Life Sparkles ✨

Devastated.

According to the online dictionary I have just used, the word “Devastated” means “to cause (someone) severe and overwhelming shock or grief”.  I have to say, that sounds about right.

Unbelievably I am back into a surreal nightmare.  Just four months after losing Dad, my beautiful fairy of a Mom passed away suddenly and peacefully during the late afternoon of Saturday 8th June.  How can this be happening?  How can I have lost them both within such a short space of time?  Suddenly I am plunged into this unreal world of pain, loss and nothing to do.  Yes, I’m busy once again arranging a funeral, sorting out administration and trying to adapt to a house of just me.  But I was a full time carer.  My day wasn’t my own, I was on the go all the time and now…I’m sitting wondering what to do.  It feels like someone has driven a bulldozer right through my life, everything is destroyed, everything has gone, what am I supposed to do now?

Mom was healthy, the doctor had checked her out and all observations were normal. Mom had been telling me for a week or so beforehand that she was going to God.  Not a day went by that she didn’t tell me this and she sounded excited about it.  One night she told me that Dad was in the room.  Another when I was struggling with her bedclothes she told me to shhhh as Jesus was there.  Another night she called me at 3:15 am to tell me she was going to God.  For days beforehand she was completely lucid, absolutely no confusion at all.  On the Saturday she went to God, I had decided to put Mass from Knock Shrine on the TV as we hadn’t had it on much since Dad passed.  I answered the prayers, Mom rubbed my hand.  I started to answer the Rosary as they said it at Knock.  Half way through the TV turned itself off.  At the same time, Mom’s breathing changed and within ten minutes, no matter how much I cried or begged her to stay, she went to God and she went to God with a huge beautiful smile on her face.  Whatever or whoever she had seen my wonderful Mom was happy.

I’m not really in the mood for anything much but as I have time on my hands and writing my blog helps me, I’m sitting here typing away because I need something to do, I need to write, I need to cry and I want to scream.

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Mama and Dad on holiday in Galway a lifetime ago, now reunited in heaven.

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The house is full of beautiful flowers at the moment.

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The house is also silent apart from the sound of my tears.  Death is so final, you are helpless to prevent it when the time comes.  As my Mom would say, you can’t alter God’s Plan.

Life Sparkles ✨

Lost.

I don’t know what other word to use, I’m absolutely and totally lost.  So much has happened since my last couple of blog posts.  I had meant to continue with my story of Mom’s broken wrist which resulted in her becoming immobile which then resulted in a ten-day hospital stay due to severe dehydration, chest infection and low levels of various vitamins we need in our body.  Mom is currently on a hospital bed in our lounge. She is happy, she is much healthier and she can walk; as in she has the strength and ability to walk, it’s just down to fear/confidence and of course the state of confusion from her cognitive degeneration on the day which dictates if she will walk or not.

But I didn’t get to blog in-depth about these things, to write it down, to let it out because other events took over.  Dad was not well.  He had various medical issues for years which were all being managed by the Doctor and his medication.  However the end of last year he was getting weaker, feeling dizzy and his blood pressure was becoming very low.

Dad’s 92 birthday was on 19th January and the following week he became very ill indeed. We had an emergency admission to hospital on the Thursday evening after the Doctor had been to see us twice at home due to Dad’s increasing weakness.  On the Saturday afternoon Dad took a turn for the worse and the Doctor said he was very sorry but Dad didn’t have long left, his body was shutting down.  What happens to our brains when we hear these words?  I was still standing up?  I was crying but I was still breathing and I immediately went into protection mode for my Dad.  I stayed with him, I held him, I cuddled him, I talked to him, I told him I loved him and thanked him for being the most amazing Dad. I told him I would always look after Mom. I held his hand, I told him to go fly with the angels and he did in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The feeling of what I can only call energy around his bed was incredible, it steadily grew all afternoon, into the evening and onwards until he crossed over.  Half of my worst nightmare had happened, I had lost my Dad.  Yet I felt some peace as I was with him and he had been at peace and no pain.  Two of my cousins were with me as was my best friend and they took over to look after me.  My boyfriend was home looking after Mom. Mom knew we were at hospital but not how bad things were.

