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

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday Top-up

It's been a mildly frustrating couple of days trying to get things sorted for Ma now, and also for when she comes home.

Once I'd got hold of wheelchair services they said that it would be 'many months' before Ma would be near the top of the list. When I explained her situation they said that they would have to come out and assess her when she was back at home and then move her up the list depending on need etc. This doesn't sound terribly speedy to me so I had a toot on Amazon and this arrived this morning. Brilliant service. Nice and sturdy, folds easily and the only assembly bit needed was to slot on the foot rests. So one box ticked.

The GP is still not inclined to prescribe Fortisip but as the respite home had requested it I was able to collect 12 bottles this morning. Another box ticked.

Both items delivered to Spurr House this morning where Ma is much more with it after being taken off the Zopiclone again. I'm told she fed herself some breakfast this morning. A bit of a difference to being unable to take some Calpol the other day. Tick.

Equipment Services have been leaving messages trying to deliver equipment for when Ma comes home. I finally got hold of someone yesterday who said they would be dropping off the mattress and seat cushion...The what??!? I requested a frame for the loo....

Yes that's right. That was returned.

Umm that was returned last year after her other operation?

Well you're down for a mattress and seat cushion. Don't you want them?

No. I want a frame for the loo!

Oh well I'll cancel these then and you'll have to speak to Occupational Therapy and get a re-referral.


No reply at OT yesterday or today. Will try again tomorrow.


No blip yet. Off to play.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


I went to see Ma this morning and took her some more clothes. The staff were pleased to see me and were grateful for my help in getting her to take her medicines. She was very dopey again and we are back to the eyes closed/unable to focus scenario. On further investigation it seems that the hospital sent her off with all her meds but did not say that she was no longer taking the Zopiclone. As her med sheet says 7.5mg of Zopiclone at night, that is what they must do until instructed otherwise. They were hoping to contact the ward this afternoon and request a fax detailing Dr Prasad's instruction regarding this. In the meantime Ma is pretty much out of it and it's no wonder they can't get her to eat or drink anything much.

They have also asked me to chase up wheelchair services because she really does need one now (last time I spoke to them the waiting list was quite long) and to organise some Fortisip for her because the hospital didn't send any with her. So that's two jobs for me to follow up tomorrow.

She seems quite content and clearly isn't in any distress which is a huge relief.


Today I made and blipped a cake because friends were calling in for a cup of tea on the way back to Cornwall. Very nice it was too, damp and squidgey and not too sweet. I can recommend it :)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Catching up

Goodness me where does the time go?? I'm sorry I haven't updated for so long but things do tend to get in the way a bit.

The latest on Ma is that she is (as of yesterday) back in Spurr House on respite for two weeks after having left hospital. I wasn't able to see her today for two reasons - she is a bit 'under the weather' and has a few tummy issues, probably due to the stress of moving from hospital to care home. And I am suffering the effects of driving so many miles and sleeping in relatively strange beds. I feel very broken today. Walking from the kitchen or bathroom is a challenge in itself.

She's very happy and settled though. They have her on a food regime so monitor everything she eats and she's managing to eat roughly 50% of what they offer. The Fortisip didn't follow from the hospital so there's talk of getting them prescribed for her.


I took a leap of faith and registered myself on the OU digital photography course today. It's a 10 week thing, so not a massive commitment but will hopefully show me how to do things with the camera and editing software which I have no clue about (and am quite intimidated by) to produce better photos.

Todays blip

Quite a few on there which have been missed due to not blogging. If you want a look, hit the back arrow which appears on the lefthandside of the blip when you hover your cursor roughly in that area. If you don't, well, that's fair enough :)

Monday, 20 February 2012


... long time no blogging.

It's been a bit of a hectic few days with one thing and another (mainly organising Harriet's return and then driving her back to Devon) so haven't had much chance to update. I'm also aware that the last few weeks have seen very short updates but unfortunately I haven't had a lot to report re Ma so unless you want to hear about my deeply exciting life, they will remain on the short side for a little while yet.

We saw Ma yesterday before we left and the improvement continues. From where she was a week ago unable to focus on anything or keep her eyes open to spotting us as we entered the ward and smiling in recognition. A truly HUGE improvement. The hospital have started giving her Fortisip drinks which will hopefully build her up a bit and perhaps give her a bit more energy.

While I'm away J has stepped into the breach, God love her, and will check on Ma for me and take home any washing etc. I'm not planning on being here for very long but do have a few issues to reslove before heading back. It could possibly be tomorrow but more likely to be on Wednesday. And if it's Wednesday it gives my joints a chance to recover a little - win win!


