2010 — 8 August: Sunday

This is just a place holder.1 I haven't the energy to deal with much just after midnight, though I did jot down some thoughts in a note to Mike a few minutes ago.

Let's see how the world looks after some sleep. G'night.

Life's little ironies

Dear Mama's dementia is obviously a terminal mental condition, if not physical. Though different from Christa's aggressive cancer, there are still parallels as well as orthogonals. Christa remained both cheerfully optimistic and fully compos mentis in the face of her steady physical decline until just a few hours before the end. Indeed, as she said one evening when Mike and I saw her in the hospice "I'm sorry I'm not dead yet, but I like being alive and seeing you!" Yes, she was increasingly heavily sedated against the dreadful pain, but you can't blame a girl for accepting free high-purity NHS opiates that would have a high street price, can you? (That's a joke, Lis.) And, besides, I'd already promised her right at the start that, if and when the pain got too bad, we'd simply float her away on a sea of morphine. This we did. And I was both grateful and relieved at the end (despite having no wish to lose her).

In stark contrast, dear Mama (at 93 plus) says — during brief cycles of partial lucidity2 — that she wishes to go to sleep and never wake up. Personally, I agree with her and only wish I could legally oblige her. As it happens, the kind of mental meltdown she has undergone is, I think, what I dread more than anything else for myself. But I have to say she's beautifully calm and composed most of the time. She has some remnants of cognitive function that tell her something is really not right, but this message is faint, fades in and out, and thankfully doesn't seem to induce any distress. Whether it will later, as her brain rots further (and that's what is going on, let's be honest) I have no idea whatsoever.3 She also dimly seems to realise on some level that whatever is wrong cannot be fixed, but that people are still looking after her. And, to the limited extent that she can express anything, she seems grateful.

This isn't Life, it's merely a dreadful state of continued pointless, joyless, existence. But, thanks to an unpleasant triumvirate...

  1. our religiously-inclined Law Lords, driven (I assume) by their imaginary friend in the sky, to prefer (and impose) their curious preference for quantity of "sacred" life rather than quality of real life
  2. the craven fools prancing around waging their obscene and unwinnable wars against terror, drugs, ignorance etc etc while bravely cutting costs and otherwise masquerading as our political leaders
  3. the huge business that is the "care" industry in this benighted enlightened land

... my hands are tied. And, as dear Mama always used to tell me in earlier years "There's no point worrying. Worrying never solved anything." So I shall simply try to adopt that philosophy to the extent I can.

But that's more than enough of my thoughts. It's 09:17 and definitely time for my second cuppa on this (quite bright-looking) morning. I could use some breakfast, too. And there's a heavy bookcase or two waiting for me to lug back upstairs and (eventually) re-fill.

In between grappling...

... with that bookcase, I've just had a wonderful 25-minute chat with an extremely sympathetic and well-informed nurse at the care-home. As "next of kin" I have to be kept informed. Dear Mama is now starring in their "accident" book having had a tumble in the night. She also has another urinary tract infection, is (if it's possible) even more confused than ever, and has a lady GP from Winchester booked in to see her later this week. Nothing is broken though she complains of a pain in her right side. All is currently calm and under control and they've been getting some food into her by getting her to drink diet supplements (they're calling them "milk shakes" to get her to agree to have them) since she's basically forgotten how to eat and cannot live by tea4 alone.

The wanderlust has been slightly less of a problem, but Mrs Nurse (who's seen this situation all her working life, not to mention "been there, done that" with both her own father and her mother-in-law) tells me we need to get the GP and/or a psycho-geriatric specialist to agree on a formal "dementia" diagnosis so we can (I hope) get an agreed plan for the most appropriate care for dear Mama in this sorry situation. "EMI" (dementia) care, if it's "continual nursing care," is actually funded by the NHS, which I have to admit would also be a bit of a load off my mind right now.

It's 11:21 — let's hope I don't have a tumble struggling upstairs under the bookcase :-)
Phew! That was a heavy devil. Just one left now. But I shall buy and assemble four new ones in situ, rather than risk life and unlimber limb on my stairs, methinks. I predict a return trip to Staples in my near future. They can jolly well deliver, too. 11:40? Does that mean it's time for tea?

You can have your cuppa when you've done your next little supplies foray. "Gotta keep your strength up, you know". I wonder if Waitrose sells fortified milk shakes? :-)


While waiting for my salad to climb just a little bit nearer to room temperature, I have time to note that the chap (Tony Judt) I happened to mention just a week ago (here) has died. And I have to say it seems to me that motor neurone disease is possibly even more ghastly than dementia as you can end up with an intact mind in a useless, helpless body. This Intelligent Design that religious idiots bang on about as their alternative to accepting Darwin's theory... it's not really that smart, is it? (Or am I just simply so stupid that I'm missing something vital like, oh, I don't know, erm, evidence, perhaps?)


Later still

I'm taking a break from decanting the 'stuff' in Peter's room into the ex-study. I'm drawing the line at trying to move either the bed or the wardrobe unassisted. That's what the "furniture moving" fee I'm paying to Peter Green is for. I can handle everything else though I'm bemused (for random example) at the reason for keeping cheque books stubs going back years, Christa. What was your thinking there, my love? Time (17:54) for another cuppa.

I must say, the stacked-up episodes of Big Bang Theory made me laugh a lot more often than the third episode of Sherlock did, but it's been a useful distraction. The hard drive is down to 12%, and Peter's room is nearly cleared down, as it were, to carpet level. That's about it for today, methinks. Back to BBC 6Music.



1  Aren't they always?
2  "Brief" is an interval already measured in just a few seconds at a time, and with curiously word-perfect repetition each time. In computing terms, her I/O buffers are limited in capacity and not getting cleared to enable new data flow.
3  Doubtless there's a more accurate and impressive medical description, of course, but (on the grounds that ignorance is bliss) I've deliberately limited my researches to a brief chat with "her next door" (who's an NHS gerontology medic when not trying to sell her house).
4  A theory I've yet to disprove.