When

There is a post on Facebook. When did you last hug your dad?

There are many responses with dates being the day of or days before their fathers died. My dad died in January 1995. I didn’t hug him the day he died. He died suddenly of a heart attack.

I didn’t hug him the last time I saw him. To be honest I hadn’t hugged him in many many years. Searching my memory I can’t recall hugging him although I am pretty sure I did as a child. When I was little he took great delight in tickling me. We were touchy feely when I was a small child. However even before I became a teenager the distance had already begun.

Neither of my parents were huggy or kissy people. I have always felt that my dad had no idea how to be part of a family. He was sent off to boarding school when he was 7. His sister is 10 years younger than him. By the time he left school she was at boarding school herself. I don’t think I remember either of my parents telling us kids that they love us. I know that they did love us though.

Even now my mother doesn’t enjoy hugs. She doesn’t like being touched. There have been times in my adult life when I have given my mother a hug. It is awkward because it isn’t natural but there have been times when she has needed a hug even if she doesn’t realise it. Now that my family have grown up they and their partners give her a hug. She accepts those but they still don’t come naturally to her.

Growing up I would see how other families interacted. It made me sad not to have that with my family. When I had my own children I vowed to be different. Everyday I made sure that there were lots of kisses and cuddles. I told them every day that I love them. Unfortunately their father was somewhat like my father, not knowing how to show his love for his children. He would ask me to tell them that he loved them.

After we divorced I had a few relationships. I always asked the new man whether he hugged his children and told them he loved them. They all said yes.

My boys have all grown up to be affectionate young men. Two are now fathers themselves. I can see the difference between them and their father and mine.

My sister in law tells me that my brother is so affected by the lack of affection growing up that he also has difficulty showing affection to his children.

I have many friends who hug everyone, I’m not like that but over the years I have become more comfortable with giving hugs but I am selective over who gets a hug from me.

Hopefully my family will teach their children and eventually their grandchildren that affection is wonderful to have and give.

Do you come from an affectionate family or one like mine?

Tissue Issue

Ever since I have been doing my mother’s laundry I have complained about her tissue issue.

I have no idea how many times I have emptied the washing machine to find that a tissue had been in among her clothes.

I lost count of the number of times I told her to remove the tissues before putting her clothes in the laundry.

She has now been in hospital since mid November. When I visit her (that has become more difficult this week with the rise in covid). I am given a bag of laundry to take home and wash. Not a problem. The bag of laundry I washed last week included a tissue.

If she is to be believed her tissues get removed and thrown away as soon as she has used them once. The nurses are always trying to tidy up her space.

Either she has been sneaky or the nurses have missed a few tissues.

Yesterday when I did the latest bag of laundry, even though I took each item out of the bag individually she still managed to get a couple of tissues in. Emptying the washing machine there was even more tissue bits all over the floor than normal.

Why oh why does she insist on hiding tissues in her clothing.

Do you know anyone who does this?

This is My Life

In a few months I shall hit that milestone birthday the big Six O. For nearly 40 years I have been running my own household.

For the last 4 weeks my mother has been in hospital with a broken ankle.

I know that being stuck in hospital with not much to do leaves a lot of time to over think things.

When I visited her the other day she asked me how I am coping being on my own running the house. She asks if I have enough money, am I eating enough.

On the radio a little while ago I heard the words of the great Billy Joel. He says exactly how I’m feeling.

This is my life, just leave me alone. For years I have wished that I lived alone. One day that will happen but not until my mother eventually goes into a nursing home.

In the meantime let me enjoy these weeks of living to my own timetable. I can eat what I want when I want. I can do what I want without keeping an eye on the clock (except for visiting time).

I know that no matter my age my mother will always think of me as her little girl. I know how hard it was for her when she thought she would lose me to cancer but that was 20 years ago.

All my life I have felt that my mother is disappointed in me. She says that isn’t so, but it’s how I have felt. It doesn’t help when she talks to me as though I am a child who has to be supervised at all times. I know that isn’t what she thinks.

In hospital she complains to me that the staff talk to the patients as though they are children.

I don’t know how that feels … Much!

Getting everything organised for when my mother comes home has been exhausting, especially as my energy levels are still so very low. I am enjoying being able to pretend that this is my life for a while at least.

All change

So much is going on. I don’t have the time or energy to process it all just yet.

