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melting but not down

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Yet another early night bites the dust

My new (refurbished, so green in a recycly sort of way) mobile phone was waiting for me when I got home from work tonight. It didn't have an instruction manual so it took a while just to figure out how to turn it on (managed it accidentally) and then an age fiddling about with display settings and transferring contacts. Can barely keep my eyes open now. Goodnight, you stupid woman.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Nothing much

I suppose if I'm writing this blog for myself, I should chronicle even the slow, wading through treacle days. Days when just enough work is got through by home time, days when my eyes are tired and sticky, I think with the first outriders of acid yellow rape seed pollen, if it isn't too early for that. Life is neither bad nor good, problems neither non-existent nor unsolvable. No dramas, no excitements, steady away. I don't miss the extreme highs and lows of wilder days, I don't need and couldn't cope with the stress any more, but I miss the sense of being alive.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Friday morning and Saturday night

Sorting out mum's medication was somewhat farcical, starting with a 20 minute journey to her chemist's first thing to show them the GP's letter so they could provide the new medication. Guess what, it's a new prescription so they can't get it on their usual surgery run, I have to ask for it (why, when the GP has already sanctioned it?). Was going to phone the surgery from work but decided to drop by instead....fifteen minutes later the receptionist had found the new prescription helpfully filled in by the GP (why not post it with the letter to mum?) so back to the chemist's (who could have saved me a lot of bother if they'd phoned the surgery in the first place) and after hanging around a bit, got the medication. Ah well, mission accomplished even if it did make me an hour and a half late for work.
Funny thing, had a good time on our weekend away in Northumberland, great company, lovely hotel, brilliant weather, enjoyable mooches round Bamburgh Castle and Seahouses but...every now and then a niggling feeling of uneasiness that could only have been the guilt trip mum put on me on Thursday night for daring to go off and enjoy myself. Good job I'm not American, the therapy would have bankrupted me!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Second thoughts

What I should have done, of course, is create one blog called 'Whingeing about mum' and another called 'I'm quite happy really' for all the other things I'd like to write about. Then readers not in the same only-child-caring-for-elderly-parent predicament wouldn't have to wade through all this angst. Too late now. Sorry.


I'm going away for the weekend! Well, Friday night and Saturday but in effect it will mean three days of being just me, until I have to be the responsible daughter again on Monday. I broke the news to mum tonight. I could tell she wasn't impressed, she couldn't see why my husband and I wanted to go up to Northumbria to join friends in celebrating a birthday; she said "couldn't she (the birthday girl) celebrate it with her husband?" ie, so you can stay home and look after me. She really begrudges any time I spend with friends, she says "your own should come first". (I normally go round on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights and a goodly chunk of Saturday. I work late alternate Wednesdays and go to the pictures with my best friend the Wednesdays inbetween. Sunday is the only full day my husband and I get together as he works away during the week.) And as if right on cue to complicate things, mum had received a letter from her doctor confirming the consultant's latest changes to her medication (increase the dosage on one, reduce on another, stop one) which had to be explained several times and will probably continue to confuse and cause her stress and means I have to go to her chemist's first thing tomorrow to get the new prescriptions sorted out before battling back through the traffic to work. Lovely daughter is doing the Saturday Morrison's shift (what a heroine!) but mum's parting shot of "so you're not coming for three days then?" made it clear that I have, yet again, fallen short of expectations.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

A good night's sleep ...

... works wonders! I found myself becoming really chewed on the Saturday Morrisons' torture trip - nothing winds me up quite so much as being called a liar and yes, I know that's not what really happened and I should make allowances for the oldrons (as opposed to neurons) firing somewhat eccentrically, but telling mum they didn't have any small grapefruit in syrup then having to stand by for ten minutes while she checked every shelf, was exhaustingly aggravating. Small wonder then that back home, by the time 8.30pm came round, I could hardly keep my eyes open. I did the sensible thing and went to bed. Woke up this morning about 8am and have felt quite energised all day! (Had an odd dream about finding out mum had died and trying to sort her things out. Must have been the Morrisons' effect.) Got lots of washing done, been sensible about food (am trying to lose two stones - three pounds last week!) and got a bit further with husband's books. This is good. Must keep it up - the diet and productiveness that is, not the morbid dreaming.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Meltdown averted

I hope that one day when I re-read these posts from a safe distance, I'll be able to say thank goodness I don't get stressed out any more. But for now, I realise that although most of the time I get through the days with a smile on my face, seemingly clued up and capable, under the surface I'm mess. I know this because on Monday I found myself close to tears when trying to sort out mum's medication. (To remind myself for future reference, when mum was discharged from hospital after her stroke, the consultant changed her 75mg aspirin to 300mg. The first time I went to get her meds, I was given 75mg so I contacted her doctor's surgery and provided proof of the larger dose so that it could be prescribed, which it was. However, when I went to renew it, I was given 75mg again because the doctor had decided 300mg was too much.) Anyway, last week I picked up the repeat prescription and a few days later, when I opened the packet to fill up the pill organiser, I found I'd been given 300mg again! I phoned the chemist who confirmed they'd asked for 75mg aspirin and told me to ring the surgery. This I did and explained all the background, the surgery asked me to ring back twice before they managed to catch a doctor in, then the response was that the doctor was reluctant to prescribe 75mg because they'd last prescribed 300mg (by mistake!) and had a consultant's discharge letter from the hospital recommending that strength. I was getting so stressed and frustrated by this point, especially when the surgery told me to phone back later and speak to the doctor. In the end I phoned the chemist again, spoke to the pharmacist and asked him to speak to the doctor (I didn't trust myself to do it, my voice was breaking at this point.) He did so and sorted it all out, bless him (although when I went to collect the aspirin they almost gave me 300mg again!). Well, I've taken precautions - I can get auricular acupuncture at work so I had a 20 minute session to calm myself down and the next day I had gold relaxation beads put in my ears. I'm hoping they'll keep me sane!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

