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Posts Tagged ‘Mum’

  1. Blogging

    February 10, 2015 by superlative

    Someone reminded me today that I haven’t written anything on my blog in ages. It’s true, and it’s a shame, because I used to like writing on here. It’s been a good place to organise my thoughts, or sometimes just to vent. The problem as I’m sure I’ve explained before is that once too much time passes it becomes difficult to pick up blogging again. You can’t write about all the things you’ve missed in the preceding months, but it feels odd to ignore it and have huge gaps in your narrative. So you end up never writing anything.

    I’d like to write from time to time again, so I might just try. Maybe once a week or something. And apologies for any gaps.

    For anyone who has read my past posts and wants and actual update on how things are: Mum is still barking, but is actually a little better health-wise; Horrible Grandad is still dead and I’ll probably never see or speak to that side of my family again, which is a shame; Nice Grandad eventually accepted having carers to help him at home, so is older and frailer but still plodding along somehow; work is good – and I got a promotion!


  2. Stressss

    July 15, 2014 by superlative

    It only seems like a couple of months ago that my Grandad died. In fact it was more than a year now, and I’m not sure where that time has gone. That was my Dad’s dad, and now a year later it feels like it won’t be long until we lose my Mum’s dad too.

    The same as it was with my Horrible Grandad, my Nice Grandad is nearly 90 now and in the last few months his health has suddenly just started to fail. He’s lived in the same house, the house my Mum grew up in, for something like 60 years, and for the last 30 of those he’s lived alone and managed all by himself. But he just can’t do it any more. Unfortunately he hasn’t wanted to accept that he was starting to need help and starting to need to make changes to his home so he could carry on living there, and now everything has suddenly gone crunch and there’s nothing been put in place to help him. And it’s SO stressful because no one knows what to do for him.

    He lives in Hertfordshire about an hour from my Mum and Dad, and my Mum’s sister lives in Canada. Mum’s obviously ill so can’t do very much, and my Dad is having trouble with his heart again and isn’t meant to be over-exerting himself. So there’s no one really that is very nearby. They knew Grandad was starting to get more frail, so Mum has tried for about a year to convince him to make provision, to get a stairlift and to consider that he might need someone to come in regularly like a carer or district nurse or something to check on him, but he just wouldn’t have any of it.

    And now what’s happened? He can’t really manage the stairs, he can’t clean his house, he can’t get his shopping on his own. He just can’t be on his own really. It’s all deteriorated so quickly. Why does it have to happen like that with old people? They get something wrong with them, and suddenly they get something else too, and something else, and their body just can’t cope. Everything gives way all at once.

    So now I’ve got my Mum on the phone several times a week at the end of her tether with worry about him, and I just don’t know what to say to her. She feels bad because she can’t do more for him, and my aunt feels bad for being so far away and puts pressure on my Mum to do more than she can. I’m about two or three hours from Hertfordshire, so I don’t feel like I can realistically do much myself, and we’re all just talking about how difficult it is and not actually fixing anything.

    I just don’t know what to do. If he won’t even allow them to arrange for a carer or anything, what are we supposed to do? He doesn’t want help even though he needs it, and you can’t force him. You can’t kick his door in and install a stairlift and a carer. We’re all just stuck in a horrible stressful limbo and it feels dreadful.

    Urgh.


  3. Something difficult

    May 16, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it

    This is another difficult topic for me, and I’m late starting this post because I haven’t known what to write all day. To be honest, I have a very fortunate life, so finding something to complain about regarding my ‘lot’ isn’t easy. Yes, I have various annoyances and things that stress me out sometimes. But generally I live a secure, comfortable life that would be the envy of many. I’m in a long term relationship with someone I love very much; I have a nice home in a nice town; I have a secure job doing something I quite good at; I’m fairly healthy, minor ailments aside; I have enough money to do pretty much what I  want and I never have to worry about how to pay bills or putting food on the table. It’s a lucky life really.

    Well, not lucky as such, because I have worked quite hard to get a good education, and I’ve always been prudent with money. So some of it is luck and some of it is hard work and being sensible. But whatever.

    There are only two things that I can think of that I suppose I wish were slightly better in my life.