Know that I am relatively OK. I will check back in when everything has settled down a bit.

Mother’s MS has progressed

Mother has broken her ankle currently in hospital

Rearranging house so that Mother has her bedroom downstairs

Everything else is just life as normal squeezed into the gaps between hospital visits etc

Lots to think about

I had asked for this a few weeks ago and today was the day. Two very pleasant young women (young to us) came to see us. They asked lots of questions and answered our questions.

Caring for my mother who has Multiple Sclerosis has become gradually more challenging. Having talked to these two specialist nurses we now know where we are at with this progressive condition.

It takes two of us to get mum in and out of the car. They suggested that we forget about taking her anywhere in the car. This doesn’t mean that she will never leave the house again. Instead I need to apply to our local council for taxi vouchers. For hospital visits etc we need to call a wheelchair accessible taxi so that she can leave the house in her wheelchair and stay in it from start to end.

She can also go to exercise classes run by MS society so that she can meet with others in the same boat and give me some alone time. We can get dial a ride to collect her and bring her back.

Then there is the question of getting her in and out of bed. The time is fast approaching for us to engage a carer to come in each morning to assist her with getting up washed and dressed. We both knew this was inevitable but being told that the time has come is kind of a weight off my shoulders deciding when and how to do this

There is also the decision that it’s time to think about moving her bed downstairs. When we do this I will move my things out of the dining room up to the bedroom.

We discuss other things to make life easier for both of us but that’s enough for today.

I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders but at the same time a feeling of deflation.

We have both been in reflective mood today with random thoughts about it all being spoken.

Mother had said that she now has to accept that her life has changed. She needs to go with it rather than fighting it.

Wendy

During my teenage years I lived with my family in the town of Tonbridge in Kent. I attended Hugh Christie Secondary school. The most famous pupil at my school was Dame Kelly Holmes (after I had left).

Today another girl from my school has been in the national news but not for a good reason. Wendy Knell was one of my class mates. I wouldn’t say we were best friends but we were friends whilst we were at school.

In my early twenties I lived in s bedsit in the nearby town of Tunbridge Wells along with the man who later became my husband and father of my children.

Unbeknown to me at the time my friend Wendy was also living in a bedsit in Tunbridge Wells. I don’t remember it being in the news at the time but at some point I learnt that Wendy had been murdered. The killer was never found.

Today though it has been announced that the man who murdered Wendy and another girl who I didn’t know has been charged. The same man has been charged with sexually assaulting the dead bodies of women in the hospital mortuary.

It won’t bring Wendy back but at least her family can now have closure.

Also in the news today Cervical Cancer in young women is much reduced since the introduction of the vaccine.

It was obviously too late for me. I had treatment for stage three cervical cancer about 8 years before the vaccine went live in UK.

I am so pleased that the majority of girls who might have developed cervical cancer are now being saved from what I went through.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Tomorrow we are expecting a visit from a local specialist MS nurse to assess my mother’s current condition and give us help and advice to make life easier for both of us.

It’s dark down here

Over the last few months I have reluctantly come to the realisation that once again I am suffering from depression.

Depression has been part of my life on and off for the last 40 years. Most of the time I manage to keep it at bay. I try to be a cheerful happy person. Now and again I have off days. Every few years it goes beyond that.

Seeing as this has not been my first bout of depression, I am able to recognise it even though I tried so hard to reject it.

My feeling of sadness, sleeping all the time, being disheartened at everything. Even the simplest of chores are a huge effort, have gone on for too long to be ignored now.

My advice to anyone else would be go see your Dr. So why have I not done this myself? I don’t see any point in seeing a Dr this time around. They have two solutions, drugs and or therapy.

In the past I have been prescribed anti depressants. I hated the way they made me feel as though I was walking an inch off the ground. I felt like I had no control.

After taking a couple of different ones over the years I vowed not to touch them again. I understand that for many people these tablets can be helpful.

To my mind they mask the problem without getting to the bottom of it. They might make you feel able to carry on but don’t solve the reason you got depression in the first place.

