The Dementia Diary

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The Final Straw

on March 15, 2012

I went bat-sh1t crazy yesterday.  In the car…  At husband… With F in Law sitting next to me…  Because of No.3 Son…  It was not good.

On Tuesday night the care we had hired in started.  It was a fiasco and my instinct to go and check what was happening was right.  The carer arrived to find that there was no care instructions.  All F i L cared about was having a ‘home’ cooked meal but he’d frozen all the food so all that could be cooked for him was a microwave dinner.  The carer had only been booked for an hour, despite our asking for an hour and a half, which meant that the housework that’s needed didn’t get done.  I wasn’t impressed but I knew that there’d be initial teething problems.  When I got home he phoned as I hadn’t made arrangements for him to get to his blood test (for warfarin) the next day.  I was hoping that No.3 son had heard about the district nurse going out to do this.  He had been tasked with arranging it last week.  Trying to get F in Law to take a taxi anywhere is a nightmare, and I would have had to arrange this, so I caved in and said I would take him.

I had started yesterday badly, having dreamt about looking after F i L all night.  I was exhausted before I had started work.  I got cover for some of my jobs so that I could have a rest before taking F i Law to the hospital.  I didn’t actually need to cover the work to be able to take him this time, but I’ve had a full on busy week and we had tree surgeons in our garden at the very same time.  I just needed an hour or so off!

I collected F in Law at 3pm as arranged and within 2 minutes he dropped the bomb!

“It was lovely to see No.3 son this morning.  I wasn’t expecting it.  He was there for a couple of hours.”

Normally I would be pleased (and amazed) that one of his other sons had unexpectedly visited, only this visit had pushed all of my buttons for a few reasons.

We had asked that No.3 son let us know when he visited so that we didn’t double up.  It gives husband and I a break.  He hadn’t.  No. 3 son had been asked to speak to the GP last week to arrange the district nurse visit for the blood test due yesterday.  He hadn’t.  No. 3 son knew that there was a blood test due because when I text No.3 son the day before to find out if the district nurse was coming, and was told not, I sarcastically replied he’ll have to get a taxi then.  He could have offered to take him then.  He didn’t.  He could have offered to arrange the taxi.  He didn’t. He knew that I have to pay someone  to cover work when I take F i Law.  We spoke about it last week.

I was furious.  Yet again my little family, my needs, my work, my husband had all been forgotten and ignored while another member of the family put their wants first.  It didn’t occur to them to OFFER to help.

Husband realised I was really upset by this. REALLY UPSET. He got in touch with No.3 son.  No. 3 son’s response was that F i Law had said he had an appointment at 3pm to get his blood test done.  At 3pm No. 3 son had to collect his children from school so he couldn’t help.

Husband relayed this to me when he got home.  I pointed out that if anyone but me had taken F i Law for a blood test in the last 18 months they would know that he doesn’t have appointments for them.  If No. 3 son had told us he was going I could have told him this and not had to do it again myself.  No.3 son knew that this ‘appointment’ was happening from two conversations with me and that I was going to have to hire cover, but hadn’t asked if he could help or arrange transport.  And why the hell take the word of a 79 year old man with dementia who can’t remember a conversation the hour before?  He should know his father better, but doesn’t because he never deals with him.

Husband said “I’m sure if you had asked he would have helped.”


I also pointed out that husband had left me to check on the carers the previous night, and told me after the visit that

“If you’re not happy you need to write a list of what was wrong.”

Hello!?  Your dad, the carer you arranged because after a few months you can’t cope with dealing with him (I’m up to 19 months now), your responsibility.

Just like the district nurse the sons had taken the first step into doing something for their dad then left me to chase it up.  I pointed this out too.

“Well what do we need to do to find out about the district nurse?”

We don’t need to do anything!  No.3 son needs to follow it up, which he can’t do because No.1 son hasn’t set up the power of attorney like he said he would 6 months ago.  And of course neither you or No.3 son has written the letter the doctor will accept from your dad to get access to his records, explained why we are doing it to your dad, got F i Law to sign it and taken it to the doctor, have you?”

Husband looked sheepish and said “I’ll do it Friday.”

“Good but you shouldn’t have to.  If your older brother had done what he said he would this wouldn’t be a problem.  If your younger brother used some sense….. If I didn’t keep picking up the pieces where would be?”

“If we didn’t do it Dad would be on his own.”

“I realise that,” For heavens sake I know that better than any of them! “but while I keep doing everything, you can all do nothing.  I’m not doing it any more.”

Husband realised I meant it.  He changed his plans to visit his dad that evening (which made 3 visitors in one day!!) and I went out to meet friends and relax.  A rare treat.

He’s told F in Law and No.3 son that I’m not ‘helping’ now.  I don’t know what reason he’s given.  I don’t care.  I can already hear No.3 son’s wife saying “I told you that it would make you ill caring for him.  It’s too much to take on.”  If she, the other Sister in Law, or the two sons had offered anything in the way of support and help I’d still be there with a smile on my face.  But they haven’t – they have used me as a drudge and it’s them that I am angry with.  It’s because they have used me to support their selfish lives, I have stopped.

Unfortunately the people who suffer in this situation are husband (caught in the cross fire), me (guilty conscience) but mostly F in Law.  He’s on his own, and with 3 sons that’s just not right.


3 responses to “The Final Straw

  1. Awesome – some times the line needs to be drawn and you need to step back before you totter over the edge. Your compassion is tremendous.

    • FundeMental says:

      I know that I’ll give in eventually. I can’t the thought of anything happening to him that I could have stopped if I wasn’t being ‘stubborn’ but hopefully the message will be driven home first.

  2. […] another site « The Final Straw Mar […]

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