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melting but not down

Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Boxing Day Die Hard song - sing along!

The boys upstairs are snoring
The morning TV's boring
And since there's not very much snow
To the Boxing Day sales I must go!

I've had my porridge and berries
Now I just need to find my wellies,
Jeans and a warm jumper-o
And off to the sales I will go!

I really need some warm pyjamas
All my old ones are far too loose
I'm only a pound off target
From the 3 stones* I had to lose!

Yesterday we went to see my mother
Me, my daughter and her brother
Mum has a big black eye -
3 falls in 3 days, oh my!

We think she has a water infection
But she doesn't need an injection
Just antibiotics and rest
And she'll soon be back to her best

At the moment she's very wobbly
She can't walk far at all
I bought her a cardie for Christmas
Size 6^, yes she's really that small!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas
To every mister and missus
Lots of happiness and good cheer
And I'll see you all again next year!

For my friends in the USA:
*42 pounds
^ size 2

Saturday, 4 December 2010

I'm a terrible daughter

I haven't been to see mum for a fortnight. I meant to go last week but then the weather went arctic and the roads were treacherous and I was so busy and we were away in London for a long weekend and, and, and..... The thing is, I've stopped feeling guilty about not visiting exactly seven days apart - I know she's well cared for, the home contacts me if there are any concerns at all, mum doesn't really have a grasp of the passage of time and I'm knackered. Excuses, excuses. Must try and get over this weekend and hope the black ice doesn't get me. Still, I am enjoying the copious amounts of snow, this is how winters should be.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

and another funny thing...

... about the second visit to mum last weekend - I finally plucked up the courage to get her photo album out. I'd been putting it off, thinking that it might upset or confuse her to see photos of friends and family she might not recognise/realise had died. And yet, amazingly, she identified everyone and knew unprompted where dad used to work; she seemed to enjoy looking at the pictures and didn't ask about anyone's current circumstances. Perhaps she'll look at it again when we're not there. I'm thinking about taking the old projector lovely daughter found in mum's loft, complete with old slides I hadn't seen since I was a teenager. I should be able to give her quite a film show and maybe entertain a few residents/staff at the same time. Watch this space!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

sharp intake of breath

Beloved son, lovely daughter and I went to visit mum on 6 November, her 91st birthday. "Get away!" she said scornfully, when I told her how old she was. A pleasant, chatty visit and then totally unprompted, she said my dad had been to see her and told her he'd bumped into an old boyfriend of hers. She never talks about dad, its as though she's forgotten all about him, then all of a sudden he's paying house calls. I know there's an old wives' tale about it being a sign that someone is not long for this world when dear departed ones start to visit. Probably rubbish, but it was strange. It gave lovely (psychic) daughter and I quite a turn. BS and I went back to see mum the following day and out of the blue she repeated the dad visiting/old boyfriend encounter story. Still, I suppose its quite nice for her to see dad again, at least in the moment, she won't feel like she's been abandoned.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

other stuff

Life is unsettled (1), fun (2) and satisfying (3) at the moment...
  1. Due to the current economic climate, compulsory redundancies are in the pipeline at work. Our poor line managers have to complete some kind of redundantable scoresheet on everyone in their teams to identify the unlucky few. Hopefully I'm too old and therefore too expensive to qualify! Beloved son seems ok but I wish he could get a job, the longer he's out of work, the harder it will be to find one. I try not to get on his case but I can't help thinking he's spending too much time YouTubing and not enough job hunting (yes, I know, look who's talking lol).
  2. Went to a Halloween party last night, resplendant in a slinky floor length, midnight blue velvet, halter neck number and witch's hat, prompting many an appreciative comment from folks who remembered me from last year's party as a dumpy little thing in a black trouser suit, reminiscent of Biggins in Rocky Horror. Getting excited already about next year's cruise. I have plans to learn ballroom dancing this time round!
  3. I've lost 2 stones 10 pounds (38 pounds for transatlantic readers) since starting Slimming World at the end of January and only have 4 pounds to go to my target weight of 8 stones 11 pounds, the magic 3 stones lost point! It's an expensive business though, this losing weight lark. I had to buy new bras yesterday and was shocked to find it cost me over £70 for four good quality ones! I'd better not change shape for the next few years. I'm knitting again, and making slow but steady progress with a bedspread I'm making for my daughter's 30 birthday in December 2011. Knitting is my nicotine, I'm addicted to its calming effect, it starts and ends my day and features in my lunch breaks at work. I really must find a pattern for me though, most of my knitting seems to be for other people! Lovely daughter has an equally lovely boyfriend, they both seem loved up so I'm hoping this one's a keeper. They plan to move in together into mum's bungalow after Christmas/when all the repairs and refurbishments have been completed. Hopefully the Court of Protection won't put a spanner in the works and insist on exorbitant rent which would scupper their plans.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Mum, after a year in care

This is the first time in ages I've woken up at daft o'clock and turned to tea and tinternet. Banishing elderly dog to the kitchen at night has meant no interruptions from her scratching at the bedroom door at all hours. So, to use this time constructively, a few thoughts on how things are going with mum...

I usually manage to see her once a week, mostly with lovely daughter in tow, although I'm less anxious about going on my own as mum is generally in a good mood these days. I don't know whether its the progression of the dementia, steadily erasing old anxieties and gripes, or the settling effect of being surrounded by company and care every day instead of being all alone, or a combination of the two, but mum is a different person to the unhappy, paranoid and fretful old lady she was a year ago. She may struggle to hear what people say to her, but she keeps the conversation going with her own observations on life past and present and often smiles and even laughs when she gets the joke. She may greet our arrival with "can you bring me some money for bus fare" but is easily deflected from her escape plans by a cup of tea and a change of subject. She seems to be interacting with other residents quite well, she is always in the lounge when we go and this week introduced me and LD as her daughter and granddaughter (result!) to a lady in a wheelchair with a vice-like grip.

