Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Tune into the next exciting episode

All our drama has been going on for about a month now, but it seems longer.

Dr P's first few days in his respite care nursing home were difficult. He was confused, forgetful, and did not know where he was or what day it was. Furthermore, he was adamant that no one had been to see him or been in any contact with him. Much soothing and firmness were necessary. It really was like dealing with a two year old having a tantrum. I kept wondering had I done the right thing, and kept investigating alternative nursing homes. I saw another few. Vixen visited him, but not while I was there. Let's face it, she is an interfering bitch, and she keeps demonstrating this all too clearly.

One of our friends came with me to visit a nursing home on Friday. We both agreed it was lovely and that I could feel very comfortable if Dr P were to go there. I had seen several others in the meantime. It sure fritters away the putative leisure hours. The only snag with this place is that there was no single room available. However Dr P would have been second in line for any single room vacancy. Of course, people have to die in order for there to be a vacancy. Friend K and her husband visited Dr P at the weekend, and she hated the nursing home. She is more sensitive and squeamish than I am, and flinched at the secure dementia ward situation. I look reality in the face, and value truth and honesty, try to not mind the unpleasant aspects of illness and ageing, and aim to get on with things. I agonised about the decision, but then it seemed to me that seeing more people would do him good, as he sparks up quite a lot if he has good company. I decided to move Dr P.

Yesterday I went to visit him, and to let him and the nursing staff know. Vixen was there when I arrived, and I asked her to wait so that I could tell her personally. Big mistake. She was very hostile and had not the sense or sensitivity to voice her views to me separately. Did I say she was a bitch? And VERY ugly. Ugh!  Like onomatopoeia, appearance mirroring personality and character. Dr P was upset, and said he did not want to move. He was settling in and getting to know the staff. I discussed it all with the Deputy Director of Nursing, and then went home and agonised, ringing a couple of friends to seek counsel.

Eventually I decided to return in the early evening, to say that if he really did not want to leave the nursing home, I would leave him be. Although I feel like a bit of a wimp, it did seem to me that as he was the one in care, he should have some rights. So I saw him again in the evening and he said he did not want to move. I reassured him that I would not force him into anything. His condition has improved in the six days he has been there, and they are looking at his pain management, and the staff have been good and attentive. And there is the possibility of change if it all does not work. The other nursing home is holding the vacancy until Friday. I have sent a general email to all the family but I would bet my bottom dollar that Vixen will have sent a hostile and misleading email ahead of me. So be it.

Next week I will change the locks on the house. Would it not be lovely if I never had to see any of them ever again?

My second daughter and her children visited at the weekend. It was lovely having them. When the children were told that Dr P was not there, they were very pleased, as he has never been one to tolerate small children. Indeed, I understand he was one of those fathers who just just disappeared without notice or notification. They rode up and down his stair lift with gay abandon until somehow they made it stop working. We had a lovely time together. I had not seen them since August.

In between visiting spouse, nursing homes, and attending to telephone calls, I have been cleaning out cupboards. Video tapes, not touched since we moved here more than ten years ago. Old decrepit phones, answering machines and fax machines. Medical books dating from the 1950s.  Old medicines, and the contents of Dr P's bathroom cupboards. The rubbish bins are full this week. So we remove parts of our history, and our records. Sad, but inevitable, and it helps me feel that I am managing my life, and can get myself in order and organised for whatever happens next. People tell me that I have done well, and in many ways, I have indeed done so. But there remains sorrow and desolation, and immense pity, for Dr P and all the other old people thus afflicted. I wander around this large and empty house, and flit from one activity to another, to distract myself from my sore and sad heart, and I hope that life will get better.


molly said...

Surely it will get better Persi.....Best not to be drawn into a cat fight....but to maintain your composure. All will be well!

Pam said...

I'm sure it will. But it's very tough just now.