Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunshine and Stress


Obviously sunshine and no stress for him.

The sun may be gracing us with it's presence these past few days (cue lots of people panic wearing shorts and sleeveless t-shirts, this may be the only chance this year.)  It may warm enough to encourage relaxation in the garden and nothing else but once again I have clouds on the horizon.

From the same two sources that have plagued me these recent months and which exacerbate the illness they are both quibbling about.  First off we have work.  Now I'm not a shirker, I've paid my dues, I sort of enjoyed my job right up until the end when it became unable to ignore the bickering and back-stabbing.  I had thought my exhaustion had to do with the atmosphere, tried and failed for four weeks to get holidays just for a little break and then I crashed.

Turned out to be something a lot worse than simple burn out but since then I've felt guilty at being ill, been made to feel a malingerer, a nuisance to be got rid of.  Understanding would be welcomed and I am aware that they run a business not a charity but I cost them nothing, I'm not an important part of the machinery just one of many.  As a company they have a reputation for making employees mentally ill and that is no joke.  I repeat what I am going through ad infinitum and next time I have to repeat it again.  Yes I have been off a while but I'm not exactly having a picnic.  The doctor says I'm not well enough to return, I can feel it myself when even hanging out washing tires me out.  It's frustrating, upsetting and not being listened to makes it worse.

Second we have the social worker who has, to our misfortune, been allocated to my mother.  She has some kind of agenda that, despite my mother having specific needs, she does not waver from.  The latest is that she has a permanent place for my mother in a home nearby.  Hurrah thinks I, no wait, it's sheltered accommodation.  Totally unsuitable, if my mother could cope in sheltered accommodation there would be no issue to sending her home with us.  Her needs are such that the temporary home she is in just now, with an en suite room to herself and a day room she can go to socialise in suits her well, has made her happy and content.

Does the social worker see this?  No, instead she insists that with a "package of care" mother should come home.  This sheltered accommodation is her latest gig in trying to make me give up and relent.  Never mind that it would mean my mother sitting home alone often, not able to go to her room when she wants (because it is upstairs so she needs help), not able to make even a cup of tea because she can't use a kettle any more.  According to her I "influenced" my mother into this decision.

Despite expecting me to be a full-time carer if my mother came home I have, at no point, been included in any of the decisions made since she was still in hospital.  The social worker took a bullying attitude right up until I got a carer's advocate involved and then, for good measure, after she accused me of influencing my mother I got her an advocate too.

She's still at it though.

And so while the sun shines and I defiantly sit outside and think of all the things I'd love to do to the garden if able to I have these two factors hovering over me.  Easter break starts Friday.  I have a meeting with my manager on Thursday during which I expect to come under pressure to return or be sacked (never mind whether I can cope or not), I have a meeting next Tuesday with the social worker and two advocates to once again discuss options for my mum despite the fact she is doing so well in her current environment.  I have to make a list of "concerns".  Oh I can make a list all right my dear.

I will not let this ruin Easter the way it ruined Christmas for me.  My priorities are just right and I know what is important to me will win out in the end.  I'd just like some time to relax and recuperate so I can rid myself of this illness and come out fighting.  I find it hard to concentrate and deal with things right now but that won't always be the case.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Apron Strings

We are at that stage:  the Hobbits are getting to the age where freedom beckons and I have to take a back seat.  I do so sadly but gladly.

Last week, after school, a group of Hobbit friends met up at the local leisure centre.  They had booked a football pitch for a kick-about.  Each boy (and two girls - brave of them) had brought their money for the pitch and lunch.  No parents were allowed and the one mother who did hover nearby caused her son to back out and go home.

I won't pretend that I did clock watch a little.  This is the point where they take bigger responsibility for their own safety and I have to step away.  This is the point where they start to make their own decisions and mistakes and importantly learn from them.  It is frightening as it feels like we have been trained to imagine the bogeyman behind every corner.

I remember being warned not to go near certain people in the village I grew up in.  The danger has always been there, the paranoia is just greater now.

Take a deep breath.  At their age I would walk the couple of miles to the town with a friend or two.  We would go off adventuring up by the river bank without a risk assessment being done.

I'm trying to quell my fear.  They're good Hobbits, they ask permission to do things, they always let me know where they'll be.  I've tried to instil the knowledge that honesty is rewarded with more freedom and it seems to have worked.  Certainly they understand why.

Little squidgy arms and legs have been replaced by long limbs and wide shoulders.  Faces have lost the apple cheeks and are lengthening and narrowing.  My babies are growing and a (not so) little part of me wishes I could have one day back when they were little enough to fit, one on each hip.  Such things do not exist and I have to enjoy this next part.  Loosen the apron strings that some are holding so tight it'll strangle their little darlings.

This next part - probably meaning girls, teenage years, that difficult bridge between kid and adult.  I try not to think - trouble.  Youngest Hobbit insists that 10 is *nearly* teen.  I tell him not to rush.

The adult part is long enough.

I really need to think of a new nickname for them as Hobbit seems not to fit - cute, hairy and big feet, yes but now not so small.

Monday, March 05, 2012

You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone

Yesterday would have been my dad's 91st birthday.  Youngest Hobbit remarked that "Grandpa hasn't really died because I'll always remember him and he can be alive in my memories."  I hope that he knows this, I know he was aware of how much they loved him.  Often they would curl up on the sofa to look through photos or a picture book.

Today I brought mother home for a visit.  It is clear that her best place would be in a home, her mobility is such that anything else is potentially (rather likely) dangerous.

Of course this is a touchy subject.  My wish is that she is cared for.  I cannot offer the level of care she needs.  Some would say I'm dumping her by putting her in a home however anyone with any knowledge of caring for an elderly person, especially one you are closely related to, knows why that decision sometimes needs to be made.  It is something I would never expect any child of mine to do and I do believe it is almost cruel to expect it as it is such a huge responsibility for a family member to undertake.

I don't know if it can be understood as I can barely explain it properly.

I wish dad was still here and I wish things had gone differently.