If you didn't know she had dementia, you might think there was nothing much wrong with her when she's chatty and lucid - this week she remembered, unprompted, that my son used to think that Farmer Christmas was Santa Claus' real name, but then in the next breath she'll ask whether her father is still as grumpy as ever and say she regrets joining up again (she thinks she's back in the WAAFs). The other week we were on our way to the dining room when she decided she needed to go to the toilet - I went in with her and found that the pad she was wearing was soaked and soiled. I don't think she realised. I had to get a member of staff to help as I couldn't work out how the new style pads fitted. Its sad that I don't find such episodes as shocking as I used to.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

groundhog day

This is how it goes. I wake up before dawn, needing the loo. The trip to the bathroom wakes me up somewhat so I decide to go downstairs and check on elderly dog, now confined to the kitchen overnight, the better to deal with any 'accidents'. Kitchen floor decorated with dog pee and poo so by the time I've cleaned it all up, I'm wide awake and thirsty. Make a cup of tea and switch on computer. Play Lexulous on Facebook (a kind of online scrabble) until there are no more moves to make, play Bubble Spinner until the bubbles get the better of me. Check this blog for new posts, mooch around eBay, check e-mails, back to Facebook to see whether any of my online Lexulous partners have played their moves, notice that dawn is breaking, go back to bed (or start getting ready for work, depending on what day it is). Can't understand why I'm lacking in energy. Pfft.

Going to a work colleague's wedding blessing and reception this afternoon. I can tell that Mr Lily is nervous about not knowing anyone there and is already hankering after going to the pub before the ceremony, presumably for dutch courage. I'm hoping I can keep him under control until the reception has got under way, by which time everyone else will be getting tiddly anyway. Everyone but me that is, always the chauffeur, never the party girl. That's what you get when you're allergic to alcohol - its just not worth the full on hayfever-like attack that usually accompanies drinking.

Will be starting to get work done on mum's bungalow soon. Have obtained a quote for boarding out the loft and should have sorted out an electrician by the end of next week to do the rewiring and a few other electrical jobs. My brain tells me I'm doing the right thing but my guts are churning - making these decisions about mum's property without her knowledge (she's forgotten the bungalow existed, it would only confuse her to try to explain what's happening) feels shifty somehow, as though I'm doing something wrong. I suppose part of the discomfort is because lovely daughter will be the beneficiary of all this refurbishment, being paid for out of mum's account, when she moves into the bungalow. Although, in the end she may have to move out so I can rent/sell the bungalow if the Court of Protection doesn't approve of her living there rent free (she's on a low wage), in which case all the improvements will have added to the value of the bungalow which is a good thing, isn't it? Aaargh, too much responsibility. I recognise this feeling. I'm stressed. I want my Prozac back. I want to be comfortably numb again.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Things can only get better

Two years ago today, I was a few months into taking Prozac and still struggling with the blues and extreme weariness. Mum was difficult and demanding but still functioning fairly normally. One year ago today, I was on sick leave with stress and visiting a very confused and frail mum every day in hospital in the run up to her being assessed for residential care. Things are much better now. Visited mum yesterday and she seems really settled in the home. Now if I could just stop waking up at daft o'clock.....

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sun in Gemini, Moon in Libra

Hurrah! I've lost the one and a half pounds I put on during the cruise, mum recognised me as her daughter last night, spent quality time with beloved son last weekend and lovely daughter has a lovely boyfriend.

Boo :-( Still tortured by the nettle devils and occasionally disrupted sleep - have been prescribed a bagful of medication to zap it, fingers crossed. Feeling a bit jittery, remember being more chilled on the Prozac. The house is a tip, can't seem to motivate myself to sort it out.

Well that's what you get when you're an up and down twin, I suppose.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Cruise Capers - in which Mr Lily has some spectacularly senior moments and we both have a bloody good time

We had a fabulous time on the cruise, it exceeded my wildest expectations and we can't wait to do it all again next year so we'll be saving like mad for the next 12 months. The weather was gorgeous, the ship luxurious, the service first class, the food to die for, the company (our two friends and new friends made on board) great fun and the ports of call fascinating (with the possible exception of Istanbul where the Spice and Grand Bazaars were marred by the all-male stallholders' relentless hassling if you even breathed in their direction). Mr Lily gurned through most of the holiday snaps, you could tell when we were photographing him - there'd be a chorus of exasperated cries of "SMILE for goodness' sake!" and his comedy act didn't end there....
  • Having set off on our journey down to Southampton, I enquired of Mr Lily whether he had remembered to pack his passport. I expected a withering reply, I did not expect that we would have to return home to collect said passport from the shelf near the music system.
  • After a spot of afternoon delight in the cabin (with the curtains open), Mr Lily and I retired to our 12th deck balcony, Mr Lily indulging in some naked sunbathing as he read his book. Imagine our surprise when a window cleaning contraption bearing a member of the crew slowly trundled its way across the front of the balcony. "Keep that book there!" I hissed at ML and only later wondered whether that was the window cleaner's first transit or whether he had already been past whilst we were otherwise engaged :-o
  • Packing ready for disembarkation, Mr Lily discovered that he had locked his suitcase keys in the suitcase and had to spend half an hour sawing through the padlock with his Swiss Army knife.
The cruise really did us the power of good, ML only put on a pound and I only put on a pound and a half! ML's hellishly expensive outlay on onboard acupuncture sessions and a personal trainer paid off - his bad back is hugely improved, to the extent that he managed hours walking in very hot weather with no problem at all. And he got to star in the ship's fashion show! Here are a few highlights:
our 'state room' and the balcony of shame

Parthenon the Aurora
sunrise from our balcony

Sunday, 8 August 2010

hair raising

Disaster! I washed my hair this morning - what was a warm brunette mop streaked with honey is now a more ordinary brown with sulphourous streaks! I have purchased a product promising 'medium ash brown' in the hope that the abomination can be toned down in time for work tomorrow. I suspect I may end up extremely dark brown indeed. Sigh.

