Thursday, 29 January 2009

Far to many downs.......

(Edit:- The date Thursday 29th January was when I actually began compiling this post. I have actually published it on Monday 16th February. Apologies for any confusion this may cause)

Where has the time gone.... so long since I have last blogged! I do apologise for not blogging as much as I would like but life is rather hectic at the moment. You have all been so kind to me and I have so appreciated all your lovely comments. Although I haven't blogged myself I have however been reading all your wonderful blogs and tried to leave comments as much as possible... slap on wrist though because I have not always managed to comment consistently or get back to you..... as on my school reports .. 'Jane must try harder'.... and I will I promise!!!!!!

Your blogs have been the highlight of many a day lately and its been something to look forward to, especially on the very low days and I thank you all so very much for that!!

At the moment life for me and my family consists of far too many downs. Firstly my darling Mum is causing us a great deal of concern.

( My Darling Mum all wrapped up for a walk in the snowy cold weather we have recently enjoyed!!)

My Mums health is continuing to deteriorate and I am finding that emotionally and physically draining. It breaks my heart to find her so lost and muddled. Mum is also doing some rather odd things such taking all her clothes of at different times, persistent ailments such as burning skin and hurting eyes. I have taken her to our doctor who has examined her and can find nothing wrong with her skin, Mum became quite annoyed with the doctor (the doctor was brilliant with her) and disagreed with the doctors diagnosis and said no one believed her skin problems. The doctor gave Mum drops for her eyes though as Mums eyes were very sore and that is helping a great deal!! However Mum still insists her skin is burning and so I am using some Neal's Yard facial water, which I chill in the fridge to spray over the parts of skin which Mum tells me are burning and she feels better once I have done that. Mum does not sleep well and often feels out of sorts, the doctor has told me that Mum is like this because she is struggling with her muddled thoughts.

In the afternoon I always take Basil for a walk and Mum has always accompanied me. Mum loves Basil and really enjoys the walks. Mum is still insisting on walking me regardless of poor weather conditions. So as long as she is happy to come with me then I have no intentions of stopping her, although at times I am convinced she is not really enjoying herself? As the dementia takes a grip of her mind our walks are hard to bear at times. Mum no longer holds a conversation, just little snippets here and there and often repeated statements about her burning skin. Gone is my Mum who I chatted with freely and discussed the good times and sought helpful ideas or solutions through the bad. Its all gone now.. I am slowly day by day losing my very best friend, my very much loved Mum......

My Mother

My mother was a gentle woman, so kind and full of care

My rock and best friend she was always there

My childhood days were happy and carefree

My dearest Mum always found time to play with me

As I grew older she gently nurtured me along

To grow happy, healthy and strong

Through the dark times and the good

My darling Mum always understood

Now my darling Mum is slipping away

She knows not what to do or say

I care for her and do my best

This awful disease is a painful test

I have to watch her slowly drift away

It’s hard to face yet another day

But strong I have to be

Because my Darling Mum needs me

The other day I had a very difficult day with Mum. When she popped up to our home (four doors away from me) to accompany me on the afternoon walk, I suddenly realised she had no trousers on and on further investigation realised she was completely naked under her coat. Mum was in a real muddle and I had to take her back home to get her dressed so she could go for a walk with me. Mum was not in a good state at all. Later on in the evening when I went to give her nightly medications we discovered something spilt on her bedside mat. Mum was a bit agitated by it and so I offered to clean it up, she happily agreed with my offer of help and just as I was about to clean it up she suddenly snatched the cloth out of my hand and told me to get out as she wanted to do it, I stupidly tried to retrieve the cloth so I could continue to clean the mat, but she pulled it back and started shouting at me. Eventually she calmed down a little and I finally managed to get the cloth back off her and clean the mat. This is when it is particularly hard... my sweet, gentle Mum turns into an aggressive unpleasant person. When I got back home, I just sat down and sobbed and sobbed. I do miss my Mum, I really, really do!!!

Mum went for a assessment for dementia a week or so ago and of course lots of questions were asked and Mum could answer very few as she could not remember/understand what was been asked of her. The memory test was a complete disaster and Mum could barely answer or complete any of the questions. The doctor confirmed that her memory is extremely poor and suspects its to do with the hardening of the arteries and if she had not been taking the aspirin which she has since been prescribed since her stroke it would have been a lot worse by now. Mum has to have a brain scan on February 26th. We then have another appointment in three months time with the hospital to discuss results of scan and any treatments that may be required. In the meantime I have been told to go to our family GP to organise as much help as possible for caring for her.