Somehow, with the help of my cousins I did all the formalities and arranged a funeral. I’m sure I had guidance from above as I just seemed to know what hymns to choose, what clothes Dad would have wanted to wear, the appropriate readings etc.  We had the funeral on 14th February, Valentines Day and it was a day full of perfect love.  It was even warm and sunny.

Mom doesn’t yet know what has happened, under medical advice for now not to tell her as it could have a detrimental effect on her health.  I am however convinced by middle of the night talks she is having with “someone” and the words that are being spoken, that she knows somewhere deep inside what has happened.

The loneliness is indescribable; Dad and I were always chatting about something or other.  Once the carer leaves mid afternoon that’s it for me and Mom until the following day.  Sometimes Mom is chatty, sometimes we put our music on and sometimes Mom is sleepy and I sit there, thinking, reading, online, catching up on messages but my heart isn’t in anything much apart from looking after Mom.

My man has been so supportive, he was over here every night for a month, cooking in advance to make sure I eat and generally looking after me so I can look after Mom. We got this down to three nights a week and this week we are down to two nights a week. It is a fifty mile round trip for him and he has his own Mom to look after plus he works from home.  He was getting so tired out and I know, I have to learn to live with this horrible new normal.  My friends and cousins too have been so supportive with their calls and messages and my online friends too have been great.  It’s one of those times isn’t it when no-one knows exactly what to say.

I wasn’t sure whether to blog about this, writing has helped me in the past and I can’t let my tears out unless there is someone to sit with Mom and I can escape so perhaps this blog post will be a little therapeutic for me.

I feel like a lost little girl who is having to be very grown up and responsible and look after things the grown up’s always looked after.  People tell me how strong I am. I don’t feel strong, I feel I’m a mess yet we keep going.  Our world has fallen apart never to be the same again yet the world keeps on turning.

I’m rambling, more so than usual.  I had so many happy things to blog about; my music, going to see Home Free  but I never got around to those posts.  We started to put a website together for my music and that too has been left.

It has helped in a scrambled kind of way to offload on my blog.  I was wondering if I would bother to blog again.  Then I thought of a favourite blogger Often Called Cathy who always manages to find something positive no matter how bad things are and it made me think.   I was truly blessed to have Dad as my Dad, I was also blessed to have him for so long in my life and it was a complete privilege to be able to care for him over the past years and to be with him as he crossed to the next life.

I made Dad three promises in January; that I would always look after Mom, that I wouldn’t lose my sparkle and that I wouldn’t give up on my music.  The first is easy right now, I’ll work on the other two.

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Roses Mom and I sent to Dad for his birthday.

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The Snowdrops are out.

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The love goes on.

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I had a walk around the block yesterday, get some fresh air, the daffodils are in abundance.

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Every day x

 

Life Sparkles ✨

A broken wrist…

…that’s how this latest sequence of events got started. I heard movement via the baby monitor, I rushed out of bed but I just didn’t get to Mom in time, I heard the thud as I entered her room as she fell to the floor. Dad presses his Careline alarm, the ambulance was on the way, it was 6 am on a late September Tuesday morning.

Thankfully the only bone breakage was Moms wrist. She hit her head and knee when she fell but all appeared to be well. After all the X-ray’s and tests we were taken to the “Elder Care Day Unit” for further assessment prior to discharge. Not much happened here to be honest. A Doctor spoke to me about DNR (do not resuscitate), which frightened the life out of me, what were they talking about, Mom had broken her wrist and her obs were fine! Blood tests all fine too. A lady spoke to me about it being better to be home to heal which I agreed with especially as Dad was currently at home with the carer. The lady made a comment about older people who stay in hospital “not going home if you understand me”. Again I was perplexed, we are dealing with a broken wrist, not heart surgery.