It's not easy being green

I have made small steps towards an eco-friendly lifestyle today, although I fear I've probably done plenty of other stuff to cancel out the good. I had a water conserving shower but have had the washing machine running ever since - used the eco-balls my son gave me for Christmas to wash the towels (but biological powder for the white wash because I wasn't confident that the balls would be as effective). I rinsed out glass and plastic bottles for the recycling box and took shopping bags to the supermarket to save using their plastic bags (but drove there - no public transport and too exhausting and too cold and wet for the bike). I suppose I could have done my shopping yesterday when in Morrison's with mum but my brain just seizes up with the effort of trying to get her to buy enough food for herself, let alone think about what I might need. On the subject of plastic bags -I do recycle them, they go in all our rubbish bins in the house, they're invaluable for de-pooping the garden and I take stuff to work in them where they're used again to line the rubbish bins in the offices. I don't know what I'd replace them with if I had to give them up. Thankfully we've lived in the country for many years now so manage quite well without the heating on during the day - not like these soft townies!


Yesterday two things happened that left me feeling uncomfortably anxious and off kilter. The first was self-induced. I did a shameful thing - having parked the car, the wind took the door out of my hand and slammed it into the car next to me, leaving a dint. I panicked, got back in the car and moved to a different space. I then spent the whole of lunch with that old familiar hot knot in my chest, worried in case one of the other diners accosted me for my cowardly behaviour. Once before, when something similar happened, I left a note with an explanation and my details under the other car's windscreen wiper. I don't know why I didn't do the same yesterday, perhaps because my mother was with me and would have given me a hard time for being so honest/considerate, perhaps because I'm more emotionally unstable than I realised (I have had a few melt-downs in the last year) and just wanted to avoid an unpleasant confrontation. The incident made me think though, was it a good thing that I felt bad? Did it mean I had a conscience and felt remorse for doing wrong or was it not so much guilt that I felt but fear of being found out? Anyway, the anxiety slowly subsided as we finished the meal without interruption and left the pub, the other car having already gone. About an hour later, the panic button was pressed again - putting up mum's tablets for the following week, I opened the bag of repeat meds to discover that the pharmacy had given me 300mg aspirin instead of 75 and I only had enough of the right dosage to last until Thursday. Organising her medication has always felt a big, scary responsibility (seven on a morning, two on a night) so this glitch coming so soon after the dint incident really got to me. I know it's a simple thing to phone the chemist on Monday to put it right but at the time it felt like the last straw. Anyway, lovely daughter came to the rescue again and took me off to the pictures to see Horton Hears a Who, so a combination of laughter and lots of sweets calmed me down. Then joined husband in the pub with friends, more laughter and home. Today the sun is shining, better times ahead I hope.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Happy anniversary

Yesterday was a good day. First stop, mum's doctor for the results of her blood tests - all OK. It was the first time the doctor had seen her since her stroke so out of hearing I said that her short-term memory had been badly affected and she was easily confused. The doctor then asked her what day, month and year it was and I thought this is where she gets them all right and I look a right b****...mum answered confidently Friday, April, '77. I was startled as I hadn't expected more than a year or two out, but the doctor was great. She said "Yes, that's right" and mum came away feeling really pleased with herself. I decided not to tell her the truth as it would only have worried and upset her. Next we went to the hospital to see the consultant for an after stroke check-up, no major problems but he wanted to change some of her medication and there was much checking of charts on the computer and making notes in the file and explaining to me what was to change and why - poor mum sat bewildered throughout, isolated in her deafness. (That's something else I have to do - arrange an appointment with the audiologist to get a more effective hearing aid. Mum's GP thinks it will help with the confusion - makes sense.) We dropped the consultant's recommendations off at the surgery and went for lunch. Back to work in the afternoon, managed to finish a report despite lots of interruptions and for once was able to go straight to the pub to meet husband instead of back to mum's. Think my anniversary presents to him went down well - a large leather pouch he can fit on his belt for work with a jar of special edition 'I love you' Marmite inside! His presents to me were fun too, a silver love knot on a chain and a crystal deodorant block! Had a delicious meal of sea bass with chilli, coriander and lemon and enjoyed the company of friends before going home. And finally to bed....where surprised by amourous advances! I'll spare you the undignified details but there were a few minutes when we were both in hysterics at the picture we posed. There we were, coitus interruptus - one reaching for an inhaler, the other for the KY; don't you love middle age?!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Hard times

I'm exhausted. It's been a difficult few weeks, mostly because my mum has been pushing my buttons to the point where the landline ringing is enough to flood my chest with a hot burst of anxiety and tie my heart in a tight little knot. Thank goodness for lovely daughter who comes to my rescue with words of wisdom and selfless acts of kindness. Also it's been super-busy at work so I'm playing catch-up again just when I'd got on top of everything and I'm not really eating sensibly so my energy levels are low, too low to do the healthy thing and get some exercise to shift that tyre round my middle which depresses me every time I catch sight of myself in the mirror. OK, moan over. Must get an early night tonight as tomorrow is going to be hectic -mum's doctor and hospital appointments in the morning, work in the afternoon, wedding anniversary to celebrate on the night. Which reminds me, must wrap husband's present and write the card!