Reaching the Summit

Yesterday we had a visit from a specialist nurse. She came to assess how mother manages in the house and see what help she could give. Another grab rail will soon be installed.

Mother has been shown better ways of getting in and out of bed and her armchair. She has been forbidden from using the riser function of her chair. If she can do the exercises she has been given she will have more strength in her legs. This will make her less dependent on me which will be good for both of us.

Today I was out of the house for much longer than on any day since my surgery in August. I attended a mini socially distanced online training summit. It was a big occasion for me. Partly by managing to be away from home for more than just one or two hours at a time. Also for socially distanced spending time with friends that I haven’t seen for almost 18 months.

Whilst there I took a phone call from a ‘private number’ which turned out to be one of the drs at our surgery. She had the results of the blood test I had on Wednesday. Apparently I am anaemic again which explains my low energy levels recently. She has read the letter I had sent a few weeks ago. I was then grilled about my bowel problems. She is recommending that I am seen by a gastroenterologist urgently.

I am glad that my problems are being dealt with. However I am trying not to think about what this entails.

Mother survived her day at home alone. I made her lunch before I went out. She tells me that she has done her exercises. Perhaps in the not too distant future we will both be physically better off.

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Silent treatment

No this isn’t what either of us are subjecting the other to. It is the name of a book. A book that I read on my kindle last year and have given to mother in paperback version for her birthday last weekend. This book The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves. (Her first book). This book is very different to any I had read before. I found myself not just wanting to but needing to turn the page to see what was going to happen. Constantly trying to guess the whats and whys. As I am writing this mother is deep into the book. I am looking forward to getting Abbie’s second book which is released tomorrow. I found out about Abbie’s first book through my daughter in law who put a post on instagram last year. I’m on tenterhooks waiting to receive my pre ordered copy of The Ends of The Earth. If I go missing for a few days I will be reading. In US this book has a different title. Anywhere For You.

I am hoping that any of you who also love to read will find these books and enjoy them too. I say enjoy but maybe that is the wrong word to use as certainly The Silent Treatment was heartbreaking I belive The Ends of The Earth will be equally heartbreaking but unmissable.

Another book I read recently was Tales of The City, by Armistead Maupin. There was a question on Pointless (tv quiz that mum has watched for years). One of the answers was Armistead Maupin. I later looked up his Tales of The City series of books as I gathered that they were set in San Francisco. A city that I am interested in. Whilst I enjoyed reading about the city and checking the maps to see where various roads were the story itself was not really my cup of tea. I wasn’t sure I would read much of it but I persevered and got to the end. Now I am in two minds whether to read the second book. As I said it wasn’t my cup of tea but by the end I had figured out who all the characters were and how the many connections came about. I might read the second book to find out what happens to them.

I have been for a blood test this morning. The Dr I spoke to recently wants to see what my hormones are doing plus I am due my diabetes blood test. Afterwards I collected up the last of my Avon books for April. I have now got £600 in sales for the month. I still have a few more customers who need to let me know what they want. I don’t think £600 is bad for two weeks work. I am continuing to post products onto my Elliesdeals blog but not quite as frequently as I started off doing. Two days ago I posted about our Radiance Tinted moisturiser. I have noticed that my customers have ordered quite a few tubes of this in the last couple of days. I have been using it myself for a couple of years particularly at this time of year.

I have just received two packages. Quite telling really that one was more half coconuts for the birds and the other was 24 mixed trailing lobelia plants. My garden is starting to take shape but I could do with finding someone to do the work on the ground that I can’t manage anymore.

Sunny and cold

The last few days have been full of blue sky and sunshine. There has been warmth but also a chill wind or should I say breeze. The summer before last mother had a new decking installed outside the patio doors. This raised the level outside the door so that she could go outside without having to manage a step down.

Last summer she only went out a few times for no more than 20 minutes. On the really hot days it was too hot for her. The heat affects her MS. Mostly though it was too cold. I noticed over time that we only got the sun on the decking for an hour to an hour and a half mid morning ( before the temperature had become comfortable for sitting out). I would sit out but have to move my chair around with the sun. The sun moves around our garden giving patches of sunshine for an hour or two. The bottom of the garden where there is a sizable patio gets even less sun than the decking. The trees have grown up to such an extent that the garden is shrouded in shade. Our friendly tree surgeon did his best to create more light without cutting back too far.

