My mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2010. This is a blog about coming to terms with her absent mind.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Quiet Day

We had a fairly early start this morning (5am) which was solved by offering a cup of tea in bed and allowed me to have a bit more duvet hugging.

Once the day got going she was very quiet and didn't actually leave her bedroom until nearly midday, just sat or lay on the bed sometimes talking, sometimes rocking, sometimes at the window knocking but little or no distress.

She's eaten well today - toast and jam, corned beef crispbake and baked beans, cake, chicken thigh, mash and carrot and turnip. Not huge portions of course, but nearly as much as a toddler would eat. Enormously satisfying for me though. It's 18:30 now and she is ready for bed, I hope she doesn't fall out again. Another night another problem swallowing her tablets, if this continues I will have to ask if I can crush them into something - apple sauce or yoghurt (Angel Delight? Butterscotch only mind you. The one true Angel D)

Recently food and drink tend to go all over the place so today, after two full changes of clothes (one was a whole mug of coffee, the other was just beans/mash/cake/tea) I have ordered a new cup with a spout and a tabard to wear at the table. Hopefully that will help a little with the laundry overload.

Tomorrow is day centre day and an email from Barry today tells me that he's requested a second day for her which will be marvellous and he's also organised a week in respite from next Friday (10th) which is equally marvellous. That takes us to the 18th Feb which is practically Spring.


Very cold here today with a light scattering of snizzle (snow + drizzle = snizzle) so we didn't venture out of the door. Well, I say we. I dashed to the post office to get Betsy's pension for her but that was it. So... no outside opportunities for my photos today. I did this instead :)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Monday Calling

Hello hello hello!

I had a lovely weekend away, but why is it always over so quickly? We went here on Saturday where I took a nice photo of a swan and some narrow boats etc. and then out and about on Sunday where I didn't take a great photo of the beautiful medieval Ashleworth Tithe Barn because I'd forgotten to put the memory card in my camera and had to rely on the rubbish camera on my phone...

Back home this morning. Ma seems quite wobbly today and Peter says he's encouraged her to use her zimmer frame over the weekend. Hopefully she'll use it properly now rather than carrying it around... She is rambling a lot at the moment, making little to no sense and is a bit on the agitated side but seems content enough to get up off the sofa, take a couple of steps then go and sit down again.

It's been a struggle to get her to eat half a sandwich for lunch and I need to go and get some supplies in so a trip out in the car is looking likely. Daunting, but likely. Not sure how easy Ma will be.


My cousin has had surgery to repair his carotid artery. He is still critically ill, naturally, but it's a step in the right direction. Thank you for all the messages, prayers and kind thoughts. Very much appreciated.


No trip out on account of Ma confusing a slice of coffee and walnut cake for the house phone (which didn't ring and wasn't even in the room) and shouting 'Hello?!?' into it for some reason. I didn't think she was really up for a trip to Tesco Hell. We had a slight hiatus when taking her night meds and it took nearly two glasses of water to get them down. I've mentioned before how much Ma 'loves' water, so you can imagine how easy that was. Then to top it off, an hour after going to bed she ended up on the floor again. Pete did mention that she'd fallen a few times this weekend and this falling out of bed thing is becoming a bit of a regular occurrence. Maybe a call to the GP might be an idea. If nothing else it always pops my wrists out a bit trying to get her up and too much of that is really not good.

Early bed for me I think. Wasn't awfully well yesterday and still not feeling great today.

Did manage a quick blip though.

What do you mean addicted?!?

Friday, 27 January 2012

Weekend 27/01

After being so lax about blogging this week I'm now off elsewhere for the weekend. I'll lose my good blogger's badge at this rate. Ma is fine this morning after a good night, she's a bit sleepy but otherwise ok. Quite useful actually as I race around hoovering, mopping and generally pretending to be good at housework.

Potato arrives this afternoon and takes over until Monday. No news about my cousin yet I'm afraid but please keep the prayers going, it is very much appreciated.

Fear not, I shall have my camera with me so lots of annoying links to stuff when I get back.

See you on the other side my lovelies.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Thursday Catch-Up

I cant believe it's Thursday already! I've been very lax this week on the blogging front, so... where were we?


So the 'keep Ma awake until a decent bedtime' plan worked quite well in the end. It was nearly 8 before she went to bed and disregarding a couple of attempts to party the night away, she slept through the night.

We were up at a reasonable time, breakfasted, showered and managed a trip to the post office early doors before the Vicar arrived at 10:30. He is a Chaplain to the Sovereign and it putting together a photographic history as a gift to HM for her jubilee - literally a one off publication. He's tracked down photographs of every Chaplain from the reign of King George V onwards and needs someone to help catalogue and input the data on each one *dons Librarian hat*. It sounds dull but is actually quite fascinating and many of the photographs are fabulous! We've got one on a camel, one in a racing car etc. Anyway, we focussed on that for around three hours and Ma dozed on the sofa. Clearly her new medication is having an effect in the mornings.