I have been blipping though. Here here here and here !

I do hope you like them.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


The meeting went well this morning, I was pleased with the outcome and think everyone was keen to do what was best for Ma's interests.

The plan is to review her medication and perhaps look at taking away some of the heavyweight mood drugs, get her off the catheter and hopefully back to continence, get her seen by the nutritionist, arrange a stay in a nursing home before coming home and then have some additional help come in to support me.

Ma was 100% brighter today, far more alert and responsive. I fed her some lunch and while she didn't eat an awful lot of it, she did eat some mashed potato, apple sauce, a few green beans and some ice cream. I think this may be the result of not being given either her sleeping tablets or codeine for a few days. We had quite a laugh too which was wonderful.


Today's blip is another spring flower, a teeny tiny narcissus. I love their sweet little faces. As usual I agonised over which one to choose as my blip, here are the others.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


There's not much change in Ma's condition to report. She looks incredibly frail and has clearly lost yet more weight. However she has eaten some sausage and a whole portion of ice cream today which is a massive improvement.

She is clearly going to need considerable help when she comes out of hospital. With this in mind I am attending a meeting on the ward tomorrow at 11.30am with nursing staff and her social worker to discuss what happens next.

Update on that tomorrow.


I've lost track of where I was in the Blip journal so if you want to get up to date go to today and then flip back through and you can catch up :)

More of today's here.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Update on the update

I can't honestly say that there's much change to report regarding Ma. When I visit she is usually in the chair, eyes shut, sometimes asleep and sometimes talking to herself. When she opens her eyes she is clearly affected by her medication and cannot focus for more than a second or two if that. Physically she is doing really well, mentally it is difficult to tell at the moment. I have no doubt that she will have been affected to some degree, that pretty much goes with the territory, but only time will tell by how much.

Worryingly the nursing staff are also having problems getting her to eat or drink anything, I keep taking things in to try but it's almost impossible to get her to focus on taking a drink or something from a spoon. It is not only worrying it is also frustrating and incredibly distressing.

Peter visited her yesterday which was really handy because I was able to go and meet H at the station. She's here for half term so she will be lovely company for me for a week.

Update later perhaps. I hope you are all having a nice weekend.


They are going to withdraw her sleeping tablets for the next couple of days and hopefully that will mean she will be less drowsy. There is talk of sending her home midweek. I hope to God she's more alert and capable by then.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Another day, another update. Not a great deal to report though. Yesterday she was given two pints of blood to help with the anaemia she has developed as a result of not eating either properly or indeed at all. So although there was little response from her again, her colour was much much better. I managed to get her to drink a little bit of water and the staff said she'd had a bit of soup. But otherwise still very sleepy, unresponsive and unable to keep her eyes open for more than a few seconds. Today was more of the same really without the blood transfusion. I'm genuinely apprehensive about looking after her when she comes home.

Other news... David's condition has improved dramatically since the weekend. He has left the ICU and today there is talk of moving him from the High Dependency Unit to the regular ward tomorrow. Wonderful wonderful news.

H arrives on Saturday and I can't wait to see her. She's struggling a little bit at the moment and definitely needs some Mummy time. And I definitely need some daughter time.

What with Ma, David, Auntie Anne, H and her probs and W phoning me when he's having another one of his headless chicken moments I'm feeling a bit like I'm running on empty.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Another day on

When I got to hospital this afternoon Ma was in a chair but sleeping. Well, I say in a chair - imagine a plank propped against a chair and you get the idea. The nursing staff say that she had some soup last night and has had something to drink today but she's not making it easy. I didn't disturb her sleep and I have to say that she looked much better yesterday than she did today.

I've not had a great day today, I've been a bit weepy off and on. I think all the worry for David and Ma plus my Aunt (Ma's sister, David's mother) is very poorly too, is affecting me. It's all just too much.

Hopefully I'll be less miserable tomorrow.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A bit brighter

Just back from the hospital and Ma is looking a tiny bit brighter, still not really responding to conversation and keeps her eyes shut most of the time. But I did manage to get her to drink one of those little tubs of orange juice you get in hospital (like the ones you get on an aeroplane) and also about 2/3 of a sucky cup filled with tea, so that was a good thing. I had a good chat with the nurses and they said that they are having real difficulties getting her to eat or drink anything, she has a line in to get some fluid into her but of course she keeps pulling it out.

They are hopeful that they will get her sitting in a chair tomorrow which is great.

