Silly me, there I was mistaking an open window for a louvre blind.
I should have known. Naturally the time off has not eventuated, there have been five phone calls a day, as usual and when I rang the hospital this morning, they are on the point of chucking the little dear out because she is being obstreperous. They are not going to be able to do a week long monitor on her because they think she would literally not wear it and she is causing dissention in the ward, would I please go and take her away?
Additionally some friends have been visiting causing mischief and casting aspersions on the level of care. This had been a feature throughout the last year. Who would have thought that people who actually have nothing to do with the patient would be so assiduous in their advice, or that family would be so very keen to get their hands on the money whilst offering no help, or that other disinterested parties would be so keen to ‘keep the pressure up’ on me in a number of matters?
People who have actually done a bit of dementia care or people who have really spent some time living with my mother, in her right mind or out of it, are considerably less judgemental. They stroke me verbally, briefly and go, which is actually the most helpful thing under the circumstances. If you have ever wondered what support to give to someone looking after someone: difficult, ill, physically failing or out of their mind, or all of the above, the answer is simple.
Say: I am so sorry for you. I am thinking of you. Do what you have to but try to look after yourself. Lots of love. Take care.
And then ring off or go away because down time is precious and will be stolen by someone or by circumstances. People who have no intention of doing anything to help at all will expect to be granted two hour phone calls in which they are reassured that the beleaguered carer is moving heaven and earth to make sure the elderly looney has enough picture books or whatever. Having stressed you beyond belief they will then ring off satisfied they have done something wonderful to help.
So I am off down there tomorrow. I will live with my mother until she is settled again.
I note from my ‘Carer’s Handbook’ that if the patient becomes aggressive, they can often be calmed by singing a nursery rhyme. So if my mother starts hitting me with the same frying pan she has used to clog up her arteries, I will, of course, be singing Ba Ba Black Sheep, whilst she’s doing it.
And if my local hospital ring to say they have fitted me in for an MRI scan, I won’t know, because I won’t be here. I’ll just have to die quietly undiagnosed in a corner.
Whilst singing nursery rhymes, as you do.
Stop press! I just had a phone call from the cancer nurse at my hospital, can I pop in and be diagnosed? No I can’t, I have to pop off 50 miles, in a car with no brakes, to settle the elderly cantankerous back into the gracious home, with appropriate magazines.
Do you remember when Torville and Dean danced on the ice to Ravel’s Bolero? At the end, going in circles, they got faster and faster until they chucked themselves into the volcano.
It feels like that. It feels very like that.
JaneLaverick.com – Unravel’s cardigan, without ice, thank you.