By 2 o'clock we'd both had enough data crunching and Ma was beginning to stir so Hugh dashed off (that man never strolls anywhere) and I sorted food etc. then eventually we went for a short drive, mainly to get us out of the house in some fresh air for a little while. One of us was very reluctant.

Operation KMA didn't work so well this time. I couldn't keep her upright with eyes open so gave in at 6 and tucked her up. Then again at 6:45, 7:20, 8:30 etc. She did eventually settle at around midnight.

I photographed an iris for my blip. Love the colours.


Day centre day. So off she went at 10:30.

I shopped, snoozed and photographed an egg.

Yes I know it isn't normal but my goodness this photography thing is addictive. Eggs are tricky to do as it turns out but I think I got a reasonable shot in the end. I must learn how to use the photo software stuff though, that way bigger and better insanity lies.

The bus arrived at 17:05, I presented her with her tea which she couldn't work out how to eat (sandwiches, Blue Riband, yoghurt), but I think a lot of it was tiredness because I'd manage to get her to hold the biscuit only to watch her slide sideways with her eyes shut, bless her. So in bed by 17:30 and not a peep until 07:30 this morning.

An egg blip. Here's the best of the other ones I did.


Thursday... Well, we had a good night overall and this morning was slow and fairly quiet. Ma was very sleepy again, even after she had been through the shower and had some breakfast. I shoved a colour on my hair (and waited until it started smoking.... I need to be blonde OK? Just let it go). Then I did some desultory hoovering and waved a cloth around. Barry came this afternoon and we discussed dates for rolling respite and it looks likely that it could start fairly soon. After he left we had a quick out and about in the car.

Did you do any blithery for the stamps?

Shall we get a fly going up?

I think I’d better do it when the port was there don't you?


Came home, phone rang. Awful awful news about my cousin David. If you pray, please do so for him.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


I'm really sorry I haven't posted an update for a couple of days. I think I've had a bit of blog fatigue.

We are both fine, the new drugs have thrown us into a bit of a spin routine-wise so when I would normally be updating the blog I am shoe-horning Ma back into bed for the umpteenth time.

It's now 23:43 so a proper update tomorrow. I promise.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Here we go again - a very short update

Monday morning dawned. I say this with certainty because I was wide awake when it happened. This would be because Ma crashed about all night not settling in bed for any longer than 5 minutes at a time. Today she has dozed frequently but not for any prolonged period and therefore I am feeling a bit knackered.

My plan to keep her awake until 7:00 by turning the TV up has worked so well it's stirred her up to the point where she is pacing, shouting at people on the television, cushion worrying and door rattling. So not going to settle any time soon and I'm not rushing to get her to bed, it might pay off with a decent night in the long run. I can but hope!

She's eaten everything today - not a massive amount admittedly - but without any battles.

Every cloud.


Today's blip and here's the others

Ps. I've corrected all the other Blip links so they should show the correct photograph for that day.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Weekend 21/01

Well I'm still not flavour of the month and have the bruises to prove it.

The morning started just after 5 with her banging on the front door. I made a cup of tea and eventually persuaded her back into bed after a bit of pushing and shoving (her not me!). When I came back down at 7ish she was fast asleep but the apron was missing from the kitchen - I keep the keys to the patio doors in the pocket so couldn't let the dog out until I found it. Eventually tracked it down to the back corner of the pantry but no idea what she was up to.

Breakfast was received in sulky silence and she refused to get up until 12:45 when I made her scrambled egg on toast. I had to cut it up for her as she seems to have lost most of her cutlery skills now.

Peter phoned so naturally she now asks me every five minutes when he is arriving. Next Friday is the answer. And seems a very very long way off after the 14th repetition already. She was all fluffy with him on the phone, very dismissive about me (which I do find quite amusing) and seems to think that he won't have all the doors locked when he's here next week. Steep learning curve then.

Repetitive behaviours continue. We are on a five minute cycle at the moment which includes banging on the door/trying the handle, asking if we are going now, offering me a cushion, putting the foot stool on the table and waving at the neighbours blank wall. When I suggested a trip out this morning she refused to go so I don't think it's actually about going out just a general feeling of restlessness.

I've collected her new medication and we start the additional tablets tonight. They are to help with the hallucinations and have quite a sedative effect I understand so it will be interesting to see how we get on. It could be a very quiet Sunday!


Double blips today. Yesterday's is here and today's is here

Today's was part of the ongoing 2012 challenge where a different topic is posted each week. This week it is Disguise, and that is what I came up with.



