Saturday, 27 September 2014

Happy Birthday Joan

It was Joan's birthday yesterday. She was 84 years old. We went to see her last night with Mark's Dad even though she didn't have a clue what day it was, let alone that it was her birthday. 

Anyway, one of the staff overheard us wish her Happy Birthday and knowing we usually take Amy & Thomas on a Saturday and that Aunty Edith and Ken also visit, said they would put a little tea-party on for us in the day care room, which was really sweet of them.

One of the very few things she still gets pleasure from is food, so Amy decided she would make some cookies for her and Thomas bought her a Happy Birthday balloon for her wheelchair. Grandma was really impressed and the cookies were delicious.
We had the day room to ourselves and the staff provided sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps, tea, coffee and juice. They would have got a cake as well but we'd already organised that.  Here's Mark being 'Mother'.
 And Thomas being the 'server man'.
Aunty Edith, Ken (Aunty's son) and of course Thomas. Ken is Amy and Thomas' second cousin but he's more like an uncle to them both. Him and Amy in particular make each other laugh.
Three generations. She loves seeing the children. She looked after Amy for us when I went back to work. And up until Amy was about 9 she would sleep over every Saturday night at their house. When I think of it, it always amazes me how much things have changed over the past 5 years.
 We asked Mark's Dad to bring some old photos so we could travel down memory lane with his Mum. The idea was to re-focus her attention so that she wouldn't get agitated and keep asking when she was coming home. It actually worked. She didn't ask once today to come home, although we could do the same thing again tomorrow and it wouldn't work at all.
Aunty provided the birthday cake and we provided the candles. After making sure we wouldn't set any smoke alarms off (I had visions of the fire brigade roaring up and the home being evacuated), we got down to the most important part of the day, singing Happy Birthday.
 I love this picture. I've no idea what Thomas was saying to Grandma but it obviously made her and Aunty Edith laugh.

It was a lovely afternoon and some good memories were made for all of us. 


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Just Busy

It's been a busy couple of weeks here at Number 38. Most of it has involved DIY, decorating and visits to Mark's mum. 

The decorator was with us for 3 days and although he tried to do one room at a time he actually ended up in the lounge, dining room, kitchen and TV room all at once, so the whole of downstairs has been upside down. It seems to have taken us ages to get everything back in place, probably because we've been de-cluttering as we've gone along. It's finally finished now thank goodness, although he's coming back in a couple of weeks to do the stairs, landing and our bedroom.

I've been worrying about Amy for a few weeks as well. Over the summer holidays she lost half a stone and was constantly tired and cold. Considering she hasn't had a growth spurt, eats like a horse and wasn't doing very much apart from lounging around I thought I'd better take her to the Doctors. The GP was really good with her and after some gentle questioning to make sure she wasn't displaying any eating disorders decided to test her for diabetes and thyroid. The results came back last week and everything seems fine, so I will just have to monitor her weight for the time being. It's hard to describe but when she hugs me she actually feels frail.

I've also started reading in school again which I really enjoy although I think Thomas is a bit peeved that I'm not in his class anymore. His Year 3 teacher specifically asked if she could have me again, which was nice. Apparently I'm capable of making decisions which is a great help to her. Get a load of me!

Mark's mum is still in the home and still asking when she can come home. Things are starting to move now, albeit slowly, to get the house sorted out for when she does leave. A hoist has been delivered and her wheelchair has been repaired. The dining room has been cleared of all furniture so that a bed, chair and small table can be set up for her. She is well past the point of needing a commode so that's one thing less to think about. When she does come home she will have carers in 4 times a day to help her. In between times Mark's dad and ourselves will be around for anything she needs. It's quite sad really. Although she still recognises us she needs prompting to do everything. So for example, if you put a cup of tea next to her, unless you actually say "have a sip of your tea" she won't even remember to drink. 

I'm hoping my next post will have a few photos in it again. At the moment I'm not 100% sure where the camera is. I also bought an ornamental apple for the kitchen a couple of weeks ago and I'm buggered if I can find it. I've had the house upside down but it seems to have completely disappeared.

Hoping to be better organised over the next few days.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Back to Baking

I've not done any baking for ages. I bought a punnet of blueberries from Lidl this week and decided to make some muffins. There were a few more than this in the bowl to start with, but Amy found them in the fridge and had a bit of a blueberry binge.

There were still plenty left for the job in hand though. I only wanted to make 6 muffins, we've already got some bought chocolate chip muffins and big cookies in the house.
 I didn't mix the blueberries into the batter but layered the mixture and blueberries in the cases, finishing with a couple of blueberries on top. I had a little rhyme going on in my head whilst doing this - 3 for the muffin, 3 for me, 3 for the muffin, 3 for me.
 I baked them at 180C for 25 mins and they looked pretty good, even if I do say so myself.
And I have to say they tasted pretty damn good too. 


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

This and That

We went to Manchester yesterday and Mark bought me this lovely piece of artwork. It's by Kevin Haynes an artist from Oldham. The two mills were in Lees; we lived there for a couple of years when I was a little girl. They style reminds me of a more modern, colourful Lowry. It's propped up on the radiator cover at the moment. No point hanging it up until the decorator has been next week. It's called Wash Day Monday. I've no idea how they used to do their washing all in one day. My machine is constantly on the go. 

