Mum feels imprisoned

First of all, let me say it was worth taking the risk on mum’s birthday. She came back to the house. She saw the babies and the 2-year-old. Everything went well. The only glitch was when she was due to return to the Home. She was having a lovely time and had forgotten, of course, that she would need to leave. When I reminded her, she got upset, lashed out at me and my brother. She would never forgive us! We had lied to her! Etc etc. The same old accusations but when I’d worked so hard to make the event happen it was hard to keep calm while she screamed and shouted at me. However.

But as we thought, as soon as the Favourite Carer arrived, mum became more docile. It was now 5pm, cold and dark so mum accepted it was getting late for her to be out. Later on, the Carer told me mum had been upset in the car, but she had driven along the sea front to show mum the Christmas lights and that had cheered mum up.

The next day my brother visited her and she seemed fine. The day after I visited her and she seemed fine. She was pleased she had seen the babies – although at times I felt she remembered seeing the Xmas lights more than she remembered seeing the children! At any rate, she did not seem unsettled. She was looking forward to having a proper roast Christmas dinner at the Home – I don’t eat meat, so each year I’ve struggled to serve her such a traditional meal! In fact, all seemed to be going well – until this weekend.

I’d spent a couple of nights in London at a Xmas get-together with some friends. I’d intended to pop into see mum on my way home but I was too tired. Recently, I’ve had a problem with my left hip. It’s inflamed and makes me limp. While I’ve been waiting to have some treatment, my right hip began to play up and I was reduced to a painful hobble. I couldn’t face hobbling back from the Home while wheeling my small suitcase, so I left my visit to Sunday. I didn’t feel like visiting mum then either! It was bitterly cold, sleeting rain, squally winds – although no snow. the lack of buses meant I’d have to walk there and back and I could only hobble along at a slow pace. Dreadful. But, thank goodness, I did make the effort.

When I arrived, the staff member who opened the door looked very worried. She told me mum wasn’t in the lounge, as usual, but in her room. I was aghast. Mum never stays in her room. Was there something wrong? Nothing wrong with mum but the stairlift had broken down and mum was stuck upstairs. Oh, poor mum. She likes to be downstairs where all the action is, watching TV with other people, having carers going in and out. I found her all alone and very distressed. She was imprisoned! Trapped! How could I do this to her?

I was quite sure she did feel imprisoned and trapped. So, although she has a regular visit from the Favourite Carer on Mondays, I also went in the next day, in spite of the pouring icy rain and cold (at least on Mondays there are buses). Mum seemed a little better in her spirits. They had got her friend who lives across the landing to stay up there with her and they were watching TV together. But being stuck upstairs has unsettled mum much more than the family visit ever did. Once more she’s demanding To Go Home. Of course, as she can’t get down the stairs, she can’t actually go anywhere.

I’ve no doubt the staff in the Home are doing everything they can. They told me they tried – and failed – to get her down the stairs, and they are doing everything they can to get a mechanic for the stairlift. But for once, I’m upset as mum is: she feels cut off and isolated and, because of my hip it’s really painful for me to haul myself up and down the stairs to see her. Plus I’ve got so much to do for Christmas that it’s awkward for me to go in to visit her every day. I’ve now had an injection in my hip – it would be so nice if I could just rest and relax for a couple of days and let the treatment take effect but how can I? However today it’s clear I’ve caught a cold, probably from being out in the wet and freezing weather when I was tired and my resistance low, so in fact I have to stay at home as I’m now sick..

Did I really think life would get easier once mum was safely in a Care Home?

Below, mum cuddles her third great-grandchild on her 97th birthday!