Wear and tear to the carer.

Prior to the death of my father-in-law, after he had had his incapacitating stroke, my step-mother-in-law had a fall that seriously damaged her knee.  Despite earnest entreaties from the family she just bandaged it up and kept going and didn’t go to the doctor until he had died and his affairs were all cleared up.  We thought at the time that this was madness but now I understand.  Time, and being in the same awful position, are very educational.  My cousin, who cared for her demented husband, is having a back operation, finally, to correct a bad back further damaged in shifting him around, and the OT’s cousin, last I heard, was still on tranquillizers.

I have got a little list I need to present to a doctor but there is absolutely no point in trying to do so until my mother is no longer here, for exactly the same reason there is no point in trying to book the holiday we so desperately need.  You just know the very second you were wheeled into surgery or got your foot on the bottom step of the aeroplane ladder, the invalid would take a turn for the worse and require your immediate presence in hospital gown and painted antiseptic, or sandals and swim ring; anyone who thinks otherwise is not subject to Murphy’s Law and may be an alien, in disguise from some other planet altogether.

The latest has been my knee.  It was swollen some weeks back but I shrank it with applications of ibuprofen gel.  Yesterday getting out of the car in the supermarket car park it just suddenly went with a shot of horrible pain.  After hobbling around to do the various tasks I bought a tubular knee bandage and tried to put the entire length of it on in the car park, so I could finish the rest of the list.  That proved futile as my legs were apparently about a foot too short and I couldn’t walk safely with twelve trailing inches of bandage flapping off the end of my sandal.  When I got home and cut it to length it just kept rolling down my knee and working its way out of the end of my trousers like yesterday’s knickers.  Oh the glamour!

When I eventually get to the doc with this I would also like the following taken into consideration:  my clicky neck, my Barrett’s oesophagus, (I cannot eat anything currently without coughing) my psoriasis, my ctaractssts (Is that spelled right?  I can’t see) my painful heel, the lump on my knuckles and the strong feeling that it would actually be quicker if I just died myself, nothing will be nice ever again and at least I’ll get a rest that way.

As you, from your position outside of my head, can probably see, some of the list may be self curing once the awful responsibility is lifted from my shoulders.  That last one, for a start, the Barrett’s probably too; I do know I tense up in difficult situations with my mother and I also tense up when I’m worried and not there – it’s a no win/ no win situation.  Tensing causes my stomach acid to rise and there I am coughing away.  Stop worrying is great advice which is impossible to follow when you have sole responsibility for the life of another who is involuntarily trashing it as fast as they can.  If you had no conscience, empathy or compassion you wouldn’t worry, but then if you had no conscience, empathy or compassion you wouldn’t be doing the job in the first place.

The last week, worrying after the dreadful situation about whether the next re-mortgage equity release could take place after my mother cancelled it, has been very bad for my health.  I have been distracted and not really sleeping.  The thought that I would have to go and live with my mother again at this late stage is terrifying, precisely because I do not have the same level of health and strength I had at the start of the three years.  Then, when I lived with her for most of a year, only returning home to get new clothes, the arrangement was possible only because the S&H had moved back home temporarily and he and the OT together kept things going here.  Even so, the OT said he felt as if he was the one who had been bereaved.  This time, alone in the house, I know he would not be alone in the house, he would pretty much go and live at the pub.  Last time round I turned up in hospital five times during the time I looked after my mother, including the broken arm, at this juncture she cannot be left alone in the house, sometimes she cannot be left alone in the room.  The carers can just about manage it in seven hour shifts, how would I do it on an until-the-end-of-her-life shift?

All you can do in such circumstances to avoid being overtaken by worry is to deal with it one day at a time and get on your knees and pray the support is not withdrawn unless, of course, you’ve knackered your knee.

The FA advises me the surveyor’s report has been received, so my worry level is back down to Defcon 3, I’m sure my mother thinks I’m keeping an eye on the value of my inheritance.  If only she knew there wasn’t one.

As it turns out the best inheritance you can leave your N&D is to keep in good shape so you can live your own life right to the last day of it.  There was a report in the paper last week about the worried well clogging up A&E demanding tests for Dementia.  I don’t believe there’s any need to bother with them, for one thing if you’ve gone loopy, your family will spot it, my father did.  To minimise the possibility of developing dementia: don’t diet, don’t stuff, lay off the liquor, don’t just sit around watching TV get up and do something, keep pottering, keep busy, don’t do anything obsessively, don’t eat half a pound of butter a week and, on the positive side: push your own vacuum round the place occasionally and get a good hobby and keep your mind active.  The way to live your life is to do just that, live your own life, every day, make it your aim to go to bed tired. Unless. of course, you absolutely have to give a large chunk of your life to someone else to supplement theirs, in which case do it with a good grace, safe in the knowledge that nothing lasts for ever and what goes around comes around, especially knees – look, it’s doing it again, I must go to the doc, I’ll make an appointment for sometime later in the summer, probably.

Incidentally the pictures are back up in the shop, nothing to do with the S&H, rather the discontinuation of the programme that put them there.  He has retrieved them, minus the zoom, when I get a minute I’ll try to figure out how to add more.


Jane ohmyknee Laverick.com

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