• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

christmas

Andrew_McP

Registered User
Mar 2, 2016
264
South Northwest
I am revisiting this thread trying to kick-restart my Xmas cheer. 16 days of spending 9-11 hours a day (depending on whether our private carer takes over for a couple of hours so I can walk 4 miles on a round trip to sort the dog out!) at Mum's bedside, being her much-needed advocate have left me somewhat dislocated from December. And the news... and what day it is... and what the heck out I used to do before I started spending most of my life either walking 8 miles a day or sitting in a sweltering ward watching HCAs struggle with the demands of complex injuries and even more complicated. people (some with no excuse except being demanding, spoiled, bedblocking @rseholes).

I have eaten a tub of Roses this week, but it only gave me indigestion and calorific regret, not a sense of festive indulgence. And I do have one string of lights up outside, but...

No, there we go... one half-hearted mini Xmas tree out of the wardrobe to begin internal decoration. I really ought to be hanging washing up instead though.

Anyway... Ho, ho, ho, etc. Operation Get Festive begins here. And ends on the 23rd when Mums AA and my CA stop. Then Rudolph had better watch out or he'll be having his operation after all!

Chin up everyone... he said, suddenly aware of being crumpled on the sofa like a deflated Donald Trump blimp, with my several chins resting on my chest. Weeks of slouching on hospital beds or in lousy chairs have not been kind to me.

Not that I ever needed an excuse to slouch. Some are born slouchers. Some achieve slouching. And some have slouching thrust upon them by life. I fear I fit into all three categories. Which is why I'm here slouching instead of in bed sleeping while I have chance.

So much opportunity to finally get a rest. Yet so much time spent staring at the ceiling instead.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way,
Oh what fun it is to slouch,
And fret the night away!

Right, washing machine, teeth, bed.

PS Mum doing pretty well but physios keep disappointing me. They want her to learn to use a walking frame but one five minute session a day seems unlikely to get us there before, oh, I dunno, Doomsday? But what would I know?

PPS. I think I may be doing this revisiting the thread thing wrong. I feel less festive now than I did when I started typing! And if I slouch any more I'll slide off the sofa.

Night all.
 

Lirene

Registered User
Sep 15, 2019
184
Wonderful, as usual Andrew and thank you so much for making me smile again amidst all the doom and gloom I seem to be permanently stuck in.
Bless you, your mum is so lucky to have such a caring son xx
 

Andrew_McP

Registered User
Mar 2, 2016
264
South Northwest
My Mum was a hairdresser all her working life, from leaving school because her father wouldn't let her go on to study towards being a teacher, to "retiring" early due to her wrists and neck being completely wrecked. As dementia claimed her, she clung fiercely to that old identity, and her trademark red combs were precious to her right up to recently, when the fog started to claim just about all her past.

She would often stress about where her combs were. I even bought a dozen very similar ones off Ebay and planted them around the house where she might find them... and perhaps a few precious shreds of comfort, with them.

Tonight I got out her most valued Christmas ornaments. These slender, fragile Christmas trees were always among her very favourites, and she used to make little arrangement with them on the windowsill. Although only bought at some point in the last 20 years, they soon became part of our family Christmases; just as much as the fragmented remains of the Santa candle she bought in 1963, my first Christmas.

He didn't survive the years unscathed. Neither did Mum; but at least his head's intact, unlike hers. The trees are fine though. Partly because they were always packed away meticulously; partly because I haven't got them all out in recent years, too afraid they wouldn't survive an angry outburst or my weary clumsiness.

But tonight I decided to open all three packs; all nine trees. And in the last pack, out dropped five of Mum's original red combs. Her precious combs hiding among her precious trees. And I cried... big, sad old sobs of messy festive emotion. Of course she'd keep her most valued things together... it makes perfect sense. And no wonder I couldn't find them! I combed the house looking for them every bit as meticulously as she used those tools of the trade to shape and style in her last trading days.

Hopefully I've honoured Mum's creative talents. She won't appreciate the arrangement of trees; partly because her interest in anything is fleeting these days, and partly because it's on top of the doorless wardrobe ejected, temporarily, into the living room from her bedroom last week. The trees are safe up there, blu-tacked and out of reach. They'll watch over us during the festive period, and occasionally I'll glance up at them from where I sit and be grateful for Mum's ongoing gifts to us... the gifts of Christmas past, present, and future.

There are ghosts too, but the spirits are kind and the memories warm, despite the tears.
combs.jpg
xmastrees.jpg


In the morning I'll add Mum's combs to the box of Red Things she fiddles with. Peanut butter lids, ribbon, stickle bricks, pen tops, toys, laces... and combs. She'll notice those.
 

Fishgirl

Registered User
Sep 9, 2019
137
Oh that made me feel so sad and yet happy at the same time somehow.......Must be the ghost of Christmas past coming out to torment us! Or maybe it’s the Baileys cream that was supposed to be for Christmas Day. Anyway I’m sure your Mum will be thrilled to see her treasured combs again and the Christmas trees look lovely!:)xx
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
62,302
69
Dundee
So good that you found the combs! Those Christmas trees look really special. No wonder you felt so emotional.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,510
Kent
Oh those combs tell a million stories.

Some have bent teeth and some have teeth missing and they meant enough for your mum to keep them. The tools of her trade.
 

Woo2

Registered User
Apr 30, 2019
2,256
South East
I love the trees, they are so special and the story around them . So pleased too you found the combs . Thank you as always @Andrew_McP . Seasons greetings to you .
 

Mousehill

Registered User
Nov 28, 2018
69
I can measure mum's decline through Christmases. The last real 'Mum Christmas' was 7 years ago and even that wasn't really the same as they used to be, but I suppose at the time, I just put it down to ageing.