Once Mum has had the scan and her condition confirmed they may be able to help her (maybe) with various drugs. I have been told they can give her drugs to slow the process down, but we will have to wait and see. My immediate problem is Mum not been able to sleep, we seem to have a pattern forming and one night she will sleep and the she will have a good day, then the next night she cannot sleep and I can be up and down all night with her and the next day is an awful day and she gets quite angry and verbally aggressive which I have to admit to finding really hard to deal with its just so upsetting. I have asked our doctor if they could give her something to help her sleep but they cannot give her an aid for sleeping until after the scan and her condition confirmed which I guess is understandable (but a mighty long time to wait!!) I am convinced if she could sleep better she would cope better. At the moment I have been told to give her a milky drink and paracetamol which is not really helping to be honest!! Did consider aromatherapy oils and of course the wonderful lavender oil, but Mum has no sense of smell, she lost it quite a few years ago and I think that may actually defeat the process of the use of aromatherapy so have left it alone.

As for Mums eyes I knew she needed another eye test and most likely new glasses but my problem was taking her to an opticians who would require a responsive eye test. Since Mums stroke shortly after my Dad died Mum has had trouble with speech and getting out words. As time has gone by this has become steadily worse and now coupled with the dementia it can be very difficult at times to understand Mum. I have however managed to find an optician that will be able to perform a non responsive eye test at home and this is Lloyd's Pharmacy. The optician came out the other week and what a lovely man he was, he made the whole eye test so easy for Mum and was very, very good with her. Mum responded very well and she will be having an upgrade in glasses. The optician discovered Mum does have cataracts on both eyes, but not bad enough yet to require surgery. Also we do have glaucoma in the family and one eye is showing very slight signs due to the pressure in the back of the eye so that will need to be kept 'an eye' on.... (sorry could not resist that pun!!) Mum is to have an at home eye test every twelve months so that will be a bonus. The lovely gentleman also found an ingrowing eyelash that may have been irritating Mum so we managed to remove that. The test was VERY thorough and Mum can look forward to her new glasses in the next three to four weeks. The same optician will come out and fit them for her. I have just got to get Mum used to wearing glasses all the time now!!! Had enough trouble with her hearing aid and still do at times!! lol!!!

My son also came home with some very upsetting news the other week. He has found out that he is to be made redundant, he has until February 22nd (not long now!!) and then that's that..... He has bills to pay such as his phone, computer and of course running his car... so he is very worried and upset at the moment. He has friends that have been trying to find work for ages so this is giving him cause for concern. Its worrying for us also because we to have our financial worries and have had now for some time. Life can be quite a struggle at times and this just adds another problem to our already overburdened shoulders!

The other scenario we are having to consider is our park home. We have lived here for twenty nine happy years and have improved our home and enhanced our garden in many ways.... but.... due to financial problems over the last year or two we have not been able to do as much as we would like with our home and now our site owner who is a bit of a difficult man to deal with has now retired and handed the reigns over to his son... who is young(ish), very ambitious and the park owner from hell!!! 'The son' would like to restructure the park altogether and be rid of all the older park homes and replace them with the very expensive, exclusive new ones... we have one of the older park homes.... and my Mother who lives four park homes away from me owns one of the oldest park homes on here.... 'The son' is now working his way through the older park homes with his new friend (note the sarcasm!) Mr Surveyor who is surveying the outside of our homes and then drawing up a list of required repairs that need to be carried out. We have not yet had the pleasure of this new scheme but know full well it will be carried out during the remainder of this year. 'Mr Son' is well within his rights to ensure these surveys are performed as they are a legal requirement of the site licence. Some of the requirements have totalled up to £27,000.00 and several of the residents who have not been able to afford to do the repairs have been evicted..... the whole situation is much more complicated than I am explaining here, but I am quite sure you are getting the idea and I do not want to bore you to much. We do now have a Residents Association who are doing a grand job and putting up a great fight... but sadly 'Mr Son' has all his legal people under his wings. I imagine he pays a great sum of money to his legal companions who can guide him through all the legalities of these evil deeds ... and for those of us who are struggling to make ends meet... especially during this credit crunch we do not stand much chance of getting the better of these people!! Due to our financial situation and the fact that if we are presented with an expensive list of 'things' to do to our park home... which is almost a certainty and of course Mums home as well, we have now gone ahead after much soul searching and filled in an application form for social housing (as its called these days) and are at present awaiting the outcome of that. Also due to Mum needing more and more care it seems sensible that we apply for a home that would accommodate Mum also which would enable me to keep more of an eye on her and be able to care for her full time. I know its something Mum would appreciate. I have discussed the situation with Mum and although I do not know exactly how much she understands, I do know it would make her very happy to live with us.

Although I know its what got to be done it also makes me very, very sad as I love my home and the area where I live, the fields, the walks, the peace and the quiet, my dear neighbours and friends ... .... but it seems we have no more choices left. My daughter and son tell me its for the best and it would be a new start for us... and yes part of me agrees but the other part is unsure, scared and so very sad........