Can anyone else see the word 'work' in the above paragraph coloured green and underlined as a link? Not guilty!


As I suspected :-(

Oh well, that's me washing my hair every morning for the next few days in the hope that the expresso coffee thing I have going on fades in time for my hols next week.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

spammers leave my blog alone!

Is anyone else getting annoying intruders? The last couple of times I've checked my blog, I've found the odd word or phrase highlighted by agents unknown and turned into a link to another website. This week, 'eating' and 'losing weight' have been used to take readers to websites advertising slimming products. Once the link has been clicked, it disappears from the post. Bloody cheek!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

memory loss

Beloved son and I visited my mum yesterday. She was delighted to see us and quite a lively conversationalist within her own paremeters; she looked well, although very skinny, and seemed quite settled. The staff assured me that she was eating all her meals and 'no bother'. Ironic, innit, my mother the Queen of Bother, now one of the less challenging residents, lol.

Mum's memory loss fluctuates, its as though past events haven't been completely erased, just hidden from view. Like an ancient neglected wood, paths to memory glades have overgrown with impenetrable bramble thickets, only the well worn tracks staying open. Yet every now and then a path will unexpectedly open up and reveal a clearing bathed in sunshine - yesterday mum mentioned for the first time in ages that her older sister had died when she was quite young, a fact that came unprompted out of the blue. She still didn't remember that all her other siblings have passed on, or her father. Another odd thing happened yesterday. When one of the residents asked mum who BS was, mum quickly responded "this is my grandson, (BS name)". When asked who I was, she replied "this is my niece"! Maybe my losing weight has confused her and that's why she doesn't give me a hard time any more, because she doesn't identify me with the dreadful daughter of yore?!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

a fool and her barnet are soon parted

I had my hair cut (no problem) and streaked (urrgh) on Wednesday. I don't know what happened. I'd discussed it with my hairdresser the last time I was there and I'm sure we'd agreed on 'lowlights', I even think the word 'caramel' was mentioned. So how I left the salon today with fine blonde streaks I'll never know, other than when he said that was what he was going to do, I gave him the go ahead, ignoring the little voice inside reminding me of the original plan. What a wuss.

I don't like it. It makes my hair look insipid and me older. I'm going to buy a wash in colour and hope it doesn't turn my hair orange.

Some time later............
The 'light brown' colour I put on this morning has done the trick, now I have subtle light golden brown/blonde highlights instead of lemony white streaks. Phew!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

I could have scratched all night, I could have scratched all night, and still have scratched some more.....

aaaaaaargh! This middle of the night itching is driving me mad and is extra annoying as I can't see the reason for it - my excema cleared up quite a while ago so its perfectly normal looking skin these days being driven mad by the nettle devils' tour of every limb in perpetuity. My scalp is no better and I have a hairdresser's appointment tomorrow morning, I dread their commenting on it, so embarrassing. Anyway, I got up to take my mind off it so I'll change the subject.

Lovely daughter and I visited mum yesterday. I hadn't been for over a fortnight - away in London last weekend and then stricken by a summer cold that still hasn't quite gone. Mum didn't seem aware of the gap, she was just pleased to see us (and the box of Thornton's chocolates we took!). She was in the lounge with lots of other residents when we arrived, I really think having company around her, even if she can't hear what people are saying, is a great comfort to her after all those solitary years. She seems much more relaxed and stress free now, no longer the woman who worried about everything and constantly bemoaned her miserable life. She still talks about going home to her father, but without distress. Yesterday she elaborated on her wishes for him - not only should he find a woman and marry her, they should have children to take his mind off picking on mum! I still find it very peculiar to collude with her delusions but its the kindest thing. Anyway, mum's so deaf these days that it would be impossible to try to explain the truth about anything. Even the simplest of comments, spoken very loudly, eludes her most of the time. I took along a bag of name labels - the kind you get for children's school uniform - and stitched them into some of her clothes while we sat in the dining room with a cup of tea. It proved a useful distraction for mum, who seemed interested and pleased by the process. I intend to keep going until everything in her wardrobe has her name in pink embroidery sewn into the seams!

I found out today that by signing up for Gift Aid with my local Help the Aged charity shop not so long ago (which means that Age UK can claim an extra 28% from the tax man on the proceeds from selling the goods I donate), I've raised £64.85 from my cast-off clothes! Bloody marvellous! I've been ruthlessly clearing out all my old size 16 and 14 clothes so I don't have any excuses to put the weight back on and am busy buying new 10s and 12s from the charity shop to replace them. Last time I went in I was hailed as one of their best customers! Its weigh in at Slimming World tonight, I've 10 pounds to go to my target of 8 stones 11 pounds but doubt I'll make it before we go on the cruise on 20 August. Still, I'd be happy just to keep losing until then. I don't know whether its a general skin problem, given the current sensitivity, or whether losing weight off my face is to blame, but I do seem to have developed more wrinkles lately. Most annoying. I'm hoping liberal applications of unguents and a relaxing holiday will iron them out. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity :-(

Friday, 23 July 2010

lulled into a false sense of security

I thought I'd cracked it. Daytime - dog in kitchen with access to drinking water and a little food, easy to clean up accidents from tiled floor; night-time - dog sleeps on landing without access to water, hopefully reducing wake-ups for wees and accidents on the carpet.