I've absolutely no idea what Christmas holds for us as everything seems chaotic and mum is up and down like a yo-yo (excel more down than up) What's got to me this year is one friend who has a habit of bragging and has sent a Christmas letter that made me wish, with hindsight, that I'd lined up shots of sloe gin to toast every smug brag.

It's also made me think how utterly glamorous my lifestyle is and how maybe I should send out a Round Robin...

1. Regular, ridiculously expensive purchase - Tena Maxi - CHECK!
2. Blagging our way into an exclusive venue - begging for the special key to the disabled loo at the service station (but saved by a lovely lady who let us use hers) - CHECK!
3. Meeting famous and inspirational celebrities - I see my brother every day and mum thinks he ought to be canonised just for bringing her a brew, while I get her up and dressed and on the loo - CHECK (that rhymed too :) )

I've got a feeling this might well be the last Christmas where mum is 'with us' at all. Her memory and mobility have declined so much and she's lapsing more into anger, silence and confusion and sleeping so much. I suspect by next year, she might not recognise us at all.

I'm hoping we have a quiet and simple but happy day, but if it's anything like the last 2 years, it could well end again with her in tears due to the antics of some family members who are so wrapped up in themselves and their self-inflicted problems, they don't even notice the impact of their actions :(
 

Andrew_McP

Registered User
Mar 2, 2016
264
South Northwest
1. Regular, ridiculously expensive purchase - Tena Maxi - CHECK!
My Christmas knowledge-gift to you is that Aldi pull-ups are under £4 a pack. They're not quite as generous with the 'filling' as Tena, but the only problem I've had is that in our small local store someone goes in and hoovers up all the large ones (only a few in each box). The large ones still fit Mum even though she's a medium now, and are useful for nights.

(You may have received that gift already though, so feel free to re-wrap it and give it to someone else next year.)

We've had a referral to the continence folk after our recent hospital adventure, but it sounds like it'll be net pants and pads, which Mum took great delight in pulling out while in hospital, so I'm not sure that's going to improve life. Maybe they'll do for during the day when I'm more on the ball and she's not hiding her fiddling under a duvet.

Mind you, last night was her first night on 'slippery sheets' aimed at making it easier for me to encourage her out of bed without doing myself an injury. Turns out the slippery sheets make it really easy for her to slip her pants off! So they're coming off... the sheets, that is.

We spend our lives chasing one problem after another. Who needs a game of Christmas Monopoly or Scrabble when we have this kind of daily puzzle to solve?
 

JanJaz

Registered User
Jul 9, 2019
17
My Christmas knowledge-gift to you is that Aldi pull-ups are under £4 a pack. They're not quite as generous with the 'filling' as Tena, but the only problem I've had is that in our small local store someone goes in and hoovers up all the large ones (only a few in each box). The large ones still fit Mum even though she's a medium now, and are useful for nights.

(You may have received that gift already though, so feel free to re-wrap it and give it to someone else next year.)

We've had a referral to the continence folk after our recent hospital adventure, but it sounds like it'll be net pants and pads, which Mum took great delight in pulling out while in hospital, so I'm not sure that's going to improve life. Maybe they'll do for during the day when I'm more on the ball and she's not hiding her fiddling under a duvet.

Mind you, last night was her first night on 'slippery sheets' aimed at making it easier for me to encourage her out of bed without doing myself an injury. Turns out the slippery sheets make it really easy for her to slip her pants off! So they're coming off... the sheets, that is.

We spend our lives chasing one problem after another. Who needs a game of Christmas Monopoly or Scrabble when we have this kind of daily puzzle to solve?
 

JanJaz

Registered User
Jul 9, 2019
17
Hi, I don't know if this varies from one local authority area to another but my mum was issued net pants and pads by the continence service and they said that these were all that is available on the NHS. However, we have just been assigned a community matron and she said that's untrue, the sole exception to this policy is dementia patients where the NHS are supposed to issue pull-ups if required. So she has contacted the continence service on our behalf. I can let you know what happens next if its helpful..
 

Mousehill

Registered User
Nov 28, 2018
69
Wow! I'm going to call in to Aldi (and the sloe gin mince pies might be in now too) Thank you!
Mum hasn't been offered anything on the NHS at all. It would be really helpful to know what happens with the continence service, JanJaz.

I've got an appointment with mum's GP this afternoon, which feels a lot like I'm sneaking behind her back, possibly because I am, but I'm at my wit's end right now!
 

Andrew_McP

Registered User
Mar 2, 2016
264
South Northwest
I've never read any of Marian Keyes' books, but she's one of my favourite human beings, and I randomly watch her video diaries when I need distracting from my own life. She is not a Christmas person though, and if you're struggling, just wishing it was all over, this one's for you...


Caution: she has a delightfully potty mouth!
 

Lirene

Registered User
Sep 15, 2019
184
Sorry Andrew, if I wasn’t depressed before I certainly could be after viewing this! Tough going but actually I could give her a list ! I dread the phone ringing as everyone seems to have something awful going on and needs to discuss it with me who already has husband in hospital and mother on her way to the ‘better life home in the sky’. God love everyone of us, I am way past the worrying stage. At the end of the day, I tell them, you can only do your best, it’s no good worrying you just have to get on with it. I pray to the Lord for strength and he is with me, I can’t tell you how I am way past worrying it just seems to have gone, although all problems are still there and building. I seem to have a calmness I have never had before. Wish I could bottle this feeling, and no it’s not the booze!, and give it to everyone not ‘just for Christmas. Prayers xx