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melting but not down

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

still here, just.

My dog got me up for the second time in ten minutes at 04:30. As I would only lie in bed with mum filling my head, I may as well be here, with a cup of tea. Nothing has changed. Actually its getting worse.

Monday. Mum rings me at work. Someone has phoned her from the surgery saying the doctor wants to see her. She told them she couldn't get there. They told her they would collect her at 07:45 Tuesday morning. I tell her it sounds unlikely but I will check with the surgery and tell her what happened when I see her after work. The surgery asks round everyone but no-one has called my mum. I phone the FAST team. No-one there has phoned. Mum phones me at work. She thought I was going to phone her back. I try to tell her the results of my enquiries. She can not hear me clearly. Everyone at work within 100 yards can hear me. Monday night. I tell her over and over again the surgery didn't ring. She must have misunderstood what was said. Was she sure it wasn't one of her carers? No. Definitely the surgery. I promise to be at hers for 07:45 on Tuesday to see who turns up. Same old, same old. I go home at 20:30.

Tuesday. I arrive at mum's at 07:30. She is already in her winter coat, complaining about having to go to the doctor's. Time passes. Nothing happens. I phone the surgery a number of times but get the 'closed' message. I tell her I will take her to the doctor's if it turns out that she has an appointment. 08:15 - mum's carers arrive. Mystery solved. One of them had phoned her yesterday to say she would be coming earlier to do her breakfast. Took a while to get the message through to mum. Gave the carer my contact details and instructions to phone me in future with any messages. Went to work, collecting my prescriptions from my doctor's on the way. I wonder whether I should ask for a stronger dose of Prozac? I'm obviously not looking my best - at the morning meeting my lovely boss says she might have to send me home if she thinks I'm taking too much on. I'm glad to be at work with something to distract me. I manage to get through the day in first gear, completing a number of tasks. After work, mum's. This time she remains in misery mode all evening. All the usual lamentations and "there's no love". Of course she's right, there isn't. How can you love someone who all their life has made you feel like a huge disappointment? I'm not totally heartless. I recognise that she is unhappy and afraid on her own and I feel sorry for her, as I would any 89 year old widow in poor health. I just can't be what she wants - a surrogate husband, someone there 24/7 to keep her company and take responsibility for everything. I do my best, I go round day after day, I make sure she takes her tablets and doesn't run out, I encourage her to eat, I rub Vick on her chest to help her breathe, I help her bathe and wash her hair, I do her laundry and make sure she has food in the house, I take her to all her doctor's and hospital appointments, I listen to all her stories as though they were new to me, I sit there quietly accepting of all the veiled insults and complaints she directs at me. 57 years of conditioning as a doormat have worked well. I leave at 20:30 and join my husband and friends in the local pub. We don't stay long.

And now its Wednesday. I don't usually go to mum's on Wednesdays - I'm either doing a late shift at work or off to the pictures with my best friend. I shall have to go tonight or face the wrath of she who must be attended. I told her last night that my colleague will do my late shift tonight so that I can go to mum's. She clearly doesn't believe me, she doesn't understand why anyone should have to work late in an "office job". Which just goes to show how she demeans what I do for a living. She often says "you shouldn't be working now" and pulls a face when I say I'll retire at 65. She thinks I should abandon my career/salary/pension to look after her full-time. I intend phoning the social worker today. I need to tell her how impotent I feel in the face of mum's emotional blackmail. Will she be sympathetic or disapproving? I'm beyond caring.

1 comment:

Clippy Mat said...

Hi Lily:
Your devotion is commendable. Stop beating yourself up and forgive yourself--and your mother--she's not going to change now, at this stage of the game. It is what it is. Something made her this way; take it with a pinch of salt from an unhappy old woman.
No matter what, you have done your best.
I hope, hope, hope, that there will be a good resolution, that you will be able to live with. She will have to accept whatever it is YOU decide. I am sure it will work out in the long run.
Good Luck. thinking of you.