All went swimmingly for two or was it three days, I'm too tired to remember. No accidents while we were all out at work, no accidents or disturbed sleep during the night. Bliss.

Its 4 am and K9 has had me up three times in the last hour to let her out, evidence of her desperation visible in two little damp patches on her bed. What's a girl to do but make a cup of tea and whinge into the ether. I'd only just begun to feel like my brain was working again after being suffocated in the cranial cotton wool of a summer cold. Now I shall be doing my zombie impression at work again today. TFIF.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

old ladies have it in for me

Typical, innit. Mum's finally settled and well looked after so I should be able to relax but here comes another old girl to cause problems and interrupt my sleep. Our much loved, fifteen year old dog has become incontinent. She piddles and poops in the house without warning and gets us (well, lovely daughter and I) up in the night to let her out, sometimes when the damage is already done. 4 am this morning she scratched on my bedroom door, apparently having only just been let back in by LD, and as I went downstairs I stepped barefooted onto a soggy patch in the hall carpet. I'm going to try putting her bed in the kitchen for what is left of tonight but I suspect she'll be scratching at the door until we get up again. Apparently there's something you can get for weak canine bladders so its back to the vet's again, I think. I have a very poor sense of smell but Mr Lily said there was a definite pong when he came home from work yesterday. How embarrassing. Will have to get the carpets cleaned or rip them up and put down lino!

Monday, 5 July 2010

what's up?

I am, at daft o'clock again. Had a long lie in this morning - it was after 1pm when I finally surfaced, most unusual for me. Then I ran out of steam early evening and retired for 40 winks which ended up more like 4,000. I was still winking when my husband came to bed about an hour or two ago, then I got up to get a drink and here I am. Don't know why my energy levels are so low, I'm eating enough and healthily. Probably stress. The deputyship thing weighs heavily on my mind at the moment, so much to organise and I'm going to be 'supervised' by the Court of Protection so I'm anxious about doing it properly. Post Prozac I'm finding that I do tend to panic a bit about things I don't understand - I changed my car a few weeks ago and got myself in a right tiz about swapping the insurance over, very confusing.

Mum, meanwhile, is blissfully ignorant of all this. She has settled well into the home now and seems much more cheerful when we visit, albeit she still wonders when she'll be able to leave. We just say 'when you're better'. At first glance, you wouldn't think there was much amiss with her other than the deafness and the current chest infection - she chats quite normally about everyday things (as long as you don't ask her any questions that rely on memory, like what did you have for lunch today) but then drops the occasional bombshell - last week she was wishing her grumpy old father would meet a woman and get married!

I suppose I ought to go back to bed. Work tomorrow. Will I go on the bike? If only there weren't a huge hill between home and work that makes me arrive at the other end tomato faced and 'glowing'.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


I'm two stones and 1 pound lighter than I was 5 months ago! Seemed to take ages to get to this point but now I'm freshly motivated to try hard and get the last 13 pounds off before we sail on 20 August.

Greg, to answer your question, the cruise goes to Malaga, Piraeus, Dikili, Istanbul, Mytilene, Naples (hoping to tour Pompeii on this stopover) and Almeria.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

sigh of relief

The Court of Protection have agreed to my being mum's Deputy, it will take effect on 9 July. There'll be a lot of administrative work for me to do initially, notifying the bank, building societies, fuel providers, council, etc etc but I've made a little list and I shall be working my way through it. Then I'll have to arrange for mum's bungalow to be rewired (hasn't been done since it was built 50 years ago, get a new bathroom fitted (currently yukky avocado), rip up all the carpets (lovely daughter keeps finding carpet beetles, ughh) and fit laminate flooring. Eventually LD will move in, if she can afford the bills. If not, I suppose I'll have to think about renting or selling it.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I've lost a pound this week which will get me my 2 stones award at Slimming World on Tuesday night. Him indoors beat me to it last week, grrr. Only 8 weeks to the cruise, yippee!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Life without Prozac is slightly different - I've noticed that my tolerance threshold has shrunk a little - I can be irritable these days but only for short bursts and actually its not such a bad thing, maybe I was too placid before - now I say what I think (and apologise later!) or just quit annoying situations rather than putting up with them.

Still eating healthily and slowly losing weight, down to 141 pounds last week (starting weight 165). Still got some blubber to lose round the middle but at least catching sight of myself in a shop window now or changing room mirrors aren't the depressing experiences they used to be.

Wish I could sort out my energy levels - they fluctuate between buzzing around not being able to relax and feeling completely zonked. At work I regularly struggle to remain conscious during afternoon meetings - its as though my brain puts up the 'CLOSED' sign after eating lunch. I should have been born in a siesta part of the world, would have been perfect for me. Tonight I couldn't keep awake after tea and took myself off to bed about 9. I'm only up now because my dog woke me to let her out (even though my husband was still downstairs!). I'm often to be found at the computer in the early hours, following the 'dog wakes me up, I'm thirsty, I'll have a cup of tea and a play on the puter while I drink it....' and an hour and a half drunk cup of cold tea later I head back for bed.