    One is that I struggle a lot with anxiety issues. It’s not all the time, but whenever things go out of my control or I’m in a new situation, I find it very hard. It seems to have got worse in the last ten years or so, possibly because as an adult those occasions come up less frequently and so are felt more acutely. When you’re starting a new school or college or university every few years, you’re used to that change in your life happening, and it’s unavoidable because it’s a part of growing up. You just expect it. Once you’re an adult though, starting a new job or moving house is something you have to decide to do – and that’s where I fall down a bit. Making it my choice means I’m responsible if I get it wrong or make a bad decision, and so I get much more stressed by it. I really don’t like that about myself.

    I’ve got a book on overcoming anxiety which I’ve read and thought was quite useful. It doesn’t really change much though – I just forget it all when I get stressed. I think I’m a bit better for knowing I get anxious – because I’ve also learnt from experience that it will pass, and that an initial freakout I may experience is just that, and it’s not the end of the world.

    But yes, I do wish I wasn’t so anxious. So that’s one thing.

    The second is that I wish my Mum and Chris liked each other more. They get on fine, and they’re perfectly nice to each other, but they wouldn’t seek each other’s company or anything, and if you said to them they could never see each other again I don’t think either would be sorry.

    I do know why they don’t really like each other. With Mum, it’s because she doesn’t really like anyone apart from me, and any partner that I have will be someone who takes my attention away from her. With Chris, it’s because Mum is hard work and not easy company and doesn’t really give very much back. He also doesn’t like that she monopolises my time and has in the past put strain upon our relationship.

    So that’s why, and I get it, and it’s not going to change. But I wish the two of them were more like me and Chris’ Mum. I love Chris’ Mum, and she thinks of me like her own son. I could spend a day on my own with Chris’ Mum just fine. I think she’d probably love that actually. So it’s easy for me to be around her, and to be at her house, and Chris doesn’t have to worry about keeping everyone happy and civil because it just happens on its own. I feel like… I’m papering over the cracks all the time. Or trying to hold loads of barrels together with a bit of rope and they keep threatening to burst out and roll away. 

    So yeah. I’m not doing anything about overcoming this, because I can’t really. People are people, and I’m not the first boy in the world to have a slightly fraught mother/partner relationship. But this and the anxiety thing, they’re both things that I wish were a bit better in my life.


  4. A day in the life

    May 15, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – A day in the life

    It is suggested that you do this topic by taking a photo every hour in your day and uploading it. Well it’s 4.20pm when I’m starting this and I haven’t taken any photos yet and the camera on my phone is shit, so I’m not doing that. You’re getting good old fashioned text instead and you can be grateful.

    Essential background to this post – Mum and Dad have been visiting again, staying in the flat upstairs. They arrived on Sunday afternoon and are leaving today. I was feeling ready for them to go around lunchtime yesterday and I’m mentally exhausted.

    OK? So here’s my day.

    Hear Chris’ alarm clock. Wake up. Realise I don’t have to get up. Snuggle down smugly. Remember Mum and Dad are here. Snuggle down less smugly.

    Get up an hour later. Have an hour left until I’m required to report upstairs for Diligent Son Duty. Wash, dress, drink tea. Savour the peace.

    Go up to see Mum and Dad. Help them pack up their things before their check out time at 11. Mum goes for a rest.

    Check weather forecast. Windy and showers. Mull over what to do.

    Take Mum and Dad to Brighton Garden Centre, because it’s the only indoor thing I can think of. Wander around looking for anything with a cat on that Mum can buy. Check out the cafe to see if they want to have a cup of tea there. It has people in it and is noisy. Mum does not approve, so we don’t stay.

    Drive to Brighton seafront. Visit JAG Art Gallery. Mum makes assistant man get out eight different stained glass trinket things so she can find the colour she likes best. Doesn’t buy one. Says she’ll ‘come back’. She won’t come back.

    Go into main part of gallery. Heart Radio is playing through speakers. Some artists are talking and laughing in the corner. “Why do people always have to make noise?” Mum laments. “I don’t know, because they’re normal?” I think but do not say. We buy a £6 print of a painting of some poppies for Mum.

    Go outside to ‘look at the sea’. It is windy and cold. Look at some dubious cafés for possible lunch. They all have music on but Mum wants to go to one anyway. I know she won’t like it and my patience is wearing a little thin, so I discourage her and we return home.

