Dementia: Going Back Home

We went back ‘home’ to Coventry for a day yesterday.  As we were both up early and the sun was shining we decided on a day out so that we could see my mother and brother.  When we arrived at mum’s Care Home she was having her weekly shampoo and set.  We didn’t have to wait long before she arrived in the visiting area but as it was close to her mid-day meal we agreed to pop back later to take her out for a short drive in the countryside.

John was being fed as we arrived at his Nursing Home.  He looked clean and tidy as he enjoyed being spoon fed his lunch.  Several of the other residents tried to interact with us in one way or another as we waited for him to finish his meal.  John didn’t give any indication that he knew who we were: rightly concentrating on one of the ‘lovely ladies’, as he used to call them, who look after him.

We drove around some familiar territory while we waited for my Mum’s Care Home to be open for visitors at 2.30 pm.  Maureen wasn’t sure if we were in Nottingham or Coventry some of the time.  I returned to the Close where we used to live a second time and Maureen had forgotten we had been there half an hour earlier.  On our second visit we called on some neighbours and spent a pleasant half an hour catching up.

Mum was sitting by herself when we arrived back at her Care home at 3pm.  We took her out for a short ride in the countryside calling in at Coombe Park for the traditional ’99’.  It was almost closing time for visitors when we got her back Home and we had to rush our farewells to avoid a reprimand.

Maureen had been in great form at both Homes interacting with residents and staff.  I thought she had rumbled my fraternisation with a 100 year old beauty at mum’s Care Home but Mrs A as she likes to be called was very discrete.  Mrs A tell me she will be 200 on her next birthday and I hope she will now invite us both to the party to cover out tracks.

The journey to and from Coventry was hard work.  On the way down Maureen moved from being hostile with all sorts of recriminations to hysteria: laughing from Leicester to Coventry.  On our return journey she was catatonic.  In retrospect I shouldn’t have taken advantage of her compassion: it was cruel to subject her to such an arduous day.  She paid a heavy price for her generosity at 2 am this morning.

‘Spark-out’ I had obviously not heard the Baby Monitor as she lay on the sofa.  When I made it downstairs she was cowering in the utility room saying: ‘you locked me in’.   She stood shaking for a while before I eased her back onto the sofa with the promise of a cup of tea.  My tiredness had left her exposed in return for her compassion: this must not happen again.  I think it is time to accept that travelling 250 miles in a day, with one driver, is no longer a sensible road for us to take on this journey.


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