Saturday, 25 April 2009

Carers' Support Worker

Well - if nothing else meeting with a Carers' Support Worker from MIND on Monday gave me the chance to talk, talk and talk. I assumed I'd have an hour. But the first thing Margaret said was that I had 2 hours to talk about anything, everything or nothing. She explained that there isn't much they can do in a practical or financial way. I hadn't expected a magic wand. Just to have the opportunity to talk to someone who wouldn't be judgemental or feel I was doing MyMan down was a form of relief.

While I was talking things over I was still inclined to be defending or explaining MyMan and his mental problems. It was a form of relief. She didn't think it was unreasonable of me to wish to move closer to family. Agreed with my view that if MyMan rarely ventured out far there was very little to matter to him about where we lived. But even then I still felt inclined to balance the scales. I can see from his point of view that what he knows could be much 'safer' than a leap into the unfamiliar. A case of 'It's better the devil you know when choosing whether to leap between a rock and a hard place . . . . '.

I've agreed to meet up with a small group of carers who are in similar situation. To see if we can provide mutual support. I was told I had a good sense of humour and was likely to enjoy the company of one lady in particular. Her Man developed depression following his retirement and their move to Devon. This was just the scenario I had planned to avoid. Choosing to relocate to our chosen retirement area well in advance of the event. To establish roots before the next major change in our life. But as they say 'the best laid plans of mice, men and women gang awry . . .'

I found I was emotionally exhausted in the afternoon but still entertained a friend to afternoon tea. It was her birthday.

I'm trying to be more selfish. To stop considering 'friends' needs above my own. But like an addict it's one step or one day at a time. I'm trying in more ways than one.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Games we play . .

MyMan encourages me to get out and enjoy myself "as much as possible". Then when I do he says how dead the place seems without me. I try to save a day a week when we can go out together. And I'm always home Saturdays and Sundays holding myself in readiness for a jaunt out somewhere together.

We agreed we would go out on Sunday this weekend. Once again I waited for MyMan to surface from his slumbers. We had a similar conversation as we do prior to every trip out together. "Where shall we go?" he asks me. "I must get a walk in, somehow. . ." he said. I draw breathe to reply and he suddenly suggests "Burrow Farm Garden - I love it there . . . ". Surprised as he rarely suggests anything that he'd like to do I draw breathe again to agree. Before I can open my mouth he tells me "that's no good - it will make your hay fever worse".

I disagree. My hay fever is bad enough here where we are surrounded by at least 8 fields of rape. Especially after spending a few hours toiling in the garden. Although the symptoms of hay fever can feel like a dose of flu there is no way I will allow it to limit what I want to do. I tell him so. Irritable now he tells me he doesn't want me to go somewhere where I'll feel the worse for going. He'll forgo the visit to save me discomfort. But wistfully tells me " I do so love it there". .

I decide I'll go anyway at which point he says he feels it will be too far for him today. He doesn't want to do a long journey. 'Long' means about 12 miles and will take about 20 minutes.

I think I'm beginning to learn the rules of this 'new game'. But he doesn't like how I play.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

It's in the Stars . .

It's in the stars or is it 'just' a co-incidence? Waiting for an appointment yesterday I read my stars for the day. Jonathan Cainer said that I put up with a lot, I take on more than I need to, I help out more than I am obliged to and that "you give but don't always get much back" . . . . He says I don't mind (?!) "You hardly stop to think whether there should be rewards for carrying so many burdens on your back, even when really they represent weights that other should be shouldering. Don't ask why life is suddenly starting to be kinder to you. It's what you deserve".

Well I hadn't noticed life suddenly being kinder to me. I have started to try and focus on the positive aspects of my world. I am trying to appreciate more the good things in life. Shoving all the worries to the back of my mind. Ignoring the negativity emanating from MyMan. Trying to let the aggression and irritability bounce off me without any adverse effects. I imagine myself in a protective bubble. When MyMan is pleasant and 'normal' I come out of my bubble but it's always there in the background . . .

I had a phone call as I was preparing lunch. Up to my wrists in oily pilchards MyMan asked me "who's that?". I told him we wont know till its answered. He took the hint. He doesn't always. It was for me. Margaret from the Mental Health team wants to meet me to find out how I'm coping. She offered me the chance to visit her where we could talk without my feeling " inhibited or disloyal". I almost wept at the words and her understanding. I rarely get the chance to speak privately about my anxiety over MyMan. Other than this blog that is. It is still hard not to feel disloyal but he is not the man I've spent so many years of my life with . . .

In a strange way I am a mixture of hopeful, expectant and nervous about the meeting. Maybe 'this is what I deserve'?