    Buy baguettes from the Real Patisserie. Eat them at home in my quiet flat. It’s not very exciting but it’s just easier.

    Mum and Dad start dithering about whether to drive home at 2.30pm (YES YES YES) or 7pm. These are the only available options to avoid the traffic, apparently. I subtly steer them towards 2.30pm, because it’s cold and wet outside and I can’t think of anything else to do that’s indoors, quiet and not too energetic. Mum goes for a lie down. I fall asleep on the sofa. Something about having them around makes me want to sleep. It’s like a sleepfield.

    They decide to go at 2.30pm, Mum somewhat reluctantly. I see them off with a cheery wave, then do a little dance in the kitchen, put on music really loudly and clatter about with crockery in celebration of all the things I’m allowed to do again.

    Potter about in my living room. Wait for Chris to come home. Renew our car insurance for something to do. Save us £180 by shopping around, snaps to me. Start writing this blog post.

    Chris comes home and we have Raspberry Martinis with fresh raspberries floating in them. I get a text from Mum saying they’re back safely and shall we speak at 7 on the phone. “YOU JUST LEFT! WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO SAY?” I think.

    Chris and I have dinner – Dr Oetker pizza with potato waffles and some salad stuff he obliges me to have so my diet is marginally more balanced – and we watch an episode of Men Behaving Badly from our DVD box set. Gary is concerned he’s only slept with three women and Tony throws up over the edge of a diving board.

    Play Tomb Raider for half an hour. It’s the new one and it’s really good. I’ve done 98% of it now, just need to find some stupid necklace things to get the last 2%. Might play it through from the start again when I’m finished now I know how to play it without being inept and getting eaten by wolves.

    Speak to Mum on the phone. They had a good journey back and can I look at what dates are available in the flat upstairs in September. THAT’S JUST FOUR MONTHS AWAY. I agree to look but consider saying it’s fully booked.

    Watch Chris play Dragon Age Origins for a bit. His character is in mouse form for a large part of it. I’m not sure why.

    Watch the Apprentice. They make some appalling furniture and don’t deserve to be alive. They should bury them in that stupid box they invented.

    Try to stream an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race but fail due to rubbish internetness, so have to forgo my fix of drag queens.

    Put my stuff out for the morning. Wonder how I’m going to do my formerly full-time job in just one day this week, because of the days off I’ve taken to entertain Mum.

    Read a bit of A Caribbean Mystery in bed. Decide I’d quite like to be Miss Marple.

    Sleep.


  5. A public apology

    May 13, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Issue a public apology

    This is a tricky one. I don’t apologise to people lightly, normally because they don’t deserve it and if anything they should be apologising to ME. But the topic is the topic, so I shall have to make an exception.

    I wish to apologise to Center Parcs. Center Parcs, I am sorry. I stole. I stole from you and I am sorry.

    Specifically, I stole this:

    Donald

    Yes, to my shame it is true, and it is the only time I have ever shoplifted anything. I coveted the Donald Duck badges they had in their gift shop, and even though it only cost about 99p and I was on holiday and had been a very good boy, my Mum refused to buy it for me. I must have been about 7 at the time.

    I’m not sure what caused the impulse to seize me, but after my Mum had denied me the badge, she left the shop and went to a café over the road where my Dad was waiting. I was left alone, staring longingly at the tray of around a hundred of these badges which I now could not have. And a little voice whispered into my head ‘If you were just to pick up one of the badges for a moment, then put your hand into your pocket rather than back into the tray, no one would see you and no one would ever know. It would be so easy.’

    It was rather unlike me. I’m not one to break rules really, even if I don’t agree with them, and I take a dim view of theft. But I REALLY wanted that badge.

    So I took it. With my heart pounding in my chest, I walked past the counter and out of the shop. I got outside and realised no one had even looked at me, let alone challenged me. But I then realised I either had to hide the badge forever or somehow explain my possession of it to my mother.

    Mum waved to me from over the road (it wasn’t really a road – they don’t have many roads at Center Parcs – but it was like a pathway cycle lane thing). Inspiration struck, and with some theatricality I effected a surprised face and stooped to pick up something I had noticed on the ground. OR HAD I?

