Well blogging at 9.22 pm is a departure. This is not part of a new shift system, it’s a pragmatic response to a challenging day. It might also help me to stay in bed until after dawn in the morning.
Chloe played a blinder this morning. She arrived on the dot at 10 am, briefed from my text, and soon had Maureen at her fingertips. I listened from upstairs as she shared her experiences of her nephew’s christening the previous day. At various intervals I heard her pose the hair washing question. Her persistence paid off as I heard her suggest it would be easier to do it in the shower. I took my leave so that Maureen would have privacy, and not feel threatened by any man in the house. Towards noon I made a classic mistake, and nearly paid the price.
Once the ‘hairdresser’ had finished her work Maureen was anxious to send her on her way. Chloe delayed as much as possible but eventually went along with Maureen’s wishes. This led to Maureen panicking at all sorts of levels about our plans to attend her uncle’s funeral. It took everything I had to get us to the crematorium as the service began.
We also made it for ‘afters’ at a pub a short distance from our house. Once in the company of her family Maureen was surrounded by relations who wanted to ‘catch up’ with her. There were many dodgy moments as some folk inexperienced in dementia committed cardinal sins of : ‘do you remember’ etc. We were very fortunate that Debbie came to our rescue and shepherded Maureen to safety on several occasions: she has personal experience of the condition.
Three things come to mind from this afternoon. Firstly, Maureen remains a very popular member of the family. Lots of relatives have fond memories of Lilly and Jack’s daughter. Secondly, unless you have cared for someone with dementia 24/7 there is little chance that you will understand how to interact with someone who has dementia. Thirdly, Maureen is exhausted from the support she has tried to give to Clarice this afternoon. She’s been in bed since 6 pm, and I expect her to sleep late into the morning. I also expect it will take her a couple of days to recover from today’s strenuous efforts to put on a good show for the sake of the family.
I’m now typing away, shortly after 7 am, just to show how wrong I often am. If I could really predict what’s going to happen here I’d better start doing the lottery. How wrong I was about Maureen being out for the count. I’ll just give a brief timeline on what followed.
10.30 pm: Maureen woke up uncertain where she is and very frightened. I joined her in bed and she drifted back to sleep.
1.30 am: Maureen jumped out of bed with a start. She looked out of the window to see if her car is on the drive. Then she went downstairs and opened the front door. I hot-foot it downstairs in case I need to follow her on walkabouts. Thankfully she closed the door and Mrs Angry is letting off steam about being confined to this house. She wants the people who drive her car to take her out of here: she needs to get away after the day she had yesterday.
2.30 am: Maureen lets me know that she is a grumpy old thing, and reassures me that none of this is my fault.
6.45 am: Maureen is sobbing as she looks through her wardrobe. She is unsure which clothes are hers, as she doesn’t recognise any of them. I take the blame for putting new things around without letting her know about my latest purchases: my nose grows as I tell yet another Love Lie!
Now: Enjoying the efforts of her Tea Boy in bed.
I am not really sure how we will spend today but there one thing I’m sure of, as I always tell Maureen: ‘we’re going to have a good day today’.