The unit closes at 4pm, it was obvious they wanted us gone by then. They wheeled us down to the coffee shop to await our lift home. I didn’t check Mom’s mobility, I never even thought about it, neither did they. When it was time to get into the car Mom couldn’t stand up, never mind walk. She was frightened and had pain. Two paramedics were close by and they helped Mom to get into the car. We started the journey home.

Half way home Mom experienced a low blood pressure crash, she was quite unwell. We stopped the car and called for the paramedics. They arrived within thirty minutes by which time Mom had recovered. They didn’t want to traumatise her day further by taking her from the car to the ambulance for further checks. Better to get home and call them again if required. We were just five minutes from home. I asked if they could follow us home but unfortunately they couldn’t.

We reached home. It was 7pm, a very long, exhausting day for Mom. It took four of us, thirty minutes to get Mom from the car to the chair lift seat in the hallway. She was so tired out she was bent double with her eyes closing, desperately trying to put one foot in front of the other with the aid of the walking frame and four of us. I honestly thought we’d never get inside. Another low blood pressure crash and more paramedics. They lifted Mom into her chair in the lounge, checked her obs which were all good and Mom was a little more settled. Dad was crying with the trauma of it all and I honestly don’t know how I held it together. A friend who lives close by had come to support me and once Mom was safely in the lounge I cried and cried and cried as my friend comforted me in the kitchen.

Slowly as it became late night, carers left, neighbours left and my friend also had to leave. I started to make some phone calls. I needed some support. I was alone, I felt isolated and unprepared to deal with things alone. There was nothing. For all the emergency back up I thought I had in place for these situations, everything failed, I was the wrong type of emergency.

It had been one hell of a day, it was just the start of things to come.

This is why I have been missing from my blog for three months and very sporadic on social media. Life has altered so much at home, a lot of changes and I’ve been full on, all things to everyone is how it feels. Trying to get to grips with everything, keep on top of everything, looking after the changing care needs of my parents has been exhausting. I decided to write about it all in chunks, it will help me process the journey to where we are now as Christmas rapidly approaches. Who would think a small break to the wrist could be so life altering?!

Over the following few days we received some beautiful flowers from friends and relatives who came to visit us. I was struck by the Yellow theme, it made me feel my Sister was close to us, helping us from heaven.

I’ll be back with the next chapter as soon as I can.

With love and sparkles xx

Life Sparkles ✨

Has it been that long?

Well yes it appears it has been a month since I managed to get to my blog.  Mid September already, the long hot beautiful Summer is already becoming a memory as we drift into the cooler days and shorter evenings of Autumn.

It has been busy, as usual.  Caring really is a full time, 24/7, no days off, no night off, profession so I take my breaks when I can.  As you know the past five months Dad has experienced illness after illness after illness.  It has been so tough on him, on Mom and on me.  Dad has gone from being able to do quite a few things for himself and his chosen jobs around the house to not being able to do very much at all, so it has fallen to me.

We’ve had a great run again of getting to bed at night, 42 nights in a row broken only the other night when Mom decided to stay up.  So we start counting again.  42 nights is amazing, it has been years and years since we have had any good run of getting to bed and we’ve had two good runs so far this year.  I’m aware that Sundown season is approaching but fingers crossed.

Over the past two weeks Dad has slowly, and I mean slowly, started to show signs of improvement.  He has managed to eat small amounts regularly which in turn has assisted with keeping that dreadful gunk he was coughing up all night and day, at bay. He still has the cough and the gunk but it is vastly reduced.  He is managing to get some sleep at night, another benefit.  He is feeling a bit better in himself, he is chatting more, watching the news again and has even reached for his diary and prayer books.  These are all good signs of Dad feeling a little better in himself.

Mom bless her has been so supportive of him, caring for him, advising him and trying to help him in her own way.  Sometimes she has been very frightened when the cough and gunk has been in full flow.  Somehow we have managed to come through the past five months.  I thank God every night for giving us another blessed day together as a family.

