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

Alcohol and the family

A couple of days ago I noticed that someone had been having a good look around this blog. Whether it was someone I know or not I don’t know. That someone had looked at lots of posts including one called where has my dad gone.

As i scrolled through the list of posts looked at I knew what most of them were about but this one puzzled me. My dad died in 1995. So it couldn’t be about him. This particular post was written back in 2015.

Reading it again it took me a little while to remember it. I was describing a visit to one of my sons in London. On the way to the flat he shared with his now wife and another couple. They stopped at a local shop. Whilst they were inside (I was waiting outside with my youngest son). A drunk was ejected from the store.

When my other son came out he asked “where has my dad gone?” I knew instinctively what he was on about. Growing up with an alcoholic father had an impact on my boys. This particular son could do a very accurate impression of his dad when he was drunk.

When my two eldest sons were going off to university within a week of each other I wanted to take my boys out for a drink. All four of them chose non alcoholic drinks even though two were old enough to drink and one was 17.

All four boys are now adults (2 are fathers) they do all drink now but only moderately. As a young adult my eldest son used to be the designated driver when out with mates. My second son was usually the one taking care of his drunken mates. Although I have heard a few tales of his drunkenness. My younger two are not keen on alcohol.

Talking about it earlier my mother commented that when she came to our house once when eldest was about 8 or 9 he told her. ” If you have come to see my part time father, he’s at the pub”. It is sad that from a very young age he knew the telephone number of the pub off by heart. ( Before mobile phones).

As a family our lives revolved around the pub even if we were not in one. If we went anywhere at the weekends we had to be back before the pub opened. My husband couldn’t cope with getting there after the door was unlocked. During the day his friends would come and go but he would still be there.

He would frequently phone home to say he would be back in half an hour. Other times he wanted me to fetch him. When I did (with boys in tow) he would need to finish his drink. I always refused to have a drink. Sometimes it would take several hours before he managed to leave. Often I just left him there and went home.

My boys grew up knowing that their father was very good at making promises. Not good at keeping them. They learnt never to expect him to keep a promise. He would buy them play station games or football shirts to make up for not being there. I lost count of the birthdays he missed because he was five minutes away in the pub. I don’t know where he got the money for his guilt gifts. We never had enough money for the bills.

I learnt over the years that everything was an excuse to drink. Bad day at work, good day at work, hot day, wet day. Money worries or me being annoyed with him.

After I divorced him he was upset that he didn’t want to be a weekend father. I said that would be an improvement. He would arrange to see the boys. Not do much the eldest as he was off leading his own life. Frequently he would either cancel seeing them or he wanted them to lend him money for cigarettes or beer or both. When they did see him I would drop them off. Happy to have some me time. It never lasted. I think 2 hours was the longest before I got the plea from them to pick them up.

I am happy to say that he gave up drinking about 4 or maybe it’s 5 years ago now. He is better for it. He is trying hard to rebuild his relationship with his sons and have a good relationship with our grandchildren.

Since i moved back here to live with my mother I see him regularly. He has been a great help to both of us in the last couple of years. I wouldn’t go back to him but we are at least friends now.

Fractured not broken

The other night and it was at night I wrote a post about waiting. I wrote it because I had been reading Abbie Greaves book The end of the Earth. It had taken me back to when I was a young adult. I couldn’t sleep because of the thoughts going round and round in my head. Once I had written it and I apologise I didn’t read it through so there are bound to be errors.

One of my new blogging friends Bitchy after 60 commented that with everything I have been through it would have broken most people.

That post only scratched the surface of what my life has been like in the last 50+ years. I’m not broken yet. I have many emotional fractures and my body is falling apart but nothing has broken me yet.

Last night mother asked if I had experienced depression or anxiety in the last year. The question was in relation to the covid-19 pandemic. The answer is no. I am lucky to have technology that has allowed me to keep in contact with family and friends. I could also order whatever I needed online. I also have plenty to keep me occupied. My garden, reading, knitting etc.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced anxiety or feeling in low spirits. I have but more in respect of my health than the pandemic.