    ‘Look Mum! I found this on the floor just over there!’

    This was the same badge I had minutes earlier been denied with some degree of whining and pouting on my part. In what world did I think this deeply implausible story was going to be believed?

    IN THIS WORLD, THAT’S FUCKING WHAT!

    ‘Oh that’s lucky,’ my Mum said absently.

    And that was it! Grand theft in a matter of moments, and no investigation or repercussions. I couldn’t believe my luck. All those years of being a good boy paid off right there, when it couldn’t even enter my mother’s head that I might have stolen the badge.

    But I look back with shame on my brief foray into the criminal underworld. I am lucky that my success didn’t give me a taste for it. That badge was not mine to take, it belonged to Center Parcs.

    So Center Parcs, I am sorry.

    I hope this blog post does not come back to haunt me, and preclude me from high office if I am ever vetted for a job.

    I still have the badge somewhere. It’s in a box at my parents’ house. Perhaps it is possessed of some evil energy that causes small boys to commit crimes. Perhaps a forgotten box is the best place for it.

    And the saddest part of the whole episode? I don’t even care for Donald Duck.


  6. I miss my Mum

    May 12, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – What do you miss? 

    I’m not going to make this a particularly long post, because I already go on about my Mum far too much on here. But one of the main things that I miss in my life is my Mum before she got ill.

    I still have my mother around of course, as you no doubt know. But in many ways, and I don’t think she’d disagree with me on this, she’s a different person now to who she was before she got ill in about 2001. And I miss the old Mum, as trying as she could sometimes (often) be, and she misses her too.

    Mum used to be quite an active woman. She swam several times a week and used to enjoy riding about on this hideously womany folding bicycle thing she bought. She was also strong of character, confident and strong willed, and used to spend quite a lot of time making complaints to companies and shops and anybody who disagreed with her.

    The vestiges of my Mum’s personality are still there, but she’s no longer really like that. She’s no longer physically active (although she has started swimming a little bit again this year, which is good). And her lack of energy and state of constant tiredness and irritability mean she doesn’t have the inclination to try to change things that she’s cross about any more. She just feels stressed and anxious about them instead. I feel like her will has been broken and ground down over her years of disability and she doesn’t have any of the confidence she once had. If something unexpected happens, she can’t cope any more and needs someone else to prop her up, and that contrast with her former self makes me sad.

    So that’s it really. I miss my Mum.


  7. What I do

    May 6, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, ‘what do you do’?

    Hmm, this is a tricky one. What do any of us do, apart from our jobs or being in education? I just added it up and going to work (including travel and lunch hours and things) takes up just under half of my waking hours each week. It actually feels like far more than that so I’m a bit surprised, but I suppose you can’t argue with a calculator. So anyway, if I eliminate those hours I’m left with sleeping and whatever I do in between sleeping and going to work. I’m not putting sleeping as my answer, so here are some of the things that I do when I’m not sleeping and not at work and that make up who I am:

    I eat
    I love eating, and I really love eating out. If I could afford it and it wouldn’t make me massive, I’d eat out every single day. I like eating with friends, and finding new and delicious things and then eating them as often as possible. I don’t really cook very much, but I bake a bit and I like that you get a nice cake as a reward for your hard work when you do it.

    I drink cocktails
    I probably drink a bit more than I should, but I do like a nice cocktail after work or at the weekends. We have a bar area in our kitchen and I get quite excited when I see Chris is doing something over there as it might mean I’m going to get a drink in a minute. Sometimes when I’m sitting on the sofa a Martini will just materialise over my shoulder (the kitchen is behind me) and I am informed that it is Cocktail Hour. Who wouldn’t love that?

    I learn bits of languages then stop and pick a different one
    Languages used to be my major passion, but I don’t do this one quite as much as I used to. I do still love them though, and I’ve started lots of different languages over the years. The beginners bit of learning a language is the easy bit you can do on your own, and I generally learn enough to be able to talk a little bit about myself and to get the gist of simple texts and to understand how the grammar works. The grammar is the bit I like best really, and once you understand that you only need a dictionary to be able to make your way through most texts, even if you have to go really slowly. I find there is only so far you can go with self study though, so unless I do a proper course in a language I tend to stall at this point and then just start another one a little while later. The only language I’d say I really speak properly is French, and I can sort of wing it in Italian as long as they don’t say anything unexpected. I don’t mind that I’m not brilliant at any of the others though, it’s the learning of them that I like rather than their usage anyway.