In the meantime, I have lots to share on the music front, some of which you may have seen on my social media which I have stepped up a gear.  I will update the music blog as soon as I can.  I have been reading your blogs as they come through on my email, when you are up at night and you need to stay awake they make excellent reading and I love them, they make me feel connected, thank you.

A few photo’s from the past month or so, with love and sparkles xxx

A random lunch with one of my friends and yes I had that dessert again but we did share.  Love my cup of coffee in the mornings.

Delighted that my Shamrock has started to grow again after the heavy snow and frost had killed it off earlier this year.  My little tubs and baskets didn’t do too badly either this Summer.

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And Snapchap still makes me giggle and does away with the wrinkles…Go Snapchat!!!

Life Sparkles ✨

How long has it been?!!

Mid August already!! How is this possible?  I have come to the conclusion that the reason I am on the go all the time and still don’t get everything done is because time is just moving too quickly these days…or am I just getting old?

I have a “to do” list a mile long but I have missed writing my blog so I’ve made myself a cup of coffee and decided to do a quick catch up post.  Thankfully I receive emails updates from my favourite blogs so I have kept more or less up to date with your lovely blog posts and of course I have my comments to make…that’s on the “to do” list.

Well since I last wrote poor Dad has been unwell again bless him.  We had that slight improvement and then things went downhill.  Once again the throat played up and we have a vicious circle going on.  Dad has no appetite as he has no taste on the food and his throat is sore. Because he is not eating so well he is weak, frail and has a mixture of reflux and other acid forcing it’s way up in the most awful coughing I have ever heard.

Another attack of Thrush or so we thought but after a week of treatment the white patches were still there.  The Dr tried another medication which has helped clear up the patches, reduce the soreness and in turn Dad has persevered to eat more substantial food which in turn has meant that the acid is reducing, the cough is reducing and he is getting some sleep at night.  I feel for him, this bout of illness, one thing after another, has been going on since just before Easter.  He is wore out.

In my last update I was celebrating a run of 33 days of going to bed, Oh I spoke too soon. July ran at two nights a week no bed and also into the start of August, we are having a good week this week…shhhh.  Mom is such a little darling though, she has been amazing looking after Dad in her way.  All that nursing knowledge is still there. So beautiful to watch them sitting hand in hand watching the TV and singing along with You Tube.   One night when I was tucking her into bed she thanked me for caring.  I said “Mom you don’t have to thank me at all”  and her reply was that it isn’t everyone that would give up their life to look after two old spirits.  I could have just wept there and then.  I don’t feel I have given up my life.  Undoubtedly my life has  completely changed but I have to say that I have an inner happiness and peace now that I didn’t have whilst on the corporate daily slog although I enjoyed that.  Such importance is placed on meetings, deadlines, payment times, performance reviews etc in that world but to me, in the grand scheme of things, those things don’t really matter to life.  I don’t miss the stress and anxiety of the corporate world.

In the midst of all of this, it was my birthday and we actually had a lovely weekend.  My chap was over for the weekend, I was so lucky to receive so many cards and some beautiful gifts.  Himself even bought me flowers which he never does and oh yes, I asked him what he had done!!  I have a few photo’s to share with you below.  There is much happening with the singing at the moment which I will write in another post.  I’m hoping that this is just the busy period, setting everything up and once it’s done, it’s done and I can get back to just singing when I can.

With love and sparkles until the next time xxx

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A simple thing but I really love the Twitters birthday balloons!

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My chap and I actually got out for a birthday meal together and this was my dessert and I enjoyed every single mouthful.  Meringue, Strawberries, Chantilly Cream, Pistachio’s, absolutely delicious and it was like a holiday.  The carer sat with  M & D and I had a whole three hours out.

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My beautiful flowers from himself.

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The snapchat fun photo – is anyone else missing the heatwave?  I loved the hot weather especially for getting the washing dry…we have loads of washing in this house!!

 

 

Life Sparkles ✨

Acting Quickly.

