Monday, May 07, 2007


I left home again before nine and got home near to two. It has taken a bottle of coca-cola, a large rocky road block, 1 oazapam, 2 painkillers and an ice pack to unlock the muscle spasms, stiff neck and rigid upper body. My mother is safely in respite care for two lovely weeks. For the past week I have been labelling clothes, marking hostel forms, collecting medication, organizing doctor's visit and trying to keep her on a even keel.

It took twenty minutes to get her into the front of the car and pack everything bar the kitchen sink in the back. I had lists on the back of the front door, the bathroom door, the phone and the back of my hand. The stress came from trying to keep everything low key so she wouldn't have a panic attack at the thought of leaving home even though I made sure the coming home date was on every calendar in the house.

I am not angry about having to do this. I don't have the right word to put in place of angry but I shouldn't have had to cajole then threaten to leave her until she went to respite to give all of us, (all of us is a joke, we are three) a break. Okay so she's not rational enough to really make this decision but then she was rational enough to refuse to go whenever it was suggested.

Children should not expect a parent to support them beyond a certain age and Parents should not expect children to be their support beyond their capabilities. I have read many times that single women without children have been asked "Who will look after you when you're old?" If you have children for that reason, you're not thinking far enough ahead. You don't have children to be slaves to age. You give them life, education, the skill to succeed in whatever they choose and you watch them grow into (hopefully) great human beings. You do not give them a balance sheet with what you did for them from the day they were born and on the other side, what you expect them to do for you in return.

We three, have looked after Mum because we wanted to but it has given us a dread of having to ask for help of any kind from anybody. That's not to say we won't turn round and help somebody who needs it, we've just made a pact that we won't ask for help for ourselves. Hopefully I'll make 100 and be independant but if I feel I'm not going to make it, then it's into a hostel with a nursing home attached and the decision made rationally by me.


Link said...

I agree with you on the balance sheet thing. That really sucks. But there are many cultures that have children precisely for that reason, and its hard to say that they are wrong to do so. It is just accepted that the children will look after the old when they are beyond looking after themselves. A tough call. Our society is geared for selfish indvidualism, and I'm not saying that of you at all, I know it is not the case--at all. I don't know who if anyone will care to look after me when I get old and infirm--I haven't thought that far ahead, although I have wondered a bit. However, now or later I will always ask for help when I need it. Never be too proud to ask for help. You don't have to be a burden on people, asking for help is not being burdensome, its being human. If help is not forthcoming ask elsewhere.

If your mother is playing the balance sheet card with you, tell her to get effed. Its not about keeping accounts.

JahTeh said...

My Mother never got over my Father's death. She has always had a fear of being left completely alone so she clings while at the same time is independant until now when the brain is affected by the medication and wandering cancer cells. I honestly felt walking over today that I was putting the family dog in the pound, talk about guilt.

Link said...

Well that's kinda funny JahTeh. I've had similar thoughts about my mum. Your sense of humour will get you through. It must be a relief to have some respite, but the organisation? Woah. Maybe next time, she can go into respite without the kerfuffle. Do you visit her there? (Is that a stupid question?) I hope she enjoys it so much that she wants to go back.

My mother is the most dependent person I know. Strange as she made a point of bringing my sister and I up to be independent, but she is incapable of doing pretty much anything on her own. Sad too, as because I'm so indepedent I'm also fairly intolerent of her inability to be same.

BwcaBrownie said...

It is well-documented that
those "single women with no children" that you mention, are always the ones EXPECTED to be the carer in any family needing one; the intimation being that "you have nothing else to do".

Unless you are Catholic or Jewish (where it is hardwired),
forget the guilt.

Anonymous said...

Here's something you might like, Witchy.

Chris Clarke nails it, again.

Do something for yourself won't you! Have a nice break!!

Cast Iron Helen

Anonymous said...

"...Parents should not expect children to be their support beyond their capabilities."

That's true. It's important for children to know when to say, "enough, I can't do this anymore".

JahTeh said...

Brownie, She tried the Queen Victoria and the spinster daughter bit when I got divorced.

Darlene, you haven't factored in 'THE GUILT' and 'THE GUILT' takes on a life of its own, believe me I've tried not to feel it but it's always lingering.

Helen, that post was really good. My Father died at home from cancer and while he was physically weak, his mental faculties were sharp until the hour before he died. Mum is quite different, going downhill mentally faster than physically and that is much harder to deal with. I've nursed her through three life threatening illnesses, physical nursing, blood, pus, innards but you can see the healing process working. This has no happy ending of life, it's a waiting game until she decides to let go.