Reaching the Summit

Yesterday we had a visit from a specialist nurse. She came to assess how mother manages in the house and see what help she could give. Another grab rail will soon be installed.

Mother has been shown better ways of getting in and out of bed and her armchair. She has been forbidden from using the riser function of her chair. If she can do the exercises she has been given she will have more strength in her legs. This will make her less dependent on me which will be good for both of us.

Today I was out of the house for much longer than on any day since my surgery in August. I attended a mini socially distanced online training summit. It was a big occasion for me. Partly by managing to be away from home for more than just one or two hours at a time. Also for socially distanced spending time with friends that I haven’t seen for almost 18 months.

Whilst there I took a phone call from a ‘private number’ which turned out to be one of the drs at our surgery. She had the results of the blood test I had on Wednesday. Apparently I am anaemic again which explains my low energy levels recently. She has read the letter I had sent a few weeks ago. I was then grilled about my bowel problems. She is recommending that I am seen by a gastroenterologist urgently.

I am glad that my problems are being dealt with. However I am trying not to think about what this entails.

Mother survived her day at home alone. I made her lunch before I went out. She tells me that she has done her exercises. Perhaps in the not too distant future we will both be physically better off.

Sunny and cold

The last few days have been full of blue sky and sunshine. There has been warmth but also a chill wind or should I say breeze. The summer before last mother had a new decking installed outside the patio doors. This raised the level outside the door so that she could go outside without having to manage a step down.

Last summer she only went out a few times for no more than 20 minutes. On the really hot days it was too hot for her. The heat affects her MS. Mostly though it was too cold. I noticed over time that we only got the sun on the decking for an hour to an hour and a half mid morning ( before the temperature had become comfortable for sitting out). I would sit out but have to move my chair around with the sun. The sun moves around our garden giving patches of sunshine for an hour or two. The bottom of the garden where there is a sizable patio gets even less sun than the decking. The trees have grown up to such an extent that the garden is shrouded in shade. Our friendly tree surgeon did his best to create more light without cutting back too far.

In January we had a new fence erected between us and the adjoining house which at the time was empty. The new fence is a foot higher than the one it replaced. It doesn’t look that much higher but obviously is. I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t a conservatory next door. Now I realise that the sun we were getting on the decking was actually coming through the windows of the conservatory. My dilemma now is that The lady who moved in a couple of months ago has put up curtains which are permanently closed. I have moved all but two of my flowerpots off the decking as they were in constant shade. Do I just put up with the lack of sunshine or do I ask her to leave her curtains open? The garden on that side of the fence has pretty much full sun most of the day so it probably doesn’t occur to our neighbours that we don’t get much in ours.

This morning I was updating my Elliesdeal blog dedicated to my Avon business. I decided to add the link to the blog to my twitter account. I only created this account a few months ago. I’m not really up to speed with twitter. I am following a few people but don’t have any followers of my own so anything I post (or should I say tweet) is never seen by anyone else. Much to my surprise this morning I discovered that I do have a a couple of followers. It looks like a grand total of 4 people have liked or retweeted my posts recently. Let me know if you would like to follow me on twitter and I will give you the name on my account.

We haven’t seen much of the pigeons recently (we have a couple of magpies nesting in the tree instead. The doves come and go. We sometimes see a young one with an adult. The blue birds have been absent for a short while but I am used to them being around a lot then not for a while then returning again. At last after 3 years of living here I am seeing sparrows in the garden. Yesterday there were 3 of them in the buddleia bush, hanging feeder on the crab apple and even on the decking for a few minutes. Today I saw a great tit on the decking, it hung around for a while. We hadn’t seen any for ages. Usually they are only around when the bluetits are here.

Yesterday I had cut up an apple for the blackbirds. I saw one of the squirrels (Roger I believe) sat on the fence nibbling away at a chunk of apple. The dunnock has recently been venturing out of the undergrowth to feed on the meal worms that I put out on the lawn for the ground feeders.

I went out a little earlier than usual to pick up my Avon books today. That takes my orders for April over £500 with more books to collect tomorrow and Wednesday. I also had another order through my digital shop today.

I’m feeling at peace with my world today.

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.

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.

Monday again

Not a lot has happened today except that we had visitors. It wasn’t family or friends. We were not having an illegal gathering. It was simply time for mother to have her eyes tested. Because she isn’t able to go to the store very easily they come to us. All kitted out with masks, gloves and plastic aprons. To go to the kitchen instead of trying to get past the two ladies I went out through the patio doors and back through the backdoor, returning the same way in reverse.

The squirrels are very conspicuous by their absence. I did see Roger for a while this afternoon though. Last week there was a tree surgeon working two doors down. I can only think it has made the usual route along the tree line a little more difficult for them. Maybe they don’t like that I have been making them work harder for the nuts. There is currently a stack of three pots with a lid placed on top. It isn’t secured just resting there. Roger didn’t even bother to investigate.

I went out straight after lunch to pick up my Avon books. That gave me a few more orders to add to my account. My little team is slowly growing. I have been trying to find some blank cards preferably with with an image of a sun. Some time ago I chose to call my Avon team my Sunshine Team. I have been thinking that it would be nice to have something with a sun on it, to send with a welcome message, when a new recruit joins my team. This afternoon I have designed my own cards which I should receive on Friday.

My first batch of seedlings are growing well. If the weather is right I shall start sewing seeds and seedlings in the garden in the next few days. Some of my polyanthas are starting to bloom. I do believe spring is upon us now.

Is resistance possible?

I am doing my best to resist. On days like this I feel my residence slipping. I took myself out into the fresh air and sunshine to do some deliveries. That helped to lift my spirits.

This morning I swear that we were having a competition to see which of us could be the grumpier.

My life seems to have been one long struggle from beginning until now. My struggles have been many and varied but through it all I have tried to stay optimistic. I try to be cheerful and bring a smile whenever I can. This is why I must resist the temptation to become a grumpy old woman.

I have always loved my mother very much, we have always been very close. Since moving in with her 3 years ago I have found that she is fast becoming a grumpy woman. I can understand that she is unhappy. Not only is she aging faster than she would like. Although it is over 30 years since she was diagnosed with MS for most of those years most people wouldn’t know she had it. In recent years her condition has deteriorated. In the last two years she has had to give up driving. She is angry that her condition has taken away her independence.

I do my best to overlook her grumpiness. Recently she said she has nothing to laugh about these days. I reminded her that I’m here and she can laugh at me.

It is a fine line knowing when to let her struggle to do things and when to take over. Most of the time I just want to say “let me do it!” I usually let her try to do whatever it is then after a while ask if she wants help. She is a very proud, stubborn woman.

Most of her grumpiness is not aimed at me but at the tv. I think this is what gets me down the most. It is just constant. What people wear, their hair, what they say. Bad grammar annoys me but it annoys her more and she is constantly saying so. The worst is adverts. It doesn’t matter how many times she says it, the advert isn’t going to change.

I try to ignore it but I’m finding its starting to make me grumpy too. I don’t like that my mum is becoming so grumpy and I don’t like that it is making me feel grumpy too.

I must do everything I can to resist becoming a grumpy old woman before my time.