I'm off work for a fortnight starting today, although I went in to finish a couple of urgent reports this morning and ended up staying four and a half hours and still have one report to write! Its my birthday a week today - the last time I'll be fifty something. How did that happen?!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

update for Sharwan :-)

  • lost another 1.5 pounds at the Slimming World weigh-in last night, making it 22 pounds lost in 16 weeks. I'm now just over half way to my target. Am busy in the charity shops, taking in old loose gear and buying 'new' next-size-down clothes. I even bought a slinky pinstripe fitted shift dress that just zips up now but in half a stone's time will look SENSATIONAL!
  • managed to spray myself and half the kitchen at work with fish juice this lunchtime, much to my colleagues' consternation and chagrin. Had to nip home to change clothes.
  • had my hair cut tonight, back to short and impish, just like me lol.
  • going to see mum Friday. No longer feel I have to go exactly every seven days, as long as I go roughly every week it seems to be ok - mum's sense of time is pretty shaky so she doesn't berate me for being late, she's just surprised and pleased to see lovely daughter and I whenever we go. Feels liberating.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

foul weather blogger bows out, for now....

I know its extremely selfish, but as life is a lot easier and happier these days, I just don't feel the need to blog - it was always my cathartic release when the black dog was breathing down my neck. I'm off the Prozac and still doing fine, I'm slimmer and fitter than I've been in ages, mum seems reasonably settled at the home and work is going ok. I can't complain - no really, I can't!

I'll still check up on you lovely people and keep in touch that way but it may be a while before I put up a new post. Famous last words probably - did I hear growling?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Fingers crossed for blue skies ahead...

I took my last Prozac tablet this morning.

Mum is continuing to eat well and has put on 5 pounds, she's now just over 5 stones (70 pounds).

I now fit into size 12 jeans (size 8 in the US?).

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

My gorgeous new bike!

I bought this bike at the weekend and can't believe the difference it has made - the journey to work took me half as long yesterday, must be the bigger wheels! I asked the bike shop to swap over my woman's saddle from the old bike and it's front light and prop rest and I've had mudguards, a luggage rack and panniers fitted. Its great not having to carry all my stuff in a backpack any more. Also I finally caved in to common sense, I'm now wearing a cycling helmet for the first time in my life.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

its getting better all the ti-i-ime!

Cycled to work today in beautiful sunshine.
Cycled to the shops at lunchtime in beautiful sunshine and bought a pair of knee supports which I wore when cycling home in beautiful sunshine - happy knees!
I'm thinking of trading in my current bike for a proper laydee's bike - I'm having trouble lifting my leg over the top bar without overbalancing (I'm only likkle) and I could do with a pair of panniers instead of carrying all my stuff in a backpack.

Went to see mum with lovely daughter tonight. Mum was much brighter - the staff said she'd been eating better for days...couldn't believe it when in front of our eyes she demolished a piece of ginger cake and THREE sandwiches! The staff have started putting food in front of her whenever she sits down and she just eats it! Brilliant to see. The only cloud on the horizon is that they've stopped some of her meds as something showed up in the latest blood tests - should find out tomorrow what it was.

Only a week and a bit and goodbye Prozac! I think I'm going to be ok :-)

Monday, 19 April 2010

Prozac blues?

Here I am at daft o'clock again. I've been hitting the keys around 3am quite a few times lately in a bid to tire myself out enough to go back to sleep. I'm beginning to think it may have something to do with coming off Prozac, especially as this weekend I haven't been my usual self. I've had long lie-ins on Saturday and Sunday, unusual for me, and felt more like my old anti-social self on Saturday night. Of course, that may have just been the inevitable consequence of being the only sober one surrounded by inebriated aging rock'n'rollers! Yesterday I felt quite flat, it took some doing just to keep going. Is it a coincidence that I'm now down to one Prozac tablet every fourth day? With the recent good weather, we've been concentrating on the garden, with the result that the house is a tip but I can't seem to motivate myself to clean it up.

Going back to bed now.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Lily - the grateful bum

This is my new bicycle saddle. I rode back from town on it yesterday and was astonished and relieved to find that despite being still rather tender from Thursday's cycle to work, it was pretty comfortable! I still had to get off and walk up a few hills and have a 'little' nap when I got home, but I'm determined to bike to work again next week and hope for a significant result at the Slimming World weigh-in on Tuesday night.

Friday, 9 April 2010

checking in

  • mum is now 4 stones 9.5 pounds (65.5). Blood tests found too much calcium (is her body cannabilising itself to survive, eating up the bones?) so the doctor has stopped her digoxin (don't know what the link is) and doubled her anti-depressant (I'm hoping it stimulates her appetite). I was asked what I thought about referring her to hospital. I said it would be a bad move, she hated it in hospital last time and still lost weight through not eating and drinking. In hospital they just dump the food and leave at mealtimes. At least in the home she is in familiar surroundings and the staff will encourage her to eat. Hope I made the right decision.
  • I did cycle to and from work on Thursday - 2.5 miles each way. Oh my poor knees. Oh my poor bum! I did say 'never again' but I'll persevere and try again next week. I've been told you can get special ladies' saddles, designed to be kind to our tender parts so am on a quest to find a good one.
  • I've lost 15 pounds in 10 weeks with Slimming World! That's an average of 1.5 pounds a week and if I can keep it up, I'll hit my target of losing 3 stones in time for our holiday in mid August.
  • I'm down to one Prozac tablet every third day and doing just fine. Will be completely off them in three weeks' time!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

the post with no name

The three of us visited mum again on Bank Holiday Monday. This time she was in the lounge when we arrived, a good sign, and one of the staff brought her down to her room to see us. It must have been shocking for my son to see her out of bed (he doesn't get home very often so hasn't seen the gradual decline) - she looks so pale and tiny, stick thin and very wobbly when she walks. Still, she was glad to see us and quite chatty, I'm afraid we plied her with drink - her favourite tipple is Tia Maria, and had to put her to bed in the end as she was drifting off. LD and BS missed quite a little drama when I went to find a member of staff to get the Tia Maria out of the 'safe'. A group of residents were in the corridor and one of them ('Scary Lady') suddenly started stripping off, she had her jumper off by the time the staff caught up with her, apparently they'd had to stop her doing the same thing in the lounge a few moments earlier! I'm hoping to call in to see her during the day tomorrow as I'm over that way for work. I'm also planning to cycle to work tomorrow, I wonder whether I'll achieve both?