Last week was a lesson for me in how quickly illness can escalate in elderly people.  I have been so cautious all during the Winter to prevent Mom, Dad and myself from getting any kind of cold or flu.  We all had our flu jabs.  Mom and Dad have already had their pneumonia jabs.  Visitors did not call if they had any bugs until they were long gone.  With all the pre Winter scare stories of flu epidemics due to hit us and the stress our hospitals and emergency departments were under, I wanted to ensure they stayed well.  As they are elderly, I knew if they caught anything it wouldn’t be easy to get rid of.

It all started on the Thursday evening, Mom became hoarse as the evening drew on. On Friday morning she wasn’t any worse but I decided to ask the Dr to check on her, just in case it would spread to her chest.  Mom is generally very healthy. However, the weekend was coming and our own Dr’s wouldn’t be available.  A Dr from our surgery called in the afternoon and checked on Mom.  He was happy that her chest was clear and noted that she had a slight tough of Laryngitis, take paracetamol and drink plenty of fluids. (Easier said than done with Mom).  By Saturday morning Mom had regained some of her voice but she appeared to have a lot of phlegm in her throat.  She slept, and slept, and slept.  All day long. As she slept, the sound of the phlegm was cracking away in her throat and I felt this just wasn’t right for Laryngitis. I couldn’t rouse her for her dinner and she continually fell asleep mid sentence.  I called the out of hours service, gave them the details and awaited the call back.  I spoke to a Dr on the telephone who agreed this was not Laryngitis related.  He would send a GP out to assess.

11pm Saturday night the GP arrived and as he examined Mom he said he was not happy with her Oxygen levels, they were dangerously low and he would send for an urgent ambulance as she needed to get to hospital. With that he left me a letter and left saying he would call the ambulance enroute to his next call. I was beside myself with worry, stress, panic and yet had to stay calm to deal with the situation.  I had a bag to pack for hospital.  I had care to arrange to stay with Dad whilst Mom and I were gone.  I was frightened.

The paramedics arrived within minutes. They did their own checks and the oxygen levels were fine but they did agree Mom required hospital treatment.  Mom wouldn’t budge.  She wasn’t feeling unwell at all.  It reminded me of when she broke her hip and felt no pain at all.  She didn’t feel unwell now so why was she going to hospital.  Bless the paramedics, they tried for at least an hour but no way would she go.  They gave me the advice of what to look out for and to call 999 if anything changed.  They also said that however I did it, I needed to get her to hospital on Sunday for treatment as this was now suspected pneumonia.  Mom had gone back to sleep.  Our neighbour was here to stay with Dad as our carer was unable to locate childcare so late into the night time.

An hour later Mom’s breathing was very laboured, I called 999, an ambulance arrived, this time three more fantastic paramedics. Again they tried and tried to get her to go with them but no way at all would she entertain it.  I was beside myself with stress, fear, worry and also felt totally helpless.  We discussed mental capacity; as Dad and I were both here they would not take her by force.  The chief paramedic was happy enough with her stats to leave her here with me to make the call on Sunday.  Hospital on Sunday was a must.

8 am Sunday morning I could see a slight blue tinge to Mom’s lips as she slept.  Our carer was here by then and she agreed with me.  Again I called 999 and again absolutely wonderful paramedics arrived.  It took some time, a little trickery, a lot of persuasion and eventually Mom was captured in the chair, wrapped in a blanket and on her way to the ambulance.  Myself and the carer travelled with her.

As we had the letter from the Dr we didn’t have to wait at accident and emergency, we could go straight through to the Assessment Ward.  It was such a long day, a very long day.  Stats taken, bloods taken, lots of sleeping.  The Dr came to see Mom.  Fluids and Antibiotics were administered via IV and within half an hour, there was a very much brighter little fairy sitting up on the bed.  The consultant came to visit Mom with the Dr. They wanted to take an x-ray to check for signs of pneumonia.  They were hopeful we had caught this at chest infection stage.