Last night went well after a small fall out of bed early on. No injuries and she was clearly affected by the drugs so went back to bed happily enough and slept through until half seven. Impressive snoring at one point too!

Today she has been a lot calmer than of late and although still trying the door occasionally, nowhere near as often as yesterday. The random sentence construction is the same and an obsession with trying to sit on tables seem to be the highlights of today. Oh... that and eating things. Not a massive amount but less of a battle than usual.

As I type it's 21:45 and I'm off to bed as soon as Birdsong has finished. She's been up three times already but as ever I'm hopeful that this won't continue.

Today's blip


It's now 11:28 and she's been up every 5 minutes in the last 45 so possibly not quite the night I was hoping for. It's amazing. Seroquel, Zopiclone and Epilim would flatten me! 

Friday, 20 January 2012

Crunchie Required

Another Friday dawns. Sorry I missed yesterday, it was quite a stressy, messy day with Ma on the whole. We went to Slattery's for a 90 minutes chocolate demonstration which was fascinating and then afternoon tea which was delicious. I think the demo was roughly 80 minutes too long for Ma though. She started off well but gradually slipped down in her seat to the point where I was worried she'd end up under the table. I showed absolutely no restraint with the afternoon tea which I think was justified because Ma didn't eat any of it.

When we got home she was very restless and continued to be so for the rest of the evening and into the small hours.

We are off to see the Dementia consultant for a three month review in a minute where I'm hoping to talk to Barry about setting up rolling respite for regular (hopefully monthly) weekends off.

More later.


That was, without doubt, one of the worst mornings I've ever had since coming here. We set off ok and Ma was quiet on the journey into town. When we got to the car park there weren't any blue badge spaces so I had to get a ticket and I told Ma to stay in the car because it was raining quite heavily. Naturally she ignored me and tried to get out while still wearing her seat belt. This started a massive massive mood swing which began with her refusing to get out of the car. By the time we'd walked the 15 yards to the clinic door she was actively fighting to get away from me. Once in the clinic she didn't want to sit next to me, look at a magazine or talk to me. She preferred to hiss and spit and pinch whenever she was prevented from going out of the door/into the (occupied) consulting room etc. The rage on her face was frightening and really upsetting. During the consultation she was clearly very 'off' me but we got through it and in some ways her behaviour helped illustrate how she can be.

The upshot is that we are now on the community round so I won't have to drag her to the clinic any longer they will come to us instead, an increase in one medication and the introduction of another to help quell the hallucinations and therefore hopefully help her to sleep. Also the rolling respite idea has been raised again and I'm seeing Barry about that next week. Essentially it is a week of respite every 5 weeks (I think that's right). Marvellous.

We followed this with a trip to the supermarket. I know I was asking for trouble but we really needed food. I think I could've won Supermarket Sweep. Luckily the local Morries is only small so I could keep an eye on Ma stubbornly standing in the crossing aisle, turning her face away from any food suggestions as I flashed up and down.

Then to the doctor's surgery to drop off the new meds instructions where once again she was unable to stay in the car for two minutes. And finally back home. Where she is now dozing in the chair in front of The King's Speech.

I feel a little wrung out.

Messers P & G may arrive early this evening.


Oops I forgot to link to yesterday's blip

You will be relieved to hear that it's lashing down outside and rather windy so you are saved from yet another droplet photo. It was hard enough yesterday - everytime I found one the ruddy wind blew it away! However, this does mean it's likely to be food. Very close up food.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


So today was going to be me and Lily and a day filled with fresh air, nature and the muted beep of my little camera.

I had my coat on as soon as Ma was out of the door, Lily dancing with excitement at the sight of her lead and my pockets filled with the essentials: bank card, camera, phone, glasses. We jumped in the car and... it refused to start. It did this in Cornwall on the day I was coming home but I managed to get it started in the end. No chance today. RAC came and got it going but said it needed repairing (some valve thing) so we took it to the Ford garage and then the nice man brought me home to wait for a hire car.

I'm not complaining about the service at all, everyone was extremely helpful and things were sorted as quickly as possible, but I really really wanted to spend some time outdoors. Oh well. There's always next week.


Ma came home in a garrulous mood which is fine so long as you don't try and decipher what she's saying, I find nodding and mhmm-ing is the best route with the odd comment when you can. She's definitely more hyped up after a day out which tends to lead to a more disturbed night and some of the more bizarre behaviours turning up. Tonight she was undressing anywhere and everywhere. However she did eat ALL of her takeaway tea from Pinfold - a full round of tuna sandwiches ('I hate tuna') a Blue Riband and a cup of tea. Sadly the orange was a step too far for slightly loose dentures.

