A warning dear reader. This is something of a therapy session for me, writing this. It is more for the sake of someday looking back and pondering on the madness of it all. Or just not at all.
Regards, Mr PP.
About mid November last year, Gran’s bowels became problematic for us all as a family. I could be sitting at the computer of an evening once the Little Fellas are in bed and a voice will come from the darkened living room outside the office door.
“I’ve just had another Big Bowel Action.”
That’s exactly how Gran says it. Like its something of a Big League abdominal achievement. Other times she groans and moans at the table or gets up at 3 in the morning. Again. And again. And again. Banging and scraping her walking aid along the doors and walls. There are track marks across the paint at the bottom of the bedroom and bathroom doors. Often I just lay in bed awake until it’s time to get up for work.
There’s been a trip to the Emergency Department and multiple phone calls to the office of Gran’s specialist in Perth. Nothing however to explain anything, or remedy anything. In 2021, it appears that we are witnessing the gradual decline of Gran’s liver.
This morning however, Gran is decidedly cheery when she wheels herself out to the breakfast table.
“Hello boys, all ready for school?”
There are vague, almost bleak looks from both Little Fellas.
“School starts next week Gran.”
“What’s the day today?”
“It’s Thursday. They start back next Monday.” I reply.
Despite this, when Gran returns to her bedroom for her morning insulin injection she proceeds to tell the morning nurse that it’s the first day of school. Then the nurse comes back out to the dining area looking a little bit confused herself.
“No, it’s next week.” I say.
“Oh. OK. That makes sense.”
When Gran returns to the table fifteen minutes later following her shower she asks when school starts back. 😦
“Next Monday. There is no school today.” I shout from the kitchen sink.
“What day is it today?”
“It’s Thursday today. School starts again next week.”
Later in the day, Gran has a morning visit from a carer. Myself and the Little Fellas are playing Uno Flip at the kitchen table. Grans doing her jigsaw puzzle and telling the carer all sorts of stories and mistruths about what’s been happening recently.
I don’t really listen in to these stories and prefer, if I’m doing housework, to just plug myself into the ipod and switch off. It usually ends up with me getting mad and frustrated by what Gran tells the carers and I just wish she would wear the hearing aids that it took us ten months and several thousand to get sorted for her. She might get the stories straight then.
After the carer leaves I pack up two young boys, two electronic tablets (to keep the boys occupied) and one Gran for her podiatrist appointment. We get Gran inside and sorted and then return to the car where I close my eyes and rest while the boys play electronic games in the back.
There is no rest.
It is noisy, despite the entertainment and I get the sense that Gran’s appointment is probably nearing an end already, so I go in to fetch her.
She’s just leaving the room and I hear the podiatrist “Ok, enjoy the rest of your day.”
“What was that?” Gran asks.
“ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR DAY!”
“Oh, yes. Was that it.” says Gran, as she wheels off in the wrong direction down the corrider. Before I can correct her, the podiatrist calls out. “Other way . . .”
On the way home I ask Gran if she’s going out for afternoon tea today with the carers, to which I get –
“No, better head straight home. My tummies a bit rumbly. I should have gone there I think.”
I can almost sense the boys in the back tense up, hoping that we’ll all get home safe before Grans bowels empty themselves in our clean car.
We make it. More importantly, Gran makes it. We all assist in getting the house un-locked and Gran up to the door and delivered, clear of obstructions to the bathroom.
I prepare Gran one of her scientifically formulated nutrition drinks. The ones that require booking an appointment with a nutritionist and Mrs PP once again sitting through something of an nutritional care plan with some recommended guidelines that Gran not only doesn’t hear – but hasn’t got any intention of even following.
With this scientifically formulated milk drink I give Gran her Anti-Exploding Bowel tablet which she probably didn’t take this morning. It’s an educated guess.
I then go and turn the bathroom fan on – and turn off the tap that Gran has left running. Not just because she can’t hear it running, but she probably can’t see it either.
While Gran is not in her room I take her drink bottle and fill it up with fresh water. Pick her book up off the floor. Pick up the sugar-free lolly wrappers to put in the bin and clear the empty drink glasses.
It’s a guess, but I suspect it’s the sugar-free sweeteners in the lollies that Gran stashes away that is giving us all grief. Plus the Tic-Tacs. Although I find more Tic-Tacs on the floor than I’m sure she is consuming herself.
Respite is Coming.
This year, given Gran is now needing insulin injections administered to her, we have decided to plan some respite breaks for us in advance for the year ahead. Ordinarily, Mrs PP would just phone the community service we use and book whenever they had a bed available.
But things have changed.
Mrs PP kept getting a recorded message from the new service provider and wasn’t able to speak to anyone. Eventually she left a message. A week later she got a call back where she discovered it was no longer possible to call and book. Now she has to make an appointment to talk to a counsellor. This was another three odd days later and was thankfully at least a phone call instead of a physical appointment. Though it still took rearranging the day and missing a few planned events during school holidays so that Mrs PP could take the phone appointment and make the bookings for the dates we decided on.