Pets Make a Home a Home

Amazing what pets can do. And I’m not talking about high fives, playing dead or catching burglars, though the last is pretty impressive too. I mean what they can do for us, for our well-being and happiness.

Take Romeo. The manager of the shop where Romeo is the resident mouser is something of a tough guy, yet in a few short weeks Romeo has captured his heart. He comes when he’s called (Romeo, not the manager). “Does your cat do that?” the manager asks me. “Not usually,” I answer truthfully, omitting to say that MasterB is my shadow when we are outside and amuses my neighbours the way he follows me about. The manager gives me a smile that is both pitying and superior.

A week ago Romeo arrived home limping and crying. Much consternation and he was taken to the vet. The manager missed him dreadfully. No pretty tabby with tail aloft greeting him when he arrived at work each day. After a couple of days absence, MasterB realised his persecutor was no longer around and returned to the garden with renewed enthusiasm. Today he was looking out of the sitting room window and started meowing and looking round at me. I joined him and saw Romeo in the loading bay at the back of the shop. MasterB has refused all invitation to go out.

Good for my health

Good for my health

Later I learned that MasterB’s alarm was raised within minutes of Romeo’s return. I am glad to see he isn’t limping, and I am hoping his extremities have been removed and that he will gradually lose his urge to dominate our garden and poo in high places. I’m getting a bit fed up with sluicing it away with buckets of water.

Last night there was the second of two programmes about puppies. I watched with MasterB. He really did watch, face tilted up to the screen. “Shall we have one?” I asked him. He turned to look at me. I can’t say his look held enthusiasm. “Not here,” I explained. “We could move; you could have a cat flap and your own garden. No Romeo.” Still unimpressed. “One like that,” I persevered as a German Shepherd with ears to die for came on the screen. He yawned. Continue reading

I Must Go Down to the Fields Again

Mother was on cracking form. Due to a signals delay I arrived later than planned. She was just polishing off her lunch. After a brief skirmish with the spoon, and when reassured she didn’t have to share it, she got stuck into pudding too. I ate my own meal and watched. Things were quieter today than on my last visit. A lady who had needed help with her lunch last time was feeding herself. A middle aged son arrived to feed his mother.

We headed to Mother’s bedroom. As usual after a meal she wanted to doze, so I let her be while I sorted out the chest of drawers, and decanted the pyjamas which had been wedged in with her tops to their own drawer. No sign of her multi-coloured blanket which always makes me think of Joseph, but her tartan shawl was spread over her legs.

She opened her eyes and I showed her her birthday presents. She’ll be ninety-three on Monday. She was quietly pleased. I left the card propped up for the carers to help her open. “Would you like me to read to you?” I asked. “Yes please,” she said.

So we started. Again John Masefield stirred her into a more upright position. She recognised it at once. “I must go…” I began. “Down to the fields again,” she continued. OK, so it’s not what Masefield wrote, but it makes sense, especially for a country girl like Mother.

Continue reading

Being With Mother

Mother and I had lunch together. She was struggling rather with the spoon she had to use. I think I shall look at what might be available from the Alzheimer’s Society. Then we went to her room. She was tired and taken off her glasses and disappeared them. They later turned up up her jumper. I should have guessed. Sometimes she puts them up her sleeve. She dozed while we listened to Welsh Songs, hymns mainly. They were supposed to be Irish Songs, but the wrong CD was in the case, and Mother enjoys it.
Suddenly, she became agitated. It was about thirty minutes since she had finished her lunch, so even if I didn’t know how agitated she becomes when she wants the loo, it wouldn’t have been hard to work out. I went to find a member of staff and met the Nurse-in-Charge. I told her mother needed the toilet. She looked me in the eye and said she would have to wait as staff were having their lunch. I said my mother needed the toilet straightaway. She pursed her lips. This makes me so mad. I have had conversations with management who say that this doesn’t happen, that staff should have staggered lunches, so there is always someone who can work with a resident. Continue reading

The Forgotten

When I read Pseu’s post this evening, just after listening to the News Quiz and laughing incontinently, I wanted to bury my head in my hands and cry, or go outside and rage at the moon.

Gradually, as I prepared supper, despair moved to anger.
We should be out on the streets. People living with dementia are still people. Continue reading

Mother’s Big Day and My Hopes For Her Future

We’ve heard.
Tomorrow is the big day. Mother will leave hospital for her new home.
Maybe this little flower could be a symbol for the coming days. It looks pretty hopeful to me.

Symbol of Hope

I decided, for lots of good and sensible reasons, not to take further time off work for the transfer, but as zero hour approaches – though actually we don’t know when tomorrow zero hour will be – I’m beginning to wish I’d been less level headed. Continue reading

Sunny Thoughts

Sunny Thoughts

Having looked at the forms, I see we have to say why Mother would like to live in a (insert name of organisation) home.

The question is directed at Mother, so do I answer as though I am she? Or in my own voice? I’m a bit nervous.

Suddenly, this feels like a Very Important Job Application.

So, I am trying to think Sunny Thoughts in the hope that they will inspire me, and this picture of flowers from Cousin’s garden seems appropriate.

But now, I really must go in before the heavens open…

The Food of Language

The thing about care homes, with or without nursing, is that once your relative has moved in, your relationship changes.

For some, that might be an improvement. I have very mixed feelings.

I confess that I shan’t miss scrubbing out the microwave when carers have forgotten to cover food, or rushing backwards and forwards from the laundry, or a myriad small and large inconveniences associated with the scheme where Mother has her flat.

But however good (or bad) her new home is, the days of spending hours with her, cooking, giving her simple tasks, getting her to help me with the washing up, eating in private, pushing plates aside to enjoy our poetry and nursery rhymes, walking out of door straight into the garden, making her a hot drink, or watching her surprise and pleasure when she tastes a soup I’ve just made, all these days are over. Continue reading

Silver Linings in Care Home Quest

A day of silver linings as we search for Mother’s new home.

Firstly, we were at the hospital when a nurse from the tissue viabilty team came around, so we know Mother’s latest pressure sore is granulating nicely.

Secondly, we went to see a care home with nursing that we liked, though the location makes my heart sink.

Thirdly, I cooked us omelettes for lunch with our fresh eggs and vegetables, then peaches and melon for pud. Yum!

Fourthly, Not Cat is increasingly comfortable with and welcoming to Aunt.

Fifthly, we went to Ely to look at at another home and the skyline was magnificent, and the colours magical. We rejected the home as not suitable for Mother, but the staff were a delight.

Sixthly, our good family friend has promised to take aunt to visit Mother while I am working next week, and on a course the week after.


Seventhly, I’ve just made a mean ratatouille for tomorrow. Continue reading