I need to have a moment to blow off steam

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Kate P, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    Yes I'm possibly about to be mean and I can only apologise in advance but I want to get this off my chest to all of you so I don't say it to anyone else.

    Why does my dad keep putting mum on the phone to talk to me when she has only uttered the grand total of 6 words to me in the last 12 months - maybe even longer?

    I don't even know if she's still got hold of the phone because if I try and talk to her face to face, once I'm a couple of words into my sentence she'll just walk off. If I thought she understood a single word I said I could see the point of it but she doesn't.


    Okay moment over. On the downside mum's attention span seems to be at an all time low. Dad tried taking her to various places while they were away but didn't manage to stay more than 30 minutes at any of them. If she's not out she's prowling and tends to become aggressive - what on earth can we do to keep her entertained and who the heck has the energy to change tasks every 30 minutes?

    I think this is the problem with the carers (who dad cancelled for this week). They aren't really doing anything with her and this is why she is becoming so aggressive with them.

    I'm at a loss.
  2. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I think your dad keeps putting your Mum on the phone because he's desperately clinging to normality as best he can. Try to do it for his sake.

    As for the attention span, I know what you mean. If your mother prowls all the time, what about going for a walk or perhaps a drive? For some reason, my mother enjoyed aimless movement for quite some time. The Paul Simon song "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (I'm referencing Paul Simon a lot today :)) has the line "I'm on my way, I don't know where I'm going" which I think perfectly sums up a lot of AD patients.

    Back to the carers, can they not simply walk her around the neighbourhood?
  3. Mameeskye

    Mameeskye Registered User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Hi KAte


    Your Dad is probably just wanting life to seem as normal as possible and maybe hopes that hearing your voice will help your Mum and save him for a while.

    If I were you in these situations jsut chat about your own day for a few minutes, until you hear the phone drop. Don't expect answers just tell your Mum what you have done from the morning. If she is not taking it in it is unikely to last long and recounting what you have done with your child, how you have cleaned your toilets, what you ate for lunch and how much paper you have pushed around your desk etc. is generally non contentious.

    As to the attention span it is very difficult. Your Mum may well be getting frustrated as she cannot communicate and cannot take the task to another level and possibly is getting bored. Her frustration should be viewed as a toddler's frustration and it must be as annoying as can be for you, as caring for a toddler is with continual tantrums.

    With a toddler we generally soothe ourselves with "this is just a phase". Unfortunately the same applies to this disease too. It is so difficult to find something that someone can still do and enjoys doing and sees a point in doing.

    Various activities I used with Mum have been picture books eg aerial phtos of GB/Scotland, her handcraft books, she enjoyed making things. I have also wondered about modelling clay but never got a chance to try it with mum when she was well enough jsut coz hitting a lump of dough sure gets rid of frustrations and all the Mums at toddlers used to find it soothing.

    Mum also often quietened when stroking the dog or hugging soft toys.

    ((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))) You are doing well. Get it off your chest here. It is better than letting it fester.


  4. helen.tomlinson

    helen.tomlinson Registered User

    Mar 27, 2008
    Hello Kate

    TP is a great place to let off steam isn't it. :) I wondered whether you are upset because you want more time talking to your dad. I've found that most of Alan's family want to talk to me because they can't understand him. I do, of course, have a good talk to them but I always insist on them speaking to Alan. The reason I do this is because I think it does Alan good (I don't think they benefit from it greatly). On the few occasions that they've said they don't have time to talk to him, I've seen how upset Alan is.

    Dear Kate I'm sure the situations are very different but it's my attempt really to say "I'm listening to you".

    Love Helen
  5. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    It is a great place for letting off steam - stops me saying and doing things in the heat of the moment that could upset someone else.

    I think you're all probably right - I think it is dad clinging to normality and I'll try harder.

    I think that Helen you are partly right in that I have rung to specifically talk to my dad so it does annoy me some what but I think as well that it is that it reminds me that I don't have my mum to talk to anymore.

    We used to be so close and even though we worked in the same office we still used to ring each other every night to have a further chat - sometimes I guess I still miss that. I don't want the reminder that I don't have my mum anymore - and I don't.

    I know my sister finds it hard to talk to mum because as I said she just walks off or ignores you and even though you know it's not her, it still hurts. She just doesn't relate to us in any way anymore and although most of the time we accept it, I guess certain things trigger a "defensive" response.
  6. christine_batch

    christine_batch Registered User

    Jul 31, 2007
    What a very apt thread to-day, having a moment to blow off steam.
    If you could have seen me to-day at the N.H. and Peter has no recognition of me at all. I took his favourite chocolates up, went to give him a kiss - to no avail.
    Frustrated, angry the loss of my soul-mate. Not even able to take him to my son's wedding on Friday.
    Broke a nail entering the code for the lift and started crying.
    Not because of a broken nail, it was what this b******y illness has done to my family.
    Then I saw my 14 year old Grandaughter and Lauren wants me to take her to see her Grandad.
    I did not want the Grandchildren to see their Grandad as he is and decided with their parents, it would only be when they asked.
    Trying to protect them and thinking WHY did they have to ask that?
    At the moment, I feel as if steam is coming out of my ears.
    Now I have taken my tablets, I have calmed down just a little, until the next episode.
    Sorry everyone, I have taken more than a moment but wait until Friday when my ex will be at my son's wedding !!!!!!!!!!
    Tomorrow can only get better for us all.
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Kate, perhaps you could tell your father you will chat to your mother after you`ve spoken to him.