Saturday, 11 April 2009

All's Well

After such a stressful time on Moanday Thursday I expected Good Friday and the Easter weekend to continue in the same vein. But within a few minutes of surfacing from his slumbers yesterday morning MyMan surprised me by his cheerful demeanour. It continued unabated during most of the day. Even when he was experiencing a spasm of muscular and/or spine pain he was philosophically resigned but not letting it t detract from his positive mood.

Friends called in for a cup of tea and a hot cross bun during the afternoon. I held open house from 2.00 to 4.30. they finally left at 6.15 p.m. I think it was the first time for many months they felt welcome and relaxed and around MyMan. He also enjoyed their company. It was the most light hearted few hours we have enjoyed together socially for years. It reminded me of 'the good old days'.
Today we are just having a quiet time at home in the garden. It's bright, warm, sunny and we both feel quite relaxed.
Happy Easter to you all . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Muddle Muddle Toil and Trouble

Muddle muddle toil and trouble in our small world.

MyMan still likes to make the decisions on financial matters. But it is becoming more onerous task for him. I take care of the day to day movements of cash from savings accounts in and out of the current account to meet bills. I keep a list of various accounts on a the spreadsheet. A list that MyMan uses to complete the annual tax assessment forms. But although he has a print out each month he is not retaining the information.

Another worrying example is that he cannot remember opening some of the fixed term savings which are now coming up for the end of term. One particular account he asked me twice did we have a Bond with X Bank. Yes we have. He then told me that we have to access it via a PIN and Password. No trace of which can be found. I've searched high and low. He doesn't remember completing a form to select a 'memorable number' and a 'memorable word'. I asked to look at the paperwork. He has written all the information down bar the security details.

The bond was taken out when I was about to take a break away. He asked me to sign the cheque before I left as he didn't want to miss the good offer. I seem to recall his telling me the word and number he'd decided to use. I assumed he had written them down for safe keeping. Being preoccupied I didn't check. Now I realise that I can't assume anything.

He's very annoyed that we are missing out on securing the next 'good' fixed term deal. But the bank will not allow me to authorise transfer until I can confirm the 'memorable number and password'. Security details will have to be 'reset'. Being the Easter weekend the bank is unable to send out the relevant forms until Tuesday after the bank holiday .

I was able to supply names, date of birth, address and account number along with the typo error they have been using in my name on all statements I am annoyed they couldn't then telephone me back using the number they have on their file to enable me to request the transfer of funds into their 'special limited offer' which closes on 13 April.

MyMan is very irritable and is blaming me for not retaining a note of the number and password. I think it is a form of displacement activity anger.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Friends Reunited

MyMan surprised me this morning. He suddenly said he would like to try and make contact with an old friend, John M. He used ot go to school with him and they were cycling companions. In fact John was with MyMan when he had his first road traffic accident. Age 16 he'd been hit by a motorcylist emerging from a side road. This in the 1960s when cyclists did not wear protective clothing.

Having an unusual surname I said I would Google John M and see what I could find. I found him straight away - first hit on the list - was John M, an estate agent and surveyor in Kent. It mentioned that he had lived in South Africa for a few years. True - that was how he and MyMan had lost touch with each other. The second item on Google search results list told me he had died in August.

I found his Friends Reunited page which made no mention of his death. Not surprising. It's a shame that family members can't post something up as a notice. It said he was divorced with children. And that he was enjoying life and happy. I printed off the newspaper item of his brief biography and about his death at the beginning of August. I feel sad over the death of a man I never met. And sad for MyMan.

More Trips Out

Well we are soon to take more trips over towards the west. MyMan has an appointment to see the ENT specialist to try and find out if anything can be done to help with his sinus problem. Hopefully without re-starting the dreadful nose bleeds. He'll start getting anxious soon about making the trip to the hospital. Not the hospital that worries him but the travelling. He is still very uncomfortable as a driver and as a passenger. Everyone else on the road is seen as a potential threat. An accident waiting to happen. It's beginning to make me more nervous than usual.

He is also awaiting an assessment for his memory problem and I am to be referred for a Carer' s Assessment. I certainly could do with some outside help. Even if it is to chew over whether there is anything I am doing that is holding MyMan back. A few sessions of counselling wouldn't go amiss. Sometimes I don't know which way to turn. It still feels 'disloyal' to talk about MyMan and the difficulty I now have in dealing with him and his 'moods' and aggression.

As I told him - if there is no diagnosis of dementia and he 'is just turning into a grumpy old man' then I can lose my temper too and give as good as I get. But if he's ill then hopefully I'll get some advice on the best way to cope with our feelings and advice on how best to cope.