Sunday, 6 June 2010

Ups and downs (mainly downs ... )

Still have not completed coursework! I am finding it very difficult to concentrate on study as I have not been sleeping well and there is a limit to how much I can do when tired. I know that some of the problem has been coming to terms with the fact that I have not been able to study with the commitment I hoped this year: circumstances have conspired against my new start. The other factor is undoubtedly the knowledge that my mother is increasingly vulnerable to the slightest threat to her well-being.

Her carer appears to have been doing everything she can for my mother: encouraging her to move around, to eat, reading to her while she is eating so she doesn't have time to realise how much she has eaten and keeping her spirits up. Despite that she was very weak last week: it took her a long time to get to the bathroom and she would forget why she was there. I tried to speak to her on Friday and after a very short time (five minutes?) she said hadn't we better hang up. So I did. Maybe that was a mistake: she might have been distracted and would have continued to speak after a while. The carer, who by now must know her better than any of us, says it is just the extreme weariness of old age ...neither Fiona nor I are convinced.

I was much relieved to talk to her today for quite a long time: as I was doing most of the talking I'm not quite sure how much she was taking in. She responded to my query as to whether material of a spiritual nature (spoken rather than read) would be a help by saying she didn't know. I suspect that was her usual (maddening!) indecisiveness (which I have, even more maddeningly, inherited!) rather than incomprehension.

I was glad to learn that she was getting more visits from church people: I have felt they were neglecting her. I haven't dared suggest they visit, as the last time I tried the message came back on the grapevine that I had been critical of the person concerned. I only meant to be firm and stern enough to get something done, but either I was too straight (Northern fashion?) or it came over all too well as I meant it to without having the desired effect! Either way, I hastily sent messages that I hadn't meant to be critical (true: I did want them to pull their socks up, but wouldn't have wanted it to come over that way so obviously that that was what they remembered!) as they are basically good people. Even less would I have wanted them to feel bad as I discovered afterwards that they had suggested bringing my mother communion, only to be told they needn't as she wasn't used to it that often, having been brought up Church of Scotland.

I suspect that had more to do with not wanting to be a bother than her upbringing. I gave her a stern lecture today to the effect that she had given to so many people over the years that it was now her turn to receive and to enjoy as much as she could. She might not have been conscious of giving, but the fact remains that many people remember her with affection and thankfulness. I also gave her a stern lecture on the fact that her being was not defined by what she could do or her capacity to think: those are parts of her, but her being is greater than either capacity: her incapacity does NOT mean she has ceased to be a human being. I added that the last Pope had been greatly incapacitated, but that he was was precisely what the world needed to see and learn from. The fact that she is still here means she still has usefulness: it is up to the Lord to decide when she has no longer (at which point he will take her elsewhere).

I can see I shall have to have another look at the Philosophy textbook!

1 comment:

Caroline said...

sorry to hear about your mum...very worrying. My step-father had a similar problem when he had a stroke...he and another patient had to work together to open their pots of marmalade at breakfast. Ridiculous to say feeding them is against human rights!