Reality Check

Another evening in the garden. It’s very windy tonight and Not Cat is chasing unseasonably brown and fallen leaves instead of insects.

I’m not crying.

I’ve cried a lot today. Every time I’ve thought of Mother. Every time I’ve thought of the impossible choices to be made. Every time I’ve thought of the colleague who said “Well, she’s old. Her life is over. It’s the young ones I care about,” yet who described herself today as empathetic, a person who knows when someone is low and gives them a hug.

If she gives me a hug after saying that, I may not be responsible for my actions. She may not be responsible for anything.

Not that Mother is in any imminent danger, though I really want to know what the result of the weigh-in is tomorrow. She has managed to lose over a kilo in a week, despite fortified drinks, and extra calories in shots. Her weight last Saturday was 33.7kg. In old money, that’s less than five and a half stone.

The plan was to go East tomorrow and return on Sunday.

After my 99th soggy tissue, I have accepted what Aunt has been saying for days: I can’t keep this up. I have to have a break, the equivalent of putting my own oxygen mask on first in event of an air disaster. I am running on empty.

It’s advice I’ve often given, but it’s curiously difficult to accept. I was nearly there last night. Even told people I was, but by this morning I had already changed my mind.

The idea of leaving Mother unvisited tore at me. Nephew is working in Belgium this week, and Mother’s friend who would normally give Aunt a lift has family visiting.

I’m going to email another family friend and ask if he could see her.

Work and other commitments mean I may not be with Mother for two weeks. It seems an awfully long time. I hope by then my batteries will be recharged and I’ll have earned enough to pay the bills.

9 thoughts on “Reality Check

  1. I’m so sorry to read about this miserable time, Isobel. There’s nothing else I can say which will remotely help. But I hope you do have a break without feeling bad about it.

  2. OK, Isobel, “reality check” is where you are at. You are being torn apart, and I think I understand why.

    Your mother’s weight sounds to me to be a serious concern, but realistically you cannot do much about that.

    My honest advice, which I am sure you know, is that you are no earthly use to your mother in this state! You do understand this really, but it’s awfully hard for you because you think it is selfish.

    It isn’t. I don’t know how you are going to sort it out, but just do your best.

    Let your instincts guide you, and it’s really not under your control, is it?

    Not very helpful, but I’m thinking of you, and your mother.

    • That’s it Araminta. Whatever I do, something is being neglected.

      I’m going to try to keep to my resolve and have a break and hope I am better able to give Mother the support she needs as a result.

  3. You must look after yourself. May be you have lost weight too in this stressful time? If nothing else try to eat and drink enough to sustain your energy.

    What ever you decide must be the right choice for you. No one can tell you what is right. Which you know, probably already. She is your Mother and you have such a strong bond with her and you will wnat to look back and know you have done all you can to help in this difficult time.

    Ara speaks wise words.


    • No weight loss for me. I comfort ate a load of chocolate yesterday. I do try ot make sure I am eating sensibly, as that is one thing I do have control over.
      The authorities, by which I mean the hospital, want Mother out of an acute bed and into a nursing home before anyone knows how she will recover. Unsurprisingly, we are not happy with this idea. I do not know how long Mother will live, but given her age and her dementia, the best plan would be to find a way to get her home and receive more care there, at least until we know how she is going to be.
      Talking to the Alzheimer’s Society, who have been wonderfully supportive and down to earth, I think the rush is because she is a self-funder, so the cost of her care can be pushed onto her.

  4. I’m glad you are acknowledging you can’t continue without a break. Just try to work on not feeling guilty about it. Big virtual hugs xxx

  5. Crying again, but this time from relief. Family friend has said he will visit Mother and take Aunt too. I wonder if he was just waiting to be asked. This last week or so it has felt like being hit with a sock full of wet sand. Just one demand after the other. I think that when one is apparently calm and capable, others do not understand the levels of stress being experienced and continue to heap on demands.
    I also managed to give myself a black eye by knocking my head on th edge of the it hen counter when I stood up from picking something up from the floor, so look like a victim of domestic violence…

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