Sunday, 20 May 2018

Carry on dozing

So last week I went to St Ives in Cambridge-shire to visit my 96 year old mum, who's now in a care home. She's well looked after and seems to be happier than when she was still in her own flat and increasingly unable to keep it in order.

She's now in a sort of twilight state between normal consciousness and complete mental detachment. Sometimes she absorbs what I'm saying and makes relevant responses. At other times she takes nothing in and I have to keep repeating myself and explaining what ought to be the obvious.

She asked me what I had had for lunch and I said a mozzarella, tomato and basil panino from Costa. She asked me what mozzarella was, although she's been to Italy numerous times and should know very well what it is. Then ten minutes later she asked me again what I had had for lunch and I went through the same rigmarole.

She increasingly lacks any curiosity about the outside world. The TV was on but she took no notice, despite some interesting items about attempts to lift an overturned lorry full of milk and the possible value of some unusual antiques.

She has no interest in my life, or Jenny's life, or anyone else's life. If I pass on any family news, she nods politely and that's it. She doesn't bother to keep in touch with any of her old friends. Political events pass her by, however dramatic or intriguing. She did however intend to watch the royal wedding.

She spends most of her time dozing and eating, happily oblivious to anything going on outside the four walls of the care home.  It seems to me a rather empty existence but it appears to be all she wants. I daresay if I reach the grand old age of 96 that'll be enough for me too. Why bother any more about the outside world?

Just carry on dozing, mum. Wishing you sweet dreams.

Pic: Not my mum but she looks very similar

30 comments:

helen devries said...

As long as she is happy...

Joanne Noragon said...

My grandmother, who carried on to age 98, once told me of life, "I don't do that any more."

nick said...

Helen: Exactly. She certainly seems to be.

Joanne: This is it, she seems to have discarded one activity and one friendship after another. She won't give any reasons though.

Wisewebwoman said...

There are no reasons Nick. Life gets very simple, doesn't it? Almost a baby state. Utter absorption in self and needs.

I remember sitting with my Auntie Kit, same age as your mum and any time I had to repeat what I had said before, her delight in my answer was heartwarming. All new to her. All the time.

Sometimes I believe, we just live too long.

XO
WWW

nick said...

www: She was just delighted to see me, as most of the time we only speak to each other on the phone. Indeed, people live far too long nowadays. After 96 years, I guess there's not much to get excited about any more.

tammy j said...

i agree with you and helen.
whatever makes her happy at this point!
there is a certain beauty in that kind of simplicity of living. and the fact that she was still delighted to see you... that's enough! xo

nick said...

Tammy: She's much happier there than she was in her own flat. Which is okay by me.

Anonymous said...

Hello Nick - I have read your entry about three times to try and be sure I have read things correctly (having said goodbye to a mother in her 90s myself relatively recently) I have decided you will 'get' why your dear mum appears to have no interest in your - or anyone else's life. I am totally sure - as I am sure you are - that this is nothing whatsoever to do with lack of interest - but lack of capacity.

When I read your remark 'it appears it is all she wants' my thought is that it is all that she can manage.

I know from my own experience it is really hard when a once on-it person is off-it. But my own experience is that it is pointless to do other than attempt to empathise with the older person.

PS one final remark - I'm only here because I picked up on some bizarre drama around a person with mental health issues on a bullying campaign to you and various other bloggers mainly from UK. I've had a good mooch around and all I can find is a wind-up fake account channeling through the title bitch on the blog. Which I think is being put out by a man called Clive who is well known and across the www for identical scam / troll like activities. Whatever! I am enjoying reading your blog - sorry for rambling on - but your elderly mother post did chime.

Thanks for a really interesting blog.

John

nick said...

John: Thanks for those interesting comments. I'm not entirely convinced my mum lacks the capacity to take an interest in the outside world, but you might be right. I've certainly concluded that empathising with her current mental state is more practical than trying to change her.

It seems to me, having read it for quite a while, that the blog in question is genuine. It seems unlikely that it's written by anyone else, and certainly not a man. But who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Thanks for your compliments. Hopefully my readers don't find reading my blog a total waste of time!

Bijoux said...

OMG on the preceding comment! I actually wouldn't be surprised at all if it was a man behind all of that drama and bullying that's gone on for years! Funny, because the first online problem I had (10 years ago) was with a woman from the UK who picked apart a question I had on a message board about colleges.

Liz Hinds said...

It's always sad for us on the outside but less so for the cared-for person it seems to me. Usually that is. My uncle was physically disabled in his final years and very depressed. Better his way for your mum.

Rummuser said...

Both she and you seem to be better off after this meeting than the last one that you had. No point worrying about her condition as long as she is comfortable with herself and her environment.

nick said...

Bijoux: Oh, you also think it's a man? Intriguing. Luckily she or he has now decided to give my blog a wide berth.

Liz: You could be right there. The mistake is probably to see her from the point of view of the mentally astute and to fret that she isn't the same.

nick said...

Ramana: That's true, I hadn't thought about it. The last time I saw her I was worried about how she would get on in the care home, and I was worried about clearing her flat and tidying up her finances. Now everything's sorted out and she's obviously happy.

CheerfulMonk said...

I'm pleased that she is so happy --- at 96 that's a blessing. I've known people in their 90's who were suffering. It was heartbreaking.

nick said...

Jean: She's very lucky to have never had a major illness. She has a pacemaker and that's it. All she has to complain about is occasional back pain!

Ms Scarlet said...

My mum is similar, but I think they have upped her morphine. She is still keen on Midsomer Murders... she watches it on a repeat loop and as if every episode is brand new.
I am not looking forward to old age, and incapacity... but at least there is morphine.
Sx

nick said...

Ms Scarlet: My mum isn't on any morphine as far as I know. I think I'd be perfectly happy if I was drifting through the days in a morphine haze....

Ms Scarlet said...

Regarding the comment referencing a troll called 'Clive' - that rings a bell. The name 'Clive'. It's bugging me now. I have heard and read so many peculiar things over the years though. It'll come to me.
Sx

Anonymous said...

Clive is calling.

Ursula said...

Apologies, Nick, my comment just published should have been posted under "Bitch on the Blog". You know where to find him.

U

nick said...

Ms Scarlet: I await the promptings of your memory.

Ms Scarlet said...

Well, my 'Clive' was a blogger of ye olde blogging days... and I'm not even sure he was a 'Clive'. And, people used to call him a Troll - but he wasn't really.
Sx

nick said...

Ms Scarlet: Then the elusive Clive remains a mystery. He might actually have been Claude, or Clancy, or Clarence. Or Cecilia.

Ms Scarlet said...

You see this will send me down a blogging rabbit hole of no return - revisiting old blogs and pondering who the authors really were... and there are a few who vanish and come back again. And some I reckon must have died.
Apologies, your post has been hijacked. I reckon that when I'm in a care home I'll be rambling on about old bloggers and nobody will have a clue what I'm on about!
Sx

nick said...

Ms Scarlet: I assume all my blogmates are who they say they are, but you never know. Don't worry, my blog hasn't been hijacked. The attempted hijacker has been apprehended and removed by our security team.

Jenny Woolf said...

To be happy in old age is e a great blessing. It could be very frustrating if she had her faculties, and yet her body let her down.

nick said...

Jenny: That's very true. In fact that's my sister's situation, because she's had motor neurone disease for 13 years, is almost totally disabled, yet her mind is 100 per cent.

John Gray said...

Late to the party....what's ursula up to?

nick said...

John: The incorrigible amateur psychiatrist is once again tearing me to pieces on her blog.