Life has been getting more and more intense here. Some things have been good but mostly things have gone down hill. A couple of months ago, mum had a fall. She was standing at the top of a low flight of two steps with a handrail that leads from the sunroom back into the house. She loves to sit in this room because it looks out on the garden. She had gained the top step when her legs gave way and she toppled backwards. Luckily – or was it unluckily? – I was standing behind her. I caught her: I had to. I took her weight and tried to manoeuvre her until she could safely sit down on one of the lower steps. She was a dead weight, not helping me, not doing anything except thrashing about like a beached whale. But if I’d let her go, she’d have gone backwards down the steps and who knows what further injury she would have received.
As I half supported, half dragged her into a safe position, I thought: I’m going to give myself a hernia! And at that point, I did indeed feel some thing internal fall out of place. It was not a good feeling. When the paramedics came, they were busy examining mum – who was absolutely unhurt. I said, several times, that I was the one who’d received an injury. They were very dismissive – said: oh it’ll just be something mechanical. Yeah right. Since then, I’ve been slowly coming to the terms with the fact that something is very wrong. I will almost certainly need to have surgery. If I do, I won’t be able to look after mum any longer. So on the plus side, there’s no further debate to be had, except with her – as she seems quite oblivious to the fact that I’m on the verge of collapse!
While I’m feeling more and more concerned about my own health, mum is becoming even more unsteady on her feet. Every time she stands up, I have to help her – which puts a strain on me and doesn’t help my condition. And now she’s having to stand up more than usual. To add to everything else, mum’s been put on water tablets – which means she has to constantly go to the bathroom to change her incontinence pads. And because the pads we’ve currently been sent by the NHS are not very absorbent we often arrive too late, even with regular monitoring. (Obviously this brand of pads is cheaper). The first day the water tablets kicked in, I had to change her knickers and trousers twice in one day – apart from the extra washing, removing her trousers involves taking off the complicated calliper-like shoes she wears, so it’s a major task – I was almost in tears!
I’d like it if mum would take on board that I can no longer take care of her. But she’s resisting it, refusing to hear what I’m telling her. And so, just when I need a bit of TLC, when I want to have my own distress and anxieties acknowledged, I have to work doubly hard and to be doubly disregarded. It’s not easy, in fact it’s almost beyond me.
It hasn’t been all bad. My friends are of course supporting me from afar. I had a great two weeks in France at Easter, staying with my friends in Paris and then meeting up with an old pal from Sydney – we visited the amazing prehistoric alignments around Carnac in Brittany and what remains of the magical Forest of Broceliande, home of the Arthurian legends. I’ve had a few days in London, meeting friends and seeing exhibitions and I’m about to go and visit an old friend in Scotland followed by a few days in London. So, I can just about keep my sanity.
Every day, I intend to write a blog but by the evening, I just don’t have the energy. I have managed to write this one, but against a background litany of mum wanting to know where I am, why I’m not watching tv with her, if I’m all right because I’m very quiet (!) etc etc. So I’d better post this while I have the chance!