Way back in my early 20s I had a severe bout of depression. So bad that I had to give up my job. I felt I couldn’t survive the next hour let alone the next day. Obviously I managed to get through it. I asked my Dr if I could have councelling instead of drugs. A councellor came to see me at home. (Once). He was changing jobs, nobody came again. Even that one session talking through my problems helped me get back on track

Because I was out of work due to my mental state I needed to sign on for unemployment benefit as it then was. I had to give my reason for being out of work. How could I say that it was my severe depression. In those days any mention of having problems with mental health were taboo. Finding a new job would be difficult in the future if I explained the gap in employment was my mental health.

Anyway further down the line and several bouts of depression later I asked for help. All my Dr could offer was for me to self refer myself for councelling. I did that but it was several months before I was even offered any sessions (by phone not even in person).

So now here I am again. I don’t want to be prescribed medication. There is no point in asking for councelling. I know the reasons (yes there are more than one) for my current depression. Neither of my most pressing problems are going to be solved by councelling.

Firstly, my health is my biggest reason. Dealing with the aftermath of my cancer treatment 20 years ago. I am only too well aware that my insides are eroding. My bladder is nolonger an issue as I am now a bag lady. Oh yes I have recently decided to name my stoma Betty. Because life isn’t great but it’s Better than it would be without Betty. I am currently going through more scans, cameras and investigations to figure out the next course of action to give me some quality of life.

I am fed up of this body which constantly lets me down. The good days are now less frequent than the bad days. I am acutely aware of how my insides feel nearly all the time. If I get up in the night to visit the bathroom, I then spend anything up to another two hours waiting for my stomach to either settle down or send me rushing back to the bathroom. This can be two or three time a night.

I have a very limited diet, not only being diabetic but also fibre intolerant. I have many windy days/nights. I get bloated. I find eating meals increasingly difficult. I’m better off picking at food.

So although I am aware that my body problems are causing me to feel so bad, there is no quick fix. Hopefully after the endoscopy I am having next week my consultant will have a better idea of what he can do for me. I am due to have my appendix out sometime in the new year.

I would imagine that any further surgery won’t be until later next year. If I’m lucky I could be in a better place this time next year.

As if that wasn’t enough I am finding living with and caring for my mother is making me depressed too.

I do love my mother, I am also grateful for a place to live. What can I say. I don’t mind picking up after her, just generally being her housemaid ( she nicknamed me Daisy). We are now starting to get into the realms of personal care. I am not made that way. Caring for my children was one thing. Caring for an adult, even my own mum is not something I care to do and she doesn’t want me to either.

I’m not sure how much is her MS and how much her declining years possibly even early onset dementia but her memory is going. Anyone seeing her for a short time wouldn’t notice but in her day to day living it is becoming more noticeable to me. I don’t know how much she has noticed.

What is really making me depressed about all this is that I feel trapped. Living with my mother is not too dissimilar to living with my alcoholic husbands. Yes there were two of them. Not at the same time obviously.

Getting my mum out of the house is extremely difficult. When I go out on my own. I can guarantee that if I’m more than a couple of hours even if she knows it will be. Like my four hour round trip to see my granddaughter for her birthday. I will get a phone call asking when I’m coming home.

Before covid I was visiting my son and his family every 6 to 8 weeks, staying overnight so I could spend time with my little grandson. Now I don’t feel confident enough to stay away overnight.

It was bad enough when I was in hospital. I was speaking to her on the phone twice a day and my ex was checking on her daily.

Since then she has become more reliant on me at night too

Although I have now been living with my mother for more that three years I don’t feel that this is my home. It is the place I live. I know that there are so many people who are worse off than me. That just makes me feel guilty for not being happy.

I try not to let it worry me, I will be ok when the time comes. My future is uncertain. This house belongs to my mother. I live here rent free. If my mother dies whilst living at home the house will be sold and divided between myself and my two brothers. That’s not such a problem, I will find somewhere to live. What I don’t know is, what I will do if she has to go into a home. The house will go towards paying for her care.

So I know that any amount of councelling is not going to sort out my problems. Only time can do that.

When will it end?

What with all my poor health of late. I just wonder what life has in store.

I have numerous friends dealing with horrific health problems. No I’m not the only one.

Then last week my gorgeous, smart, loving daughter in law had surgery last week for an ectopic pregnancy. That would be bad enough but this was the second in under a year. Making this not only a tradgedy in itself but life changing for her and her little family. She so wanted a second child.

