That was difficult. Two nights at Mum and Dad’s. I know some of you who read this know Eileen and Colin. And they are almost certainly held in high regard. They deserve that – they do. For me, though, now, it’s tough. Dad is suffering badly with dementia. He’s forgetting everything, he walks slowly – tottering, his left hand is hopeless, he can’t feed himself, unless it’s with a spoon and fingers, and he struggles to get himself dressed. I’m sorry to be blunt, but he can’t make it to the loo (he’s in nappies). Yesterday afternoon, when C was cleaning the oven, I was upstairs cleaning and bathing Dad who had had an accident and tried to sort himself out. It was everywhere. I had to use all my ingenuity to get him into and out of the bath. I managed the latter by getting in with him.
Yes, we have arranged for a carer to come in twice a day. And that works well. But if Dad has any problems, Mum is not in a fit state to help. She’s had open heart surgery and a massive stroke. She cannot get on her hands and knees and scrub up poo. They have to wait for the carer.
Mum is fine until she has a couple of drinks. Then, when you add in the effects of the stroke, she becomes cantankerous – which is so unlike her. I wanted P&Q for an hour at 9.15 last night to watch a new spy thriller on BBC 1 (Killing Eve – it’s fab). Mum wouldn’t be quiet. It was as though she was talking on purpose just to rile me. I got frustrated, which I shouldn’t have. But, it all ended well enough. Sorry Mum.
So what, Roland? Why don’t we move down there and help out full time? Well … no. Sorry. We are not a nuclear family. My parents were not part of a nuclear family. We just don’t live in each other’s pockets. We have our own children – and I have work of sorts down here. And they get by. Until three years ago they had a fab life, with no chronic illnesses – just lots of golf. And the money to travel, if that’s what they wanted to do. It’s just the last three years …
So, it’s been difficult. Sorry. At least they have carers twice a day. And they’re in their own home. And they’re not poor.
I’ve started Chapter 8 – ahead of this weekend’s schedule. And I’m still loving it. Because I’m not writing it contiguously, it will need a couple of deep edits – and lots of cross-checking. But I’m really happy with the multi-plots. V excited there.
And up to Jen’s tomorrow – and probably Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re back on Thursday. It will be good to hand the reins over. Especially as we’re off to Paris for the weekend with Mary on Saturday (until Tuesday). We’re going by Eurostar. It’ll be fab – and we really can’t wait.
More from me on Wednesday. Don’t forget to watch Bodyguard tonight. And catch up with Killing Eve. You won’t be disappointed.