Pride come before a fall. I knew that even before I mentioned in previous discussions that I'd managed to keep Mum UTI-free for the best part of two years. Yes, I was kind of proud, because it's been something of an achievement against the odds. I knew it couldn't last forever, but I dared to hope it might. Turns out it's only 14 months since the previous infection. Time flies when you're having fun, eh? But last weekend, and possibly a while earlier, bubbling under, our luck ran out. Mum's got a pretty nasty infection this time, according to the doc who came yesterday, and it's not responding well to the normal antibiotics she's been on since Monday. A longer course is prescribed, so a longer slog ahead getting back to normal. Whatever normal is! It doesn't help that Mum's even more pill-resistant than normal, so it can take ages to finally get an antibiotic in. It also doesn't help that she's weary through constant disturbed sleep this week, making her more aggressive and also more vulnerable than normal. And tonight it definitely didn't help that I forgot to turn the hallway alarm sensor round as I went to bed, shortly after Mum. So when Mum got up, probably not more than an hour later, based on the usual pattern, I wasn't woken immediately. When she wandered through the living room to the small front hall in the dark, I didn't hear her. And when she somehow ended up kneeling on the floor facing the front door, with her head and knees on the practical but very prickly doormats, I didn't hear her. Not at first anyway. And possibly not for an hour or so, I dread to think. An hour's a long time in the life of a person with quite advanced dementia. But also, no time at all. Hopefully she'll be blissfully unaware when she wakes, just a bit stiff. Mum's asleep in a chair opposite me now. She was in an acute state of exhausted, dazed panic when her cries finally dragged me from my stupor. She still has mat-marks on her poor old knees, 30 minutes after I managed to somehow pick her up and drag her into a low chair. But at least she's off the floor, and if she's asleep she can't be too uncomfortable. I hope. And maybe my back will survive this episode. I hope! So the lesson from tonight is... a big sign goes up right beside my bed today. Turning the hallway alarm sensor around after my pre-bed ablutions is so much of a habit that I do it automatically now... except after five disturbed nights when all I'm thinking about is getting my head down before Mum wakes for the first of many loo trips. Easily done. At least the door was locked and I wasn't woken by the Police. Small mercies, eh? There we have it, the agony of the carer and cared for; physical or emotional, it all hurts. But life is not all pain... despite how it might seem some days. After I'd performed the last of several cushion-assisted lifts to get Mum into the chair, I stood back wearily and rested against the front door. In that moment of quiet calm I heard something strange outside... a snuffly squeak of impatient breathiness. Puzzled, I quietly unlocked the front door and was, for once, pleased by the harsh glare of the LED streetlight (come back, oh gentle sodium glow, all is forgiven!) Outside the front door, two hedgehogs were circling each other in hunty-grunty hedgehog hormonal heaven. At least, I like to think it was something like that. Maybe they were squaring off for a territorial fight, because they soon parted and went their separate ways into the quiet dark. Whatever they were up to, there they were, getting on with life as hedgehogs have done throughout the millennia, while on the other side of the door my poor old puzzled Mum got herself in a right mess and I snored my way into a potential crisis. There we have it, the ecstasy of remembering we're just a tiny part of this great big puzzle that is life... and then agony again when I look at the clock and see it's almost 4am. But in between typing this last part, Mum has roused, I've helped her to the loo, then back to bed. And we can now, hopefully, get back to a normal night... ok, morning, of up and down loo visits. It'll be a relative pleasure! At least now when I'm up for the umpteenth time at night I can console myself with the fact that Mum and I probably aren't the only ones shuffling about. Out in the garden, my new prickly accomplices in nighttime crimes against the body clock might be busy too. Sleep is, finally, calling. And so is the hallway alarm. Seconds out, round two!