I have never known physical and mental exhaustion like this. Of course, when my children were babies, I survived on little sleep. Feeding them on demand. Demand was constant! As a result, I had two chubby, happy babies who had an amazing resistance to colds etc. The only time in my life where my boobs had a purpose! I always tell the kids (poor things!), that after those productive years, my boobs just shrivelled up for life! Back then, the short nights was counterbalanced by euphoric bliss. I had always wanted to be a Mum, getting pregnant was not a problem for me, keeping the baby was. So, these two finally arriving in this crazy world safely, sent me completely into a world of euphoria. My Mum had been at home throughout my childhood, I wanted the same for my children. It was a big financial sacrifice, but those 9 years of not working, and putting my undivided attention to Hat and Lou, were the best days of my life. Clive was brought up very differently to me, his Mum had gone to work all throughout his childhood. So I’m really appreciative of the fact that he allowed me this, even though money was incredibly tight during those 9 years. So grateful. I certainly don’t have any euphoric bliss right now, to counterbalance this exhaustion.
Anxiety was very prevalent as I got to my parents’ yesterday with Hats. I knew that Dad would probably be very disorientated with the sudden change of location for him. He looked exhausted and lost when we got there. I was trying to gauge Mum’s mood, quite difficult to do so. Dad said he had found it hard to get to sleep. Hats and I sat down with them, trying to figure out how the land actually lay. Since buying Dad his new digital watch, I’ll often ask him what the time is. He does lots of work related to time with his Occupational Therapist. As he went to look at his watch to try and answer my question, he realised his watch was not on his wrist. This started a sudden panic and drama in my Mum. Her reaction was uncomfortable to see. She overreacts so quickly. Her sudden leap into a frenzy and her pitch getting higher, was hard for Hats and I, let alone my lost Dad. The four of us then spent the next half an hour looking for the watch….
During this time (no pun intended, life just wasn’t that funny right then), I was watching my Dad walk around. He looked so frail, so vulnerable and so lost. I hate this. I know I need to get some counselling in place this week, as I can feel this sadness is taking its toll on me. My Key worker and the GP keep telling me to arrange counselling, but this stubborn Aries has been refusing to do it. I can normally rely on bravado and my adrenaline to get me through situations. Not this time. I know I need to talk to someone.
Hats found a pint of milk in the cupboard beside their cooker. My heart sank. I absolutely despise dementia. Even as I type the word, my eyes fill with tears. Anyone else seeing their parents this way, will appreciate the pain. My Dad has always been able to answer my questions throughout my life, and if he didn’t know an answer, he’d find a book that did. He has never had the Internet in his life, him and Mum fought against any suggestions of a home computer. I totally respect this. They’ve continued to write to their friends, relying on ‘snail mail’ and sticking two fingers up to modern technology. I always thought that when I became a parent, just like my Dad, I would be able to answer all of Hats and Lou’s questions. Wrong!! The times that Bugsy and I would say to our kids “go and ask your Dandan, he will know!.” Now, his brain is a tangled muddle of damaged pathways. Heartbreaking.
During this half an hour search, my Mum was getting really frustrated by the situation, with me reminding her it was just a watch! She seemed so agitated with Dad, telling me, “he is always losing things.” Both their fragile and damaged minds are so difficult to manage at the same time. It’s a real balancing act. Dad was stood in the greenhouse, talking to his beloved tabby ‘Bella.’ She’s not actually his, but a neighbour’s. However, since my parents lost their lovely tortoiseshell, Jazzi, last year, Bella has made my Dad hers. She spends all day in their house and their garden. Her owners know. I love Bella. She’s so great for my Dad. Cats are the most spiritual animals.
I went upstairs for one final look before I admitted defeat and accepted the watch would just turn up eventually. When I suddenly found it hidden in a towel. As I took it downstairs and put it back on my Dad’s little wrist, I could see the relief on my Mum’s face. My Dad, on the other hand, looked lost and once again was reminded that he didn’t know what 1:58pm actually meant.
For many reasons, I now despise time.