Saturday 31 December 2011

2012 here we come!

So 2011 is almost over and 2012 is almost upon us. I am not one for new year's resolutions. However now that I am no longer working, this year I intend to get on top of the garden and to finish decorating the cottage. Otherwise I am just going to see how things go. I am hoping to get back into blogging, but before I do I have to entertain the in laws on January 2. The date of this visit has only been changed twice unlike the last time they came in September 2010. They have not been up here, at this time of year, for seven years. That visit in 2004 was a bit of a disaster. The traffic was awful and the journey took far longer than expected. Husband was in touch with them via mobile phone and kept telling me that they would arrive in 20 minutes. I believed him and left the joint, that was for our lunch, in the oven, thinking that another 20 minutes would do no harm. By the time they arrived it had almost disintegrated. So this time I am keeping it simple and we are having a casserole. If I am organised I'll cook it the day before as the recipe book claims that reheating improves the flavour. That will only leave me the vegetables to prepare on the day, as I shall also prepare the desserts the day before. Let's hope that it is as simple as I have made it sound.

We have had a year that we shall not forget. In the last four months both of our widowed mothers have died. They were both 92 and had had a good innings before ill health took its toll. So 2012 will start a new chapter for us and life will be different.  Our mothers' deaths have made us realise that we won't be here forever and now that they are no longer with us we are free to go travelling to all those long haul and exotic destinations that we have had to put on the back burner over the last few years, in case we got off the plane and had to come straight back because one of the mothers was ill. We have not made any definite plans yet, but it will be something to think about and look forward to over the dark days of winter. As one door closes another one opens!

Happy New Year !

Saturday 17 December 2011

Going down

A blue hydrangea is not very festive, I know, but it reflects my mood which is a bit blue at the moment. The last ten days have been bitter sweet. The photograph was taken while we were in Cornwall, in June this year, and reminds me of the house that I grew up in which had a blue hydrangea in a half barrel by the front door.

When my mother was found to have fluid on her lung, back in May, I knew then that if she had as many chest infections during this coming winter, as she had over the course of last winter, that she would not see Spring 2012. Last week she succumbed to her third chest infection of the winter. Sadly she died on Saturday December 10. I wasn't quite prepared for this turn of events and if I am honest I am a bit annoyed about the timing. Maybe I am just being selfish, but I would have liked to have quietly enjoyed my last few days at work without having one of life's inevitable dramas going on in the background. That's life. Anyway my mother has taken her final bow and I have now finished work. I suppose that anti-climax is the word that I am looking for.

Please do not be sad, as my mother's death was a blessing in disguise. Her tormented soul is now at peace and the torture that my brother and I have suffered since she had a mini stroke, in May 2006 ago, is over. In many ways my mother really died five and a half years ago. If 20 or 30 years ago my mother could have seen how she would become, she would have had a blue fit. The staff at the nursing home,where she was a resident, were brilliant with her and I would highly recommend it to anyone in this area who has a relative with dementia. They took a load off my mind and certainly made my life as stress free as it could be in the circumstances.

Husband and I returned to the nursing home on Sunday to collect Mum's belongings. We took with us a large suitcase and a bag, but I had underestimated quite how many clothes and bits and pieces she had, so husband returned home to collect another suitcase. While he was gone I had a chat to one of the young carers who had known my mother since she become a resident in the residential home, in April 2009. I was trying to explain to her how difficult it is to watch a parent go down hill in the way that my mother had done over the last few years. There was a bit of a bond between the two of them as they had the same birthday, albeit 70 years apart. Recently she had asked me what my mother had been like before the dementia took hold. Although I would be the first to comment that the person that my mother became after the mini stroke was not the mother that I had known, I found that I really had to think about my answer, as I had accepted her as she had become.

I do not think that my mother ever worked out that she was in a home but in a way she had the last laugh. She had a dislike of lifts and would always use a stair case if possible. Her room was on the second floor and I had always used to stairs to get up and down to it. As we had two large suitcases husband and I decided to come down in the lift. The home is in an old house. The lift is nearly as ancient. It was very very slow and then we realised that it had stopped and we in between floors! It was hot. We pressed all of the buttons and still the lift did not move. It became very hot. I was beginning to get a bit panicky. Then husband said we'll have to press the alarm button which we did. Luckily the nurse in charge had seen us getting into the lift so he knew who was in it. Next we heard a voice asking 'can you jump?' My first thought was 'were to?' We could not get out of the lift. Then the penny drop and I asked if he meant up and down. 'Yes' the voice said. So a couple of jumps and lift descended. That was an experience that I won't forget.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Countdown 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

If I had not known differently I would have thought that yesterday was Friday 13th. We had a right day and a half of it at work. By yesterday lunch time my head was spinning and I do not think that I have ever been as glad to come home as I was last night. I know that the closer we get to Christmas the more manic Fridays will become.  Looking back to a year ago I wrote a post saying that I would not be doing this pre-Christmas holiday work stint again. Well that was what I thought at the time. The work situation has not quite gone to plan and it seems that I just cannot say 'no'. Anyway this really is the last time.

I now have four days left to work before I stop practising. I have been trying to stop practising for about two years now and have been putting off the fateful day for one reason or another. Now that the end is in sight I feel a bit sad. However, there is, now, no going back as I have taken myself off the register from 31 December. In any case I need to be realistic, standing up for eight hours a day is a young person's game. When I was younger I used to stand up all day at work then stand up all night in the pub. Nowadays I rarely get to the pub, even when I am not working. I shall miss the staff that I have worked with but I will not miss the patients. I can live without the hysterics, tantrums and theatricals that relatives and patients sometimes subject us to. Life will be quieter and a little less colourful, but that is how I prefer it. Professional ethics prevent me from going into more detail here.

Whether or not I am working it seems that my presence is going to be felt. Last week one of the assistants claimed to see me upstairs in the stockroom when I was actually downstairs in the dispensary. Even if work does not haunt me, I am going to be haunting work!

I am not quite sure what I am going to do with myself when January comes around, but one thing that is certain is that it will be different to what I have been used to. Before I get myself involved in anything whether paid or voluntary I intend to work my way through the list of jobs in the cottage that  have been ignored or left undone over the last 18 months.

If you are wondering what I have been up to since I last posted, I always struggle to find the time for my blog when I am working and husband is at home, which he is at the moment. Recently most of my spare time has been spent in the garden - weather and light permitting. Autumn is the best time to move plants, in the garden, while the soil is relatively warm after the Summer. Over the last few years we have missed this opportunity which has left us with a lot to do this year.

The other big job that we have also done was to take down a dead tree and prune a rather out of hand hawthorn hedge. This left us with a massive pile of prunings (right) to cut up and dispose of. What could not be cut up into logs or kindling for our open fires, was loaded into our garden waste bin and that of our neighbours for several collections.