Monday, 5 April 2010

I spoke too soon....

The care home staff tell me that over the last couple of weeks mum has been fine one day - eating, drinking and wandering about, then the complete opposite the next. I can see from visiting her that the one does not cancel out the other - she seems more frail and detached from the world each time I go.

Yesterday lovely daughter and beloved son (home for Easter yay!) and I took mum an Easter egg. She was in bed for her afternoon nap and looked very pale, just skin and bone. She was pleased to see us and seemed content but that may have just been exhaustion. She talked a little, mostly about whether "the grumpy old man" (her father) was still at home and causing trouble. There was a flash of the old feisty mum when one of the staff came into the room to tell me when the blood test results would be back - after she left, mum asked if she'd gone and on being told 'yes', said "good" with a grin! We managed to encourage her to eat a chocolate and drink a little Mackeson, perhaps it was the latter that contributed to mum's telling us it was "a quarter past warmer outside", lol.

We're planning to go again this morning, hopefully before mum gets too tired.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

false alarm!

Mum has rallied round. The staff think she may just have felt unwell but couldn't tell them. She's up and dressed each day and down the lounge again, she's eating and drinking better, sighs of relief all round! Still very frail though and confused - she asked me last Thursday to confirm that she and LD were MY babies!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

rapids ahead

Well I chose a great time to come off Prozac. I think mum is on her way out. Its nearly 4 am and I haven't the energy to think up a softer way of saying that. Sorry if it sounded too blunt. I've been feeling very unsettled since the care home phoned yesterday afternoon to tell me that they'd had to call the doctor out as mum had refused to eat or drink anything all weekend. She now weighs 4 stones 12 (68 pounds), has low blood pressure and is very wobbly on her feet, falling into things all the time. The doctor decided it would not be in mum's best interests to admit her to hospital, thank goodness - she hated being in hospital and it would only confuse her more to take her out of her now familiar surroundings. The doctor told the staff she thought the not eating and drinking was symptomatic of mum's increasing dementia so I guess its unlikely that things are going to improve much from now on. I tried phoning the doctor to get more information but couldn't get through.

I left work early last night and went to see mum. She'd been in bed all day. The carers were just making her comfortable when I arrived. She was awake but didn't seem to recognise me - she didn't speak, other than to say 'no' when I asked her if she'd like a chocolate, hoping to tempt her into eating something. The staff said she hadn't spoken all weekend. She soon closed her eyes and they stayed shut while I drank the cup of tea the staff had brought me. I couldn't tell whether she was asleep or just resting. I couldn't talk to her, I would have had to shout for her to hear me and it didn 't seem right when she looked so tired. Instead I stroked her hair and sat close by for a while. What happens next? Uncharted territory. Going back to bed now :-(

Monday, 22 March 2010

I spoke too soon?

Maybe I am feeling some after effects of coming off the Prozac - I have been feeling intermittently restless the past few days and today's post-prandial nap turned into a marathon (which is why I am still up at this ungodly hour) and when I finally surfaced, I felt distinctly unwell - headachey and tight-chested. Then again it could be the upheaval downstairs - Mr Lily has finally bought himself a reclining chair and has been sorting out the accumulated clutter in the front room to accommodate it. Its taken 2 days and we're still not finished, you should see the dust on the carpet where one of the sofas used to be! OK I'm off to bed now.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Saturday morning, just before dawning...

This itching is driving me mad! It starts to come on mid-evening and continues through to morning, often waking me up in the early hours, like today. Anti-histamines and moisturising cream only work sometimes, I'm going to have to ask my doctor for something else. Ah well, you win some, you lose some - 10 pounds in 7 weeks! I'm loving the Slimming World plan - really enjoying choosing and shopping for the week's meals then cooking fresh food every day. Mr Lily thinks its great too, he's lost 12 pounds so far. You'd think a healthier diet would help my skin, maybe I'm allergic to onions and garlic which feature heavily in most recipes, lol. I can get into a size smaller skirts and jeans now and the folks at work are always commenting on my weight loss and how well I look, although I think the latter is more in comparison with how worn out I was before mum went into the home. Coming off the Prozac seems to be going well, I'm now down to a tablet every other day and not experiencing any problems. In fact, I find I'm enjoying life more these days - I often sing 'I'm aitch-A-pee-pee-why, I'm-aitch-A-pee-pee-why' to myself at random moments, finding delight in the simplest of things.

Mum is still disappearing, both in size and from the real world. Lovely daughter and I took her a card, flowers and chocolates on Mother's Day, she enjoyed it but didn't seem to grasp what was going on, I'm not even sure she knows I'm her daughter any more but she does appreciate my going to see her every week. I'm a bit concerned that she might not be getting as much care in the home as I'd like - when we went on Mother's Day, we found her in the lounge without her teeth in and no cardigan - she's such a tiny scrap of a thing now and has always felt the cold. There doesn't seem to have been any progress in getting her a new hearing aid either - goodness only knows what happened to the old one. Communication at anything less than umpteen decibels is very difficult, she must miss out on so much. Still, she seems relatively settled there, she still says she wishes she could go 'home' but is placated by my telling her 'when you're better'. The Court of Protection application is getting there, just had to pay over £650 to the solicitor for various fees and the paperwork is now completed and on its way. Half of that was the charge for the 'failed' Lasting Power of Attorney attempt - the 2 hours the solicitor spent getting the papers together only to be dismissed by a stroppy mum when he visited her at the home.