In January we had a new fence erected between us and the adjoining house which at the time was empty. The new fence is a foot higher than the one it replaced. It doesn’t look that much higher but obviously is. I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t a conservatory next door. Now I realise that the sun we were getting on the decking was actually coming through the windows of the conservatory. My dilemma now is that The lady who moved in a couple of months ago has put up curtains which are permanently closed. I have moved all but two of my flowerpots off the decking as they were in constant shade. Do I just put up with the lack of sunshine or do I ask her to leave her curtains open? The garden on that side of the fence has pretty much full sun most of the day so it probably doesn’t occur to our neighbours that we don’t get much in ours.

This morning I was updating my Elliesdeal blog dedicated to my Avon business. I decided to add the link to the blog to my twitter account. I only created this account a few months ago. I’m not really up to speed with twitter. I am following a few people but don’t have any followers of my own so anything I post (or should I say tweet) is never seen by anyone else. Much to my surprise this morning I discovered that I do have a a couple of followers. It looks like a grand total of 4 people have liked or retweeted my posts recently. Let me know if you would like to follow me on twitter and I will give you the name on my account.

We haven’t seen much of the pigeons recently (we have a couple of magpies nesting in the tree instead. The doves come and go. We sometimes see a young one with an adult. The blue birds have been absent for a short while but I am used to them being around a lot then not for a while then returning again. At last after 3 years of living here I am seeing sparrows in the garden. Yesterday there were 3 of them in the buddleia bush, hanging feeder on the crab apple and even on the decking for a few minutes. Today I saw a great tit on the decking, it hung around for a while. We hadn’t seen any for ages. Usually they are only around when the bluetits are here.

Yesterday I had cut up an apple for the blackbirds. I saw one of the squirrels (Roger I believe) sat on the fence nibbling away at a chunk of apple. The dunnock has recently been venturing out of the undergrowth to feed on the meal worms that I put out on the lawn for the ground feeders.

I went out a little earlier than usual to pick up my Avon books today. That takes my orders for April over £500 with more books to collect tomorrow and Wednesday. I also had another order through my digital shop today.

I’m feeling at peace with my world today.

You could say it’s been a cr*p morning

This morning I ignored my alarm. That was a big mistake. I had no reason to get up at that time. My day would be mine to do what I like when I like. Apart from getting mum her breakfast, lunch and dinner. How wrong could I be.

Eventually I roused myself at 8.40 good by now mum will have finished in the bathroom and I can get in there. I have to get to the bathroom very quickly once my body is awake. My bowels don’t wait for anyone or anything. There have been occasions when I have got up only to discover that mother is already in the bathroom. I sit on my bed in agony waiting to get in there. Often not making it in time.

She is usually in there between 8.00 & 8.30 so I like to get there before 7.45 or after 8.45. This morning I couldn’t hear any of the noises that usually tell me she’s in the bathroom. Her walker bashing the door on the way in or out is a sure indication. So this morning it was quiet. I’m safe to use the bathroom.

As I was going in there I thought I heard a faint voice calling my name. I made it to the toilet without incident. I heard my name again. Not sure if it was my imagination I called out “just a minute”. There it was again my name being called over and over again. As quickly as I could I finished up and went to my mother’s room. She wasn’t on the bed. I knew she was in her room because the stairlift hadn’t gone down yet.

I found her on the floor beside the bed. I helped her into a sitting position and placed a pillow behind her back. I got her to press the button on her emergency necklace. ( I insisted she had one years ago when she was having falls when living alone). Unfortunately the speaker is downstairs so I had to go down to the dining room to speak to the operator.

The operator put me on hold while they spoke to the ambulance service. By then I was in trouble. Luckily I was wearing a long nightgown. I couldn’t stop my bowels from working. Why does it have to happen to me!. Finally I was able to rush upstairs managing to keep most of my accident from going everywhere. I quickly had a shower and threw in some comfortable clothes. Cleaned up the carpet in the hall then opened the front door. The ambulance had just arrived.