Here are the two original mills, now demolished so that new houses could be built. 
We've had some beautiful moons over the past few nights. Have you ever tried to take a picture of the moon? It's impossibly hard to get a good shot. Here's the best out of dozens of photos.
Amy & Thomas are well into their first term back at school. For her English GCSE Amy is studying Of Mice & Men. The teacher has asked them all the buy the book. I found this study aid to go with the book and decided to buy that for her as well. It may help her get an 'insight' into the characters. Thankfully, she really likes the book so that's half the battle won. 
Thomas had his first swimming lesson with school yesterday. They all started in the learner's pool to see how well they could swim, if at all. He was so proud of himself when he came out of school. He'd been promoted to the big pool with 6 others. He's doing rounding up and down at the moment in maths and can't quite grasp the 1,000's, so we'll be practising those tonight. 
Wendy is fitting in nicely to our family. She's very good but like all puppies can be a little bit destructive. 
And she also seems to have discovered a love of digging.
Talk about butter wouldn't melt!

Week 3 of the hanging basket. Another week and it will be moved to the front of the house. I think I'll try and thread a few stems of the leafy plant through the wires to cover more of the black liner.


Sunday, 7 September 2014


A pot of baby chrysanthemums for Mark's Mum to brighten her room up.
My Avon order arrived. Energy is my main priority at the moment and I'll take any help I can get, whether it be in the form of shower gel...
....Or a good old fashioned hit of caffeine
Meatballs from our local butcher for tea. Spicy chili ones for Mark. Italian Herb for Amy and Mark's Dad. 
Mark's Mum, Aunty Edith and Amy. Aunty will be 91 on 14th September. I think she looks great.
 Thomas on his DS in the 'yellow' lounge. There are 3 lounges, yellow, green and blue. There are 21 residents in the home and each group of 7 has their own lounge where they can watch TV, have a brew, read, knit etc. They have their breakfast and tea in their own lounge but they all meet up for lunch in the big lounge/dining area. 
The home say that her lack of mobility is the worst case they've ever seen. When stood she is literally bent double and can hardly move at all. I think they are beginning to realise there is probably very little they can do to help her. Our next step is to get the right equipment set up at home for her. Special bed, chair, walker, hoist etc. She is desperate to come home and we want her home as well. Thankfully, because she literally can't remember anything that is said to her, she is quite happy when we tell her she is coming home tomorrow. 

Visits are draining though. Throughout the whole time we are there she asks the same 2 questions "When am I coming home" and "How are the children". She's like a machine gun. She just fires the same questions at us over and over again, bless her.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

It's safer to fall out of bed

We visited Mark's mum yesterday. As we walked into her room she was just about to roll off the bed and onto the floor. While Mark stopped her falling I went to find a nurse.

We were with her the night before when they put her to bed and she looked as though she was going to roll out then, so we asked if she could have a bed guard fitted.

Apparently bed guards are against their policy. People with alzheimers have been known to try and climb over them to get out of bed. Mark's mum can hardly move so that's probably not going to happen but rather than assess people individually there is a blanket ban on bed guards.

When I said to the nurse that it seemed dangerous not to have one, I got the reply "it's safer for them to fall out of bed". 

Apparently, this is because if they wriggle down the bed and their leg goes through the bars they could break their leg. 

"The same" I replied "as if they roll out of bed and break a collar bone, shoulder, hip, rib, leg or maybe a combination of bones". I also suggested hospitals who use bed guards mustn't realise the serious danger they are putting their patients in.



Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Pick up your bed

Mark's mum has moved from hospital into an assessment home. She can stay for up to 6 weeks before she comes home. The idea is she will be rehabilitated as much as possible while she's there. For us a positive outcome will be her being able to walk a few steps with her frame and being able to get in and out of a chair and bed with minimum assistance. However, I think the staff have yet to realise that they won't achieve a 'pick up your bed and walk' miracle. Bless them, their optimism is to be greatly admired. 

One week down the line and my hanging basket is coming along nicely.
Sparky has had this teddy bear for about 2 years. Amy gave it to him because her and Thomas wanted to play fetch and tug of war with him. He's a miserable doggy though and has never played with it or them.
A few days ago we started to use it to play tug with Wendy. He now stands guard over it and if she comes anywhere near it he growls. Talk about selfish! She's a bit feisty though and stands her ground. She looks like a devil dog in this photo but she's really a cutie.
We have the decorator coming in a couple of weeks. He's going through the whole house. First session will be the lounge, dining room, the kids room and kitchen. We have wallpaper on one wall of each room and all the other walls are painted white. I like a bit of colour in my kitchen though and I've chosen Soft Apple by Dulux. I'm a bit of green fan but wanted it to look brighter and lighter this time round. 

The children are back in school tomorrow. I'll miss them. The older they get the more I seem to enjoy their company. Gone are the days of playdoh, make believe and disney dvd's and if I'm truthful I'm glad we've moved on from all that.

Give me kids that can brush their own teeth and wipe their own bottoms any day!