How does this even happen?

This is McMini’s work.

Obviously there are points among the mayhem when I try to write a sensible post about something, but this week the madness continued so I felt I may as well just give in and tell you about it. To be honest, I was worried, a few weeks ago, that I was losing my sense of humour. The good lord has clearly decided to rectify this by making my life as surreal and bizarre as possible. The appreciation of oddity centre of my brain is definitely fully satisfied at the moment, anyway.

First, Dad.

Huge relief this week. After a meeting with Dad’s home, his social worker and the community dementia nurse on Wednesday, they said they were happy with his progress and thought he was settling well. The manager of the home confirmed that they will be able to look after him permanently. Since we were happy with the home, too, this is a huge relief. They addressed most of the doubts or misgivings we had before we got to the asking questions stage which was also a good sign. The home are taking it slowly and letting Dad settle, he flips from charming to very much not charming and has to be placed carefully since he is able to raise his voice to the kinds of levels required to be heard by rowdy teenagers. As the manager pointed out, that kind of volume, like hearing someone play the bagpipes in a small room, can be a bit much for the other residents in a confined space.

At the moment they are working out who Dad gets on with and who he doesn’t. Residents with dementia do irritate each other from time to time, apparently. Like life then. But they’re more like kids so there’s a lot more of the kind of nursery school exchanges. Go away I don’t like you, you’re smelly etc.

A highlight was when the lovely lady who runs the home was trying to get into the computer system to show us Dad’s record. The meeting room was just off the main hall/lounge where everyone sits. She forgot her password. So she opened the door and called for one of the other staff.

‘She’s gone,’ said an elderly voice from a chair nearby. ‘She got into the taxi.’

‘Did she?’

‘Yes, I don’t know where she’s going.’

The staff member appeared from the office next door and came in to join us. In the background I could hear a cheery commentary from the same resident.

‘Look! They’ve both got into the taxi.’

‘Oh,’ said someone else.

‘Yes, I don’t know where they think they’re going,’ said the first voice.

Very Alan Bennett.

At another point I heard a resident shouting and then the familiar voice of Dad bellowing, ‘shut up!’

There was a slight pause in the meeting room.

‘That was Dad,’ said Mum.

‘Yes,’ I agreed, ‘still, at least he didn’t say, “fuck off!”’

It sounds a bit grim of me but I’m afraid I actually found it hilarious. Luckily everyone else laughed too.

If you want to survive stuff like this, I sincerely believe there is no other option than to see the funny side. Were he still wholly himself, I’m certain it’s what Dad would have done. There is something gloriously, surreally random about listening to a background of conversation between demented people. Furthermore, Dad is much more settled and much more aware so we are happier because he is and therefore, so is Mum. She is a bit of a worry. We are standing at the top of the hill we were on with Dad three years ago, except with her. I’m hoping the cajoling, the getting extra care and all the other baggage that comes with getting people the care they need, rather than the care they want, will be easier to handle the second time.

Business in casa McGuire is mayhem as usual.

McCat is behaving abominably. As if his complete obsession with my evening primrose oil capsules wasn’t enough, I turned my back on the kitchen work top this morning only to discover he’d leapt up there and was drinking the dregs of McOther’s tea. For the love of the almighty was there ever such a skanky cat? I swear he’s suffering from species dysmorphia because he is clearly a labrador. I have discovered that screaming at him makes him stop and run away, and it also clearly communicates to him that I am displeased and he’s been bad. It doesn’t stop him, though, because not only is he mischievous but he also has a sense of humour and I suspect he thinks it’s funny.

Midweek, a friend from way back rang up out of the blue. She was up here on business and asked if she could stay over. Yes she could, I said. So after a grim journey home from the care home on Wednesday – a lovely 39 minute delay at the Dartford Tunnel and other shenanigans – I got home a few minutes before she arrived.

We had supper and there was lots to talk about, we’re in very similar situations with elderly parents although it’s just mum in her case and we managed to talk the hind legs off every donkey in the vicinity until we realised it was one am.

Nooo I forgot the soldiers in the bog!

I didn’t really think it through, since I had metal detecting club the next night and McOther is hoping to start a wine tasting group we had the first meeting round ours the night after. Long and short, I really can’t do late nights any more I have been recovering from Wednesday’s excesses all week.

When we had the wine group round, I spent the day trying to change my mindset to that of a person who does not live with a ten year old and to notice, and remove, some of the bizarre items that have come to rest around the house. A lot of nerf guns, bits of biro, headless action figures and other detritus later, I thought I had them all, only to discover, while having a nice relaxing wee during the wine evening, that I’d completely forgotten about the row of toy soldiers in the lavatory. Still, I suppose it could have been worse. The scale on our water here is brown and I did, at least, remember to give the lav a good treatment with descaler so it was mostly white.

Meanwhile, McOther had blithely imagined that he’d be home from work in time for us to eat a meal before the wine evening on Friday started. In fact, the first of our guests arrived about two minutes after McOther did. I chatted to him while McOther had a wee and unpacked his work bag before leaving McOther playing host and haring off up the hill in the car with McMini to Boy’s Brigade. Needless to say, because I have a tiny car and McMini is, himself, a microdot, he has elected to play the bass drum in the Boy’s Brigade band. To give him his due, he’s pretty good at it but it means I have to schlepp up the hill with it, or borrow McOther’s car. It’s only a matter of time before he takes up the double bass and the tuba I suspect … or possibly the euphonium or some other hugantic instrument I’ll need a luton van to ferry him about with.