Besotted granny

One of my friends has joined the besotted granny brigade. Her granddaughter is 4 months old and she is so in love with her.

For years I said I wasn’t ready to become a granny. I hadn’t finished being a mother. Then a few years ago I started to worry about my health etc, that was when it hit me that if my sons didn’t hurry up and start having children I would be to old/ill to enjoy them.

Three years ago I became a granny for the first time. I instantly fell in love with my grandson. Teddy is three now. I was afraid that he wouldn’t know who I am what with covid restrictions and them living in London. Video calls were me watching him play whilst I chatted to his daddy. The other week when lockdown rules were eased I got to spend time with him in the garden (very cold). Then last week on his birthday we had a video call where he actually talked to me. He showed me his toys and books. Today we had another video call with him interacting with me. He knows that I am granny. I love this new stage in our relationship.

19 months ago my eldest son provided me with a granddaughter. After 4 sons and a grandson I was delighted to finally have a girl in the family. She has always been used to video calling with her other family and with me so she has always been interactive. When she visited our garden the other week she would take gammy by the hand to look at things or fill her little watering can.

We also had a video call today. She tells me lots of things that I don’t always understand but her speech is coming along well.

This granny is besotted with both my grandchildren.

Disrespected

I have just been reading about a cleaner who retired from her job after 35 years. Her latest boss had been cruel and disrespectful. However the cleaner showed that she was the better person when she left. The note she left behind reminded the staff that they should always be kind and not think themselves better than anyone even the cleaner.

Back in the late 1990s I had gone back to work part time after having my children. I had a part time temporary job for 4 months. I took the summer off to look after my children in the school holidays. When the children went back to school I took another part time job until Christmas. It was in the accounts department of a local distribution company. I had always liked working in accounts. It is possible that I could have enjoyed working there but I didn’t. I dreaded every day and couldn’t wait to get out of there on my last day.

It wasn’t the work, it was the staff. All young women and one man all working full time and had been there for quite a while. I was the part time assistant. I was treated as though I was stupid and didn’t know anything. Nobody spoke to me. Unless it was a condescending comment.

Just because I was a mother working part time they thought I wasn’t worth as much as them. None of them had yet started a family. I hope that after they had a family they might have remembered what it’s like to be a working mother and maybe try to be kinder.

After the Christmas holidays I was able to go back to the first job. This time I was there for 8 years. Working with much nicer people. I wasn’t the only part time worker and everyone was treated equally. I only left there when I was on sick leave whilst going through my nasty divorce. The Company was in the midst of a restructuring. The part time temporary staff were the first to go.

You could say it’s been a cr*p morning

This morning I ignored my alarm. That was a big mistake. I had no reason to get up at that time. My day would be mine to do what I like when I like. Apart from getting mum her breakfast, lunch and dinner. How wrong could I be.

Eventually I roused myself at 8.40 good by now mum will have finished in the bathroom and I can get in there. I have to get to the bathroom very quickly once my body is awake. My bowels don’t wait for anyone or anything. There have been occasions when I have got up only to discover that mother is already in the bathroom. I sit on my bed in agony waiting to get in there. Often not making it in time.

She is usually in there between 8.00 & 8.30 so I like to get there before 7.45 or after 8.45. This morning I couldn’t hear any of the noises that usually tell me she’s in the bathroom. Her walker bashing the door on the way in or out is a sure indication. So this morning it was quiet. I’m safe to use the bathroom.

As I was going in there I thought I heard a faint voice calling my name. I made it to the toilet without incident. I heard my name again. Not sure if it was my imagination I called out “just a minute”. There it was again my name being called over and over again. As quickly as I could I finished up and went to my mother’s room. She wasn’t on the bed. I knew she was in her room because the stairlift hadn’t gone down yet.