    I look after Chris
    This is a bit of a funny one, because Chris doesn’t really need any looking after. He’s very low maintenance generally. I try to make sure I look after him a bit though and I devote quite a bit of energy to considering what might make him happy. I help him with things, just little jobs and favours really, as much as I can, so that he thinks that I’m useful and worth having around for a bit longer. I’m the only one who knows how to work our washing machine, and I’m holding that as my trump card as I’m sure he can’t do without that. If they ever invent a voice activated washing machine I’m fucked.

    I support my Mum (and Dad)
    This takes up more of my time than it really should. If my Mum is stressed or anxious, she rings me up. If she needs something looked up on the internet, she rings me up. If she’s bored or bickering with my Dad, she rings me up. If her printer won’t turn on, she rings me up. I’ve tried to be as kind and helpful as I can to them, and to be a supportive son since Mum got ill about 12 years ago, but I’ve sort of turned myself into a crutch for them and that’s probably not very good as I don’t know how they’d manage without me now. Mum says ‘I don’t know how I’d manage without you’ to me quite often, so it’s true. They would just manage, of course, because people’s stress expands as far as the people who will listen to it. People come to rely on however much support is available to them. But if I’m talking about what I ‘do’, I do this quite a lot.

    I administrate things
    I look after a lot of the administrative things in our life, and I wouldn’t want to give up control of them even if I could. I sort out the bills, I did all the mortgage and legal stuff when we bought our flat, I research where we can get the best rate on our savings and then move them around when needed. I could easily steal all of Chris’ money if I wanted to, because he trusts that I’ll put it somewhere safe and give it back to him if he asks for it. I like putting things in alphabetical order and arranging books on shelves (the correct way is to pull them all forwards until they are all flush with one another – none of this some shoved in more than others business). I suppose part of me doing all this is related to the section above about looking after Chris, because his job means he can’t make phone calls in the day or look things up on the internet whenever he wants, so it makes sense for me to do it. But also I just LIKE it. I like order. That’s why I like grammar – it’s ordered, and all the words have to line up in their proper places or be executed by red pen firing squad. I used to work in a library, and after university I was an administrator for quite a few years, and it suited me.

    So what do I do? I eat nice things and drink nice things and sit with Teach Yourself Swedish on my lap. In between I file things and look things up and try to help the people I love by offering them administrative services. I don’t think I’ve ever summed myself up better in two sentences.


  8. What I’ve been up to

    March 8, 2013 by superlative

    I haven’t written since Christmas about anything that I’ve actually done, so in order to try to get back up to date, and to make Lee shut his cakehole, I’m just going to do a little post now to cover what’s been going on in my life.

    Thing are going fine in our flat still. We have continued to make small improvements to it every now and then, including redecorating our guest bedroom. That’s the first bit of decorating we’ve ever done, and it came out quite well really.

    We have hopefully fixed the massive hump that we get in our hall floor during the summer too, which was caused by the poor laying of the wood flooring. Last summer it looked like the whole lot was going to split, so we couldn’t leave it any longer really. Chris has since lopped 5cm off the end of it with a massive chisel, and with a bit of luck he’ll have lopped off right bit for the wood to expand when it wants to.

    We may also have fixed the pigeon problem that was ruining our decked patio (they used to roost on part of our building’s fire escape and then crap all over our lovely decking). I got a quote ages ago from a bird control company about putting some netting or something up, and they laughably wanted £1,300 for it. So we thought fuck that, and after much deliberation and planning and sketching ideas on a bit of paper, Chris climbed up the rickety old cast iron ladder and we’ve hung our own net up there. It’s been four months so far, and there have been NO pigeons. The netting and the clips and things only cost us about £12, so I think that’s a big win for us and £1,288 I should be able to spend on presents for myself. We haven’t actually had any nice weather since we put the netting up (it was November), but I’m hoping that come the summer we might be able to use the patio a bit more now and maybe have a glass of wine out there on warm summer evenings.