X-ray taken and we waited, and waited and waited.  We heard a nurse say all the IT systems were down, nothing could be reviewed, patients couldn’t be admitted or discharged.  We were moved to a ward for the night.  Mom was agitated now.  The nurses have to move quickly and get things done, they don’t have time to sit and talk Mom into moving from one bed to another.  Mom’s confusion set in and it took over two hours for her mood to settle.  The Dr visited us around 10pm Sunday night, he was happy that there wasn’t any pneumonia on the x-ray, we had caught it in time.  He felt Mom would heal better at home in her own environment. More antibiotics were administered through the IV and we were given antibiotic syrup to take for five days.

The next hurdle was to get home.  At first Mom wouldn’t move.  Thankfully our lovely carer had returned from sorting out her sons’ school uniforms for Monday and she was able to talk Mom into going home.  Mom would not sit on the chair to be wheeled to the entrance, she insisted on walking.  It was a long walk for her.  Again I was stressed out; how would the walk go, would she be able for it, at least we were in hospital.  My fairy of a Mom made the walk slowly, sat into the carer’s car and chatted all the way home.

When we got back, Mom sat into her favourite chair, drank tea and fell asleep.  She was already feeling so much better than earlier that morning.  Dad was now coming down with something so it was a call to our own GP on Monday morning and Dad was examined Monday afternoon, a chest infection building and antibiotics prescribed.

It has been a hard week in more ways than one.  I’ve had a rush of different feelings and emotions, from frantic worry and stress of possibly losing Mom to relief that it was caught in time to worry about Dad getting a chest infection on top of his other ailments. By the end of the week I was coming down with something. Tiredness, stresses, strains, worries all added to sleeplessness to make me feel unwell…but who cares for the carer?

Mom has recovered very well thank god.  Sleeping all day on the Saturday with no intake of fluids or food had increased her confusion hence her refusal to comply with the paramedics and go to hospital.  I have to say that usually Mom is fabulous with anyone from the health profession, being an ex nurse herself.  Dad has also recovered well although he seems tonight to be heading for another cold of some sort.  That’ll be Doctors again tomorrow.

Once again I find myself thanking and being very thankful for our absolutely amazing National Health Service and the Dr’s, the nurses, trainee’s and our wonderful paramedics. They do the most amazing job, 24/7 and they are worth their weight in gold. Whatever they get paid it just isn’t enough for what they do.

I’m still finding it incredible that slight Laryngitis Friday afternoon had become suspected pneumonia by Saturday night.  You really do need to be aware and hawk eye as a carer.  If I had left it one more day it would have been a very different story.

In these cases, the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming.  It was all happening around me and very little I could actually do but be there.

This is a fairly long blog post from me which is kind of unusual.  I love my blogging, I find it therapeutic and almost like a diary of my life events.  I needed to write this episode down, to process my thoughts and try to deal with them.

Thank you for listening x

 

 

 

 

Life Sparkles ✨

A Mixed Week.

Autumn has well and truly set in although we have moved from very warm days to very cold days and most things in-between. This particular week of October is a mixed emotional time for us. The 22nd is my parents Wedding Anniversary and last Sunday they were married 57 years. No big, expensive weddings back then; church and then for a hooley at the pub with good friends and family. I’m not sure this year that Mom took much notice of the anniversary. We chatted about the wedding, they talked about the guests, the dancing and going home to Ireland on honeymoon but this year Mom was not in the mood to sign the anniversary card for Dad. I just couldn’t seem to catch her at the right time to do this. However, she was more than happy with the Rose I arranged to send to Dad from her.  Not that he minded not having the card of course, he was only too happy to have Mom with him. It was a happy Saturday together.

Mom and Dad on their Wedding Day and celebration flowers.

October 25th this year was the 11th anniversary of my Sister’s passing. It was sudden, a shock and I feel we all changed in some way almost immediately. She was on holiday in Cyprus with her husband, got a terrible headache and lay down and never came back to us. A massive sub arachnoid haemorrhage. I talk to her everyday, sometimes when times are tough I ask her why she left me to look after things all alone.  Whenever she loved something, a book etc she would tell me it was magic. On the day she went to heaven I was standing watching out of the window waiting for my parents to arrive home. I quite clearly heard her say to me “it’s magic here Dawnie, it’s magic” and I answered by asking her why did she have to be the one who had to go there to find out. A minute later my niece telephoned to say my sister was gone.

