Monday, 3 October 2011

I'm wondering...

Seems to be that time of the year when I take stock, when I think a lot about what I'm doing, what I'm wondering, what I am and what I'm becoming and what I want to be.

What I never thought I would be is tied to my dear elderly mother's apron strings... At my age.

She's got me. She really has. And H. He has been magnificent. He has been caring. We both have.

Not that we're uncaring normally. Anyone who has children has to care.

But this time my mother fell and broke her right leg. She went to hospital in great pain, had an operation,and went to a second ward for recuperation.

Then she came home. Without official carers because she said, "My family will care for me at home". And, do you know, she was right.

We are. Caring for her. At her home. We have to.

They deemed her capable of making her own decisions so she refused other carers, and now we're it. Mostly H is it. And I'm doing the outside stuff. Shopping. Paying bills. Dog walking. Sorting stuff.

And I'm exhausted. Because it's so stressful. Because a mother is supposed to take care of you. Not you, her. Because she isn't capable of making her own decisions no matter what the hospital people said in their knowledge of her for a few weeks. She isn't capable. Her dementia doesn't show too obviously. It's subtle. It hasn't reared up and destroyed her ability to remember. That's not the way it's robbed her. It's much more complicated. But, of course, the hospital people know best. They've had a student nurse ask her a few questions, and - voila! - my mother is deemed to be competent mentally.

Hmmm. We know that she isn't. We know that whatever the government approved list of questions (did Mr. Social Care Rehabilitation guy call it MIMSY?) says my mother is not mentally capable of making sensible and reasoned decisions.

Now our family is paying for the cult of the ten minute expert. The cult of the one size fits all assessment of mental competence. And we aren't expert. We know nothing. We only know my mother couldn't cope for ten minutes in the full glare of the day to day life that most of us endure normally. We've only known that for years. We've only been caring for years. In this family. With no outside help.

No outside recognition.

The doctors and nurses assessed my mother as having a score of 26 out of 30 when she was admitted to hospital. She is capable, even though I was telling her everything that the doctor said, repeating the same message in different words until I could see that she'd finally understood what I was conveying to her.

Just like I've been doing for years. Interpreting the big wide world for my dear daffy old darling.

And I am so tired. It's the stress. It's the deep stress.

But it's all a learning experience I suppose.

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