It took both men a lot of effort to get her standing and into a position where she could sit on the seat of her 4 wheel walker. They were unable to get her onto the bed. It was a good 5 minutes before she was sat comfortably on the walker without slipping off.

They did the usual observations, blood pressure etc. (High). They wanted to take her to hospital but she was reluctant. What she wanted was to get to the bathroom as she had soiled herself. Again it took ages for her to get going. She kept saying that she is not usually this slow. (She’s not usually much faster). Once in the bathroom she needed help. She was trying her best to sort herself out but she had managed to get poo all over her hands so everything she touched was also getting covered. I helped her as much as I could in such s small space. Between us we got her into clean underwear ( not clean anymore). One of the paramedics helped me get her standing so we could get her clean (for the moment) pj bottoms on.

Next she wanted to lie on her bed or go downstairs to sleep in her armchair. The paramedics talked about taking her to hospital but she said no. However struggling to walk the few feet along the landing she was hanging on to the banister. She asked me to get her wheelchair so she could get to the armchair. At this point it was blatantly obvious she needed help and she finally agreed to go to hospital for more observations and assessment.

I have now cleaned the bathroom. I should have done it sooner but I couldn’t face it for a while. Both our soiled clothes are in the wash.

I have called the hospital but they are very busy and couldn’t tell me much. They are waiting for blood test results.

update

Mother is back home now. Antibiotics for a possible chest infection. Occupational therapist is arranging for a therapist to visit her at home to assess her needs. She has flat out refuses any additional care.

There’s no helping some people

I have been talking to mother about care/nursing homes. She was saying that when my grandfather went into a care home and then a nursing home she didn’t give him any choice of where to go. She chose for him. Both homes were friendly and suited his needs and ours. I particularly liked visiting him in the care home although it was an hour drive for us.

When it was time for him to move to a nursing home we found one closer to us here. I was able to visit on my way home from work. I’m not going to say that he was happy there. I’m not sure he was happy. He was comfortable and well cared for. Unlike many of the other residents he still had his mind in full working order. He missed having anyone to talk to properly.

Mother has made a mental list of things she wants to take with her when/if she needs to go into a care home. She knows which paintings, books and music she wants and if possible her laptop if the home has WiFi. I have suggested several times in the last couple of years that maybe she should consider which homes would suit her otherwise she will be going where ever I find.

Talking of having WiFi reminded me of when my husband sold our marital home. He was 64 and having difficulty looking after himself and our home. I found a flat in sheltered accommodation for him. He checked it out and decided to buy one of the flats there. Not the one I found but another one.

The plan was that he would move straight from the house to the flat. Obviously he would have to sell/store most of the furniture. About two weeks before the planned move he had a meeting with the warden of the flats. This did not go well. Apparently they don’t have facilities for broadband which he needed for his graphic design work. They were also not happy that he wanted to work. (He hadn’t worked during our marriage).

I found him bed and breakfast accommodation to move into until he found somewhere permanent. Instead of a few weeks as originally planned he was there for 9 months. Finally finding a top floor studio flat. (Not ideal for someone who has frequent falls). He has now been in that flat for 2 years. The last time I spoke to him he still didn’t have any internet service connection. His ability to use technology is zero.

I don’t know if it is still the case but at the start of the year he had been having someone check on him weekly and meals delivered daily. He could have avoided so much hassle and be in a much nicer flat than the studio flat he now has if he had bought the original place where he would have had a warden checking on him.

Considering that he can’t use his computer. He can’t even get his TV working and he certainly doesn’t work. It would have been ideal for him. In a much nicer area and close to the town.

Even after leaving him I still did what I could to help him. I’ve stopped now.

I’m not in love

Isn’t it strange the way our thoughts can move from one thing to the next until we can’t remember how we came to the topic we get to. Last Saturday I came home from my errands my mother was watching Prince Philip’s funeral. She informed me that she had found some people from our distant past on facebook. I would say that I was asked but it was more like a command to make contact with either the father, son or daughter of this family.