    Perhaps he wants you to keep your mother occupied so he can have five minutes to himself, but if so, he is being unrealistic if your mother is unable to hold a conversation.

    Poor man, he seems so in denial.

    I hope you feel better now, for getting it off your chest.

    Love xx
  8. helen.tomlinson

    helen.tomlinson Registered User

    Mar 27, 2008
    Hi again Kate

    Isn't it awful this illness. It seems that we are all floundering at times. You missing the closeness of your mum, your dad missing the closeness of his wife, you and dad missing the closeness of each other. All this because DEMENTIA is so greedy and destructive. Normally one starts the grieving process after someone has died but in this instance one is in the grieving process a long time before that happens. When someone has died we are given a permission to grieve with all that that means but in this process we are having to cope with everyday life at the same time.

    At the time the phone is handed over to your mum the boundaries seem blurred - you are faced with the grief of your loss and the reality of the living!

    If letting off steam allows you to carry on, boil away :D

    Love Helen
  9. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland

    Helen, I did exactly the same with John, for as long as he was able to respond at all. I felt it was so important for John still to feel included, even though any chance of rational conversation was remote. But I was always beside him, ready to take over if things became difficult. In the same way, I included him in any conversation with friends; to exclude him would have been to diminish him.

    Kate, I know how frustrating it is for you, but I also know that your mum is very important to you. Could you have a word with your dad and say that you really value talking to your mum, but it would help if he would stand by? It must be awful not knowing if your mum is there, or if you're talking to the air.

    Hope all's going well with you and the (growing) family!

  10. citybythesea

    citybythesea Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    coast of texas
    Helen, I'm a caregiver and I see your frustration also. While your dad is probably trying to cling to a little of the past he may be putting your mother on the phone as a test. Not to you but to her to see if she has any reaction.

    I apologize but my mother is bed bound and has had no emotions or surmountable reactions for months, my brother lives over 2000 miles away and when he calls if she is awake sometimes I will have him just say hi to her to see if she will respond to the stimuli of his voice. Be patient, it's hard being a full time carer and it's even harder coming to terms with the loss of a parent or spouse before they are actually gone.
  11. helen.tomlinson

    helen.tomlinson Registered User

    Mar 27, 2008
    Hi All,

    We have two telephones downstairs. An old fashioned corded one for Alan because he can make sense of it and a modern cordless one for me. Often I am logged into the conversation (I let them both know of course) and the family have learned that I'm silently there but will interpret when asked. I don't do this all the time but I've noticed that when I'm not on the other line, Alan will ask me to explain something. This helps me to know it's useful to him. I also think it provides the best possibility for EVERYONE to get the most out of the situation.

    Love Helen
  12. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    Thanks for the understanding and advice - I will try harder, I promise!!!

    I also had the thought about the phone thing that mum is getting increasingly paranoid and perhaps dad puts her on to me so she knows it is me and not social services? She'll then leave him to chat instead of hovering round him?

    Actually, yesterday I had a "moment" with mum - the first one in who knows how long. Dad had asked me to look after her while he had some gardening work done and while mum was there I felt the baby move for the first time. I told her and she looked at me blankly but then I told her again and showed her what I meant by putting my hand to my stomach and she got up and came to see if she could feel it too. She couldn't but it was lovely that she tried and actually understood.

    It was a lovely moment.
  13. helen.tomlinson

    helen.tomlinson Registered User

    Mar 27, 2008
    Oh Kate, that's fantastic. A golden moment. I am genuinely thrilled and am sitting here with a big smile on my face.

    Also you don't need to try harder because you are doing fine just as you are.

    I had to start the day unblocking our loo :eek::eek::eek: I must admit I was in a mood thinking "what a way to start the day" and then I read your post. It's like magic. We carers seem to end up quite isolated because most of our time is taken up caring - so isn't it wonderful to have contact with each other. The invisible community of carers :):)

    I bet you'll always remember that moment. It reminds me of autumn when millions of leaves fall off the trees and you've captured one of them!!

    Love Helen
  14. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Dear Kate, that's wonderful.:)

    There's nothing quite like the wonder of feeling your baby move for the first time, and to be able to share it with your mum makes it extra special.

    One for the memory book!


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