I found her on the floor beside the bed. I helped her into a sitting position and placed a pillow behind her back. I got her to press the button on her emergency necklace. ( I insisted she had one years ago when she was having falls when living alone). Unfortunately the speaker is downstairs so I had to go down to the dining room to speak to the operator.

The operator put me on hold while they spoke to the ambulance service. By then I was in trouble. Luckily I was wearing a long nightgown. I couldn’t stop my bowels from working. Why does it have to happen to me!. Finally I was able to rush upstairs managing to keep most of my accident from going everywhere. I quickly had a shower and threw in some comfortable clothes. Cleaned up the carpet in the hall then opened the front door. The ambulance had just arrived.

It took both men a lot of effort to get her standing and into a position where she could sit on the seat of her 4 wheel walker. They were unable to get her onto the bed. It was a good 5 minutes before she was sat comfortably on the walker without slipping off.

They did the usual observations, blood pressure etc. (High). They wanted to take her to hospital but she was reluctant. What she wanted was to get to the bathroom as she had soiled herself. Again it took ages for her to get going. She kept saying that she is not usually this slow. (She’s not usually much faster). Once in the bathroom she needed help. She was trying her best to sort herself out but she had managed to get poo all over her hands so everything she touched was also getting covered. I helped her as much as I could in such s small space. Between us we got her into clean underwear ( not clean anymore). One of the paramedics helped me get her standing so we could get her clean (for the moment) pj bottoms on.

Next she wanted to lie on her bed or go downstairs to sleep in her armchair. The paramedics talked about taking her to hospital but she said no. However struggling to walk the few feet along the landing she was hanging on to the banister. She asked me to get her wheelchair so she could get to the armchair. At this point it was blatantly obvious she needed help and she finally agreed to go to hospital for more observations and assessment.

I have now cleaned the bathroom. I should have done it sooner but I couldn’t face it for a while. Both our soiled clothes are in the wash.

I have called the hospital but they are very busy and couldn’t tell me much. They are waiting for blood test results.

update

Mother is back home now. Antibiotics for a possible chest infection. Occupational therapist is arranging for a therapist to visit her at home to assess her needs. She has flat out refuses any additional care.

There’s no helping some people

I have been talking to mother about care/nursing homes. She was saying that when my grandfather went into a care home and then a nursing home she didn’t give him any choice of where to go. She chose for him. Both homes were friendly and suited his needs and ours. I particularly liked visiting him in the care home although it was an hour drive for us.

When it was time for him to move to a nursing home we found one closer to us here. I was able to visit on my way home from work. I’m not going to say that he was happy there. I’m not sure he was happy. He was comfortable and well cared for. Unlike many of the other residents he still had his mind in full working order. He missed having anyone to talk to properly.

Mother has made a mental list of things she wants to take with her when/if she needs to go into a care home. She knows which paintings, books and music she wants and if possible her laptop if the home has WiFi. I have suggested several times in the last couple of years that maybe she should consider which homes would suit her otherwise she will be going where ever I find.

Talking of having WiFi reminded me of when my husband sold our marital home. He was 64 and having difficulty looking after himself and our home. I found a flat in sheltered accommodation for him. He checked it out and decided to buy one of the flats there. Not the one I found but another one.

The plan was that he would move straight from the house to the flat. Obviously he would have to sell/store most of the furniture. About two weeks before the planned move he had a meeting with the warden of the flats. This did not go well. Apparently they don’t have facilities for broadband which he needed for his graphic design work. They were also not happy that he wanted to work. (He hadn’t worked during our marriage).

I found him bed and breakfast accommodation to move into until he found somewhere permanent. Instead of a few weeks as originally planned he was there for 9 months. Finally finding a top floor studio flat. (Not ideal for someone who has frequent falls). He has now been in that flat for 2 years. The last time I spoke to him he still didn’t have any internet service connection. His ability to use technology is zero.

I don’t know if it is still the case but at the start of the year he had been having someone check on him weekly and meals delivered daily. He could have avoided so much hassle and be in a much nicer flat than the studio flat he now has if he had bought the original place where he would have had a warden checking on him.