    Noise from the flat above us has still occasionally been a problem, but we had a blissful period where it wasn’t rented out at all during January and much of February, and that was really nice. The rentals have started back up again now, but I am trying very hard to be more relaxed about it (because I’m so well known for being relaxed and easy going). Things I need to keep reminding myself are: the flat is often empty, especially midweek and in the winter; some people have noisy neighbours above them ALL the time, so we’re lucky ours is intermittent; many people who stay there are quite quiet; you can’t live under other people and have no noise at all (so I’ll never be buying a flat under other people again, but anyway); and we have earplugs for when it is noisy that are AMAZING. Seriously, they’re called Hearos, they’re American, and they are simply the best earplugs I’ve ever used or heard of. I can’t recommend them highly enough if you have noisy neighbours, and they’re so comfortable you barely know they’re in.

    I still get a little bit stressed about the noise, particularly if we have guests because I feel so bad if they get disturbed in the night. I also get annoyed if I think too hard about the woman who owns the flat because, nice as she always is to us, essentially she doesn’t really care if we get disturbed, she just wants the money from the flat (and at £125 a night she must be RAKING it in).

    On the job front, I am currently still working two days a week in my new and much more interesting web development role at the university, and three days doing my regular job. It’s still officially a ‘temporary’ arrangement though, and I’m hoping very much to get something more permanent agreed this month. The best case scenario for me I think would be to move full-time into the new role, but they may not have the money or the work for me to do that. Worst case would be to go back to doing five days a week in my regular job, which is increasingly boring. I’ve positioned myself fairly well in the new role though, and tried to make people think I’m helpful and produce good work, so I’ll have just to wait and see.

    I think that’s most of my news really. Mum and Dad are coming to stay again in May, which is a bit earlier than I thought they’d be back (it was only September last time), so I’m sure I’ll get a bit stressed about that as the time approaches. Dad has had some cardiac tests and investigations done, but still no news on why he blacked out those times. He hasn’t blacked out since anyway, so that’s something. And I’m going on holiday to Sitges again, with friends this time, at the end of May after Mum and Dad have gone. So that should be fun, and I’m desperate for some sunshine. I’m so sick of being frozen or soaked on my way to work on the stupid bus every day.

    I’m going to try to intermingle some of these posts about my life with other opinion pieces on news or things I find interesting  because it’s a bit boring just reading about my life if you don’t know me. My brother enjoys keeping up to date on what I’ve been doing apparently, but that’s probably about it. Feel free to write THIS WAS BORING in the comments box below and I’ll try to adjust accordingly.


  9. Something wicked that way went

    October 3, 2012 by superlative

    I never got around to writing about how my parents’ trip to Brighton went a couple of weeks ago. They did come in the end, despite Dad’s black-out-in-the-lake disaster, and Mum did decide to let him drive because it was just easier.

    Their visit went fine, although the same as last year I found it quite stressful having them around and I was thoroughly worn out by the time they went away again. We didn’t have any major issues this year though, and I didn’t end up shouting “This is a fucking disaster!” at them in a pub like last time.

    We did a few nice things together, including going on the Brighton Wheel, having a walk on the pier, and going up to Devil’s Dyke for lunch. It was nice to see them really, and getting away from home for a bit seemed to do both of them a lot of good. Mum always likes the sea air, and I think it’s just good for their mental health for them to be in a different environment for once and to have some different company. Otherwise they’re just at home together the whole time, they have no real friends, and they drive each other a bit loopy.

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted a picture of them on here, but this is what they look like if you were wondering:

    Mum is hiding under her hat, but you can sort of see them both.

    The worst bit for me when they visit really is my preoccupation with ensuring Chris doesn’t get too fed up or annoyed. He always says it’s fine, and when it came to it yes it was absolutely fine, but because I don’t want people to fall out I get quite wound up about it. Both times that they’ve come have been Sunday to Wednesday in any case, which means Chris is at work during the day, and he only sees them for a couple of hours at dinner time each evening so it doesn’t really have the scope to be that much of a problem. Nobody likes having their in-laws to stay though, even if it is in the flat upstairs, and that was partly why I was so glad when they got off safely at the end.

