There’s been quite a bit occurring and less time to write about it. On the Dementia front we had a successful Easter. We went over for Easter day in time for me to cook the full Easter dinner with turkey and all the rest of it. I found a bottle of something fizzy and put it in the freezer, remembering to take it out before it exploded and there we were. My mother ate a very good lunch, which, so far, she will do if I go and cook a proper full meal. I can also take responsibility for serving alcohol with the meal, which the carers couldn’t possibly do because she has a lot of medication. You might argue that this is me being anything but responsible and didn’t the dehydration from liberal quantities of wine contribute to her illness anyway. This is true, enough doctors have told me it is true for me to believe it. However, entertaining friends to dinner parties was one of the recreations which my parents very much enjoyed and it was a significant part of my mother’s life that she enjoyed very much and excelled at doing. She took a Cordon Blue cookery course and used it in her everyday life to great effect. If part of the treatment is to supply the conditions of the patient’s life exactly as they were, then a table full of food and wine and people enjoying it is part of it.
I was dismayed to hear at a meeting with the financial advisor that it is quite common for relatives, having provided carers for their sick person, not to bother visiting again. They say, the FA said: Oh you’re all right, you’ve got your carers now, you don’t need us. I couldn’t believe this, but discussing this at my mother’s house with the second in command, apparently it is often the case. We had a heated discussion, totally in agreement that the only way to proceed in dementia, or indeed any other disease that afflicts the elderly, is to remember that you’ll be old yourself one day and to treat people as you wish yourself to be treated and hope that, in the fullness of time, what goes around, comes around.
I am immensely grateful for friends who still bother to ring my mother; their numbers are dwindling. She does get harder to talk to. She always dominated any conversation but now she does it by forceful repetition and, on a bad day, with a litany of oft repeated complaint. It isn’t easy to listen to sometimes but the important thing is to do it at all, five minutes is better than nothing. The wonderful neighbour, who still delivers my mother’s newspaper every Saturday, popped round before she got up this time but thoughtfully had brought her a chocolate Easter Egg. She talks about it every day and is determined to write a thank you letter. Whether she will remember or not I don’t know, I might remind her on Thursday when I go and deliver it to him so I can tell him how much that meant to her.
One of the reasons I’m writing this blog, is, apart from having a bit of a moan and letting off steam, really to help people with a demented relative or friend to know what to do. At this late stage in the illness I think the most important thing of all is to let the patient know she is not forgotten. A postcard, a greetings card, popping to the door and speaking to the carers if it is too stressful to see the patient, even dropping round with a packet of biscuits and the excuse that you can’t stay long, you’re double parked, are all wonderful acts of kindness that really do matter a great deal to the sufferer. It is distressing to deal with the demented, especially if you are not exactly in the first flush of youth yourself, or remember the person in much happier times and, previously to caring for my mother, I’d have said it probably didn’t matter as she’d have forgotten five minutes afterwards. The amazing thing is that she doesn’t. Even though she cannot remember what she said or what you said five minutes ago the fact that Pat called (Hello Pat!), or the neighbour came with a chocolate egg just for her is very important to her. It has a cheerful knock-on effect too. She is brighter and more optimistic with the carers, they are kinder to her and happy that they have something positive to talk to her about. The really good ones will keep mentioning the lovely phone call, the pretty postcard, the fabulous egg at intervals and she will respond that it was nice and she was happy to have been remembered. All of this creates a positive upward spiral of cheerfulness which, at this stage of the illness is a bit of a miracle.
I am meeting the surveyor at my mother’s house on Thursday, the agency owner was understanding of the probable lateness of the payment, my mother was sold the surveyor as ‘keeping an eye on house prices’ and the person who will feed the cats in our absence will come this afternoon to get a key so that we can just get in the car and go, if, as and when we need to, so all the stuff I worried about all weekend is working out, thank goodness. I Googled myself recently, to see if I existed, under the heading of Dementia Diaries. I came up first place on the second page of listings, which, considering this is not a dedicated blog, was quite a surprise. I hope if you’re looking, you’ve found me and I hope it helps.
This cannot be said of the pictures in the shop which are woefully absent. I have emailed the Webmaster, who is in his second week as a wage slave and has not replied. I did ask him to install a system that was very much easier for the idiot site owner to get the pics up there in quantity, so maybe he is doing this. When this is done you’ll be able to see and buy lovely dolls like this:
As you can see the new articulated 24th scale dolls are coming on a treat. I sold quite a few at Miniatura and had requests for dressing and have had enquiries from shops and various other indications that I might finally be getting something right. Please be patient, once the Webmaster has done his stuff and I have dressed a lot, made some more and dressed them and got a surplus they will be photographed and in the shop. For savers I should say they are £15 each undressed, £18 in underwear with hair and £24 fully clad and wigged. I am uncharacteristically hoping for rain so I can sit indoors and dress dolls, these little souls are so lovely.
As would you be if you took just five minutes a fortnight to listen to the loopy, in later life it could be you, it could be me. It is a great kindness from the universe that we do not know what the future holds but if you get practising on an old person now you can arrive in the future with your fortitude, kindness, patience and courage all sharpened up and ready to go. As my mother tells me it takes patience and persistence to get through each day, get working on it now and when you need it, you’ll have it.
Janestill here after a worrying weekendLaverick.com