The picture above shows the view of the park homes from across one of the fields that surround us. Our home is the one with the hedge all around and the arched hedge that we have trained over our 'back' gate. We have spent years growing , nurturing and training these hedges and now our garden is so lovely and private. Its going to be very sad to have to leave it all, especially sad knowing full well once we have gone our much loved home will be pulled apart and disposed of and our garden which is full of well established shrubs and some fruit trees (a very old plum tree) and much more will just be ploughed up and replaced with tons of gravel, concrete and a luxury home...

And now for Basil who has unfortunately been very poorly once again. Stomach/gut problems have plagued him and are still ongoing...... Basil has developed Campylobacter Bacteria yet again and its knocked him for six this time. Our vet sent a sample of Basil's faeces away again for analysis and the guy who works at the Laboratories used to work at the London Veterinary School and specialised in bowels. He has been following Basil's case for sometime now and he has discussed Basil's case with our vet and come up with a 'maybe' fingers crossed possible solution which may or may not help Basil but worth giving it a try. Apparently the good natural e-coli in Basil's gut has been damaged by all the continued gut upsets and so this man has made up a special vaccine for Basil which contains 'replacement' e-coli that will replenish Basil's depleted good e-coli and thus should kill of any further Campylobacter bacteria outbreaks and hopefully Basil will no longer have to suffer these upsets. If it works it will be fantastic. Every time Basil has an upset he has to cease his painkillers for a week and then after a day or so his poorly hips become very stiff and painful. If this does not work then the vet will then take Basil off the chicken and rice diet and try him on a specialised Hills ZD diet. If that fails then its more blood tests to check the condition of Basil's bowels and then who knows???
Basil has now been using the e-coli vaccine for just under a week and I am now up in the wee small hours with him because he has started the diarrhea again... so the vaccine does now not appear to be working. I will however see how things progress but if Basil gets any worse may have to call up the vet again and see he thinks.

This is what Basil was having to take before a meal about a week ago
Basil has now completed the antibiotic course so that is one syringe less prior to a meal. We have been told to cease the Pro Kaolin so its just the Antepcin and the E-coli syringes before a meal. The e-coli vaccine will last approx two weeks.

On a much lighter note.... we did have some snow,two lots in total and it was enjoyed greatly by Basil, no stomach problem was going to stop him from enjoying all that lovely white stuff!!!

And Bold came too............

And of course Boots was not to be left out and soon caught up (think he had been hiding in the hedges?)

Then once we arrived home it was time for Boots and Bold to have another bite to eat and then find a nice warm place to have a clean up and a bit of a nap to recharge the batteries for more wintery adventures!!

This is just how much it was snowing on Friday morning February 6th ............

A few pictures of snow, wintery views and sunsets over the last week or so.....
I have compiled this post over the last week or so as and when I have had some spare time. I hope it does not come across as to muddled. Will attempt to post more freqently in future.

The woods are lovely dark n deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep

And miles to go before I sleep

- Robert Frost

Monday, 5 January 2009

Deep Freeze!!

Just loving this cold weather... its great to actually experience a decent winter. Last winter was so wet, seemed to spend most of my time in mud! Walking the dog in the rain and mud each day (seemed as if it was wet everyday!) was hateful... muddy wellies, muddy paws, muddy cats, muddy dog and very often muddy me!!

So this year, so far its great to be able to walk on firm frosty ground and Basil and I can even walk over the cropped fields, instead of scrambling around the edges of the fields. Our site owner owns two fields adjacent to the park home village and he rents the fields out to local farmers. We are allowed to walk our dogs around these fields and normally this is not a problem, but this year whoever ploughed these fields must have been having a really bad day because they did not leave us a reasonable pathway around the field to walk and often we have to scramble around on a muddy ploughed up field. Sometimes I can be a bit clumsy in my wellies and have ended up tripping over into the mud. So frozen fields are making walking a real pleasure at the moment.. so would personally be very glad if the deep freeze stays a whole lot longer! Its a great feeling after a long and chilly walk when you get home and are able to remove the layers consisting of coat, jumper, scarf, hat and gloves and come into the warmth of home sweet home and enjoy a steaming hot cup of tea.....

Basil is having great fun getting through the layers of ice in his outdoor water bowl. We do have a bowl of water always available for him in the house... but Basil also likes the use of a water bowl outside and always goes straight to it when we arrive home from a walk....

Basil is (shhhhhh!! seeming much better now!!) thought I would whisper because I do not want to tempt fate!! The vitamins are suiting him and he is coping very well... and full of vim and vigour... which I am soooooo glad about, hated seeing him so low......

When I went for Basil's late night walk before bed... discovered it was actually snowing... yippee!!!

Finally A BIG THANK YOU... for all the supportive, caring and heartwarming comments you have taken the time and trouble to write. You are such LOVELY people and I cannot thank you enough.... its been such a help to me as I have to admit to been a bit down in the dumps of late... but to know you are all here for me means so much and has helped to give me the strength to face what lies ahead in a positive way... thank you so, so much!! I will attempt to update my comments this week.... take care you lovely people!!