I managed to keep her up and entertained until 6.30 and she is now in bed. I can hear her talking though so it could be a tricky night. On the otherhand she might be so tired she'll sleep through. You just cannot ever predict it.

Tomorrow we are off to Slattery's for a chocolate demonstration and afternoon tea with the Dementia Café crew. Can't wait.


Today's blip which isn't a panoramic shot using a wide-angle as promised due to very rubbish weather and a broken car. It is rather pretty though :)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Here's the thing

At the moment my life is one long Two Ronnies sketch. We are both in the same room but reading from different scripts. And one of us secretly chopped up their script and threw the bits in the air. When asked a question or making conversation they dip their hand into the bag and trot out a string of unconnected words.

As a comedic device it is unfailingly successful but woe betide me if I don't give the right response or lose my sense of humour.

*leaves room with throw, tries front door, returns without throw*

You've left your blanket Ma

What blanket?

The one you took out of the room

Well she'll be here in a minute with the other girl

Your knees will be cold without it

*sobs* You hate me don't you?


Potato is home and phoned this afternoon. Naturally this hasn't stopped the endless questions about where he is but at least I can now say that he'll be here a week on Friday.


Today's blip

As it is my day off tomorrow I promise to go outside and take something using a wide-angle panoramic lens!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Here starteth the new week

Another relatively smooth night with only three or four disturbances once she settled down. This morning she woke at about 6 calling for Peter. Once I was up we went through the most recent routine which is staying in bed because it's 'cold', this is because it is frosty outside not because it is actually cold in the house but one look at the frost and we get 'Brrrrr! Too cold'. Then I offer breakfast and she has it in bed. She now gets porridge with coconut oil and extra syrup (this is to slightly disguise the taste of coconut). Then she snoozes for a while and gets up around half ten for a shower. Or not. Today was a not.

Then we start on the door rattling and window banging. At one point she was sitting on the bed a bit distressed, not really crying, just a bit sobby.

What's the matter? Why are you crying?

Because I've got a large loaf.


So after an entire day of trying to get out of the house I suggested she put her shoes on and we would go out in the car. She refused. I ignored this of course and put her shoes and coat on and helped her into the car. We were only out for 20 minutes which was 19 minutes too long as far as Ma was concerned. A lot of pulling at her coat and trying to rip it occurred. Of course as soon as we got back she was all fluffy again.

She didn't eat most of her tea but did eat some so I let it go and she is now in bed.

I managed to take a reasonable picture (and some I didn't want to - thanks G) and write a poem for a challenge so I've managed to keep my brain in training for a change.


Today's Blip


Just remembered another:

Is it going to fit?

Is what going to fit?

Your little brown rice.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Weekend 14/01/12

Not such a bad night last night - only up three or four times. Then quite a pleasant pottering sort of morning until Ma decided to throw the entire contents of her coffee mug over the patio windows without warning. Gosh it goes a long way.

For some strange reason she's taken to using the zimmer frame again. Admittedly mostly to crash against the front door in an attempt to open it but also to pace up and down the hall. And she's actually using it instead of just carrying it around which is interesting.

We are just off for a drive because she still wants to go out.

More later.


So 300 yards down the road...

Are we going home now?

We didn't. We went to buy me some trainers for Zumba from SportsDirect which was possibly the most difficult shopping experience I've ever had with Ma. She likes to hold my arm when we're out which is understandable as she is very unsteady on her feet, but the spaces between things in that shop are barely one person wide. By the time we got to the lift at the back of the store (ladies stuff upstairs naturally) we were toting half a dozen sundry things on hangers which had hooked themselves on. Possibly in a desperate attempt to flee lycra hell.  Mission accomplished - glory but new trainers are hellishly WHITE - I then bought her a chicken nugget Happy Meal (with a small strawberry milkshake) for a treat. I think I'm still under the influence of the kazoo moment.

She loved the box it came in - some sort of barn I think - and has actually eaten the nuggets, a few chips and all of the milkshake. So I'll count that as a result!

It would appear to be 18:34 on a Saturday night. I think it is definitely wine o'clock once I've herded Ma to bed.

More tomorrow...


Saturday's Blip



A quiet day overall. I went out for a walk with J this morning and Betsy came to Ma-sit. My joints are quite awful at the moment so I made the (sensible) decision to call off Zumba and go for a walk instead. We went up the hill but not up the steep path, just a gentle level walk along Moor Bottom Road. Even that was more than enough, my right ankle is just not very happy atm. I was hoping to get some photos of the Shetland ponies up there but made the schoolboy error of leaving the memory card for my camera in the laptop after doing a few more frosty shots this morning. I was really really annoyed about that.

When I got back Ma was at the door trying to forge through it with her zimmer frame. Betsy did have a slightly wild-eyed look about her...

