Free Range Chickens in Snakeskin Shoes.

I have lost my blogging mojo of late. Losing Bonnie hit me hard, she was such an important person in my life. I am really missing her witty messages and dry sense of humour. She was our Superwoman. Tonight, as always, this blog is a bit of therapy for the Sophster.

My mum continues to test my patience. I am learning to count to six million before reacting (No mean feat for someone who is baffled by numbers!)

We have had issues regarding Mum and her vulnerability with her bank account. This ended up with new cards, direct debits being cancelled and so on. One of the issues being that she had three different insurance policies on one electrical appliance! It is criminal how companies prey on vulnerable people. After I had managed to rectify all the issues, it all came back to haunt me this week –  “Soph, you’ll be proud of me, I had a letter in the post, I’ve just insured my tumble dryer.” It is fair to say I probably exhausted the f-word! I then discovered yesterday than she has another new policy for said appliance with yet another company! I’m trying my best to allow her some independence, whilst constantly monitoring her behaviour and actions. She is a full-time job and I continually have to be one step ahead of the game. Marvellous!

My dad has been in his new home for two months. Honestly, I am in awe of the staff there. They are all incredibly empathetic and respectful regarding the complexities of dementia. Whenever I arrive at the home, there are always activities going on to entertain the residents and exercise their minds. The other day I had arrived ten minutes too late… They had been having a karaoke afternoon! It is probably just as well, as I would not have wanted to hand the mic back!

Recently, I was talking to someone about looking after parents. They said that they could never put one of their family members in a home. Two years ago, I would have completely agreed with them. Previously, I would have felt adamant that no parent of mine would ever be in a nursing home. However, I know (and finally accept) that Dad’s needs are now too complex for me. I had questioned whether I should give up work to look after Dad. I now know this would not have been good for either him or I, not to mention my husband and children. Now I am able to be his daughter, visiting him for quality time. This is so important and these moments are cherished. I never want to lose my relationship with my dad, I know that his home situation allows our dad and daughter connection to continue.

Having now been registered with the surgery next to his home, Dad’s new GP phoned me after she had visited him. She was lovely and gave me so much time. Filling in Dad’s TEP form (Treatment Escalation Plan) with her was not easy: it is very hard to detach from your own feelings, put yourself in your loved one’s shoes and answer the questions accordingly and respect their wishes.

Admittedly, I find it so much easier to cope when Dad is really confused. His moments of lucidity are the times I can fall apart. When he recognises the demise of his brain, it destroys me. I cannot begin to imagine how scary it must be for an individual recognising that they are losing their foundations. I have been told that my dad is entering a new phase of his dementia and I am definitely witnessing this shift. The blissful bubble of bewilderment is all I wish for him now.

Dad has recently moved to a ground floor room due to his poor mobility and lack of spatial awareness. Prior to this, one afternoon Hats and I were taking my parents back downstairs after being in his room. Dad, Hats and I made our way to the lift. Mum was still in the room, fiddling and fussing with Dad’s clothes in his wardrobe. The lift door shut and Mum ran to the door, banging on it, “Wait for me!!” Unfortunately, we could not open the doors, so had to make our way downstairs, knowing that Mum could not navigate her way back down. As we got downstairs, Dad proceeded to get out! We then had to usher my bewildered dad back in to return to pick Mum up. As we arrived back on the second floor, Mum was stood there shouting. Dad then got out to walk back towards his bedroom just as a stroppy Mum jumped in the lift. Talk about herding cats! Hats and I were desperately trying to stifle our giggles. It reminded me of the chicken, grain and fox riddle! Which do you take across the river first?!

After a tiring day at school a couple of weeks ago, I turned up at Dad’s home to find Mum in new snakeskin shoes. They were teamed with bright red stripey socks! I did wonder if she had been auditioning for a role in ‘The Wizard of Oz!’ – Nothing would surprise me these days! I do worry about the longevity of Mum being free range. Nevertheless, I know she will never be lost in her conspicuous attire! (Being completely phobic about snakes, I am actually petrified of Mum’s new shoes!)

I have considered starting my running again, but I know how addictive that became in the past. I would run about eleven miles per day. I am afraid if I start again, I will keep running towards the sunshine and not stop haha! Therefore, I will just continue to eat copious amounts of chocolate, drink gin by the bucket-load and enjoy the comical reprieve dementia often provides. Xxxxx


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