Considering that he can’t use his computer. He can’t even get his TV working and he certainly doesn’t work. It would have been ideal for him. In a much nicer area and close to the town.

Even after leaving him I still did what I could to help him. I’ve stopped now.

I’m not in love

Isn’t it strange the way our thoughts can move from one thing to the next until we can’t remember how we came to the topic we get to. Last Saturday I came home from my errands my mother was watching Prince Philip’s funeral. She informed me that she had found some people from our distant past on facebook. I would say that I was asked but it was more like a command to make contact with either the father, son or daughter of this family.

I spent sometime looking for these three individuals. Bearing in mind that it has been about 40 years since I saw any of them. After some time to contemplate who I would contact and what to say. I decided to contact the son. Starting my message with “You won’t remember me but our families were friends when we were in our teens.”

It wasn’t long before I received a reply saying that he did remember me/us. Sadly his mother has passed away as has my father.

I won’t go into details of our brief communication. I did however ponder why it was that we had been talking about this other family from our past in the first place, then I remembered. A week or so ago mother was reading a book which mentioned the place of work during our time of acquaintance of the father. So now I know why she was thinking about these people.

That night I found myself trying to remember what I knew about them. We all belonged to a sports club. The sister was younger than me but we were part of a relay team at one point. The brother was a year or maybe two years older than me. I can’t remember what he looked like other that I have an impression of dark hair and height. Mind you even as an adult I have never been tall so most people are tall to me. I think we were friends.

During the time that I knew this family I was a fan of the group 10cc. One of the songs that has been with me throughout my life has been “I’m not in love”. So why then is it that over the years whenever I hear this song it makes me think of the son. Was I in love with him? No. Did we ever have a relationship? No.

I am not quite sure if my memory is right but I am convinced that for some reason that escapes me. He had a passport photo of me. For anyone who doesn’t know this song, the lyrics tell of someone having a photo of someone they are not in love with but they can’t give it back because it hides a stain on the wall.

I have loved this song since my early teens. It is one of those songs that give me goose bumps when I hear it. My love of the song has nothing to do with this guy but it does always make me think of him.

Do you have any songs that you associate with someone or something that has nothing to do with the song.

Not caring

Throughout my adult life I have been caring. I guess it began when I was a child. I didn’t do the caring for but I cared. I cared about my mum and dad and one of my younger brothers. Not so much the youngest he was a bully to us.

Anyway as an adult I had my children to care for. I was 25 when my first born came into my life. This baby that needed me to care for and be responsible for. Over the next 8 years his three brothers arrived. I loved caring for my children although there were times when I didn’t want to be a mother anymore. It was such hard work.

When I reached the stage where I could no longer tolerate being married to their father I did everything I could to be strong enough to continue caring for my children. Their father threatened to have them taken away from me. He could prove that I wasn’t a good mother. As if!

Once their father had finally left our home by court order. It was just me and my four sons. The two older boys were starting to make their way in the world, but they still needed me to care for their well being. I was a single parent for about 5 years before I met husband number 2.

Little did I know that I would become my second husband’s carer pretty quickly after we married. My sons grew up and left home but I still had to look after my alcoholic husband. I had hoped that during this marriage we would be partners looking after each other.

Eventually i had had enough and left my husband. Moving in with my mother whilst I got my life in order. I was looking forward to living on my own with nobody else to care for.

That wasn’t to be. Gradually I found myself doing things for my mother who was becoming increasingly disabled. I am now her full time carer.

I would say that I have probably had less than s year of not having to care for someone other than myself. Even during the time after leaving my husband I still didn’t stop caring. I might not have been living with him but I was still making sure he had food, money etc. I was still taking care of his paperwork. Sorting out his insurance, car tax and other bills. I became his unpaid secretary and personal assistant. I visited him in hospital.

It has now been 3 months since I last heard from him so I guess I am not now caring for him. I have enough on my plate caring for myself and my mother.