This afternoon has mostly been spent watching a film. Well, I say watching, more catching a glimpse now and then when Ma decided to stand somewhere other than in front of the tv feeding Nemo chocolates.

We had the usual battle at 5pm over tea (apple sponge and custard) and going to bed which resulted in her going at twenty past. It's now 18:40 and she's been up three times. Doesn't bode well for the rest of the night.


Sunday panic blip

Friday, 13 January 2012

Me and My Big Mouth

Well that'll teach me.

Last night went something like this:


Hello Ma, it's bed time. Go back to bed now. I'll tuck you in.

Why am I in bed?

Because that's what we do at bedtime.

All these people said it's fine.

Oh good. Night then. Keep the noise down everyone.

[repeat every 40 minutes* until 07:00]

*insert swear words and insults to the 'crowd' keeping her up during the 02:10, 02:50, 03:30 and 04:10 episodes


We did the Manchester Uni thing this morning which was fine, Ma didn't do well on her specific questions but was happy to sprinkle non sequiturs throughout the rest of the process. Thankfully Caroline has clearly seen and heard it all before and dealt with it really well.


This afternoon wasn't so great. I had a hospital appointment so we had to be out of the house by 2pm. After over 24 hours of trying to leave the house Ma promptly decided that she didn't want to go out. She removed her shoes three times in five minutes and tried to get into bed (in her coat) several times. Eventually we made it to the car and off we went.

I'm gradually getting used to filtering the more nonsensical comments on automatic pilot rather than trying to work out what she's saying all the time - that way madness lies. But sometimes - sitting in a hospital waiting room for example - you can't avoid it. We hadn't been there more than two minutes before Ma was trying to leave and getting terribly anxious, talking about phantom people and events. Then while I was talking to the respiratory technician she kept trying to leave the room, so not a particularly relaxed appointment.

On the way home she wanted to go and see Mavis, which was fine because I'd already arranged for us to go up for a cuppa. Unfortunately she is unable to recognise where she is any longer so was convinced that we were 'there' every 500 yards or so and tried to get out of the car. At this rate I won't need Nice 'n' Easy Light Ash Blonde any longer.

She did call Peter 'Potato' at one point though which made me laugh quite a lot.

Of course we weren't at M&V's for more than the time it takes to make a cup of tea before she wanted to go. Mavis told her she must eat more and she said 'Yes, probably'.

Back home. Fish pie was refused, curling up on the sofa started at 17:10. I tried and tried to get her to sit up and chat but it wasn't possible. In bed by 17:25

I am about to go and look for a trumpet in the attic.


Sorry if this is a bit scattered. I'm awfully tired.


Today's Blip is another shot of the chocolate bars. Lazy perhaps but it's called 'Stairway to Heaven' and is possibly where I will be heading before too long.


I did go into the attic to look for some photos. Not a trumpet. BUT did find a kazoo.

Now limp with hysteria at the thought of telling Ma and her imaginary friends to bugger off kazoo-style. If only I had a swanee whistle too...

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ho Hum

Ok time to 'fess up. Zumba wasn't on last night. J and I tripped up the road in trainers and leggings to a firmly locked school door. So I popped back to hers for a cuppa before heading home to relieve Betsy. But I have agreed to go on Sunday morning Ma-sitter permitting.

Betsy didn't hear a peep out of Ma last night, which was great. She saved it all for when I got home instead and didn't settle until well after midnight. Then kicked off just before 6 this morning. So maybe our halcyon days of the 12 hour sleep are over.

Today she has been very restless, trying the door every couple of minutes and no amount of saying that we are staying at home today makes a jot of difference, but when I offer to take her out it is rejected. The excitement of yesterday has clearly stirred her up. As I type she's going through a cycle of standing up, looking towards the door, searching her pockets, trying the door (or banging on the window) then sitting down and sobbing into her hands. Then catches sight of something on the TV and is distracted for two minutes until she decides she wants to go and see Lewis/Hairy Bikers/Rick Stein and off we go again.

In my judgement she doesn't actually want to go outside but isn't sure what she wants. I tried a bit of music today but she just leaves the room so clearly not at a stage where that would be soothing unfortunately.

One piece of good news though, adding a little bit of sugar to her drinks has definitely make a difference. So far it looks as if she's more likely to drink a whole mug rather than just an inch.

Tomorrow is a busier day with a lady from Manchester Uni coming to interview both of us (that should be interesting) about caring with a capital C. Then I've got an appointment with the respiratory clinic which is relaxed enough to take Ma along. She enjoys a trip to the hospital because she can say hello to lots of strangers in the corridors - odd then that the supermarket doesn't have the same appeal.


