Sometimes i could scream
And scream, and scream! But it hurts my throat, so instead I shed a few tears, often unseen and then pull myself together and get on with it.
I know I am not on my own in this. Many of my friends are struggling with ageing parents, how to help them and to keep them safe. All the time fighting with their own emotions and feelings as they try to come to terms with the new norm that can be ever changing.
No one prepared me for the emotional gambit that I have experienced as I try to do my best to support Mum.
One of the emotions that has taken me by surprise, is the one of anger. I am not usually an angry person but the current circumstances have certainly pushed my 'angry' button. I have found that I'm angry at the disease #Dementia? angry at GP's who are not taking me seriously, angry at hospital doctors who refuse to act, angry at Social Workers who simply quote #Capacity, angry at Mum for 'talking sh1t' and repeatedly putting herself at risk and angry at myself for being angry. Yes, I know, that is a lot of anger and I am being very honest here. Most people will not talk about feeling angry openly because it is viewed as such a negative emotion. Trust me I have beaten myself up for feeling angry, however I am now beginning to understand it a little more.
The child inside me is screaming 'where has Mum gone?'. The adult is shouting, why can't I cope with the constant repetition of conversations, why can't I get Mum to understand risk, why..., why..., why....? The adult and the child are both grieving. Watching as gradually the person I know and love is taken away from me by degrees and I can't do anything to stop it.
Anger is a natural part of grieving and I have recognised that I shouldn't beat myself up for feeling what I feel. Luckily my anger manifests in tears or the occasional sarcastic response.
I don't know if Mum has #Dementia? or whether it is simply confusion or old age. What I do know is that Mum has changed over the last few years and her cognitive abilities have decreased, especially over the last two years since the death of her dear sister who helped to keep Mum sane.
There two 'symptoms' that my friends and I have discussed that don't appear to be mentioned on official sites. One is a fascination with money, either drawing it out and hiding/hoarding it (and forgetting where it is) or spending it on 'stuff'. The fifty four coats or jackets, many with their labels still on and double that number in handbags, attest to Mums spending sprees. The other is the constant need to 'sort', often in the early hours of the morning. There are numerous occasions that I have come to Mums and have spent the week tidying up the chaos that she has created during her 'sorting' sessions. Probably trying to find space for all of the handbags and coats or #SantasGrotto (though that is a story for another day).
Not that long ago I spent two hours removing 'clutter' from Mums bedroom. I couldn't see the bed as it was so piled high with coats, handbags, clothes and #BagsForLife (yet another story) and Mum only had the very edge of the bed to sleep on, the floor was also full of similar debris. So I ensured that Mum had clear footfall and could walk safely around the room and moved everything off her bed into my room, ready for putting away the following day. When I went to bed, there was Mum in the process of dragging everything back into her room and loading up the bed again. Yes, I was angry, very. It is sometimes very hard to accept irrational behaviour, even from a loved one especially when they still have #Capacity.
Why don't I know if it is #Dementia?, trust me I have tried. The hospital refused to carry out tests stating that it is a community matter as it could take up to six months to diagnose. Mums GP practice seems reluctant to move the matter forward. So once again I find myself getting #Angry Frustration at the circumstances and lack of control boil over and I gird my loins for more tears and sarcasm.