mum is physically disabled and an alcoholic and my Dad has learning difficulties and mild dementia.  They both really struggle with the modern world and are clueless when it comes to technology.

When they first got their cordless phone it took them forever to understand that they now had to press the green button to pick up a call and the red button to finish the call – they kept forgetting to press red then nobody could get through.  It also took ages for them to get used to using the phone book and speed dial, but now they love it because they can’t remember anyone’s phone numbers in any event (can any of us?!).

My Dad now also has a mobile phone on which he can make and receive calls although texting is beyond him, however at least he can ring 999 on it if needed and more importantly we can ring him to check he’s OK when he’s out and about.

I live 6 miles from my parents, but there’s currently masses of roadworks and diversions and I have to drive 9 miles to see them making an 18 mile round trip.  As you know, I was out all day yesterday plus have been feeling rubbish all week so today I’m exhausted but I always ring my parents every morning to check they’re OK…………..and this morning the phone rang and rang and rang and not only did no-one pick up the answer phone didn’t kick in.  Summat was up (as we say in the north).  I eventually got through on my Dad’s mobile, though, so at least knew they were both fine but there was clearly an issue with the landline.

So after I took Bertie out this afternoon I drove the 9 miles into town to discover the base wasn’t working on their cordless phone so neither of the handsets could make or receive a call.  I tried everything Google told me to do and eventually concluded the base had become faulty and would have to go back to Amazon (luckily it’s under warranty).  However, this left them without a landline, vital for Mum should Dad be out and have taken his mobile with him.

So I drove the 9 miles home, picked up an old corded landline phone I keep in case of power cuts, and drove the 9 miles back into town with it.  I plugged it in, rang my mobile on it to make sure it was working, showed mum how to use it and drove the 9 miles back home again.  By this time it was 4.30pm and, as I’m usually in bed by then, I was feeling pretty ropey.

I was just about to get into my pjs when my mobile rang – it was my Mum, using my Dad’s mobile to ring me to say that she’d tried to use the corded phone to ring me but it said ‘number not recognized’.  So I patiently, again, went through how to ring out on the corded phone (“don’t press any other buttons than the numbers” I tell her, “there’s no green or red buttons like on the other phone”).  I asked my Mum to try it again and ring me back.  Nothing.  So I rang the mobile back only to get a voice telling me the call could not be made.  So I tried ringing the landline, only of course it was engaged as my Mum was trying to ring me.  *sigh*.

Eventually Mum gave up trying to ring me so I could then ring her. “What’s happening?” I ask.
“The stupid bloody phone still won’t work” she replies testily and now your Dad’s mobile is saying “sim not recognized”.  I have no fucking clue what they’d done but were effectively now without a phone to ring the emergency services if needed.  I told her to put my Dad on the line, asked him to turn his mobile off and back on again, and he said he had but it still said “sim not recognized”.  FFS.  I couldn’t leave them like that all night, so in my slippers I bundle Bertie back in the car and drive the 9 mile back to town.

I tried ringing my mobile from the corded landline phone and it worked a treat.  I also called my home phone and it worked a treat.  “Well it wasn’t working when I did it!” my Mum shouted at me, obviously embarrassed that the phone was clearly fine she had just pressed something she shouldn’t.  So, using every ounce of patience I possess, I went through yet again how to dial out on the phone when what I actually wanted to say was “well if you weren’t bloody drunk all the time you might manage better!”

I then turned my Dad’s mobile off and back on again and it, too, was working perfectly.

I got back in the car and drove the 9 miles home.  I now feel too sick with tiredness to even contemplate eating my dinner and the much needed bath I was going to have has gone out the window as I no longer have the energy.

Things like this happen week in week out, month in month out, year in year out.  Caring for elderly and confused relatives isn’t just about hospital appointments or putting the bins out – it’s about the million and one little things which frazzle your nerves, test your patience and drain you of energy.  And it’s all doubly difficult when you’re ill yourself and have no-one caring for you.

Thank you for listening to my little rant – I have no-one else to tell y’see and it always helps the frustration to put it down on paper.  The shitty part is I know my Mum still can’t use the corded phone and neither could my Dad if needed, so basically it’s all been a great big waste of time and energy.  I’m off to order a replacement cordless phone with next day delivery on Amazon and to arrange to send the faulty one back.