Today's Blip


It's 23:43 and she's just got up for the 14th time since 6pm and yes, I have actually counted. You can't help yourself. I hope she sleeps soon. Otherwise it's going to be a very long night.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wayhey Wednesday!

*time-steps into the room in tap shoes*

[sings] Good Morning! Good Morning! We slept the whole night through! Good morning, good morning to you!

It's new day centre day today. We are sitting here waiting for the bus to arrive, paperwork all completed, breakfast almost tried, showered and compliant. I really really hope she enjoys it. The list of activities is very impressive and the menu appeals to someone (me) who loved school dinners.

Obviously my chirpy mood has nothing to do with the fact that I have a few hours off.

*coughs shiftily*

Once Ma has gone I will be getting out asap. Playing with shops is SO last year darling - I will be out and about with my lovely little camera looking for things to photograph. The only way I'm going to improve is to keep trying - although it might help if I could find more function buttons than just the macro one...

Then this evening I am going to Zumba. Those who know me in real life will be cranking their jaws off the floor at this point. I know my joints are painfully rubbish and this is likely to leave me somewhat broken but it's a chance to get out after dark and have some fun*. I do realise that a proper class will be slightly different to me shuffling around in front of my Zumba dvd (aka watching the hard bits and quaffing Sauv B), but it's got to be done.

So today's blog is likely to be a bit fractured with regular short updates, so check back regularly if you want to know what happens.

*clearly I use this word with complete irony while laughing hysterically


The bus arrived at 10:35 which was just late enough to have me a little agitated. The escort lady came in to collect Ma and was given a huge hug and a kiss (from Ma, not me. I'm not that grateful) which she took in her stride and then Ma went off without a backward glance. I did hear her ask where she was going as went out of the door mind you.

Phase one with camera went ok but I'm not happy with the result of the shot I specifically went out to take. The light isn't great today so I will have to go back another day and try again. Am now hopping from foot to foot because I don't know what to photograph.

The coconut oil has arrived so maybe Ma will be getting porridge with extras for tea instead of her sandwiches from the day centre.


A Curate's Egg of a day. Photos weren't great, got soaked taking Lily around the park but had a nice snooze this afternoon. Getting ready for Zumba, which appears to consist of panic-taking tramadol for preventative measures.

Ma came back from the day centre in a bit of a snit. The escort ladies on the bus said that everyone had made a big fuss of her but she wouldn't acknowledge that to me. She chucked her ham sandwich on the floor and refused to eat anything else. She's just gone to bed after a frustrating 20 minutes trying to get her undressed and into her pyjamas. I think she's just tired and I hope she'll sleep for Betsy who is coming over to Ma-sit for me.

If I can still speak/move/whimper I'll let you know how it went.


Today's blip was a bit of a panic because nothing I took was really outstanding, so I did the old fall-back of the dog in her wizard hat. Again. Hopefully tomorrow will bring something better. But at least I've found the other functions on the camera.



We shall draw a veil over Zumba. I have agreed to go on Sunday morning though providing I can find a Ma-sitter.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


An appeal for suggestions please.

How can I cheer Ma up? Everything I say or we do is greeted with morose lethargy and what seems like determined misery. I've tried being upbeat and sort of no-nonsense (Come on! Cheer up a bit - look a the beautiful day/flowers/egg on toast...) I've tried ignoring it but the sheer greyness seeps into everything. When I try and cajole a smile out of her she just stares into the middle distance.

She's now on a higher dose of anti-depressant and has been for nearly two months so I would've expected her to be a bit brighter and cheerier rather than the opposite.

I have to be honest and say that it is definitely beginning to make me feel down too.

I'm waiting for a call back from the GP but was hoping that someone with experience of dealing with this might have some suggestions.

I realise that there probably isn't an easy answer to this, but I live in hope.


We went to see the GP in the end and he took some blood to see if there's anything amiss. Naturally the sore neck which had been bothering her all day (to the point of screaming if I went anywhere near) was a figment of my imagination *sigh* but we've agreed to wait and see what the consultant says a week on Friday and will make an appointment to see him after that.

He's not a fan of the meal replacement route, as we know, and tells me that he's not at liberty to prescribe them any more really so I've decided to try adding some sugar to her tea and will still load any food with as much nutrition and calories as I can. With this in mind she's had a cup of tea with sugar in it and some fruit cocktail and ice cream. And had the lot... So that's the sugar day. Fear not, tomorrow it will be a whole different story. For one thing, she's at her new day centre so I won't be cooking for her!

Other than wearing two shoes on one foot, putting her food on the floor and constantly getting undressed, that's our day so far.


