Breathe Deeply, and Count to Ten While You Still Can.

November 12, 2008 at 11:28 pm (Uncategorized)

I know, I know, I’m a dirty rotten blogger who shirked her responsibilities yesterday, but I think you’ll forgive me when I tell you about my day. First up, more Nana stuff. We’re still waiting for the cavalry to arrive – love those public healthcare waiting lists – but in the meantime, there was another assessment yesterday by Helen from the Botany Respite Centre. They pick up busloads of oldies from around the area and take them off to the centre for lunch and a bit of socialising, sometimes even bringing in entertainers to liven things up a little. After a hot lunch, they’re driven home again and seen to their door. All this for the bargain price of twenty bucks a visit. Outstanding value, if you ask me. And important for Nana, I think, because as she started to slide, she started withdrawing from the company of her peers, and now I don’t think she hangs out with anyone in her complex at all. It’s apparently all part of the onset of dementia/Alzheimer’s, perfectly standard behaviour, but no more comforting or enjoyable for that, I may assure you. So I think a regular outing with people her own age – many of whom are also suffering from dementia, according to Helen, who did the assessment yesterday – is an excellent idea. Nana didn’t care for the sound of it over the phone, but she was much more receptive once Helen was there giving her the pitch in person. She’s signed up to start going every Monday – another lady from her complex goes thrice weekly, so it can’t be too bad! – but let’s just keep our fingers crossed and see how it goes. Nana gets very peculiar about committing to things now. Even after agreeing, and choosing a day, and seeming to understand it would be happening on Monday, when Helen tried to talk to her about pick-up times, she said “Oh, I can’t really get into that” – things to do, you see. Busy, busy. When I first broached the idea with her, she said she wasn’t interested because she’s “got too many other things on her plate.” “Oh,” I said, rather surprised to find her dance card so full, “like what?” “Oh things, things, too many things.” Yes. Like compulsively buying books. “What are you reading at the moment, Nana?” “I’m not reading anything at the moment.” No, you see, I didn’t think so. And her busy schedule is a similar trick of the light. Or the mind, as the case may be (and is).

Going to the bank with her yesterday to make sure she had some cash in her wallet was excruciating. She wanted to give her expired bus ticket to the teller. Apparently she could get a new one from the Commonwealth Bank. Yep. “Why would they have bus tickets at the bank, Nana?” Pause. “I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t think they do,” I said. She looked away from me, thoroughly miffed. Not that she needed one, oh no, because this one in her hand (and then back in her bag, and then out of the bag and back in her hand, and then back in the bag, and then out of the bag and back in her hand) was still good. She pointed to some random branding on it and said, “See,” like it was all there, all the proof she needed. I turned it over and pointed at the date. “It says October 31, Nana. See this? That’s the date. October 31. That was two weeks ago. This ticket’s expired. Give it to me and I’ll throw it out for you.” She wouldn’t. Would. Not. Not on her life was she relinquishing the useless bit of magnetic striped paper. We had a ticket tug-o-war right there in the bank queue. Stubborn old girl. And strong. I let go in the end. “Fine,” I thought. “You keep your expired ticket, then. See if I care. See how far it gets you. Go on.” 


Then we went to the chemist, where Nana’s supposed to go every day to take her meds because she can’t be trusted to take them on her own at home. They hadn’t seen her since last Friday. “I’m supposed to come in here every day?” she said. “Oh no, I don’t think so.” The chemist, his assistant and I all looked at each other. “We’ve called her every day to remind her,” the chemist said. “Richard called you this morning, Nana.” “No he didn’t.” “Yes, I think he did. He’s been calling every day.” “He must have left a message. I must have been out.” “No, Nana. He spoke to you.” As I said to them, I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do. I am unwilling and unable to make caring for Nana my full-time role. Help is slow to arrive and she is not managing on her own. I just don’t know what to do. 

Anyway, whilst she was having a circulation booster at the chemist, I went and bought our lunch and some groceries for her to take home. And after putting Nana on her bus home, I went in the exact opposite direction to my meeting with the writer Charlotte Wood, who so, so kindly agreed to meet up and give me some plot pointers. She’s wonderful, so generous with her time and ideas, and can we all please go and buy  one of her books? Her latest is The Children. I’d love to tell you all about the meeting, because I had a lightbulb moment about my MS structure, but I fear I’ve already kept you too long for one day… tomorrow, perhaps.