 

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Meltdown

I had a total meltdown this morning.  I woke up perfectly normally, wrote my chatty Weekly Roundup blog post, took Bertie out on my scooter as the dog walker doesn’t work weekends, and was poddling along when a car drew up next to me.  I live in a tourist area and vehicles often stop to ask for directions so I wasn’t expecting this conversation:

That wasn’t very hygienic!”
I was taken aback and then realized the head poking through the car window was a lady out of my village.
“Er, excuse me?”
“Your dog just peed up the egg box!”
The farmers put their boxes of eggs in large plastic containers by the side of the road and you put money in a tin box if you take any.
“Did he?!  Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t see or else I would have stopped him.”
“Don’t deny it.  I just saw him with my own eyes!  And you can see the pee all over the box!”
“I’m not denying it.  I just didn’t see him.  I’m really sorry and wouldn’t have let him do it if I’d seen him.”
“I get my eggs from that box.  It’s disgusting to let a dog pee up it!”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know he was doing it.”
“It’s really unhygienic!”
“I apologise.  I’ll go and get some cleaning stuff and wipe it off.”
“Lots of people get their eggs from that box, how d’yer think they’d feel if they knew your dog had peed up it?”
“I’m really sorry, I’ll clean it up.”
And she drove off without another word.

Now I know Bert peeing up the egg box wasn’t right, but there are ways of speaking to people and this wasn’t the way.  It really shook me up.

Bertie is a tiny dog.  This incident took place a mile from my house and I know that Bert’s pee runs out only a few hundred yards up the village.  I’m not doubting he cocked his leg, but I was doubtful anything actually came out of his willy.  However, I turned my scooter round and went to the farm in question, knocked on the door and explained what had happened, apologising profusely and offering to clean up the pee.  The farmer couldn’t have been nicer and said his own dog pees up there, that’s what dogs do.  And it’s a plastic box so nothing inside would be affected by anything on the outside of the box.  However, to reassure me he went and inspected the box and said it was bone dry and I was worrying unnecessarily.

So on our way home I knocked on the door of the lady’s house who had shouted at me, explained what I’d done to rectify the situation and reassured her Bertie hadn’t peed on the box.  I was rewarded by her massive black Labrador shooting out of the house and attacking Bert.

As you know, I’m not a big cryer.  It’s pointless when you live on your own.  There is no-one to wipe away your tears, no-one to hug you better and no-one to reassure you everything is going to be alright.  In my world, crying solves absolutely nothing.  However, after this morning’s incident I had a total meltdown.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I barely got through the back door when all the anguish, stress, anger, pressure, anxiety and sheer exhaustion of the past few months overwhelmed me and I plopped down in a big heap on my hall floor, still wearing my waterproofs, anorak and wellies, and simply sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed.

I’m fed up of being lonely.  I’m fed up of having no-one to talk to.  I’m fed up of being skint.  I’m fed up of having to be strong, all the time.  I’m fed up of never being touched let alone hugged.  I’m fed up of having no help, of having to do every single little thing on my own no matter how ill or exhausted I am.  I’m fed up of being anxious.  I’m fed up of caring for my parents when I have 3 brothers who do absolutely fuck all.  I’m fed up of pretending to the world that I’m not sick.  I’m fed up of being sick.  I’m fed up of being in pain.  I’m fed up of being exhausted.  I’m fed up of the boredom which makes up a large part of my day. I’m fed up of Doctors who don’t give a crap.  I’m fed up of receiving no care.  I’m so tired of the fight of my existence.

I don’t want to go out for lunch tomorrow with my parents.  My Dad talks shite and I have to treat him like a 5 year old, making sure he’s seated, doesn’t wander off, order a drink for him, take him through the menu and order his food for him, tuck his napkin in his shirt because he spills everything down his front, try and include him in the conversation even though he can barely follow anything that’s being said.  I don’t want to listen to my drunk Mum, slurring her words, repeating every she’s already told me 5 times and expecting me to act like it’s the first time I’ve heard it, not being able to follow the conversation, either finding everything funny or finding everything irritating and snapping at me and Dad, having to order her meal for her cos she’s not capable and knowing all the while that every single word I say she won’t remember by that evening, and we’ll go over every conversation again on Monday.   It’s exhausting and stressful and absolutely no fucking fun whatsoever.  And I have to sit there pretending like I’m having a nice time.  I can’t do it.

So I rang my Mum and told her I’m not going with them for lunch tomorrow.
“Why?”
“Do you want me to be honest Mum?”
“I do.”
“Because I can’t cope with your drinking at the moment.  I don’t want to cope with it.  You’re not my Mum when you’re drunk.  You’re putting incredible pressure on me and I’m struggling to cope with it on top of everything else.” All said very calmly and without blame.
“What if I promise not to drink tomorrow?  Will you come then?”
“I don’t know Mum.  I think I just need a break from being around the situation.”
“I promise I won’t drink tomorrow.  Please say you’ll come.  I really want you to.”  And so starts the emotional blackmail.
I said I’d think about it and let her know.

I now have a headache and still feel weepy.  The meltdown came out of nowhere but just shows the strain I’m under and all the stuff I bury so that I can keep functioning.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that.  Thanks for listening x