Several months ago I learnt that my best friend from school had lung cancer. If that wasn’t bad enough her brother died of covid at the start of the year. My friend and I had lost touch for a number of years when our children were young. In those days there were no mobile phones and no internet. I found her again through Facebook about 8 years ago.

We both had busy lives and always promised we would meet up again at some point. I had moved away from the area 33 years ago. Our communication was intermittent but we were still in each others thoughts. During one of our more recent communications I had promised that providing I was well enough I would make the effort to go and see her this summer.

Unfortunately it is now too late. My dear friend passed away peacefully yesterday morning.

Why is it that the good people in this life have to suffer so much.

Slow down

Why has it taken so long before I figured out that I only had to say slow down. When the lady from the hospital phoned to make the appointment for my treatment she was speaking too fast.

I actually asked her to slow down. I explained that I am partially deaf and needed her to speak slower. Which she was happy to do. The conversation was much easier for me to understand. Very often, and my husband is guilty of this, people think that because I have a hearing impairment they need to increase the volume. Sometimes that is the case but usually I can hear them but my brain has to translate what it’s hearing. If someone is talking too fast my brain can’t keep up and it sounds like a foreign language.

When I say slow down I don’t mean speak in an exaggerated slow speech. Just speak normally but not too fast. If we are talking in person please make sure you are facing me and don’t cover your mouth. It is so annoying when people talk to me when facing away or in another room. Equally (I had a supervisor who did this) talking with their hand partially covering their mouth.

Wearing face coverings in the last year hasn’t helped. Stupidly I find myself wanting to remove my mask in order to properly hear what is being said. As if that helps!

Yes I have not one but 2 hearing aids. I don’t wear them as much as I should. In many situations they don’t help as they magnify all the sounds around me but don’t help with conversation. I tend to wear them more to listen to the TV.

Thats another bug bear for me. Why can’t everyone on TV have their microphone on the same volume. I can be watching something and hear one person clearly but not others.

In the days when I had control over what to watch on TV, I kept the TV controller to hand. If it was a commercial channel I would have to turn the volume down for the adverts but up again for the program.

Is it just me ? When I listen to music I find that a lots of the music over the last couple of decades I have no idea what they are singing. The words are not clear enough for me. When I hear Will Young singing leave right now I hear the words Pooh Bear right now. There are several songs where I hear the lyrics incorrectly. Those are only the songs I can hear distinct words. Many songs are a jumble of nonsense with the occasional word decipherable.

That reminds me. Recently I tried to use the word tenterhooks. Only I had never seen it written down and always believed it to be tender hooks until a friend pointed it out to me.

Tonight on a question of sport (TV sports quiz game) one of the sections was about sports personalities whose surname began with the letter G. I heard E. For this reason I have s tendency to use the phonetic alphabet when telling someone my email address or post code even my name sometimes. Just ensure they get it right. I also using it to check that I have heard something right.

I’m pretty sure one reason I prefer to communicate with written words is so that there is no misunderstanding what I am hearing/reading.

Surprise

When I went to bed last night I had no idea.

This morning we had visitors. My eldest brought his little girl to visit. He had been planning to visit in the next week or two but because I have to isolate next week prior to my hospital treatment, decided to come today.

It was a shame it was just the two of them. Mummy had to work. Our little lady is almost 20 months. She chatters non stop, not that we know what she’s saying most of the time. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any words yet. She most certainly does and can be very clear when she wants to be.

There is a large framed picture on the wall showing a group of ducks. She was very certain that they are ducks (my grandson thinks they are geese). Ducks say quack she tells us. Drawing was the main activity of the visit. Both with my coloured pencils and the crayons that daddy brought with them.

Before they left (before the rain) we had a spell in the garden. Looking at the plants and the ceramic duck. We found a ball that belongs to the dog that visits. So we had “kick” the ball which also involved throwing it “goal kick”.

I was a bit surprised when she took my hand and started running down the garden, with daddy saying” not too fast Granny can’t run”. He is sort of right but I could keep up with her thank you very much.

It was so lovely to see them both. I think my highlight was when she kept coming to stand next to me and resting her head against me.

When it was time for them to go she clearly said “stay”. I’m happy that she enjoyed her visit as much as we did.

Oh and I got a big hug from my son. I am so glad that we are allowed now. (He did get a test before he came, which I thought was very good of him.)

That’s how you say cheese