Friday, July 10, 2009

A day for Mother

I could hardly have two weeks off work and not offer to cart Mother off to wherever she would like to go. I learnt a couple of lessons.

Twelve o'clock last Thursday was the negotiated time to arrive. Another call, pick up pies for lunch on your way. Ok. Another call, I am not well, not sure if I can go to chiropractor. Can you call him and cancel for me. I have cancelled twice already. He will be cross. Ok. Another call. Can you pick up some long life milk for R's coffee. Ok.

By the time we arrive she was in a state. She had had two visitors and two phone calls that morning, the power had gone off for half an hour and she was thrown out of her routine. That would probably throw me too actually. She warmed the pies and heated the soup, after R pointed out she had the wrong element on the stove top switched on.

Her front blind was playing up, so instead of using a gentle touch, she gave it a good hard yank and the fabric separated from the blind. A friend that morning had taken it down as it was looking very bad from street side. We took a look, but it is too modern for us to work out. Turns out later it is just glue that holds the fabric in place.

Battery vacuum cleaner not working properly and is blowing out dust. That is because Mother, you haven't placed the dust collection tray properly.

Bedroom lamp shade glass has fallen off. We repaired with the help of a washer from late Step Father's mega junk collection.

Now Andrew and R., I want to go down the street and deposit this cheque at the bank, the unused balance of late Step Father's driving license, then go to the newsagent, then get some vacuum cleaner bags, (for the vacuum cleaner she no longer uses) and some ciggarettes from the Richie's IGA. It is no good pointing out that smoking is not good for her. Sister goes troppo but I figure out, it is too late now. Giving them up would do more damage to her mental state.

You will need to drive to the vacuum cleaner shop. It was no distance to walk actually. The bank gave her much botheration over the cheque and would not let her deposit it because it wasn't in her name. It is not how I understand cheques work, correct me if you will Mr/Ms Banker. Eventually the grieving widow got her way.

Bank and newsagent took about an hour. Back to home and she called the doctor. It is the best way she said. He will fit me in. Be there in half an hour, she promised. Cups of teas and food made it 3/4 of an hour. That was why we could not go straight from the shops to the doctors, so she could have a cup of tea.

She doesn't like the doctor she saw that day, but he did reassure her that her blood pressure was ok. That was all it was. She wanted reassurance.

We returned her home and did not hang around as heavy peak traffic was on our minds. Sure enough, 40 minutes to get from Toorak Road to home. Total trip time off peak is 50 minutes, instead about an hour and twenty.

Right, I am putting my foot down with a firm hand. No more of these late starts. If you want us to do things, then we will arrive at 10.30 to 11.00. None of this of nonsense anymore that she can't be ready so early. Sister listens to what time Mother says, and then just turns up early regardless. I must be harder.

Would you believe I said to R the night before, I am quite looking forward to seeing Mother tomorrow.


  1. Sounds very stressful.

  2. I am lucky that my mother has settled contently into special care at her nursing home where she has 24 hours a day total care that I could never match and also that her dementia now means she no longer has any observable cares or worries.

    I never see my mother anxious now the way she often became in the latter days of her living at home alone after Dad's death.

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  4. Just the drive home really Dina. I can cope with Mother.

    Victor, I wonder if people at your mother's stage ever have moments of extreme lucidity and suddenly wonder what the eff is going on here. I guess if they do, it is brief. Care is best left to professionals, rather than family amateurs.

    Jayne, maybe I make her sound worse than she is. She has always been extremely slow to do anything and can only do one thing at a time, and given how she likes talking, nothing else gets done when people are around. We had to have a maid come in on Saturday mornings so that she could go to football in the afternoon.

    She knows her living situation is not sustainable, as do we. But none of see any need to rush anything. She can sail on as is for a while yet. She also readily admits that she did not realise how much Step Father did, and now she has do it all herself.

    Earlier friends and family were jumping as she mentioned something. Now, they help but on their terms a bit more. It is for the good.

    We worry at times of course, but at this stage, it is still very much up to her. We just plant seeds of thought. Your concern and input is valued.

  5. We'll team up in the future to write a book if we still have enough marbles left.

  6. Jahteh, Victor could contribute as could your mate from Strathy. Btw, is he still alive?

  7. Then you have to think how slowly you walked as a toddler and how often she waited for you to learn to tie your own shoe laces...No doubt would have been very frustrating for her...I remember my own mum and sometimes my being impatient with her, till I had a Eureka moment and realised it wasn't so much my taking her places and doing things she just wanted not to be alone and needed "reassurance" . Hug her a lot if thats the sort of mum she is. After children grow up and partners die, you go from having many hugs and affection to very few or none at all.
    How long since your dad died?

  8. A salient reminder MC. We are not a hugging kind of family. My father died 2000, but they had been separated many years. Her partner, my step father just died at christmas and this is much of the problem. She is now alone.