As usual, Mother was on her death bed when I arrived to take her out. She went on and on about her medical problems. In summary, she is perfectly hale and hearty. She is addicted to codeine for arthritic pain, and the codeine is causing her bowel problems, and didn't she go on about her rumbling stomach and her constipation and diarrhoea. From the lunch out, to the chemist, to the bank, to the newsagency to supermarket, to Big W, did I hear about her bowel problems, and many others did too.
She insisted I check that ABI's Brother's house is ok and to start his car, because apparently its battery will go flat if it is not started weekly. People in our building leave their cars for three months or more, and they still start. Brother's neighbour was supposed to be collecting his mail, but the box was full of mail, some quite old. I think miscommunication. A large branch had broken off a wattle tree had broken and fallen onto his garden, and an enterprising business had left a card at his front door, advertising their tree removal service.
We were running out of time when shopping as Mother had an appointment at her doctor's where a caravan was set up to do scans for osteoporosis. I will have to come back after the appointment, she said. No Mother. I am not taking you back to the shops. I want to go home at a reasonable hour. I am not of such generous spirit as R, but then I don't complain afterwards. Give me some money and I will finish the shopping and give the receptionist my card and get her to call me when you are ready to be collected. I finished the shopping, emptied her vacuum cleaner, found the stick from under her bed to put the sunblinds up and down, unpacked her groceries and the phone rang and she was ready for collection. Once home I assured her of the safety of very convenient power point behind a photo she had forgotten about and not assured her about the taped up wires in her laundry that used to be the laundry light switch.
"The sun blinds were up but I didn't want to ask my friend Alan to come and put them down, so I just turned the air con to a lower setting." She has had air conditioning for thirty years, and she still doesn't get it. Speaking of which, she told me on our Labour Day holiday, she will have lived there for forty years. I did some mental arithmetic and that would be right. It was before I had my driving license and I used to catch the train to her town from the Latrobe Valley to visit and walk or get a cab to her place. The last task is to put her bins out, except it is day early. I put them near the gate and the lezzos next door will put them out on the street for her.
So that was my day off from work blown to hell. It followed the usual pattern. Miserable Mother upon arrival, brighten up as the day went on, and then tired and needing her nap in the later afternoon (or pass out from overdosing on codeine) .
But never underestimate her. Sister booked The Cuckoo for Mother's eightieth birthday, but Mother got on the phone and rearranged the table. It seems Mother is claustrophobic and needs to be near a window. After some conversation, it was resolved, but 'Mrs C, you will be on two tables instead of one and bench seats'. 'I am a poor widow with many medical issues. I am very panicky that the food will upset my bowels and the oompah band will be too loud and I don't like people brushing past me when they are going to get food. We will need cushions and my daughter's back is not good, so the benches need to have to have backrests.'
To conclude, I posted a letter for her to Sister, informing Sister that she couldn't take the trip to Bright to see the autumn leaves. Half way through the three hour trip, they would stay overnight in Euroa. Check out at 10.00am. Mother is never ready for anything by 10.00. But she had my sympathy on this. Sister will have them all in bed by 8.300pm and up at 6.30am and ready to go by 8.30. Sister will nag Mother to hurry up. Little Jo will stay, 'Gee Nanny, you are slow'. Bone Doctor will say she is wasting time standing outside and smoking and firmly reject giving any kind of free diagnosis of Mother's medical problems.
What can I do? She is my mother.