Over the last few months we have now developed a routine. She had a routine but there is now a her and me routine too. It has taken a few months to settle but she is not shouting at me quite so much. She even says “I am glad you’re here” sometimes when we have had to get over a difficult moment.
So mum gets up to go to the loo about 8am 8.30 and then she goes back to bed. I get up and get the breakfast things out. It really is important to me that she still sits at the table with the tablecloth and the teapot and an old-fashioned glass milk jug. This was her standard. I try and keep to it but I do know when I am not here she does the minimum but at least she can still do the minimum.
Then I will go to work. On Mon and Wed she either goes to the bank with my brother or her sister shopping. This means I am a little anxious to ensure she is ready to go out when they arrive. I recognise this is my anxiety more than hers or theirs but she tells me she hates rushing and not being ready when they come. So I try and help her to be ready.
I try and make sure she looks good when she goes out. She has always been known for looking smart and colour co-ordinated. So we try and keep the standard.
At 11 she usually has a cup of coffee with a piece of toast or a couple of biscuits. This is to keep regular food throughout the day for her diabetes. I am not sure she was eating something at this time before I came to stay with her. She had lost weight.
At 12 12.30 we have lunch. I try to be there most days. Just for a sandwich or soup. It is great that my job allows me to pop back. My mum will have been asleep in the chair.
Then the afternoon I have either gone to work or we try and do something around the house. Cleaning, cooking, ironing etc. My mum would have changed all the curtains by now for summer. Sadly, we are a bit delayed this year. The things is it really would have bothered her in the past but doesn’t seem to anymore.
Then we have tea/dinner around 5 -5.30. My mum gets a bit jumpy if it is not on time. She does still make her own tea but it takes a while. I do cook most meals now. Or I try to make them as easy as possible when she has to do it for herself. We are both paranoid about gas taps on the cooker being left on. But I can be as forgetful as her if not more so. Maybe I have dementia?
We generally watch TV in the evening. Most soaps and some drama and then the News and then to bed. I am not sure my mum can follow the story anymore. If I react to something she asks. “what happened?”. I also work on my computer at this time. It means we can be companionable in the same room but doing what we both want to do. Earphones are a marvellous invention.
My mum really likes quiet. So I can have the radio going in my ear and not disturb her. But we can still have a conversation.
We are often in bed by 10.30 and I help her shower a few times a week. She is frightened of falling and it is a bit of a struggle physically and psychologically but we manage. I am grateful for the early night I was not aware of how tired I might feel.
But there are some things that are deteriorating and beginning to worry me.
At breakfast she struggles with the boxes of cereal, even the plastic boxes she bought herself. She has also developed a tremor when she tries to drink her tea. This has become more marked over the last couple of weeks. She is not walking as well as she was either. She has definitely got a “wobble”. We can laugh about it and we have decided to call her Mrs Wobble, a new character for the Mr Men series. Her sister, my aunt, who has a wheeze has become Miss Wheezy. But we do laugh which is good.
She has been on antibiotics for an infection but her cough still is quite bad. So today the doctor is calling. My mum will not like it but I think it is important that she gets checked out.
I am now getting concerned as I am supposed to be working at the weekend. Beginning already to feel guilty for leaving my mum.
But my brother says he will call around in the day when I am out. I have to say, he has done a great job of the garden and my mum does have a lovely place to sit. But getting there with Mrs Wobbly is getting harder.
I do wonder if I have done too much for my mum and made her “give up” slightly. If you don’t move, your ability to move does get less. She spends a lot of time asleep in her chair. But I want to look after my mum. I want to cook for her and help her if I can. She is 84. It is a constant psychological battle. We have to be grateful for every day.
There has been a bomb in Manchester that killed a lot of people at the Manchester Arena. My mum watched the telly all day. She said she felt she had to. This is not like her she only turns it on in the evening. But she is right there with the whole of Manchester standing together against this outrage.