Today's Blip

And this is what I'm heroically NOT eating:

Monday, 9 January 2012

Monday Musings

There's definitely been a change in behaviour over the last couple of weeks. I wonder if it has anything to do with being in respite care and having a break in routine. Since getting back from Cornwall I've had a proper night's sleep every single night. I'm hesitant to mention it in case I jinx things but now that it's been a full five nights I think it's safe...

Other new things.

When she's not in anxious mode she's very lethargic and if I let her she'd stay in bed all day. This also means that she's in permanent misery mode, either hunched and weepy on the sofa/in bed or hunched and weepy on her tour around the house. I'm sure not eating has a lot to do with this.

Using cutlery is too much of a challenge, even a spoon can be tricky, but she can do it if helped to remember.

Just discovered that banging on the window to try and attract attentnion of passing pedestrians is a new sport.


Sheila popped round from next door and commented on how much weight Ma has lost. I explained how difficult it is to get Ma to eat so she suggested trying soup or toast - gosh I never thought of that. She clearly thinks I'm an idiot.

We've had the usual hassle about going to see M&V today, so we did because I wanted to collect some eggs off them. On the way I nipped into the post office and when I came out she'd sprayed the inside of my car with de-icer so had to drive up the road with the windows wide open to try and get rid of the fumes (de-icer now in boot). I was three sips into my cup of tea before she wanted to leave...

We've just done battle over a slice of toast and a poached egg. I didn't win but she did eat about half of it.

At the moment Pointless is on but she's on a mission to go somewhere so keeps trying the door and getting very annoyed that I'm not going with her. I have a banging headache from quite a stressy day so I'm hoping she's willing to go to bed early and stay there. However, because I really want this to happen I'm not taking any bets on it!


Today's Blip:

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Weekend 07/01

The feeders are sprouting!!! Mild winter anyone?

Another good night. I'm cautious about getting used to it though!

Today has been an odd sort of day mood-wise. She was keen to stay in bed again but after some encouragement she did get up eventually. Getting her in the shower proved to be a bit of a challenge but we managed it after a four hour skirmish and a few soapy sponges in the face. M&V popped round for a quick hello which was lovely and Ma didn't eat an egg sandwich for lunch.

I went out for pineapple juice as recommended by A and gave her some. It was 'too cold' and discarded, but I have high hopes because she kept going back for another sip. Finding food supplements proved more difficult so I may have to have a 'chat' with the GP and 'request' that he prescribes some... I don't hold out much hope of him refusing, do you?

I've just given her apple sponge pud with custard and it was a battle. It filled less than half of a normal cereal bowl but was too much. Add this to half a very small slice of toast and the uneaten egg sandwich and we aren't talking a vast amount of food. I do offer other things - a biscuit with a cup of tea, a savoury biscuit with a bit of cheese or maybe one of the Christmas chocolates but they are usually ignored. It is very hard not to take it personally but at the same time understand that she has no appetite. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with appetising options.

As I type this she is hunched and grumpy, watching You've Been Framed which she used to enjoy but no longer it seems. Other things today: we've had some tears and a lot of stomping around trying the doors and wearing my laundry (mostly upside down), she's fascinated by my camera and the poor dog had her ears yanked this aftenoon because Ma wanted to 'remove these sponges'...

More tomorrow.


Recurring topics....

Are we going then?

Where is Peter?

Will you take me home?

When is my brother coming to visit?

No one comes to see me.

Reflex response on any subject: Yes probably. As in... I'm making a cup of tea, would you like one/shall we walk around the garden/it's going dark early.

She is particularly difficult at the moment for some reason - is it a full moon soon?



Not started terribly well, although the day didn't kick off until half 8 which was marvellous. It's now 10:10 and I've just hoiked her out of the shower (fully dressed) for the third time. Thankfully she isn't able to actually turn it on but considering how difficult it was to get her in it yesterday afternoon this is on the far side of slightly ironic. In protest she removes her fleece and socks everytime I turn my back and then sits there shivering and rubbing her hands together saying it's cold wearing her wasp-chewing face. Oh how I laugh.

I'm sure I can think of somewhere we can go for a little drive out, I think some fresh air and a change of scene would be a good idea.


Finally got the last of the decorations down and as I'm dragging the box out of the room...

Oh they looked quite nice.

Yes, I love Christmas decorations. Shame they have to come down after Christmas really.

Yes. Why didn't we have Christmas this year?

We did. Put your socks on your feet will get cold.


Phone rings. It's Jane. We chat for a while then hand the phone to Ma.

Hold the phone to your ear Mum, not in your lap.

Putting socks on feet and not hands will help.



After four attempts to climb into the TV I've turned it off. There's a real danger that she will fall and take the television with her. Plus I'm a bit weary of saying that it isn't real/they aren't talking to you/they can't hear you etc. I've tried ignoring it but that just makes things worse, so off it goes for a while. However, seeing Nigella with her old teeth is a bit of a shocker. On balance I think I prefer the ones she was born with.

