I can now walk without using a stick, but I still feel as if my hips and lower back could go at any time. To add icing to the cake, a knee injury I had 20 years ago has started to ache and make me limp. Plus an old tendon strain in my ankle has begun to complain. My body really is speaking to me and telling me it’s all right to admit defeat. And I’m listening. I remain confident that, once I’ve found mum a permanent place (which could take some time!) I’ll regain my former fitness level. And – assuming I can bounce back in the end, I also feel that this collapse will prove to have had a positive effect in the long term: not only by giving me permission to hold up my hands in surrender, but by forcing my brother and my mother to accept the situation.
I’ve told mum she’ll have to move permanently into a care home. She says she understands, but in my experience, you can have umpteen seemingly sensible and rational conversations with her to the extent you think she’s understood the issue – only to have her flatly deny that you have ever spoken to her on the subject. ‘No! You never told me that!’ Her face grows grim and fixed. Her hands clench. ‘I’ve never been told about it! I would’ve remembered if I had!’ So it’s best to assume the transitional phase will take some time.
I told my brother he has to step up to the plate. When he retired, and immediately moved further away, he said he would come to stay here overnight. I thought at the time, pigs might fly. And indeed, no winged pigs have yet been sighted. I said to him, now you’re no longer working full-time, now you’ve moved house and celebrated your daughter’s wedding, it’s not enough for you to come and have lunch with us once every 6 weeks! You need to come and help me with mum, to stay for a couple of days so I can just walk away, go to London or wherever. He said, he’d think about it (!). Then I collapsed.
I think that made him realise I wasn’t making a fuss about nothing. He said that he and his partner would come for a night. I said, that’s no good. It has to be 2 nights so I can have one full day in London. Otherwise I’ll have to carry my overnight bag round with me all day before I get the evening train. It didn’t seem a lot to ask. And so it’s been agreed. Actually, most of mum’s personal stuff and toileting will be done by his partner. She worked in a day centre for old people so I guess she knows what to do. But the main thing is, I don’t have to rush around organizing stuff. I’ve had to write down mum’s routine so they know what she’s used to and buy their preferred breakfast cereal, but other than that, I can then hand over the responsibility for mum’s care and wellbeing to my brother. I am not, after all, an only child!
Anyway, they’re due to arrive tomorrow. I can’t wait to head off…..