When I arrived at my parents’ yesterday, my Mum told me that she was anxious about how confused Dad was. It was 8.20am and already he was very muddled. As I drove him to his blood test (the one he’d had last week was insufficient), he was all over the place with his thoughts. He was apologising to me that he’d not been around to pick “Little Louis” and I up for a doctor’s appointment. Yesterday morning, Dad was convinced Louis was three and suffering from an ear infection. He’d taken himself back sixteen years and his mind was certainly playing tricks with him. He was saying how my hubby had the car and I needed to take Louis to the GP. This event probably had happened in the past. My parents were brilliant at helping if I didn’t have the car available. He was chatting about “Harriet”, my daughter has not been Harriet for about seventeen years, everyone (including Dad), knows her as ‘Hats.’ I explained that Hats was working and that Lou had an exam that day, trying to remind his tangled brain of his Grandchildren’s ages. He was making no sense. It was the most confused I’ve seen him since the day of his stroke, where he was making no sense at all. His balance was really poor as well, I felt convinced something was definitely amiss.
During times like this, you can’t help but be anxious. I started to worry he was going to have another stroke. Post stroke, you’re always made aware of the possibility of another. Yesterday, I didn’t like how Dad was. I took them to town after his blood test. By lunchtime, he seemed to be a little more compos mentis again. This slightly reassured me. He had a good rest in the afternoon, and the confusion didn’t seem as bad as during the morning.
Mum has repeatedly mentioned how she needed to go to Taunton to get a new sweater for Dad. I decided I’d take them today. When I got there this morning, my Mum was moving fast. Dad looked exhausted. When we arrived in Taunton, Mum was on a mission. I was conscious of Dad’s limited energy. Truth be told, I really did not want to be in a busy shopping area with my mentally fragile parents.
When Mum had bought a couple of things, I suggested we get an early lunch, as I could see Dad was tired and shuffling his feet. As we had our lunch, Dad was becoming paranoid of time, and when the ticket in the car would be up. (Having 2 hours left, there was no need for the concern). I watched as Mum got really agitated with him, telling him off for being “silly about time.” When my Mum is short-tempered, impatient and abrupt with my Dad, it gets to me so much. My Dad has had the patience of a Saint for the last two years, with Mum’s own deterioration. So much so, that he kept any sign of her dementia from the world. He has been the most incredibly patient person, boosting her confident and being her support. Today, Mum is so exasperated by Dad’s poor mental health, it frustrates her that he is no longer there to be her support. I literally cannot bear her being cross with Dad, for anxieties and confusion that are out of his control. I sat and played peace maker, as I find myself doing constantly. Reassuring Dad that we had lots of time, reminding Mum that Dad can’t help his anxieties.
Whilst we sat having our tense lunch, Mum received a text from a family member asking what they both wanted for Christmas?! Christmas???! I don’t give an absolute shit about Christmas right now!! It’s lovely that this family member has nothing else to worry about other than bloody Christmas! It would be nice if said family member actually bothered to see how my parents are, before texting such unimportant crap! I was sat there playing peace maker, determined to keep my parents calm … And Mum is being questioned about fuckin Christmas?! It made my blood boil!
After our lunch, my Mum was determined to walk through Vivary Park. They’ve always loved it there. As we were walking nearer to the park, Dad was becoming more anxious about the parking ticket. I kept trying to reassure him that we had plenty of time, whilst Mum walked ahead. As we got to the park, Dad said that he thought it was best we got back to the car… Mum, without any thought for her surroundings, shouted “For goodness sake, Derek, will you shut up about the ticket! I’m going to enjoy this park!.” A woman was walking past, she was finding Mum’s outburst hilarious. I wasn’t. My heart was breaking. I wish people would stop and think that all might not be as it seems, before they judge. I certainly didn’t think it was funny. I took my poor Dad by the arm. Distracting him with the pretty trees, just so my Mum could enjoy her walk for a little longer. It’s a balancing act. Today this balancing act has been nothing but exhausting.
On the way home, Mum was sat in the passenger seat and the old driving assessment reared its ugly head… “I wish I could still be driving, it’s a total injustice.” I had no more patience left, I told her that I refused to listen to it anymore. Decisions were made. Mum’s always said how “There’s always someone worse off, ” I, yet again, found myself quoting her. It’s not really the biggest deal not being able to drive, not in the grand scheme of things. She then said that hopefully Dad will be driving again very soon. My Dad, from the back of the car, said “But I don’t want to drive anymore, Mary.”
Today has been a head in the vice day. I feel beyond exhausted tonight, and feel I have very little fight left in me. Today, anyway. Tomorrow is a new day and will hopefully bring renewed strength.