This will have to wait until Sunday and I’m back in London, as there is no internet connection here at Mother’s. No mobile signal either. But I don’t mind that.
It’s been an interesting evening.
I had to stop on my way East to get some bits and pieces for Mother, that, with the various stretches of roadworks, hitting school home time, and so on, it was half past five when I got here.
Much as I should have liked to go straight to Mother, I had to settle Cat first. His eyes were huge and round and he hid under the bed, emerging almost immediately to use the litter tray I put in the bathroom.
I made my journeys from car to guest room, or Guest Suite as it is rather grandly and misleading called. I commandeered the completely empty fridge on the landing communal sitting room and wondered why I didn’t have any towels or loo roll. I looked at the cups on the tray and in my room and found them uninvitingly dirty. No sign of a glass either, and the kettle was half full of stale water. Yuk.
So, rubber gloves on and I filled the sink. I saw the communal cups were pretty dirty too, so I washed those as well. I picked the prettiest and took it back to my room.
Cat came out from under the bed and I fed him.
I went down to Mother’s flat but she was already asleep.
I tiptoed into the kitchen and shut the door. I had food that needed to go into the freezer.
I looked in the cupboards and clutched my hair. Literally. The cups made the ones in my room look pristine. There were bits of food adhering to plates and bowls. The glasses looked smeary and unpleasant. The tea caddy was in the fridge. The microwave was a health hazard.
I’d left my rubber gloves upstairs, so more tiptoeing. I spent the next two hours washing every cup, plate, knife, fork and spoon, scrubbing the microwave and wiping out the cupboards. If she doesn’t have mice, it’s a miracle.
Back in the guest room, and Cat emerged from the bed with a slightly militant look in his eye. He headed for the door. Obviously my washing up marathon and the fact that I’d drenched the room in Feliway had given him time to assess the situation and to decide it was ok.
Cautiously, I opened the door. Cat looked out and then confidently strode out into the corridor. I didn’t think he’d go far. How wrong I was.
We went all around the first floor, spending quite a bit of time looking into the central courtyard. Then we found a flight of stairs I’ve never come across before. Down we went to the ground floor. Then halfway up the stairs again and down once more. The building was very quiet. Although it was still early, most residents were in bed. The television mumbled from a few flats.
We stopped in a corridor. One resident had seen us, and came out to coo over Cat. He looked at her as though he had other things on his mind. We circled the ground floor twice. Cat was particularly interested in the dining room. The sign says it’s the Restaurant, but that’s the same deluded grandeur as the Guest Suite.
Eventually we met some staff. I half expected to be rebuked for letting Cat roam, but they seemed delighted to see him. We chatted. Cat stretched out comfortably on the underfloor heating. Another carer came by. Cat barely raised his head. Of the two carers I was chatting with, one unwittingly repeatedly revealed her lack of understanding of dementia. Worrying as she is my mother’s key worker. The other one looked embarrassed at her gaffs. I imagine there may be an interesting conversation later. She wasn’t uncaring, Just ignorant. A complete contradiction of what the management has been telling me about the staff’s training and level of awareness.
Cat and I went outside for a little while. The cold air was a welcome relief after the heat inside the building. I’ve turned it down to as low as it goes in my room and all three windows are open as far as possible, which isn’t saying much, and I’m sweltering. Cat looked like he was going to be adventurous, and I took fright. I picked him up and took him, hissing at me, back indoors.
Finally, I managed to persuade him to come upstairs. He had a quick snack, stretched out on the floor, changed his position a few times and is now purring on the pillow.
I’m really looking forward to Mother seeing him tomorrow. I think she’ll be delighted.