This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
On Saturday OH and I turned up with her weekly food shop only to find the whole flat full of smoke and MEM confused as to where it was emanating from. A quick check in the kitchen found her lunch meal in the microwave on a 55 minute setting. MEM had misread the instructions that said “Place in oven for 55 mins”. The lunch was a black and melting mess and the microwave is now struggling to fully recover!! Do I think she should be living on her own? The short answer is ‘No’ however it is neither practical, possible or acceptable for MEM to move!
Re the milk I had been concerned that her milk bill was rather large for a single old lady and had alerted her carer to keep an eye on it. So this morning I got a call that the milk thief had been outed and identified as her neighbour! How low will someone stoop that they will actually steal milk from an old lady of 87 years!
I do feel that I enter a parallel universe when I visit MEM as managing her life verges on the most unusual! But I have other friends caring for their own parents and their stories are so much worse. One friend took her mother to hospital to have a toe removed and she ended up having to have her whole leg amputated. She was in hospital and a rehabilitation unit for 10 weeks, now has to have carers dropping in 4 times daily whilst my friend has had to give up her job as there is so much she has to do for her mother and she needs to be on constant call. Another friend has her 92 year old mother living close by; she has Alzheimers and has to have 24 hour care but when I saw my friend’s husband yesterday looking distinctly jaded, he told me the reason for this was that his M-i-L’s alarm had gone off 8 times during the night. We all suffered from broken nights of sleep when we had babies but the difference being we were 25 years younger then!!
On Wednesday morning I have to attend for a psychiatrist’s home assessment …….. of MEM that is, not me, though the way I am feeling I think, if the doctor assessed me, she might have to find the right medication to keep me on the straight and narrow (nothing a chilled glass of white wine doesn’t sort at the end of the day though not available on prescription which is a pity).
I may well be seeking advice from our agony aunt Alice soon as I am sure the antics of my own mother would test the patience of a saint let alone my OH! Our lives are now dominated by her and I become increasingly aware that leaving her for any length of time is going to be a struggle. I said to my friend when she had to cancel a meet-up with me due to her mother needing her, that we are the ‘Sandwich generation’, caring for elderly parents whilst helping our kids out or babysitting grandchildren but she replied that she could think of a ruder description – any suggestions??