Monday, 31 December 2007

Fuzzy best wishes

Christmas was good, all remained calm. Boxing Day was also good. Mum and Gran came for lunch and all still remained calm....right up until the 29th when I woke up with another wisdom tooth infection.

But, although I write in between doses of the largest antibiotic known to man or woman (like swallowing a torpedo) and although being a bit fuzzy affected what I could do on my birthday yesterday (we played Top Trumps and watched a DVD) all is still calm.

That's because I've decided it will stay that way. No bastard tooth is going to twist my mellow... my melon....mellon...melons? Google leaves me none the wiser as to which. Something to do with the Happy Mondays though. Anyway, my melon remains untwisted.

And it needs to be because a place has come up in a care home, and a very good one, for my Gran. She moves in on Wednesday. All very sudden, but I'm hoping there will be an end to her loneliness and she will be looked after and make some new friends. It's hard to predict with Alzheimer's how a person will react to change, but I'm hoping this proves the right move.

So Happy New Year everyone. Let's hope it's a good one, without any fear.

Monday, 24 December 2007

All Is Calm

So we've made the mince pies, I've wrapped the presents and, um, most of the gingerbread men have been scoffed. The Christmas carol concert at school has been attended, people have called round with cards. Now, all is calm. I'm enjoying looking at the magic stained glass biscuits my son and I made this week:

Reflections on my first Christmas separated:

Sharing my son with my ex hasn't been as gut-wrenching as I thought. All it means is that as I write they are having a loud party that I could never have coped with. And tomorrow, Christmas Day, they are going to friends for a similarly loud and raucous time, and rightly so. My son will come back to me tomorrow after lunch ready to float down a few notches to my level of doing things. In the meantime they will be having a ball, and I am quite content to be here with some good music, warm, cosy and quiet.

Tomorrow morning will, I admit, be hard. But no harder than trying to look with it and enthusiastic at 7am. Yes I will miss seeing my son open his presents, but I chose to do it this way so I can see him when I have a fighting chance of being at my best. Having the decision regarding arrangements for Christmas influenced by my prescription has strengthened my determination to kick the more damaging of my meds in the New Year.

Liberation from family...only certain groups of people gathered together at Christmas are capable of the levels of dysfunction that those who are familiar with such sufferings will appreciate. I cancelled my original Christmas plans, as it involved far too large a helping of family. I love my family. I just don't want them all round at mine on Christmas Day. And I wanted my son to have at least some positive memories of what for him is already a rather momentous Christmas.

No mad dash anywhere. I am extremely grateful for that.

I wish everyone a peaceful and restful Christmas.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Oh Crumbs!

Unfortunately there may be a delay in bringing our Christmas tale to you, as 'a number' of our cast of extras have mysteriously disappeared....

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Coming soon...

The Tale of the Errant Gingerbreadmen

We made some for Christmas. They have got a bit out of hand.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

O Christmas Tree

Christmas Trees to me symbolise a fascinating blend of myth, magic, folklore, religion and history. And I find them quite beautiful. These words are simple and effective to one staying in at night with a tree in the window. Excuse the poor German translation.

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree
Your branches teach me something.
O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree
Your branches teach me something.
They teach hope and resistance
Give courage and strength all the time.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Your branches teach me something!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Dein Kleid will mich was lehren:

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Dein Kleid will mich was lehren:

Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Mut und Kraft zu jeder Zeit!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
dein Kleid will mich was lehren.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

At last

I think I have a PA. Someone to do all the heavy, awkward stuff I've been struggling with for eight months. I am looking forward to feeling less ill and having more energy for my son.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A Breath of Fresh Air

Today a social worker who looked not unlike Fran Healy came over to do my Fairer Charging Assessment, to work out if I have to pay for the care package they are sort of offering me.