    The next two times I spoke to Mum on the phone after they left, she told me she was ‘not bad’ and then ‘fine’ when I asked how she was. That never, EVER happens, and is the most positive response I’ve had from her for years, so the trip really must have done them good.

    Dad has been alright too since his black out and hasn’t had any more. He turned all pale when he stood up and then sat back down quickly the other day apparently, but to me that just makes it sound even more like his blood pressure is just too low for some reason. His hospital appointment is on Monday and my brother is taking him there, so hopefully they’ll just scan his brain and rule out some of the more dire things we’ve been imagining it could be. I guess we’ll just see what happens.


  10. Further adventures of the gypsy curse

    September 7, 2012 by superlative

    I have written quite a few times previously about my parents’ gypsy curse, and if you flick back through my posts about it there are some quite amusing (sort of) incidents of bizarre and unfortunate things happening to them. They tend to have about, oh, one a month or something like that? And they range from the mildly inconvenient to the severely disruptive or expensive.

    This week they’ve had one of their more serious and upsetting ones, so of course I had a lovely phone call from my distressed mother about it on Tuesday night. I’m expecting her to ring me about it again in a minute actually, what joy.

    A few months ago my Dad got up out of his armchair, walked across the living room, and keeled over backwards onto the dining table having fainted. He bashed his back, but he came round fairly quickly and seemed to be more or less OK afterwards. I think he did see the doctor about it, because Mum felt he was on too high a dose of anti-depressants and that they might have caused it, and the doctor reduced his dose a bit and he seemed to be OK.

    Tuesday was a nice sunny day, and as Dad is unemployed (we’re calling him ‘retired’ now, as he’s no longer actually looking for work) and has no commitments, he took his bike out for a ride round at a place called Whipps Cross near where my parents live. I don’t know if he went through choice or because Mum wanted him out of the house for a while, but either way he went.

    He rode round for a bit, stopped somewhere, lent his bike against a tree, walked a few steps, and promptly blacked out. And fell. Into a lake.

    Now, it’s quite lucky I suppose that he somehow fell (I don’t know how this worked) backwards into the lake, rather than face first. And that he didn’t drown, or fall into moving traffic or anything like that. He doesn’t know how long he was out for, but he woke up in the water and staggered out and was helped by two passers by. He was wet from head to foot, and they wanted to call him an ambulance, but he said no he was feeling better now and dissuaded them.

    The silly sod then proceeded to walk the 15 minutes home, pushing his bike, ringing wet, and turned up there shortly afterwards. God knows what he must have looked like. I suppose he didn’t think he had much choice though – Mum couldn’t come to get him, he couldn’t get a taxi as he was wet and had his bike, and he didn’t want an ambulance. So he walked. At least it was a warm day.

    Mum made him go to the doctors that afternoon, which in typical male fashion he didn’t want to do, and he’s been referred to a neurological unit for some tests in October. We know he’s got low blood pressure already, and that he’s almost guaranteed to get diabetes at some point. My Gran found out she had diabetes when she passed out in a market at about the age of 60. So I think that’s a fairly likely explanation, but the doctor didn’t agree as his blood tests six months ago didn’t show any signs of diabetes yet. So I don’t know what’s going on really. I would rather it be the blood pressure or diabetes, because at least there are ways of managing that, instead of it being something awful like a brain tumour. I really don’t know what would happen if he died, as Mum can’t really look after herself. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

    The doctor said he can still drive but should be ‘very careful’. Mum thought that was retarded, because he’s had no warning at all when he’s passed out these two times, so she worries he’ll just pass out at the wheel and plough into something. She has sort of forbidden him from driving on the motorway at least, but that creates its own set of problems because they were meant to be coming to visit me in a week to stay in the flat above us again. I don’t think they’d be able to get their money back at this short notice if they cancelled, and they’d been looking forward to it. So that’s a problem and I don’t know what’s going to happen about it. I don’t personally think he’ll pass out at the wheel because it’s rare to faint sitting down, but whether Mum will decide to relent and they’ll just come anyway I don’t know.

    So yes, the gypsy curse still rages on, and it’s a bit exhausting. In some ways I’d rather they both just got struck by lightning and have done with it, as at least that would be quick.