This morning I set my alarm for 7.00
Leapt out of bed, okay teetered out of bed, abluted then dressed in track suit bottoms, two jumpers and my new fancy Gortex-plus-whatever-else-they-put-in-walking-shoes, walking shoes.
Stumbled to the car and drove ten minutes whilst listening to broadcasters going on and on about the Euro bale out.
Parked in the pub car park, turned off my lights – yes it was barely light, then took my two Norwegian walking poles, which were slightly too long for the boot and struggled to get out of the car. After catching them on my hanging angel, my safety belt and stabbing my own finger I finally got out of my cockpit. Met up with a delicious JB and her dog Caspar.
Caspar was working for the police but he used to hide under the table when anybody naughty came in so JB got him.
We walked for an hour past puddles and gorse, through bracken and mud, my inner thighs hurting from heavy feet ends and Norwegian walking sticks. Would they were made of wood, I could have said I was walking with Norwegian Wood, but they’re made of fancy metal that Jim found at the recycling tip.
I got home and called the hospital, not because of my inner thighs, but because, yeah-here-we-go-again, my mum.
Yep the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed to not sleep.
My mothers plight is going around in my head like a slithering snake.
Now, at 7.30, after a very long day, l am sitting in my new writing space. Which is situated 80 feet from the kitchen.
Walk to the end of the garden, down the path made by my female gardeners years ago, into La Shed. ( His bit is called Le Shed ), and there you will find me opposite the fountain and ‘right next to the cows’, actually they are to the left of me along with the two oast house, but ‘left next to the cows’ don’t sound right do it?
In the red door turn right take four steps and you walk into a warm, cosy room where THE TABLE, transported back from Battersea and lovingly released from the garage, takes centre stage.
My Yamaha piano, ALL my crystals, ALL my books, bloody hundreds of ’em, Cd’s, cassette tapes – yes cassette tapes with great stuff from ‘It Bites’ to Brazilian singers – fairy lights, red chile lights, rugs, pictures, ALL my writings, forty three thousand pens and pencils, pictures of Jim wearing tights, photos of B shoeless in the rain and pictures of my mother when she was in her prime.
Guitars, cellos, double-basses, banjos ukuleles, balalaikas, bodhrans,the top of my 60th birthday cake made by Eric Landlard, lamps, stones, lots of otters, my totem animal, made out of porcelain, wood or cheap ceramics, and stacks of yellow and white writing paper. I even have my sausage award I was given on GFL to celebrate my support of sausages….
I AM HOME….
I should have been in here sooner, but the amount of time I’m spending trying to sort out my mother and the emotional exhaustion that goes with it, has drained my energy. Everything is taking far longer than it should.
Today I nearly cancelled Sundays show I was so distressed by the hospital but my dear neighbour told me not to let the bar-stewards grind me down.
In between trying to talk to sisters and social workers, staff nurses and consultants I finally talked to yet another doctor who is over-seeing my mother. Round and round we went with info I had given out umpteen times.
Trying not to patronise me, and not succeeding I may say, she understood my anger and frustration but my mother is fine – really she is – and she’s taking up a bed that someobdy who is realy ill could use, and she is not totally daft, and even though she understood my anger there was a process we had to go through. Here we went again.
To give the doctor her due she didn’t hang up and by the end of my rant she had taken down my complaints. She will send a letter to me and my mother ( I Laugh ) my mother’s doctor, the social worker and….well it makes no never mind letters don’t work in this case hard cash and a reasonable home for my 89 year old charge is all we need.
The long and the short of it is that they have realeased my mother, yet again, my mother doesn’t know what day it is. She is back in her wardenless conrolled flat, taking herself off to bed at 6.15 beause her legs are so swollen and huge.
She does have a care worker who comes in for fifteen minutes three times a day, but my mother doesn’t remember them or whether they have given her food or not. She has already rung me three times not remembering that she’s already called. Her social worker is wanting her to go into a little holding hospital until we can place her in a nice home but the funding aint there.
She is back home and I will put my non existence money on it that she will be back in hospital by the middle of next week. That’s okay, they say, it’s all part of the process….
Its a sea-saw of misery.
I screamed, ranted, shouted, cried, hung up, called back, bellowed, implored and finally gave up. The young, female doctor who really, really did understand my position BUT – Its when the but comes that I’m ready to pick up my heaviest otter and fling it at Andrew Lansley.
If we have compassion and humanity as a society none of this would be happening to my family or any other family. As long as everything is based on the pound the dollar and the bloody euro we will continue to behave like the greedy money grubbers that we have become.
It’s just too crass to say we have too many elderly, that the welfare state is buckling under the weight of too many people, it’s too glib to blame, too shoddy when the coalition whine that they are mopping up the dregs of the last government’s mismanagement. It is just too cyncical to blame any political party for what is happening to your society, it’s everybody’s responsibility.
We have all lost the ability to respond.
We are abandoning our old folk, as we younger-nearly-older folk are still trying to make a buck for our own impending geriatry.
It is just too bad that most of us cannot afford to see our parents grow old gracefully. It would be better if my mother faded away in the night, all part of the process I’m afraid – so that she posed less of a problem for the asses that are running OUR health service
The admission managers who have about as much empathy as a hungry hyena on a cold night out with just one wildebeest to feed a family of 80 baying critters.
I cannot begin to tell you how tragic it is to hear my mother telling me the same thing she told me 20 seconds ago, and yet when she talks to the doctors or the occcupational therapists she PRESENTS so well that they believe her myth. Her myth that she feeds, washes, clothes and exercises herself. She is not capable of doing any of the above. On a good day she sits in the chair looking out of a window waiting for death, asking her parents and dead siblings to intervene so that she can cease being a burden.
I have debated whether I should quit work and have her living with me but I have been told, categorically, and repeatedly, that I would not be able to cope, that her condition requires professional help.
I am in a rock and a very hard place.
I do know that the nurses and doctors are doing their best, I do know that the hospitals are under pressure, but I also know that it’s only by making a noise about it that things will inevitably have to change. If we don’t complain it will just go on and on.
My dear old ma is skidding from one ward to another, with nothing but her blue dressing gown and a walking stick.
Enough – I am going to walk up the garden, run a bath and get ready for a 7.30 start with my Norwegian Poles. Friday is upon us, although from where my mother is sitting it could be any day but today.