When I say sort of, it's because it was organised in August, then delayed until a couple of letters were exchanged between my advocate and the department last month. They had the nerve to enquire as to how I was managing during the time that had elapsed (because of their own incompetence). Did I in fact need the two hours of care on offer? Well, sort of on offer, because nothing has happened yet. My advocate told them how my exhaustion levels were now so bad that I am resting most of the day just to get to school and cook a meal for my son each night. She thinks I should be getting five hours help a week. I'm due a rest now so I'll keep this brief.

The upshot of it all is that two weeks before Christmas I am suddenly faced with today's Fairer Charging Assessment, an OT assessment (this'll be the fourth, maybe fifth one?) and interviews for the PA post I can't fill until I get the direct payment money through...which was signed over in August but delayed due to 'a new computer system.' A social worker said recently they were supposed to review my care package in September, but that as care hadn't technically commenced a review would have to wait until there was, like, something to review.

Tired. Bed. But hey, at least Fran Healy popped by and he told me that no, I don't have to pay for my care package. And he's trying to get my rent sorted so I get full Discretionary Housing Benefit. And he thinks I should be on high rate care DLA, so he's going to look into that as well because then I get access to the Independent Living Fund. Did I mention he looked just like Fran Healy? :) sigh And he was really nice, as well as being good at his job. Truly a breath of fresh air.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Still can't believe it

My Gran saw her actual proper consultant yesterday, who heads up elderly mental health in her part of town. He looked at her brain scan and confirmed Alzheimer's. More medication was prescribed.

Why does it still feel like I've got my exam results in my hand, and I'm just reading them over and over again? You know that bit where you see them up on a board, but you can't believe it? You have to have them in your hand, on paper. But then you still can't believe it.

Alzheimer's was being talked about months ago, seriously talked about by her GP and social workers as we headed into increased care in the autumn, and pretty much formally diagnosed by the SHO at her last appointment. We as a family have known deep down for a year or so. I've tried to accept it, to look for the positives. She is still my Gran. Still loved, and being looked after by my Mum and some very good home help people.

But I'm still very upset at times. She came for a cup of tea on Sunday. It was all sorts of things at once. Lovely to see her and to see she still has that famous dry wit of hers. Hard because I was feeling very tired, and conscious that in looking for glimpses of her 'old self' I was doing what people have done with me for three years. Emotional because it's Christmas soon, and I get emotional easily anyway.

What I hate most of all is how I can't get to see her as often as I'd like. In fact I've had to see less of her recently, because I've been feeling too low and exhausted to be of much use. Thankfully the really bad depressions I get tend to come and go these days, and I've decided I should be visiting her when I'm feeling up to it and capable of cheering her up, rather than just because I feel I should be going, but turning up with a long face and not much to say. That's no good at all.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Going green

Why, why has my son requested for Christmas the only colour of Converse footwear that is out of stock everywhere in the entire country? Along with the other 20 items on his long letter to Santa. Yes, he's still a believer, but old enough to know his trainers.

Why are green Converse so totally out of stock? Is it because of Mika? No, I just checked out Grace Kelly and he's wearing white trainers in that video, like Mark Ronson.

See what I did there? Two musical references :-) I am listening to more music. Quietly.

Why am I driving myself nuts trying to find some green Converse trainers anyway? I promised myself when my son was tiny that never, ever, ever would I be drawn into the trainer snobbery that unfortunately pervades our playgrounds.

Bloody school! Bring back school uniform! Now I want some Converse trainers too. But I refuse to give in.

He also requested a gnome, you may recall. Work is underway at my pottery class. So far, there is a startling resemblance to Noddy Holder. With whom I once danced at a party. For those of you who don't know Noddy, he fronted Seventies glamrock outfit Slade. He is from the Midlands and wrote "So heeeere it iiiis, Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun." A heartwarming Christmas ditty. Now I have to somehow fashion flares and a hugely ridiculous hat for my gnome. He already sports impressive sidies. And yes, my son will be receiving other things for Christmas. Just perhaps not green Converse trainers.