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melting but not down

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Friday roller coaster

o8:30 Hello, (carer) your mum only has half a slice of bread left. (Me) There's a full loaf in the freezer. Could you tell her I'll do some shopping and be there around lunchtime?
11:30 Mum rings home. Husband tells her I left a while ago and will be with her soon. He asks how she is, she puts the phone down on him.
11:55 Oh, so you've turned up at last.
Mum is still in her night clothes. She gives me hell for an hour or so. Why does everything happen to her, she wishes the stroke had finished her off, she has no family left (?), nobody cares etc., etc. Eventually I get her dressed and make her some lunch. A small slice of smoked bacon, a pineapple ring and some tomato. She eats most of it. Slowly she perks up. I get her to eat a clementine, drink tea and have a piece of lemon cake, food little and often to encourage her appetite. The afternoon passes minute by minute.
16:00 We are both dozing on the settee when the carer comes to do tea. She makes mum some vegetable soup and toast. She eats half of each. So far we've had a different carer every mealtime. The 'jolly one' has not been back yet. They see I'm there and don't linger. I am wracked by a fierce coughing bout. Mum says I should see a doctor about it. She may be concerned but I suspect she only wants to ensure I'm still fit enough to look after her. She asks me if my husband and daughter look after me. I laugh and say they don't get the chance as I'm always at her's. She doesn't get the irony.
I give mum her 30ml build-up drink. It makes her feel sickly. She wades into the slough of despond again. All she wants is someone to care, to put their arms around her and say its ok. (I don't remember my mother ever putting her arms around me. My dad was the affectionate one.) She says she shouldn't be living alone. What she means is, she wants me to say come and live with me. Totally impractical. I can't see mum climbing the stairs to the loo and she doesn't like my husband at all. He's not what she would have chosen for me (a bank manager perhaps, its all about appearances with mum.) I tell her he's a good man. Its not what she wants to hear. She says she supposes the washing will still be on the airer next week. I put it away.
Mum starts on her terrible father stories, how he used to read and burn her letters and interfere in his children's lives. I remember how mum used to creep into my bedroom when she thought I was asleep and rifle through my handbag. How she persuaded dad to try to break up relationships they didn't approve of - they even went to the police station when I first started seeing my husband, trying to dig up some dirt on him. I say nothing. It would only make mum feel I was picking on her. I am wondering whether this is all a big test to make me a better person. I don't think its working - I may be all sweetness and light on the outside but in my imagination I am swinging a very large baseball bat at my mother's head.
The hours go by, the sickliness fades. She starts to cheer up. I see my chance to leave.
19:45 I say goodnight and promise to return at lunchtime on Saturday. As I start to drive away I see her at the window, indicating she needs me back again. She asks me if I have her front door key so she can let the carer in, instead of using the kitchen door. She finds her key in her purse. I leave again. She is back at the window. I keep driving.
I join my husband and friends in the pub. We are there for less than two hours. All the time I dread going home to find the answerphone blinking and another summons.
Home. Huge sigh of relief. No messages. Watch Rab C Nesbitt. Cruder than I remember but still funny. Bed.


Clippy Mat said...

Lily: I think this is awful. How you are feeling is terrible, and please understand, i mean that non judgmentally. You cannot keep this up surely? It's not doing you any good and your mum would be better off in respite for a while to give you a break and to give you and her an opportunity to reevaluate her living arrangements. Can you speak to her doc? We went through this same thing with both of my parents,at different times, albeit I was here in Canada and my sister and brother were doing the leg work in England. I tried to do my share when I went in the summer, but even that was very difficult. I cannot see how you can go on like this.
I hope that you can get some help from those support groups or her doctor.
Thinking of you. Sending you some love and hugs, hope it helps.

Lily said...

You're right Clippy but I don't think I've a snowflake's chance in hell of getting mum into respite, not even for a day. To her it would be the ultimate betrayal.

Clippy Mat said...

me again: i think respite would be the lesser of the two evils. you can't win with her either way it seems unfortunately so you have to put yourself first now, or you are no good to her or yourself.
thinking of you.

Lily said...

I know, I need to find the courage from somewhere.

oldcrow61 said...

Lily, I have to agree with Clippy Mat. You can't continue like this.