Monday, 26 January 2015

Things I just have to tell you...

My blog is now 8, thank you for bearing with me for all these years, from the bottom of my heart, I luffs you and am so grateful to share a wee bloggy space with you.

 I cannot believe how much has changed, the children are  22, 19 and 18, we have come a long way. They all now have qualifications, none are in jail and still no fillings. I should get a medal.
The children just get better looking and more interesting, however I am  now beginning to resemble a shar pei, an elderly and quite chubby shar pie. I remain, quite bewildered by life but now it may pass for early onset dementia.

I have been sent an official letter about my job, which I luff as it is being made redundant. In the letter was a confidentiality clause so I can't tell you what I think about losing my job, which I luff but I expect you can guess what I might be thinking. I am thinking it quite hard.

On a cheerier note, I went to Paris at the weekend, I have been to Paris with 3 different men in my life. I can't begin to tell you how much racier that makes me sound than I am in real life (see para 3, elderly chubby shar pei) How and ever, this trip was lovely, I luff Paris, there is a lot about what I luff in this post to stop me thinking about the bad stuff (see para 4, in which the aunties job is no more)

I luff the Eurostar, luff, luff, luff.

 I did not luff Searcy's champagne bar at St Pancras, we were massively underwhelmed and it wasn't underwhelmed kind of money. I am going to sound even more middle aged but the toilets were a disgrace. It should have been a gorgeous end to a gorgeous trip but Searcy's, you sucked.

In the next month I am going on trips (not by Eurostar, sadly) but sans weans (always a plus) but we are off to Malmo in Sweden and Copenhagen (which despite all of my children's education and the fact 1 of them has a degree and is a PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER (in capitals for emphasis), none of them knew which country it was in!) Any suggestions for Malmo or Copenhagen gratefully received.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The 12 Days of Parents

I have wondered and wondered about posting stuff now about my mother as her dementia erodes her own self, I've been blogging a long time now and I always felt that is you were related to me it was fair game. Now I'm not so sure.
We had as reasonable a Christmas as we could have done under very trying circumstances, having lots of people fundamentally unsuited to being with other humans (me, mainly) and all being cooped up together don't make for peace and goodwill to either men nor aunties. Unfortunately as neither of my parents can now drive and my dad has COPD, it meant they spent a lot of time at home, with me, nae luck to anybody there. Himself worked all through the Christmas break. Eldest Beautiful Daughter had to fit in visits to her dad, brother, friends & boyfriends family. Beautiful Baby Daughter was around some but with coursework, boyfriend and mates. The girls were brilliant with their nana but she's not easy to be with for long periods of time.  I did try and get them out, my mum will walk for miles, she has slowed down ever such a lot but she still loves a walk but because of my dad's COPD we are limited as to how far we can go.
Eating out is a pleasure of the past as mum eats very little now and can't cope with any kind of flavour (food was a big issue this visit) I enjoy eating out with them so much less as mum removes her teeth ( she has a plate with her top 4 central teeth) to eat or now drink anything and them smiles at everyone, alarmingly showing them her fangs, so any reports of Dracula's granny sighted in Market Harborough were just of my mother. She gets hugely cross when asked to put her teeth back in, grabs her omnipresent handbag (more of which anon) and storms out to go home.
Shopping was good, she enjoys this and can still read the word sale, double win as she enjoys a bargain. Less happy was the fight she put up when my dad was trying to dissuade her from buying a purple teeny tiny mini skirt. Anything bright pink or bright purple will be a winner, double points if it's soft and warm. This year I bought her pink UGG slippers and a pink and purple striped fleecy jumper, she loved them, Lucy said it made her look like a marshmallow flump, to be fair it did but she was happy and that seems to be everyone's goal now.

Attired in fleecy pinks and purples, she is accompanied everywhere by a large brown PVC handbag, she has lots of really lovely handbags but this  (AWFUL fake Mulberry bought from the market in Turkey) seems to be her favourite, she meticulously takes everything out of it,  always has a purse which she will check for her money, her bank cards and her drivers license (which is a laminated photocopy as her psychiatrist wrote to the DVLA to remove her license), she will show you all of these things telling you she has them. Then will come her fan (think of Spanish holiday souvenir circa 1975, all back lace and dodgy flamenco dancers) I have no idea why she brought the fan in December, she is always freezing - even in the summer and her shoes most usually if she has slippers on or vice versa. If we lost anything over Christmas in invariably turned up in Nana's bag. The bag got checked constantly if she was unoccupied, everything out, shown to you and back in again. Tinky Winky eat your heart out.
She has taken to wearing every item of jewellery she possesses all together, we are talking at least 10 rings and maybe 6 or 7 bracelets, 2 necklaces and a watch, but she can't tell time any more. The sparklier  and more bling the better, such a change from how she was before. She also likes to tell you about her rings and you have to admire them. One of the few things she properly enjoyed over the break was Lucy painting her nails, bright purple of course. She would look and admire her fingernails and then you could admire both the nail varnish and the rings.

She was much better in the morning but by late afternoon she was falling asleep on the sofa, her agitation was much higher then too. If my dad wasn't by her side she wanted to find him, waiting for him outside the loo several times a day, one comedy moment was her going out to the garden where he was having a  peaceful ciggy and a fly mug of tea to say "She says I have to leave you for 5 minutes to have your smoke"
 Her ability to converse has gone now, she can't follow the thread of any conversation, calls everyone sweetheart to avid using names and has several stock phrases which came in handy for nana drinking bingo.  She also thinks that what is on TV is real and quite often about her. She need regular updates on what we are doing/planning to do/when she is going home/that she can't go home today as the plane is booked for Saturday and it is far too far to walk etc.
Now she has declined so far, she is unable to do anything for herself unaided or unprompted, she has to be told to eat the food on her plate or drink her drink, she in not capable of choosing her food/drinks but can feed herself although my dad is now starting to cut some things up for her. She can't manage to wash or dress herself, she screamed the place down when she had her hair washed (and we HAD to wash it) she was furious with us but 10 minutes later all dry and fleeced up she was happy again.

So I had a glimpse into the groundhog day that is my dad's life, she needs him there constantly, even if she was with me for a few hours, she works herself up into a right old state about getting back to him and she only seems content if he is there beside her.
I feel awful that I can't really relieve him of the burden of caring for her, he doesn't see it as a burden, just as his life now, pragmatic chap that he is. I am trying to encourage him to take the befriender offer and use a day centre but he knows she only wants him, I try and say tactfully that he needs to look after himself as if he goes under, neither my sister or I would be in a position to offer full time care to her.

This is such a sad, sad story that I expect is very common as dementia seems to affect so many people. And sadder still that my mother will only get worse.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A year of adventures

2015 is going to be a year of awfully big adventures for myself and my beloved husband. We have spent the last few years juggling being a parent with looking after elderly parents, some of it has been easy peasy, some of it not so much. I am currently day 10 of my parents 12 days of Christmas visit.  The husband and I have survived by sheer blind determination and quite a lot of gin.
To compensate ourselves for all this duty (which, quite frankly is boring beyond belief) we have decided that 2015 will be the year where we do interesting stuff.
We have some fancy pants trips lined up, all booked and sorted, all we need now is some clean knickers and a toothbrush each. Fortunately Santa took care of that. Roll on 2015