Tuesday, 4 December 2007

living la vida loca

The architecture of my home isn't ideal for Mum. There are steps, stairs, a narrow bathroom, no shower, there are bare floorboards and the place is a bit draughty. My heating has been on 24/7 since she arrived but she's still feeling the cold. I have put an electric blanket under her bedclothes in place of the hot water bottle I forgot to pack for her.

I'm trying to work from home this week, which is proving very difficult. Mum's memory retention is between 2 to 4 minutes, so she will tend to come wandering upstairs 4 minutes after I've sent her down. Concentrating on a difficult technical document is pretty hard when distracted like that, and I'm scared of losing this job. It's been hard to hold onto my temper even though I know it's not Mum's fault. I've put notices on all the doors telling her that I'm working and not to be disturbed, I've put a notice on the loo asking her to flush it, I've a notice on my bedroom door telling her that I have an alarm that will wake me up at the correct time and that she shouldn't come into the room before that. None of these work.

She doesn't even know where she is. This morning, at breakfast, Mum suddenly announced: "I'm just trying to work out how I can get back to my apartment without anyone seeing me in my nightie." It turned out that she thought my kitchen was part of her apartment block.

Mum has never once flushed the toilet here without prompting - she has simply lost that bit of her brain I suspect. Every time she visits the room (every 5 minutes while I'm working, no exaggeration) I call out "Can you flush the loo, please?" when I hear her coming out again. "I DID flush it, didn't you hear it?" she'll reply. Sometimes I rush out and get her to look and see that she hasn't, but even then she'll tut and sigh as if I'm making it all up in my head.

Small things like that shouldn't get to me, but I'm still losing a lot of sleep to disturbances at night, and I'm terrified by how disruptive I'm finding Mum's presence here.

On the plus side, I'm eating more healthily than ever. Having a "child" stay with you makes you plan meals a LOT better, I find. And I simply haven't any time to myself to swallow my usual quantities of chocolate.

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