Thursday 28 July 2016

Look For The Silver Lining

The sun is trying to peek through fast moving clouds, and even though it's currently a smirk, I'm hoping that there is the possibility of it revealing a greater smile.

While I adore the rain and drizzle, I find that accompanied with dark and troubling times in everyday life, for longer than geographically normal, it gets overwhelming.  Life becomes The Dark Cloud Looming Syndrome.

In more ways than one.

Times like this - the uncertainty, the not-knowing - the waiting -  make me realise just how much I'm a creature that has to have things "settled" - in mind and deed.  Truth be told, I'm concerned about both of my parents, and there's not much I can DO, - especially just yet.  And that, my dear Watson, is a formidable thing.

Their care from here on is a major concern to me.  It will involve and affect all of us. It already does really.  The coordination of visiting, picking up, dropping off, helping in other ways - is constant and has to be planned and executed only after consultation with the Machinist and Young Adults.  

There are still times of mental mayhem. Guilt driven pandemonium.  I have, I think, always honoured my parents in deed, but not always in my heart.

Is this common, I wonder?

It's difficult to get on with things at home, even the fundamentals, as I'm expecting to be disturbed, interrupted.  Not necessarily in a bad way, but it does affect momentum and achievement.

My Mam would often sing this song as she was doing her housework.  I loved to hear her sing it.

Look For The Silver Lining by Judy Garland

As I wash my dishes, I'll be following a plan
Till I see the brightness in every pot and pan
I am sure this point of view will ease the daily grind
So I'll keep repeating in my mind

Look for the silver lining
Whenever a cloud appears in the blue
Remember somewhere the sun is shining
And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you

A heart full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life

So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life

Wednesday 27 July 2016

The Old, The Young and The In-Betweeners

We planned to leave in convoy.  Sarah with Lyla in her car, and I - in my brother's car.

I've enjoyed driving my brother's car.  It is roomy, not too low to the ground and smooth.  Furthermore, the boot is so big, it can fit two wheelie walkers, side by side, without threat to the upholstery.  Plus shopping.  It holds All of our shopping!

Sarah had a medical appointment, a date with the grocery stores and it was her day to visit with the Grands.  I, on the other hand was accompanying her on her medical appointment and planned to pick up Grandpa so that we could both visit Granny in hospital.

Mam had been admitted to hospital last night.  Paramedics had attended her at home, directed by a wonderful system called "Care Call".

(When Mam or Dad press a button on pendants worn around their necks, a call centre is alerted, details taken and an ambulance is sent straight away, if needed.  Care Call then contact me - as the "Responsible Person" to let me know as many details as possible).

This is her second stint in hospital within one and a half weeks - due to completely different medical emergencies.  It has been extremely hard getting answers as to her diagnosis.  Nurses are run off their feet, doctors are doing rounds.  Nothing new, even though one sort of  expects time and surveys, coupled with political promises to improve conditions within hospitals.  Eventually, anyway.

After being told that Mam was due to have x-rays, an echocardiogram and other tests, I stalled picking up Dad to visit her, as I knew this would fluster her.  Being of the old school, she simply hates to "impose" in any way - including having visitors in her room at the same time as doctors nurses and other professionals and 'important' people.  Just in case we get in the way or under their feet.

She looked pale.  And tired.  Her green eyes were deep set within her beautiful aged face. When she blinked, her eyelids closed and reopened as if in slow motion, just like you see on the movies.  She seemed small and frail - nothing like the wiry woman I'm so accustomed to.  The pillows looked too plumped, and seemed to envelope her frame.  She was sitting with both arms upward facing, exposing blood filled needles within mini syringes, - taped to her crepe-like skin.

And how, pray,  had she earned all those tiny bruises on her forearms?

