Yesterday I felt so overwhelmed with my Parents’ situation. I hate those days. I rely on my energy to get me through things in life, but my energy levels were utterly depleted. My Mum was testing my patience.
On Sunday, my Dad was really unwell. As we sat and watched the Remembrance parade on the television, he spent the whole time asleep. His body seemed extra exhausted that day. It’s so good to see him resting, but my Mum has a habit of trying to wake him up. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating this is! She does not appreciate how unwell he is. On days where my patience is wearing thin, it’s incredibly hard to deal with her.
After spending so much time with Mum, I know her strategies to hide her dementia from people. As we left the surgery on Monday, a lady stopped to talk to my Parents. Dad had no energy to talk, but Mum was her chatty self, explaining to this lady that “Derek had had a minor stroke in July.” The word “minor” bloody infuriates me! Their GP has continuously pulled Mum up on this, explaining that Dad’s acute stroke has left him extremely unwell. As we said bye to this lady, my Mum then asked Dad who she was!!! This happens all the time. She fails to know people, but will continue to talk to them, hiding the fact that she can’t remember them. Mum has always be champion at keeping up appearances, so I shouldn’t be surprised by this.
Dad had another fall in the garden over the weekend. He was sporting a nasty cut on his hand. When I questioned him about it, again, my Mum leapt in. She hadn’t even been aware he was hurt. She then said it was “only a small graze.” … That it certainly wasn’t. My Dad has lost a lot of weight lately, weight he can’t really afford to lose. At times, he is really unsteady on his feet.
My Mum has taken to wearing Dad’s bright, stripy socks. She’s cross that Dad no longer wants to wear them. He has always been an exuberant, larger than life character… I know that he just doesn’t feel the flamboyant socks anymore.
Throughout all this, I have learnt so much. All the philosophy you’ve been brought up on, suddenly comes into practice when you’re parenting your Parents. As the dreaded revocation of Mum’s driving licence reared its ugly head once more, I found myself saying “Count your blessings please Mum!!”… Honestly, I could have said more! It really is cyclical. As a child, we are taught to be grateful for all we have, righty so. Sadly, when dementia steps in and takes control of our loved one’s brain, we often see behaviour that is so profoundly dissimilar to that of their former character. My Mum has never shown any selfish traits whatsoever, but she’s incredibly selfish these days. This leads me to unequivocally say that she has had Dementia for the last three years. With her assessment next week, I’m hoping we have a clear diagnosis. The Social Worker said it’s a given, however, I’ll reserve judgement until next week.
With the emotional roller coaster you find yourself on when looking after poorly Parents, I believe it’s justified to have moments of exasperation. I have all the patience in the world for my lovely Dad. My Mum, on the other hand, exhausts me! The character she presents is so far removed from my old, familiar Mum. I miss my Mum so much.
After a long chat with the Social Worker today, I feel I have a little more vision of where I’m heading, in terms of care for my Parents. It’s still waiting games; waiting for Mum’s diagnosis, waiting for care packages. I just feel that I know things are moving in the right direction… I hope at least! A couple of weeks ago I was discussing with our lovely friend, Pete, the fact that Hats and Bugsy worry that I’m losing my identity by being my Parents’ Carer. Pete reassured me that I will never lose my “Mad Soph” identity. I felt happier to hear that, until I told Hats and she said “I’m sorry, Mum, but it’s happening already, you’re losing your spirit.” I love my daughter’s honesty, even when home truths cut deep.
Blimey, this blog is a tedious read today. Apologies. I’m on it. Kicking my arse, eating the biscuits and looking for the funny side of life. I’ve even considered getting the Qualcast resprayed… Go faster stripes? My Mum’s “lovely, red friend” has to be the worst car I’ve ever driven. Anybody who wants to modify the Viva is very welcome right now. Happy Wednesday you lovely lot xxxxxxxx