Writing about Mum’s condition is good therapy for me – bear with me!
I’m not normally indecisive – especially with really important stuff, but Mum’s condition has got me scratching my head.
Physically she is in about as best condition as anyone would expect for an 85 year old. With her three stents and her shiny new pacemaker, she’s the Bionic Woman of Biggin Hill! What’s giving us serious concern is her mental faculties.
Even the medical profession are giving us conflicting reports about whether it’s the onset of dementia or not – that hasn’t helped!
Having seen Mum in hospital last Sunday where she was in a reasonably calm, relaxed and generally well state (apart from a rather swollen leg), we were able to have a useful and realistic discussion about what the future holds for her. She knows she’s losing her memory and her health is in decline. As a result, she is 199% certain that she does NOT want to be sent to a ‘home’ – we don’t want to send her to one either, but nevertheless, she’s made it very clear what she’ll do if we attempt to try. Ouch!
In return, we’ve said one of the ways of ensuring she gets her wish and avoids being ‘put away’ (her words) is to surround her with helpers in her own home. We’ve explained that it’s our intention to arrange for as much professional help and support as she needs. Initially, part of that includes an assessment team going in to see how she’s coping day-to-day. She was up for all our suggestions and agreed to surrender some of her independence to those who are trying to help her. Mum also agreed take her medicine (something she’d stopped doing); eat more frequently, and finally save time (and the danger of) cooking by having it delivered. So far, so good! and with a sort of plan in place, we waited for her to be discharged.
It all started to go a bit ‘Pete Tong’ when she was discharged earlier than we expected with the ongoing problem of her leg still not resolved. Two further visits back to the hospital left her even more confused (us too!), with still no solution in sight!
Fast-forward to today, and after a visit to her by my brother to get the Power of Attorney forms signed, it seems that everything we agreed with her has fallen by the wayside. She’s not eating, she’s not taking her medicine and she’s told us that she’s not letting the assessment people in if they turn up!
So, the question is, where do we go from here? It’s clear she needs day-to-day help with more or less everything, but she simply won’t agree and do what we think is best for her. Two steps forward and four steps back - I realise now where my stubbornness streak comes from!