"Hey up, Ma, what are you doing in here AGAIN?" I teased
"Hello love… it's my COPD.  I couldn't get breath.  They had to come for me.  Was it Sunday, Brian?", she enquired of my dad, who was wearing his puzzled brow, trying to remember himself.
"No, Ma - it was last night - Monday"
"Monday?  It seems longer than that…"

For the next couple of hours, Dad dozed off  on in a high backed hospital chair, while mam and my conversations were prone to double handling: Mam's hearing aid was spitting and whistling, rejecting a used up battery, and most of my contribution was repeated,  LOUDLY as she simply couldn't hear me.  I was becoming ever-conscious of not only the lady in the bed opposite Mams, but wide eyed and enquiring looks from hospital staff as they passed in the corridor.

The lady in the bed opposite took the opportunity of getting involved in our subject topics and I was immediately promoted to the LOUD translator.

"She's a happy soul.  I knew it", Mam observed, as "Debbie" was mid sentence in explaining her current unplanned weight loss problem.  "I knew it from the moment I saw her…"

"My mam says you're a happy soul"
"Oh that's nice of her.  Are you Irish?"
"No, we're from the midlands…"
"Oh, I thought you were Irish. I wasn't sure, though.  Anyway, I'm Debbie.  What's your name?"
"Mam, this is Debbie"
"Debbie, Ma"
"Debbie Lewis? Yes, I can see it on your board…"
"Debbie, this is Joan"
"Hello Joan, pleased to meet you"
"I can't hear a word she said, Helen.  My hearing aid is playing up…"
Debbie laid her head back on her pillow, closing her eyes and smiled at the same time.

She really is a happy soul.

And later…

"Ma, Sarah is popping round to your place.  Would you like her to bring anything else?"
"I can't really think.  It's hard to think when you're like this.."
"I know it is, Ma.  It'll all be ok"
"Could she bring my green cardigan?  I got it ready with the other clothes I was going to wear before I came in here."
"Sure she can.  I'll ask her to bring them, too - and I'll wash the clothes you came in last night"
"I've got a couple of shirts and pants.  Blue shirts.  Oh and some socks…" Dad joined in.
"She's talking about MY washing Brian…"
"Oh, of course.  You can pick mine up later."

As I was about to answer him, his eyes had already closed and he was dozing again.

Later still…

"Isn't she a sweetheart.  She knows you, Helen.  She knows her mama.  Look at her smiling at Helen, Brian…"

Lyla continued smiling at me.  Staring at me intently.  Her eyes smiled too.  Sarah went to heat her bot-bot.  I fed and burped her.  Facing me, all rugged up in a pale pink hooded woollen jacket with woollen pants to match, she continued to smile at me as I sang to her softly.

That Evening…

Walking into the kitchen at home, Keiralea cam running to me "Mama, Mama, I was waiting for you!"
"Hello my daaaarling", I responded, picking her up and gently fairy kissing her head.
"Why do you do that, Mama?"
"Because I love you"
"I love you too"


Friday 22 July 2016


I'm sitting here scoffing a gluten free Victoria sponge cake, laced with plum jam and topped with a showering of icing sugar. There's a cup of hot tea (no sugar) sitting on the other side of the pc and as I savour each sip, I'm thinking about what's ahead. The Diet of all Diets is approaching fast. On Monday actually ('cos all good diets start on Monday's).

Diets are not new to me. Fasting diets, Jenny Craig, Gloria Marshall, No Sugar, No Lactose, No Grain, No Pain, Low GI, No GI, GI Joe.

If I'm not on a diet, I'm thinking about going on one.

Professionals now tell us that we shouldn't consider a diet a diet; it should be more of a lifestyle change. I really do understand. But it's like the word 'fat'. People don't use that word much anymore. It's curvy or larger lady or bigger lady of full form. Still, though, we can't get away from it; fat is fat, just like pigs is pigs.

The Past:

 I set a plan. I make a date to start the plan. I start the plan. Sort of. But not quite.

The Present: 

The thing is, I have to get my head around it - I need to 'psyche' myself up for this.

I'm not going to go on the guilt trip, though.

I'm not going to think 'oh well, nothing lost plenty gained' and lose any drop of motivation I ever possessed. No, Alfredo. I need to do this and I will do this.


 Table talk amongst our children is and always has been, -  a rabbit warren . We start off in one hole and end up in another -  quick smart....