My beautiful sister Christine on her Wedding Day.

Friday 27th, today, was to be my Graduation Ceremony at the beautiful Symphony Hall in Birmingham. My ceremony was to take place in the morning and I was stressed about this. I’m always at home in the morning to help with the getting up, the getting dressed, sorting out breakfast and keeping things on an even keel until things settled in the afternoon. Every email or text I received about the graduation made my tummy turn with anxiety. Even though I had arranged for the carer to be here, I knew, deep down I would be too stressed out to enjoy the day. I decided to defer until next year and hopefully I’ll get an afternoon slot. Wow, that feeling when a weight lifts off your shoulders, definitely the right decision. My boyfriend will still come over for the weekend, I’ll wear my new dress, I’ll drink fizz and we’ll go for our celebration meal…all being well.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

 © @aurorasparkles

Life Sparkles ✨

Ramblings.

Once again it has been a while. Far too long in fact. It has been so busy but then when isn’t it busy?!! The amount of times I’ve sat down with the intention of updating my blog, of posting the latest thoughts, happenings and general day to day of life and yet for one reason or another it just doesn’t happen.

After my “Leap of Faith” blog post about giving up the day job to care full time for my parents, things took a decidedly, let’s say “unfriendly”, “unsympathetic” turn with my manager at work and I experienced a very stressful, pressured and upsetting three weeks during May. After a fight back from me, things during my notice period have settled back and my final working day is Friday 30th June.

I have mixed feelings about this. After all, it is the end of an era for me, the end of the “day job”, the end, for now, of my career as a “City Chick” in the corporate world. Yet there is something quite liberating about this change. I thought I would feel sadness at training someone to do my role and handover tasks and I haven’t at all, I’ve enjoyed doing it. Time to hand the baton on so to speak. 

I’m enjoying looking after my parents, being “Mom”, although I’d much prefer not to be having to do this, this is where I am, I love them and I’m going to be as positive as I can about my new chapter in life with them and caring for them. Thankfully we are still at a stage where I can have a little me time to spend on my music, more studies, a little voluntary work from home and yes blogging, expect to see lots more blogging!

This particular post was supposed to be me, owning up that I had fallen back into awful unhealthy eating habits as I recovered post op and how with the hot weather this week I had redeemed myself…that one will have to wait for another day, soon…I promise, soon.

So I’ll say bye for now with a photo of my hanging basket which I am so proud of. Not known for my green finger prowess I cannot believe I managed to grow this from scratch. I might make a domestic goddess of myself yet!!

© @aurorasparkles 2017 🌟

Life Sparkles ✨

Officially…

… I’m an unpaid carer. There, I’ve written it down so it must be true.  I’ve been caring for both of my parents one way or another since September 2015. I work part-time, my employers have been incredibly supportive allowing me to work from home and the office. I study, soon to complete (I hope) my BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care. I love to sing and have been going to see my fabulous vocal coach on as regular a basis as I can. I have a fantastic b/f who is also a carer for his Mother and I have wonderful friends who totally accept that I might make a coffee date with them and either have to break it or rush off home as I’ve received a telephone call.

It hasn’t been an easy transition for me. Although I moved home some years ago to “look after” my parents, I had a good life. Worked full time, out every weekend, had short breaks and holidays alongside the limited caring I actually needed to do back then. Now it is very different.  My only night away from home in two years was when I was recently in hospital having an operation and my b/f stopped with my parents to ensure they were safe. (He has cover, I don’t). I see my b/f perhaps once in three weeks due to both our caring responsibilities and these days I feel blessed if we get an hour together in a coffee shop, it really is the little things that matter.