She's definitely a better colour and less clammy than she was yesterday, so all in all much happier about things.


Just a photo to add. Obviously the weather was horrible and I did think that I would be at home all day but then Peter decided to stay at home (not unreasonably I might add, I wouldn't want to schlepp across in this weather either) so of course I had to go out to the hospital. However, I'm not sure I would've stopped to find something to photograph anyway... So here is some mint to brighten your day.


Just a quick update.

Saw Ma yesterday afternoon. She was extremely sleepy, to the extent that she couldn't keep her eyes open long enough to look at me. I suppose that is the effect of the GA on top of her usual medication. I was a bit concerned to see three full drinks sitting at the bedside untouched and managed to get half a cup of water down her.

Peter may be visiting this afternoon on the way back from Wales, if not I'll go in. I don't really want to do evening visiting when the weather is so rubbish. The ward tell me she's fine this morning and they think she had some breakfast... This doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

More later.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Bad news

For those who don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter: pretty much at the exact moment I pressed the publish button on last night's blog post Ma fell in the bedroom and has broken her other hip. Initially I thought she had fallen out of bed but on reflection, from the way she was lying on the floor I am sure that she was already out of bed and had then fallen.

Considering the number of falls she has had recently (and fallen out of bed) there was a certain feeling of inevitablility about this.

After five hours in A&E last night she was transferred to the ward and was going into surgery this morning. I have been told to ring after lunch to see how she is doing.


In the end it was 4pm before I was able to get any news because she was late, or last, on the list. However in the grand scheme of things this is massively better than last time when she waited days for her operation.

So far so good. She's back from the op and is 'comfortable'. My definition of comfortable is a long way from the NHS version though it has to be said.

I'm hoping that the 'Big Blizzard' will not stop me going to the hospital tomorrow

I went for a walk with Lily and took a few pics but it was unbelievably cold so not a lot of blippage took place. I've posted on Blipfoto but it's not a terribly exciting photo.

Better news tomorrow I hope.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Tablet trauma

I was up first this morning (sits back and listens to the gasps of amazement). I'd done my duty phone calls, let the dog out, had a pint of tea and fed the birds before Ma stirred. I'm happy to say that we didn't have another bedding calamity this morning so things progressed quite calmly. At least it did until I gave her the tablets. She took two without any trouble but then appeared not to be able to see my hand, the tablets or even me. It is most odd and quite disconcerting, it's as if the focus button is malfunctioning and someone switched off the power. Her eyes are open and she hears/responds to what I am saying but she isn't seeing or looking at anything.

Anyway, after a long and dull tale about ringing the surgery, going to Sainsburys and then going to see the GP I have been given the go-ahead to crush all her tablets other than the capsules (which she seems to be able to swallow without too much trouble) and the alendronic acid tablet she takes on a Friday. However, if the AA tablet isn't going down easily then she will prescribe a liquid version because of the dangers of damage to the oesophagus if it gets stuck. So tonight I did sterling work with a rolling pin and a ramekin, mixed the powder with some of that apple baby food I bought a while ago and spooned it in.

'Boak' was the response. Hmm. Clearly I need to try jam tomorrow then...


The lovely and hugely supportive Mike (aka Your Average Joe) is mightily fond of sunflowers. So today I photographed some for him. I blipped this one because I loved it and will stick the others on flickr.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Highs and Lows on a Wednesday

Today didn't have the best start with a full bedding and bed clothes strip required before it was even light. But once that was in the washing machine, Ma had been in the shower and the bedding was drying on the radiators/Aga and daylight was hoving into view, things seemed a lot better all round.

Toast, tea and yet more problems taking tablets followed before the bus arrived at around 10:00am and off she went.

I did some shopping for Betsy and tootled about with my camera for a while, came home, faffed around downloading images then eventually going out again to take a few more. Altogether a very satisfying day.

The bus dropped her off just before 5 and I settled her in the living room with her tea (tuna sarnie, Blue Riband, jam tart) which she did make a valiant effort to eat despite doing most of it with her eyes shut and dozing off occasionally.

Once again she had real problems swallowing her tablets, she's taking enough water in and sort of swishing it around but not actually swilling the pills down with it. So we get:

Sip - Swill Swill - Swallow



and then naturally she wants to spit them out because they taste vile. So more sips and swallows and yet more crunching. It's taking approximately half a dozen attempts to get rid of all the bits which is horrible and distressing for her. I need to check with the surgery if I can crush some or all of them into something to make it easier for her *makes mental note to phone tomorrow*


Today's blip and the best of the rest here