Saturday, 12 February 2011

Visit from the angry sister

Here in pleasant valley life has been sort of moving in the right direction.

Hubby's meds are strengthening his heart.
Our little granddaughter is flourishing and is now 14 months. Her mum seems more in control of herself.
Mum's decline was increasing at speed. She wandered and had to be brought back. She forgot how to turn a key and got stuck between her porch and the front door, in freezing temperatures, and was only rescued because the neighbour was putting his rubbish out. She set fire to things on the hob, and dismantled her smoke alarms. She became increasingly incontinent. Her heating froze during the bad weather and she didn't realise, so she became hypothermic. She let "charity" collectors in at 7pm at night and gave them the contents of her purse ...

After being declared by the Consultant Psychiatrist for Later Life Mental Health as lacking capacity, I had to place her fast. She would be placed "for her safety" in a dementia or EMI unit the next time there was a crisis.

The issue was, she was being turned down by mixed units -the minute dementia was mentioned they wanted her in a dementia unit. Mum, despite her memory issues, is bright, intelligent, funny and feisty. She just cant remember a few minutes previously and she can't recognise danger.

So I battled hard and got her accepted into an award winning sheltered housing complex. She moved on Monday 31st January and has thrived. She loves it. She loves the company (she was on her own all evening most evenings), she loves having friends (carers) pop in on her to check on her. She loves having her own flat, with her own accommodation, and her own things and she is truly happy.

But, this is my life, so things are never straight forward.

The sister who lives in Australia, who never came to visit for over 5 years, who didn't come when mum was mugged, nor when mum broke her hip, suddenly decided that I had pressured Mum into a "home"

Exning Court ( ) is bright, airy, spacious, caring, loving and independence supporting. The staff are amazing, the grounds are stunning and Mum's flat is beautiful.

But, despite giving all the links, all the information I could, on Weds I got my sister's first email:

Hi all,

I am flying back to the UK to see mum next week. As long as all is well with her, I will only be in England for about a week. I would be obliged if you would all allow me to spend as much time with her as possible and rearrange anything you may have planned for the week of 14 - 20 February with her. Mum tells me she has an appointment with the doctor on Wednesday 16. I understand how difficult it is to rearrange those appointments so perhaps that one is best kept. I have spoken to Jacqueline separately about her weekend of 19/20 February.

Thank you all for your cooperation.

Now, this email wasn't even directly addressed to me. I was copied in. Somewhat hurt I still replied with a bright hopeful email

Hi Karen

I spent about five hours with Mum today and she was very excited that you would be flying over from “ooorstrayleearrr” to see her. She asked if I could get a small bed put in her room, so I suggested that you might want to use the guest suite along the hall (it’s only £5 per night).

She does have a couple of regular events that she wants to continue to do, but certainly you would be able do them with her. On Tuesdays she has her hair done in the hairdressing salon on site, and she would like to do that still if you are ok with it. I have asked the staff there and they would fit in an appointment to work around you if that is agreeable to you. On Fridays she has a day trip out to Newmarket Day Centre; the bus comes to pick her up and drops her back. She has another circle of friends there (including a Joan who comes from London and was born in 1928) She was keen to go to that again, and certainly the Day Centre would welcome you (lol, although it is for over 50’s I’m sure the average age is nearer 70!) if you wanted to go along.

As she said to you, she has a full health screening on the afternoon of Weds 16th, and that would be difficult to rearrange; particularly as I need to get her repeat medications set up. Wednesday mornings typically I go and give the flat a thorough clean, but certainly can either leave that to you or do it when you have gone back.

Obviously I have to book her meals and carers, so for now I shall wait to hear from you as to how you want me to play that. At the moment she has a full cooked lunch Mon-Thurs and a tea “picnic party” in the evenings. Friday she goes to NDC, where she has her lunch and the weekends there are no meal arrangements as typically she will have visits\outings with the family.

Please do let me know how I can help, and whether you want me to book the guest suite (or get a small bed!!) so that you can maximise the time you can spend with her. Obviously it would have been lovely to have spent some time with you, but I truly understand your first priority must be spending time with Mum.

Travel safely

Chris x

Bit too desperate, perhaps, but I still don't understand why she was so angry. But .. this was the response

Hi Chris,

Nice of you to try and organise the details of my visit to mum, but I've got it covered. Thanks.

I'm delighted that mum is still as excited about my trip as she was when we spoke about it on Sunday evening. I suppose that's the nice thing about being forgetful, you get to experience all the good news over again. I should have had her write my sleeping arrangements in her calendar along with the dates of my visit so she won't be upset at me turning down the bed in her room again when I speak to her on Thursday again. She had already suggested both the bed in her room and the suite, and I'd turned down both.

I think for arrangements about what we will do during the week (apart from her medical visit), it will be best if mum and I work out what she wants to do when I arrive. She obviously isn't into a routine yet since she has been there less than two weeks and her previous routine was interrupted when she went into the care home. Let mum and I play it by ear, ok? If you email me the details of the Friday visit to NDC, then if mum tells me she wants to go next week I'll call and make whatever arrangements are needed. If mum wants her hair done then perhaps it can be their first appointment on Tuesday morning?

Since you are operating with mum's Power of Attorney, I know you are concerned about what money of mummy's to spend. However, as I don't really know what we will do until I have seen mum's state of health and mind I suggest that carer arrangements should stay as they are. I'll notify the home if there are any changes. Perhaps you could ask them to be flexible about meal arrangements? I am sure that they can manage to rustle up a meal if she requires it or throw one away if she doesn't.

What time is the medical appointment on Wednesday?

I'm not looking forward to the UK in February. I'm going to be brave in a minute and look at the temperatures.


So, here I am, trying to ensure Mum is going to be ok for the next week, whilst I try to avoid my sister, who is angry at me ... and honestly guys I'm not sure why I feel guilty - I've been here, caring for my Mum, loving my Mum and supporting my Mum, all the while my sister has been enjoying her freedom in Australia. My Power of Attorney was first and foremost one for Health and Welfare. The Finance one came later, and Mum now is much better off since I have helped her out. The money comment is just plain mean and nasty: I've paid for most of Mum's care, hospital visits, food and clothing for the past 2 years.

Just send soothing thoughts to me, because I could cope with some virtual calming, for my Mum's benefit.

Hugs and hope life better with you

1 comment:

Silvia said...

Okay send your sis my way and i sort her out for you!!! You did the best thing you could for your maother. She is now still capable of leading a happy life. Which, no offense would have become harder and harder for her without the propper care and attention. Now your Sis is a goodden!!! All very well making demands from the other side of the World!!! Where was hse then when you were looking after you Mum???????

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