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melting but not down

Thursday, 23 July 2009

...and the darkest hour is just before dawn. Hopefully.

Wednesday was a roller-coaster of a day that has left me exhausted but cautiously optimistic..

Mum phones me before I set off for work - can I come round later, she has something important to discuss. I stick to my guns and politely shout that I can't as I'm busy but I will see her on Thursday night. She says she can't hear me. I speak as slowly and clearly as I can, reminding her that I'd seen her the previous night and had promised to make an appointment to view the retirement flats near me. She can't hear me. She says she will have to get her neighbour to phone Social Services. OK says I cheerfully, see you tomorrow. I have relinquished a tiny bit of responsibility for mum and it feels liberating.

11:00 am at work, I phone mum's neighbour and ask her to pass on a message to mum that I've made the appointment for next Monday. She tells me mum has just come over to talk to her (this is the neighbour that mum has hated with a passion for umpteen years) and that she knows how much I do for her and will help in any way she can. Yippee! (Just to digress a moment, this week I bought mum a rollator with a seat and a shopping basket as she has been complaining for a long time that she's stuck in the house because she's wobbly on her legs and would love to be able to go to the local shops. Unfortunately, it made her even more depressed because it reminded her of her infirmity. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson after the amplified phone flop. The rollator is now in my bike shed. I plan on using it myself in my dotage - I can put my knitting in the basket and totter off.) Anyway.............

For once, I go home straight after work and look forward to a relaxing evening with Mr Lily. Ha. Mum phones...
#1 - can you come over, I'm so depressed etc etc. I explain I'm busy but will see her tomorrow. She is not happy. Neither am I - the tension had transferred itself to my knitting and I had to frog a few rows to get beyond the mistake.
#2 - same question and answer again but this time she tells me I'm hard as nails. Mr Lily makes a lovely meal, what a guy.
#3 - she can smell gas. (This has happened a few times in the past. Gas engineers have checked everything thoroughly and found no leaks.) I suspect its a ruse to get me to go over. I offer to phone the emergency gas service. She says she can't hear me. I suggest she ask her neighbour to see whether she can smell gas. She is getting very annoyed. Apparently I make her sick! This is an interesting, albeit upsetting departure from the usual civilised criticisms of my shortcomings as a daughter. I escape the phone by going outside to clean out my car. (I'm getting a new one this week - woo hoo!)
#4 - 22:40. She can't remember how to switch off the central heating, the pipes are boiling hot and she daren't go to bed. Deep breath. I go over. The heating is already switched off. I go through the instructions a few times to put her mind at rest. Oddly, she doesn't seem cross with me at all. I tell her about the flat appointment. She says she didn't know about it, even though in an earlier phone call she said her neighbour had advised her against it (wtf?!). However, and hold onto your hats here, this prompts her to say that she doesn't want to be on her own in a flat. I tell her that the only alternative then is to find a good retirement home. SHE AGREES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm on leave next week so I promise to take her to look at some homes.

Will she change her mind? I don't know. I hope not. What I do know is that no matter how difficult/stressful/aggravating, finally playing the grown up to my mother/child seems to be working. Interesting times......


Clippy Mat said...

YES! she knows. whether she waffles again, she does know now and is starting to come to terms with it. she knows that she/you can't continue like this.
stay strong. you will get there.

Lily said...

Thanks Clippy!

Emily said...

Oh, boy. I HOPE she sticks with it.

Back when my mom began to fantasize about some sort of older-person-living-place, I sent for catalogs: nice colorful brochures on glossy paper to feed her dreams. I recommend you try this, to save yourself some driving-around time. (My mom ended up never moving, but that was OK: my brother lived there with her. She fantasized about a new place for the rest of her life.)