I'm hoping this weekend will be productive - the Slimming World regime has inspired me to start growing my own food- I've bought a small greenhouse and am going to plant 12 different types of herbs and a wide selection of salad leaves tomorrow. We've also ordered blueberries, chillies, garlic, peppers and other stuff I can't remember from a seed company and will plant them out in pots in the garden once they've established in the greenhouse. I'm getting quite good at using the exercise bike whilst watching TV and this weekend hope to sort my bike out so that I can start cycling to work next week. I'm determined to reach my target of 8 stones 11 pounds by the time I go on holiday in August - that will mean I've lost 3 stones!

PS...I've beaten my Farmville addiction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

the news at 4

Well here I am at daft o'clock again, driven from my cosy bed by Mr Lily's fight with his sleep apnoea machine. What with his gurgling and gasping and its whooshing, it sounds like happy hour at the hippopotamus bar. In a moment or two I'll head on over to Farmville (definitely OCD, lol) but thought I'd better log the Incredible Shrinking Lilys' progress first. After a good start at Slimming World and slavishly following the plan, our third weigh-in was a big disappointment - we'd both put on half a pound! I found hunger between main meals was my problem, and went through tons of fruit to keep the pangs at bay. The next week I tried eating a bigger breakfast - the usual porridge and berries but also scrambled egg on toast. That and a 'light' cereal bar for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks seemed to leave me much more satisfied and on our fourth weigh-in last week, I'd lost two and half pounds and Mr Lily had lost three! I'm hoping for the same this week, then I'll have lost half a stone.

No change with mum but there is slow progress on the Court of Protection front. I finally managed to get all the financial information together and complete my part of the paperwork. The solicitor has written to mum's doctor for her report and to mum's bank with a copy of the first invoice from the home, asking them to pay it . I'm hopeful that things will get going now. Lovely daughter and I are going to see mum today and take her some toiletries and sweets. Dementia can be a blessing. Mum always used to say that if she couldn't keep herself clean, she wouldn't want to live. Thank goodness she's mostly oblivious to the fact that she often has 'accidents' now and needs someone to help her on and off the toilet. My turn last week - really, its just like caring for an elderly toddler a lot of the time. Sad.

I think our lovely dog may have dementia too, lol. She's nearly fifteen and still full of beans but now doesn't give us her usual signals for when she needs the loo, she tends just to look wistfully at us for a few seconds and then wander off. There have been quite a few 'accidents' (which Mr Lily side steps on account of his 'delicate' stomach, wuss). She's also becoming very 'wandersome' (a phrase I picked up when mum was in hospital) - I'm for ever having to get up to open doors for her as she does a circuit of the house and garden. We love her though and hope she stays with us for a few more years yet.

I've started to come off Prozac. My doctor advised I do it slowly so I've worked out a reduction chart for three months. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

fair weather blogging

*hangs head in shame*

Funny, isn't it. When life was a trial, I was always blogging. Now that the sun is breaking through, I don't feel the need to keep the world (lol) updated. Lots of reasons for this mostly welcome turn of events:
  1. Mr Lily and I have joined Slimming World! (And if you knew Mr Lily, you'd appreciate what a gobsmackingly courageous act of desperation this was!) I think the clincher was when we discovered at the first weigh-in that our scales at home have been flattering us to the tune of more than half a stone - we were both HORRIFIED! Fortunately it has been the kick up the arse we both needed to lose weight and we've thrown ourselves into the new regime with gusto. I'm planning Slimming World recipes and shopping for the ingredients at the weekend and then cooking meals EVERY night! (Mr Lily can't believe his luck - he's used to be served something out of a frozen packet.) I'm also making sure we each have a healthy breakfast and I eat sensibly, including lots of fruit, at work. Last week was our second weigh in and I'd lost 2.5 pounds, Mr Lily 3.5 pounds (grrr). He was the only man at the meeting and to his surprise, enjoyed himself. I'm really into this cooking healthy food lark, you should see my fridge! and am even getting quite excited about the prospect of growing some of our own vegetables this year, once the garden is reorganised.
  2. Mum is not doing too badly in the home although lately she is mostly preoccupied with her relationship with her father - she doesn't know why he hates her and is dreading going home to him when she leaves the hospital. She thinks her brother or old neighbours might take her in, she says she will have to get a job and wishes she'd never joined the forces. She's stuck somewhere in the 1940s, with people who passed away long ago. I'm not even sure she knows what relation I am to her any more. I've spoken to one of the carers about this as I've read that dementia is often accompanied by depression - she's already on a low dose of anti-depressants but they're going to speak to the doctor about maybe increasing the strength of the tablets. Still no progress with completing the papers for the Court of Protection - I'm having trouble getting up-to-date information about mum's financial affairs from the various building societies - so I'm going to hand over the job to the solicitor. I've had the first invoice from the home - £6.5K which I'm hoping the local council will pay (to be reimbursed later), if not I'll have to use my savings. Ah well.
  3. I spend most of my computer leisure time on Facebook these days (as at least two of you know full well!), mostly to play Farmville to which I have become enslaved. It doesn't leave much time to attend to this little blog and I did think of wrapping it up but will try to keep it going. I have a feeling I may have more 'home' time on my hands in the near future - my knees are feeling their age, especially the right one - I have a pronounced limp at the moment, I'm going to have to get it looked at.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

mum, and me

Mum first. Went to see her last week on my own, how brave was that! Silly but I do get very anxious about visiting her without moral support from lovely daughter - I suppose its the uncertainty of what I'll find, good mood, bad mood, no discernable mood at all. Anyway, it was fine. I found mum in the lounge with the other residents, holding hands with one of the carers! Great introduction - "is this your daughter?" (me - "yes") "eeh, you told me you didn't have any children!" Well, she thinks I'm her sister so in her mind, I suppose she's right. We stayed in the lounge for quite a bit. I was fascinated by the interactions between other residents. One old chap and one of the ladies seemed very fond of each other, they were quite physically affectionate in a tender, low key sort of way. Another lady was holding hands with a guy in a wheelchair, although I don't think he had much choice in the matter!