I spent sometime looking for these three individuals. Bearing in mind that it has been about 40 years since I saw any of them. After some time to contemplate who I would contact and what to say. I decided to contact the son. Starting my message with “You won’t remember me but our families were friends when we were in our teens.”

It wasn’t long before I received a reply saying that he did remember me/us. Sadly his mother has passed away as has my father.

I won’t go into details of our brief communication. I did however ponder why it was that we had been talking about this other family from our past in the first place, then I remembered. A week or so ago mother was reading a book which mentioned the place of work during our time of acquaintance of the father. So now I know why she was thinking about these people.

That night I found myself trying to remember what I knew about them. We all belonged to a sports club. The sister was younger than me but we were part of a relay team at one point. The brother was a year or maybe two years older than me. I can’t remember what he looked like other that I have an impression of dark hair and height. Mind you even as an adult I have never been tall so most people are tall to me. I think we were friends.

During the time that I knew this family I was a fan of the group 10cc. One of the songs that has been with me throughout my life has been “I’m not in love”. So why then is it that over the years whenever I hear this song it makes me think of the son. Was I in love with him? No. Did we ever have a relationship? No.

I am not quite sure if my memory is right but I am convinced that for some reason that escapes me. He had a passport photo of me. For anyone who doesn’t know this song, the lyrics tell of someone having a photo of someone they are not in love with but they can’t give it back because it hides a stain on the wall.

I have loved this song since my early teens. It is one of those songs that give me goose bumps when I hear it. My love of the song has nothing to do with this guy but it does always make me think of him.

Do you have any songs that you associate with someone or something that has nothing to do with the song.

Not caring

Throughout my adult life I have been caring. I guess it began when I was a child. I didn’t do the caring for but I cared. I cared about my mum and dad and one of my younger brothers. Not so much the youngest he was a bully to us.

Anyway as an adult I had my children to care for. I was 25 when my first born came into my life. This baby that needed me to care for and be responsible for. Over the next 8 years his three brothers arrived. I loved caring for my children although there were times when I didn’t want to be a mother anymore. It was such hard work.

When I reached the stage where I could no longer tolerate being married to their father I did everything I could to be strong enough to continue caring for my children. Their father threatened to have them taken away from me. He could prove that I wasn’t a good mother. As if!

Once their father had finally left our home by court order. It was just me and my four sons. The two older boys were starting to make their way in the world, but they still needed me to care for their well being. I was a single parent for about 5 years before I met husband number 2.

Little did I know that I would become my second husband’s carer pretty quickly after we married. My sons grew up and left home but I still had to look after my alcoholic husband. I had hoped that during this marriage we would be partners looking after each other.

Eventually i had had enough and left my husband. Moving in with my mother whilst I got my life in order. I was looking forward to living on my own with nobody else to care for.

That wasn’t to be. Gradually I found myself doing things for my mother who was becoming increasingly disabled. I am now her full time carer.

I would say that I have probably had less than s year of not having to care for someone other than myself. Even during the time after leaving my husband I still didn’t stop caring. I might not have been living with him but I was still making sure he had food, money etc. I was still taking care of his paperwork. Sorting out his insurance, car tax and other bills. I became his unpaid secretary and personal assistant. I visited him in hospital.

It has now been 3 months since I last heard from him so I guess I am not now caring for him. I have enough on my plate caring for myself and my mother.

What a shock

I have had my new car for a few days now. I am enjoying driving it around. I am happy that so far I have not yet stalled the engine. I was worried about swapping my automatic for manual transmission after my last three cars being automatic. However what I don’t like is getting out and getting an electric shock each time I close the door. I am learning to use my sleeve. I’m gradually finding my way around the various functions on the screen etc. I have even managed to pair my phone. This will help when I’m out and my mother tries to phone me to see when I’m coming home.

In the last few days I have done a bit of gardening. The sweet peas are in as are the nasturtium seeds. Solar lamps are hanging in the crab apple tree and another tree that I don’t know the identity of. Solar powered garden tea lights are along the edge of the patio at the end of the lawn.

Oddly we didn’t have very much wild life in the garden. There were no Pigeons, no Doves, only one Robin a couple of times later in the day. Only one squirrel came for a visit and that wasn’t until tea time. We have no idea what was going on. I am happy to say that we have seen a robin several times and a collared dove but also the dunnock and some sparrows. We don’t often have sparrows in the back garden although they can be seen in the lilac tree at the front of the house.