  1. Pete said,

    That sounds pretty heart-breaking seeing your Nana like that. Funny but very sad. And glad to hear your meeting went well. So I take it that the plot is thickening nicely then?

  2. novosel said,

    Справедливости ради следует отметить, что не все аналитики придерживаются такой, весьма скептической, точки зрения. Генеральный директор компании «Калита-Финанс» Андрей Маринченко считает, что отказ от доллара при расчетах между китайскими и российскими компаниями вполне реален. Более того — по его мнению, у рубля сейчас хорошие шансы для того, чтобы стать резервной валютой. Хотя бы потому, что в долларе китайцы окончательно разочаровались, а к евро еще не успели привыкнуть. банки Кемерово Кто из экономистов прав в этом споре – покажет только время. Понятно и другое: отказ от доллара во взаимных расчетах между Россией и Китаем — слишком важный шаг, чтобы принимать его исходя только из политических соображений. Но предположим, что он сделан. Что ждет в этом случае россиян, как отразится новая финансово-политическая реальность на состоянии их кошельков и их сбережений?

  3. doctordi said,

    See, novosel, you’ve gone to quite a lot of trouble to communicate something here, but I have NO IDEA what it is. None. Are you spam? Or are you sincere? I couldn’t tell you. I’d love to know what your comment says, but I’m afraid I don’t.

    Pete, yes, I am trying to keep a sense of humour about it because I think you really need to. It’s mainly worrying… in all other respects she’s basically in tip-top health. She may well live another twenty years. And I worry about that. I worry about her quality of life (because of the three second memory thing, she can’t focus on task completion or full engagement with other people, so she’s not doing much anymore), and selfishly I worry about how it’s going to impact on my life if she DOES keep on keeping on. And as demonstrated by the bus ticket show-down, she’s very obstinate, so changing things as her needs change is just exhausting. Exhausting. But yes, there’s certainly a lot of comic potential in the entire situation. Undeniably.

    And yes, thank you, the plot is brewing… I was starting to implement some of these changes yesterday and it was going well. It’s clicking into place. And I’m excited about it, which has to be a good sign. I hope. Please. Pretty please.

  4. Felicity said,

    Hi Di,
    I’m sorry to hear that Nana’s age is catching up with her, it must be incredibly frustrating for you in some situations. Does anyone else from the family visit or keep an eye on her? I know Mum found it very hard with Grandma in the last years as she (Gran) was very stubborn and wouldn’t accept care until there was no other choice! I’m sure you’ll find the best way of handling everything.

    By the way I went to Google translator for the unknown feedback which happens to be Russian…it goes like this:

    “To be fair, not all analysts have a very skeptical, point of view. General Director of «World Finance» Andrew Marinchenko believes that the abandonment of dollar settlement between the Chinese and Russian companies is real. Moreover – in his opinion, the ruble is a good chance to become a reserve currency. If only because the dollar Chinese are definitely disappointed, and the euro have not yet accustomed. Banks Kemerovo Who among economists is right in this dispute – only time will tell. Clearly both: the rejection of the dollar in the netting between Russia and China – are too important step to take it on only for political reasons. But suppose that he did. What will happen in this case Russians, as the impact the new financial and political reality on the status of their wallets and their savings?”

  5. doctordi said,

    Ah, so it was spam after all – but thanks for getting the translation!

    In a word, Flic, no. There’s no one else visiting or keeping an eye on her. She too is completely estranged from my mother and my three younger siblings. Nana IS in touch with her eldest grandchild, my big sister, as am I, but she lives in Ballina and is therefore unable to visit except on the odd occasion when something brings her to Sydney. Nana also refuses to go up there these days so we’re really in a stalemate.

    I called up the Aged Care Assessment Team for an update on the waiting list situation for 6 hours of help a week, and Julie told me it doesn’t look like anything will happen until after Christmas, which is upsetting news. The six week estimate is being pushed out by another six weeks and suddenly we’re talking 3 months… and counting. So that’s not great. I also had a call from the Botany Respite Centre this morning because Nana told them she “had other plans” today and won’t be going to her first outing. There was no answer when I called to find out what’s going on, but there are no other plans.

    I’m afraid I don’t share your confidence at all that I’ll find the best way of handling everything. It feels totally out of control.

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