Life has changed, a lot. I have encountered many emotions on this caring journey. Fear, anger, jealousy, impatience and once or twice out of sheer tiredness and frustration I’ve shouted and then cried bitter tears for doing so. I have also experienced such love for my parents it is untrue. I’ve learnt to look after them but let them have the little bit of independence they still have and to do what they want to do…although I am so like a Mom to tell them off! We laugh, we pray, we sing songs together.  I’ve become more relaxed and less tense, more patient, more tolerant and less stressed out. I feel absolutely blessed to be looking after them as difficult as it can be.

So this week I took the plunge and contacted the relevant department to be registered as the carer of my parents. I’ve put this off for so long and I don’t know why? Wishing it wasn’t true won’t change anything. Now that I’m registered it feels almost liberating that I’ve finally come to terms with life as it is right now. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this post operative recovery time has really given me time to think. 

There are a lot of things I’ve had to change in my life due to my caring role and yes I do get the odd pang of envy when someone is booking a holiday or a late night out but honestly, I’m so happy to be the one caring for my Mom and Dad, I wouldn’t change that for the world.


Pictures via Pinterest

Life Sparkles ✨

Caring. Who Cares?  

Who cares? Was the first chapter in one of my study modules a few years ago. The actual point of the chapter is not so much about the person requiring care but about the caregiver. Who cares for the caregiver?

Over the past seven months I have become more and more of a caregiver to my Mom after her fall and breaking of her hip. The hip has healed just fine, Mom walks more and more without the walking frame but Mom has changed. Before the hip fall, for about four years, we experienced very black days, Mom’s mood was nothing short of scary. However since the hip fall, those moods have given way to something else. 

It appears that Mom had very little Iron in her body and has been taking Iron supplements which have really improved a number of things; mood, stability, concentration and confusion, normal Mom has returned!! That’s all great but now we experience ‘Sundown Dementia’ which it appears affects people who do not have, or have not been diagnosed with dementia as well as people who do have dementia. Mom does not have dementia, this is not me saying so, the healthcare teams have confirmed this. Sundown Dementia affects people’s body clocks, especially in the Winter time when days are dark most of the time. My father and I have spent many a night awake and with Mom as she tries to break out of the house to go home. She accuses us of keeping her prisoner. I get called all names you can think of and then some. It switches on and off like a light switch and we experience an all nighter about once every three weeks. I am not liked at all by my Mom some days and that hurts a lot, but the next day, the next hour, all is well, till next time. We can get smaller sundown moments during the day but we have found that if sufficient water is drank, it is almost a miracle cure!! Getting Mom to drink water is another story…

I’m lucky that my boss is so understanding and I’ve been allowed to work from home and phase a return to the office. This has worked well at home but still causes me anxiety as I await a phone call that something is wrong with either Mom or Dad. I’ve suddenly become responsible for almost everything from healthcare to shopping, cooking to entertainer, cleaner to, well, carer. It’s hard. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem doing this for my parents. Sometimes though I wonder where have I gone? How has every minute of the day become consumed with items on my ‘to do’ lists.

Lack of sleep, stress and anxiousness lead me to the doctor myself. I cannot be ill. Who cares for them if I’m not here. After some tests the doctor was satisfied that my symptoms were all stress related. I had to find some ways to relieve some pressure and get some me time.

If you’ve read my blogs before you know I do Zumba once a week, I’ve taken up running following the ‘Couch to 5k’ plan (that’s a whole other blog post), I love to sing and am visiting my vocal coach each week and if I get the opportunity to see my b/f now and again it’s a bonus. These things have truly helped me to escape, in mind, body and spirit, even for half an hour. I never thought that a fifteen minute soak in the bath would ever become a rare treat for me. That a day out walking with himself was so special because I can’t go missing for a whole day anymore. I feel sad, anxious, depressed and tearful and yet I also feel happy, joyful and I’ve not lost my sparkle. After all, you just have to paint on that smile and get on with it. My parents gave up time and effort to bring me up, it’s payback time.

  
Picture via Pinterest

Thank you for reading my blog 😎