Unfortunately we didn't manage to make a trip out in the car before her mood started heading south and after the last time we had a trip when she was like this (trying to get out when the car was moving, attempted thumb dislocation [mine]) I didn't really fancy trying that again. So we've looked at some photos, listened to the radio (bad idea), cooked lunch and she's had a nap. She's now up again and very restless, dry sobbing, asking all the usual questions, standing in the middle of the room or doorway and carrying her fleece blanket.

New day centre to look forward to this week, afternoon tea with the Dementia Café and a hospital appointment for me and I'm sure there's something happening on Tuesday but I'm blowed if I can remember what.

It's all go.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Friday Already

Believe it or not Ma slept for 14 hours last night. Well, she may not have slept all that time but she didn't open her bedroom door once. I was awake from 5 waiting for her to call me so wasted three hours of sleeping time before going in with a cup of tea before my nerves gave out at about 08:30.

She's been in a funny old mood today and spent most of the day in bed snoozing. I'm about to make her something to eat and might try and persuade her to get up and have a shower before putting on some fresh pyjamas.

So a quiet day with not a lot to report. At least not so far...

Thursday, 5 January 2012

An Illustration

Processing verbal instruction is becoming more and more difficult for her. The following example is from this evening and is fairly typical - it could be adapted to any situation from cleaning her teeth to using a knife and fork to taking her tablets. I happened to find it quite amusing tonight but sometimes it drives me to the edge of meltdown.

Come on Ma, you're cold and dozing on the sofa, time for bed.

Yes ok. *eyes closed* Where am I going?

To bed. Come on... *helps her to sit up*

Where's that?

In your bedroom.

Oh ok. *lies down on sofa again*

Come on... *helps put feet on the floor*

Ok. *puts feet up again and lies down*

No! Come on, up you get. *helps her to stand* *turns for the door* *turns back* *Ma lying on sofa*

Not here! In your bedroom...

Oh yes that's right. I thought this was my bedroom.

Up you get then.

Yes ok. *closes eyes*

*gets her up and off the sofa* *guides her to the door*

Where am I going?....

She's now in bed but probably won't stay there. Often she's desperate for sleep but then gets up a couple of hours later believing she's been in bed all night.

Back in the room

I've had a lovely week away and a fab night last night with the Café girls. Thank you ladies! Don't worry, I'm sure the soot from the fire will wipe off the walls eventually...

Collecting Ma from respite care today and I must admit that I'm quite apprehensive about how it will have affected her. Plus it's very windy and wet here and I can't get the house warm enough which is going to be a big problem if I can't sort it. Ma feels cold even when the house is at tropical temperatures.

A couple of things... I'm going to look at buying some food supplement stuff to try and up Ma's calorific intake, she is eating so little again and I'm getting very worried about it. So if anyone has any suggestions for palatable options please let me know. And I'm thinking of migrating the blog to Wordpress because blogger is a bit pants. Many thanks to Jon for offering to host it on, I'd appreciate any thoughts on this too.

Right. Off to get Ma via Tesco. Update later...


Another shout for my daily photo blog here  Today's pic has gone up.


Well, we're back. She was fine at the home, delighted to see me and chatting away to the staff and she seemed far more content than the last time I collected her when she was waiting by the door in her coat. The staff did comment on how much she has deteriorated since her last visit and suggested enquiring about 'rolling respite', funnily enough something the girls mentioned last night. So I've started the ball rolling on that one.

While we waitied for her suitcase we sat and chatted in the foyer. Ma asked me four or five times where Peter was and did I know what Beverley was doing. It's interesting though, as we were driving home she could read road signs and bus destinations so clearly some of her cognitive skills are still there. I wonder if some go more quickly than others as a rule or if it is enirely down to the individual.

She didn't recognise the house and was most impressed with her bedroom but has spent the last hour carrying a bundled up blanket, trying to get out of the front door and crying quite a lot. So pretty much back to normal then. I have managed to get her to drink a cup of tea and eat a small cake so I hope this means she will eat something for her tea too.

Possibly another update later. We shall see...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Just popping in to say....

Normal service will resume on Thursday, I hope the new year has started well for everyone.

I've begun a new project for this year called Blipfoto. It's basically a photography blog where you take and post one photo a day for a year. I think that once the novelty wears off it will get quite challenging to find something interesting to photograph every day - at least something you'd be willing to post every day anyway. So we shall see how it goes, but if you'd like to see the first few of my offerings go here:

It's really worth having a toot at other people on there too, there are some seriously gifted photographers in and amongst. I've always loved looking at photography but my pictures aren't great, however I can happily lose hours and hours sifting through some of the stuff on there.