I persuaded mum to go with me to her room when she started her loud comments about the others - "you see him in the wheelchair? Well you have to be careful if you sit next to him, he strokes your face. He's a pest!...her over there, she's just dumb, poor thing.....I don't like that woman sat next to you at all.." I'd have gone to see her again last night but there's an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea in the home and mum is one of the afflicted, so I was advised to wait a while. The doctor has seen her and she's doing ok, apparently he asked her to stick her tongue out and she said indignantly "I don't do that!"

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have turned my attentions to giving Mr Lily some much needed TLC. (Its as though being relieved of constant mum duties, I've caring to spare!) Poor thing is not well at all - lots of back pain and tiredness. I've even started cooking properly again, to his amazement - instead of raiding the freezer for ready meals, I've made double quantities of chicken casserole, vegetable stew and bolognese and frozen my home made efforts for later. I've also rescued the unused breadmaker from the attic - we'd had it years and never opened the box! I am now addicted to making my own bread - probably not a great idea when trying to lose weight, but never mind, lol. Here's my efforts so far - clockwise from top right: wholemeal, granary, white, fennel and raisin - a successful experiment!
Of course there are still some little stress clouds on the horizon. The home is now asking for payment and sent me a contract to sign as guarantor of same, which I've had to tell them my solicitor has advised against signing until the Court of Protection application has been processed successfully. Speaking of which, its unlikely to be any time soon as my solicitor wants me to get updated information on mum's finances which will take a while, judging from the phone calls I made to various building societies today. And then there's the rather scary medication issue. My last prescription for Prozac came back with a note from the doctor who wants to review it before he issues any more. Aaargh! I mean, I don't want to stay on it for ever, it has been a great help and I feel much better, but how much of that is circumstances and how much the medication? I have forewarned my boss, just in case I start acting weird in the near future. Yes, alright then, weirder.

Ye gods, look at the time - 02:12! This is what happens when you're awake at midnight because Mr Lily's sleep apnoea machine is wheezing like an asthmatic walrus and then the dog scratches at the bedroom door to be let out and then you realise you need to take an anti-histamine because the nettle devils are making an appearance and then of course you need a cup of tea to speed up the soothing process and what's a girl to do to fill in the time all this takes?

Saturday, 9 January 2010

PROPER winter!

Love it, love it, love it! This is the (mobile phone) view from my doorstep this morning.

My car is still stuck in the snow (must try to move it today) and I haven't seen mum for just over a week. Can you imagine how stressed out I'd be now if she were still at home and I either couldn't get to her or had to move in with her? Instead I can relax, safe in the knowledge she is being well cared for, and enjoy this old fashioned winter. Ahhhh, bliss :-)

Mission accomplished! It took two women, three men, a piece of old carpet, several flattened cardboard boxes and LOTS of shoving and shunting and revving and burning rubber to shift my car from where it has been stuck in the snow for the last three days, to the safety of the the village hall car park a few hundred yards up the road! This next photo is lovely daughter on her way back home up our village road after the Herculean car relocation and the one after is a view across the fields from the village hall.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful.....

...but the fire snow is so delightful! For the second time in as many weeks, I found myself straddling the road today. I'd managed to reverse off the drive and turn to face the entrance to the village but I *barely managed a few feet before I started slipping and sliding - the result of weeks of impacted snow turned to ice with a fresh dusting of powdery snow AND NO CHUFFING GRIT OR SALT, NORTH YORKSHIRE COUNCIL!!!!! After much reversing and futile attempts at going forwards, I ended up* pointing in the opposite direction, which being downhill, meant I could keep going and turn round in a cul-de-sac with the intention of giving myself a run at the hill leading to the main road. Huh. I went into the side road, round its little roundabout, came back onto the village road and.....(repeat from * to *).... stuck right across the road.

Fortunately Mr Lily hadn't left for work at that point so he was able to push me into a more convenient position, where I abandoned the car with an apologetic note in the window. My neighbour (the tree poisoner) then offered to tow me out of trouble with his 4 x 4. Well, you can't hold a grudge for ever. Unfortunately, today was the day I discovered that the tow pin would not attach to the chassis because some eejit in the factory had forgotten to fit a thread in the socket the pin is supposed to screw into. I phoned the dealers who sold me the car, they said they couldn't do anything until I brought it into them. How I laughed.

Anyway, silver linings and all that. I couldn't get into work without the car (no public transport where I live and I didn't fancy a five mile round trip walk in wellies to and from work) so I've had a lovely day, messing about at home and visiting a friend in the village. I even made a lemon chicken casserole from scratch! Here's some photos I took as I walked home from my friend's house......can you spot the snowy Cleveland Hills in the first picture? And yes, that is my blue car on the side of the road! I wish I'd thought to take a picture of the fox's footprints in the snow - they were all over the village!