Returning to work full-time has been really good for my own mental well-being. Although, I have found it exhausting, balancing it with Parents etc. Most importantly, it has given me another focus and distraction from the Golden Oldies and their situation. It’s now a question of rebuilding my confidence in my ability, this has definitely taken a nosedive during the last 8 months.
Dad has now been home from hospital for 2 weeks. He has Carers coming in everyday. They are fantastic and the office keeps me in the loop all the time. I cannot praise them enough. We have had a few teething troubles, but that is mainly down to Mum and her difficulty to accept changes.
On the second day, post hospital discharge, Mum told me that she’d had Dad “pruning the shrubs.” I’m totally convinced she enjoys seeing me lose my rag with her! Dad was allowed hospital discharge, after a 5 week stay, on the proviso that care was put in place and that he wouldn’t venture out beyond their patio, due to risk of falls. The Occupational Therapist had made a home visit and ascertained that Dad must stay within the confines of the patio area. Hearing that Mum had encouraged my poor Dad to do some gardening, literally made my blood boil! Must admit, I’ve tried lots of psychology on Mum, most of it to no avail. So I find it easier to just be blunt with her. I told her I was going to ring the OT and get her to come back out to speak to Mum. This was met with a barrage of abuse. Mum’s words “You don’t care about your poor Dad! You’re so mean!” hit me like a ton of bricks. Honestly, I feel I’ve devoted the last 8 months of my life entirely to looking after both my Parents. When a Parent, or Parents, have dementia, you really do have to continue to tell yourself that it’s the confused brain that is talking.
Mum behaves like a spoilt child a lot of the time. If she doesn’t get her own way, she says hurtful things. (Quite surprised she wasn’t at the recent Oscars, for her pretend tears, which quickly change to anger and manipulation). It’s incredibly hard getting to know this new part of her, as it’s so far removed from the person she was. My amazing friend, and confidant, Gini, told me that I wouldn’t have given in to Hats and Lou’s demands when they were children. So why allow my Mum to manipulate me this way? This advice has really helped me. When Mum has me in a corner and I feel compromised, I no longer feel guilty for defending myself and sticking to my guns.
As I’ve probably said in earlier blogs, it’s hard to see your Parents as anything other than your familiar foundations you’ve spent your entire life respecting. Dad needs much more support, they are both vulnerable, however, I’d argue that Dad is more so. The decline in his health has been much more rapid, and far more difficult for me to accept.
I received a text from Mum today, to say she’d cut Dad’s hair… Oh shit! 16 years ago, when Hats was 7 years old, my Mum had decided to cut her fringe, whilst she and Lou were staying at theirs one Saturday night. As they brought our kids back to our house, I couldn’t believe the state of my daughter’s hair!! It transpired that Mum had cut her fringe with nail scissors!!!!!! Why?? I remember being bloody furious that she’d taken it upon herself to hack my daughter’s hair! That haircut was pre Dementia, so the odds weren’t in Dad’s favour!
Hat and Al were not going to miss out, so they accompanied us to see the mullet! Poor Dad looked bloody awful! She had apparently used kitchen scissors and an electric razor… To be honest, I’m just relieved she hadn’t severed an artery! I then spent the next half an hour cutting Dad’s hair, with Mum continually lambasting me and calling me “fussy!” She really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Mum has always loved men with long, thick hair… When Bill Roache, from Corrie, was accused of rape, Mum famously said “He’s got lovely, thick hair though!” She may have been Grammar school educated, but Mum has always lacked common sense! I think any Offender, with thick hair, would be ecstatic to have Mum on the jury…