Today is perfect weather for drying the washing. Unfortunately I am waiting for someone tall and strong to put our new washing line. However I have managed to hang my washing on an airer set up in the middle of the lawn.

I have been out to pick up some of my Avon brochures. I have another £80 in orders to add to my tally for April. I have more to collect on Wednesday when I shall also be putting more out for next week.

I had my second Pfizer jab on Saturday evening. I am pleased to report that apart from a slightly sore arm I have no other side effects. I’m not planning to be out partying any time soon but now that we have both had both our jabs we are a little more confident about seeing anyone else.

I have been knitting in yellow the last few days. an yellow and green striped jumper and a yellow pixie hat.

Peace at last

I have had great enjoyment out of the last few days with family visiting. Apparently both my grandchildren have been chattering away to their parents about seeing Granny and the things they did and saw. Teddy was convinced he was going to the beach with Granny and Gampa again today.

When I woke this morning I was thinking how quiet and peaceful it will be today. I know that my mother has loved seeing the family but she does get very tired. I am sure she is thinking Peace at Last which reminds me of a favourite book when my boys were little.

Today I am working on my Avon. I have been adding to and improving my Elliesdeals blog. This afternoon I shall be preparing brochures and deliveries. Both of which I have neglected so far this week.

I haven’t been out in my new car again yet but I have looked at it several times.

Earlier when I was checking the stats for this blog I noticed that someone had been looking at an old post from 2014. I have noticed this quite a few times recently. I can only assume that whoever has been looking is probably disappointed when they see what the post is actually about. It called little tits. I also see that the most popular page is Petrol Head.

I know that I have at least one petrol head who reads this blog regularly. I keep meaning to mention for him that on the day I went to look at my new car in the garage forecourt I followed a grey right hand drive mustang along the motorway. (I even missed my off slip). Then last weekend I passed a bright yellow mustang going the other way. I might not be with my petrol head husband any longer but I just can’t help noticing American cars when I’m out and about. I guess it has become a habit.

Just typical

Today was to be the last day of seeing my grandson Teddy for now. I knew that they were planning to meet Grandpa at the beach before coming here to see us again. Having seen some photos of how lovely it looked yesterday I decided to join them too.

On my way I saw a little boy in a yellow coat sat on his daddy’s shoulders walking towards the airfield. I didn’t think there was much point in going to the beach if they were not there.

Next stop the beach. Lots of shells for little boys to collect.

It was sunny and not too cold during our time there. We all enjoyed both being together and being at the beach.

I couldn’t believe it when I got back to my car which was parked at the side of the road. Someone had hit my car. Obviously driving too close. They had hit the wing mirror. Why today? The day I was changing cars. At least it was the old car not the new one.

Teddy and his mummy and daddy came back to the house for a last chat and warming cup of tea. Teddy had a last exploration of the garden. Still getting excited each time a train went by.

I quickly cleared out my car. It didn’t take long. 10 minutes later I saw someone in an orange hi viz jacket outside. I went to the door to discove that workmen were digging up the pavement behind my car. I was due to be leaving shortly to pick up the new car.

I was told they would only be 20 minutes to half an hour. Not too long. I phoned the garage to say that I would be late. It’s just typical that they couldn’t have done this while was out either in the morning or afternoon.

I eventually got to the garage about an hour after the original time. Once all the paperwork was sorted the salesman handed me the keys (in a bag having been sanitized). We chatted briefly about the workings of the car like how to move the seat and how to put the gear into reverse.

As I entered the car the salesman went back inside to his desk. I got the engine started but couldn’t release the hand brake. ( I haven’t used a hand brake for a few years as I have been driving automatic cars). Why oh why do guys have to put the handbrake on so high. This is not the first time I have come across this. I was about to give up and go to find a man to release it for me but I managed it with two hands.

I managed to drive home without incident. It will probably take me a day or two to get used to driving a manual car again. I wonder how many times I will forget I have a red car now not blue when I look for it in a car park.