Monday, January 14, 2008

Barking mad....

Finding things that will tempt Mum's appetite is one of the challenges that confront us daily. It seems that there is no middle way with dementia - either people over-eat, or eat nothing at all. One day, Mum's on the jelly and custard kick, the next, she'll have avocado and cream cheese sandwiches and all the rest is "cat-sick"! We just go with the flow as long as there is something porridgey with fruit for breakfast to keep digestion more or less on track! And to hide tablets that are spat out otherwise. Yes, I know you're not supposed to, but you try it. (Incidentally, if anyone else struggles with tablet prompt vs. tablet take - here's a handy hint that might just help. Try getting a box of multi coloured TicTacs and doing one for you (the horsepill), one for me (Tic Tac) and that sometimes works).

Back to the catsick. So it's hard to find alternatives for Mum in small portions. My homemade stews are deemed to be in the catsick category. So Tesco online helps a lot when I'm really rushed and Mum's stocks are low. And I often look at the Finest range, hoping to find something that might tempt her. Chicken in white sauce sounded good, so I bought that. The box looked pretty good too with a nice picture on the front. Until we looked at it closer and saw the paw print.

"I can't believe you were going to give your mother dog food," said Mary. Isn't that what all trans-atlantic rowers eat?!

Saving money isn't easy either for a spendthrift like me. But I'm now very good at T. K. Maxx shopping, using any combination of bicarb. of soda and vinegar for cleaning, and vaseline for face/hand/foot creams (what a lovely image this conjures up!) - and here's the latest that I tried this morning. Mushy avocado, 1 egg yolk and a couple of tbspns of olive oil for hair shininess. Slap it on for 20 mins, then shampoo off. Works like a dream! My US friends laugh and say I'm the Martha Stewart of homeliness. But MS ironed leaves for table decorations. Now that's a step too far, even for me. And of course, there was the tiniest issue of insider trading...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pride goeth before a fall

So much for my cosy contemplation that the Christmas spirit was alive and well in our house, thank you very much!

Over Christmas, "professional" care is more hit and miss than usual. Mostly, it's the minders and checkers who are on duty. Check there's a body, check it's breathing. So the yo-yoing between our house and Mum's is a little more manic than usual. A lot depends on her willingness to get dressed and on the getting in and out of cars. The hokey-kokey in-out of legs for cars, is hard going. On the days that Mum can't cope, it means preparing and cooking two lunches and two suppers served in two places at the same time.

Apart from forgetting to defrost the turkey, Christmas Day wasn't too bad and the boys. bless their cotton socks, remembered to write their thank you lists. By Boxing Day and her birthday, Mum didn't want to get up, not even for the changing of the TPs - so on a high risk strategy, back I came to cook the meal before returning to Mum's. Everything was just about perfick, until LGP insisted on helping by pouring boiling water over the Tarte Tatin. H2, who unusually likes food that is edible and who had had a morning of mending stuff that had been fiddled with or moved, erupted. Poor LGP went to her semi-unpacked bedroom and wept.

The atmosphere was as thick as Christmas pudding. Back we went to have another go at wheedling Grandma out of bed to get cleaned up. Thanks to the boys, we were back on track. Mum was articulated in and out of the car, and even coaxed into eating with the SBs while I tried to pacify LGP. But LGP was having none of it. Sitting in amongst the boxes, she was desperate. She had to leave. Her son hated her. The same son who has just spent the last year and just about every penny we own, demolishing and rebuilding our house to create enough space for her apartment. LGP came round eventually - but it was hard going to maintain the party spirit.

The sequel, is that H2, full of remorse, then tried to give LGP something to do in the kitchen. Now we have two broken cupboard doors, including the tumble dryer door and a blocked sink! In a curious twist, it made me think of West Palm Beach. I only visited once a few years ago, but in the space of just a few hours, I met three couples looking for little old ladies who had strayed. What a fantastic opportunity for walkers, fix-its and GPS tiaras....