On the recovery from my persistent socialising score, the fact it is the part of my monthly cycle which I privately refer to as Constipation and Brain Fog Week hasn’t helped either, but this time the brain fog and seems to have extended its sponge like caress, not just to my brain, but also to McMini’s.

On Fridays he has PE. Thank heavens he no longer has to go into school dressed in his kit, with his school clothes in a bag, but he tends to come home in his PE kit with his school uniform and school shoes stuffed into his bag. However, he also has Boy’s Brigade on Fridays so he has to put the school trousers and shirt back on again. Bless his heart, I took his uniform out of his PE bag, popped it on the sofa beside him without really looking at it and asked him to put it on. A few minutes later, I heard a shout of dismay.

‘Muuuuuum!’

‘Yes.’

‘These aren’t my trousers! They’re huge.’

He was standing in the middle of the room, sporting what looked like clown trousers. He held the waistband out from his stomach and there was, indeed, about three inches of extra room where, presumably, they usually sit snugly round a very much larger child. Luckily, I’d already washed the other pair of his own trousers and it was hanging over the airier in the utility room so I didn’t have to creep up the stairs on my shonky knees. Even more luckily, it was dry!

The week before last, he managed to get changed back into his school uniform but he came home with another child’s hoody. I didn’t find it for five days. The wee lad’s poor mum was probably wondering where the hell it was. At least I managed to wash it and get it back to her in time for the next PE lesson.

So now we have a pair of mystery trousers and some other child has McMini’s. As far as I recall, McMini’s are named, I’m not sure though, because he went through about six pairs in the first three weeks of term playing something which he called ‘human chess’ and so in the whirl of rapid acquisition and destruction of trousers I may not have named them. Still, I should thank the world for small mercies, I mean, it makes life interesting and at least he still has a pair to go to school in on Monday.

7 Comments

Filed under Blimey!, General Wittering

7 responses to “How does this even happen?

  1. Another one of these good posts.

    It’s a good thing you only have the one kid. I think he needs all your time, the part that’s not committed elsewhere. You gotta admit he lights up your life.

    Glad your dad is settling in – and they seem to know what they’re doing. I’m observing that happening to some of the older residents here – good to know it isn’t uniformly dreary, which is the image too many people have of care for those whose minds are wandering more than usual.

    Good you have the experience, so your mum’s care will be easier for both of you – maybe she won’t need a home at all but can stay safely in hers.

    I don’t know which of us will have that particular problem, or what (our mothers both had it), but I need to start thinking before my mind wanders off. And leave written instructions about a few things.

    • McMini does, indeed, light up my life. Without McOther and him I would be sad, lonely and sunk! And yes re dad and yes I sincerely hope the journey with mum will be smoother, but she’s more stubborn than dad, less reasonable and possibly a bit more scared than he was so it will be interesting. Here’s hoping it will be possible for all concerned.

      • But she will have seen you dad settled into his new living accommodations, and you can tell her how relieved you are that she is getting better sleep, and that your dad is safe and getting more attention, and some socializing.

        She might not be able to admit that she’s relieved and that it had gotten to be too much for her, especially not if she promised him she’d never put him into a home.

        I think it may also help to point out that her time with him when she visits will be good time, not time spent dealing with so many problems.

        It will go well. You’ll figure it out. Your mum has been under a lot of stress, too. And you’ll be in better shape.

        And you and McOther can make better plans, so McMini gets the benefit of all you’ve learned. Our kids were relieved when we made our decisions and moved, even though we told them it will cost.

  2. Diana

    I love these glimpses into your life — although I am so sorry you are having to deal with some of them.

    If you don’t find the owner of that bigger pair of trousers, do you get to keep them for when McMini grows into them?

    I lost a word today, and had yet to discover it — but the joy is that when I sat back just as I was about to type the sentence, it appeared clearly in my mind. Magnolia!

    I hate losing words, just because of what that loss might signal.

    I do, on the other hand, love magnolias — which are just coming into blossom here.

    Please tell McMini that I think that legworm is pretty amazing (unless it’s not a legworm — in which case forget I said that. Although it is funny!)

    • To my joy, we found the bigger trousers owner and he had McMini’s trousers. On the downside, McMini had been through the knee and today he came home having gone through the knee of his other pair of trousers. Next term, he will, most likely, be wearing shorts so it looks like I’m going to have to buy a new pair of trousers for three days of school and a Boy’s Brigade meeting. Such is life!

      I loved the leg worm too. It doesn’t really have a name but if it did, that’s almost certainly what it would be! I lose loads of words now, my brain is shot. It used to be so sharp, but in the last five or six years thinking and concentrating or planning things has become like wading through treacle. On the upside, it’s been going on a fair while and has been diagnosed as hormonal. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that the slope would be steeper if it was dementia.

      Cheers

      MTM

      • Diana

        Brain fog is not very comfortable when you know what it could signify. Hormonal sounds positive! I shall pray that the hormones in your body stop doing whatever it is they are doing to make your brain so treacly. If it makes you feel better, you are definitely not coming across at this end as anything less than engaging and engaged. No sign of sticky/mushy/downward-spiralling thinking or communicating.

      • You and me both on the praying front! Glad to hear I don’t come over as treacly as I feel! 😂😂

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