Chat time – the good the bad and the ugly

Perhaps if it were a full moon last night, I would understand my mood yesterday. Alas it wasn’t, but mood swings strike at even given moment with me. I wonder if others are the same?

I wasn’t prolific in my writing, I thought I would save you all from my moaning and groaning, when there are others far worse off than I.

Last Saturday I took my penguins to a funeral – Catholic ~ one and a half hours of workout, sit,kneel,stand. I am not religious but I stood when was required as I do not mock or disregard other peoples faith.

Pop and mum sat as it was too much for them to stand each time and pop was having a particularly bad day walking and on his legs.

There was one amusing incident, when the priest rang the bells, mum tuttered loudly, I asked what was wrong, she answered someone has their mobile phone on….ok bless.

As I struggled holding mums hand and onto pops walker, so we could walk up the slight incline to see the wife of the deceased (a friend of pops for 40 years) dad started to cry and said ” I’ll be seeing my mate soon” … Yes that started me, so with held back tears I walked them slowly to the car.

During the service which was quite beautiful, the priest read a piece that George (dec) had written for his own eulogy.

He was 88 and had trouble walking, like Pop. He passed in his sleep, may he RIP.

This got me thinking and I asked Pop if he would consider writing something for his Eulogy, that I could read (if I’m able) he agreed and now has written over 1000 words about his life. He acknowledges that it needs to be ‘culled’ edited, but he wants to write it and I am so very proud of him. Who better to write about their life than the person I ask.

I conducted my 1st burial last Wednesday in 40c heat, it wasn’t pleasant, but the family were lovely and invited me back for refreshments and got a chair for me and drinks and sandwiches.

6 children in the family, 19 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren, who let balloons off at the burial site. Despite the horrific conditions, it was beautiful to witness.

I received a call after I wrote my 2 pieces yesterday and I have another burial next Wednesday, this will be my 8th. A disabled man who passed at the age of 48. To get to know the family’s, their story, their lives, is what makes this calling so worthwhile to me.

So in finishing my chat today, thank you for bearing with me yesterday, for putting up with this Aussie who can be very melancholy one minute and high as a kite the next.

I will get there, I know I will, especially with the support and love of those who continue to read me and I thank each and everyone of you for your kindness, encouragement and unwavering support.

It truly means a lot to me, you are not just readers in different parts of the world, you are my neighbours, my friends, my confidants and you get me through the good the bad and the ugly.

Know that if you need me, I am here for you too, in whatever capacity I can be.

Thank you my virtual friends and those I have met in person ~ I think the world of you and love you.

xxx

Update on Pop and Mum

Pop and I made the decision to put his beloved car (a Toyota Camry 2005) up for sale. I placed the photo and description on the web car site Monday night. Yesterday (Friday) it was sold, to a lovely lady who had unfortunately written off her previous Camry the morning prior in an accident.

She came along with her father to test drive the car, pop was standing in the driveway balancing with his walking stick. Though his walking has marginally improved, he is still very shaky and cannot turn around as he once did. Now he ‘side shuffles’ to ‘do a u-turn. The lady and her father got in the car and I asked pop to move out the way so they could back it out of the driveway. Pop remained standing where he was, it seems as if he has lost his ‘awareness’.

Normally he would have automatically moved, knowing that the car wheels would possibly run over his feet but he didn’t move until I held his arm and guided him out of the way. It is a very sad thing for him to give up driving and sell his car, but he knows it’s the responsible thing to do. Mum however won’t let it rest, she is adamant she will not get a motorised scooter and says that ‘This is my lot now to be stuck inside the house every day’.

I am trying to persuade her to get one too, so that they can at least get out of the house when the weather is nice and have some independence. It’s a battle with mum, pop at this juncture is fine with getting one. The battle no doubt will continue.

We are going out for lunch tomorrow with them and some family members and their friends, so today was also time to give pop another pedicure and a shave. Bless him, because he has a bit of a double chin, when he does shave he doesn’t get into the ‘folds and crevices’. So out with the new fancy wet or dry electric shaver was I. I then made him walk with his walker twice to the front door and back.  Yes, I’m a hard task manager, but if I don’t remind him to get up and exercise he lets it slide. He has attended one physio session and has to for a further 10 weeks (once a week) to try and get his core strengthened (good luck with that physiotherapists). He also has to move every hour on the hour and drink more water!

Mum’s memory is progressively growing worse and she loses her temper with me very easily and often! She will salute me now and say “Yes Sir” or “You love to boss me around now” and there is anger in her voice. It’s so difficult not to get upset with her when she puts her stubborn shoes on, but I have to try and remember she doesn’t know that she has asked me the same question 3 times in 30 minutes, or that we have had a conversation about a particular subject several times over.

It is hard for me not to sound patronising, I realise I don’t talk to pop in the same way as I talk to mum and it’s simply the frustration on my part trying to get her to see reason, when clearly it is difficult for her to do so. Whereas I They are no longer the sprightly and comprehending parents that I once knew, not all that long ago, now I see that the ageing process has taken over and is in control.

So that was my Saturday afternoon. I shall continue to post  about my two ‘darlings’ to those who are willing to read.

Making a phone call is not as easy as one would think.

Today I spent another day over with Pop and Mum.
Yesterday I spent almost 7 hours, mowing, weeding their garden and attending to Pop when he needed to get out of the chair. Today I was over there at 9am, sleep is not coming to me and I worry about how mum is coping trying to help him. A neighbour visited who normally mows their lawns (something I have told them that I shall do from now on) yes they protest, they would rather pay someone to do it. They try to pay me, I don’t accept their money, though mum has on more than one occasion slipped $50 into my handbag without me knowing, until I get home. I also broke down into tears telling them I need them to seriously think about going into Care, or buying another smaller place in a Residential facility that has 24/7 help. Pop’s reply we don’t want to buy something else and spend your inheritance…

I also tried to organise a NEPT (Non Emergency Patient Transport) pick up for Pop who has an appointment in the morning to be assessed for a Physio class once a week not far from home. His neighbour has kindly offered to take him, but I suggested that he needed perhaps medical personnel to be on hand in case he fell. Neighbour agreed.

One would think it an easy thing to do, ring the phone number (from the Net) that stated you must have a doctors referral to book…..
Phone call 7.50am to doctors surgery – “Can I get Dr blah blah to phone me back I need a referral please for my father for transport”.
“I shall pass the message on”.
Almost 3 hours later no phone call.
I phone again “I left a message this morning..no one has called me back..I need to get this organised soon if possible”.
“Can you hold”
“Yes”.
Neighbour, mum and dad all looking on at me strumming my fingers on the kitchen table.
Receptionist comes back on the line.
“Sorry we don’t know about the patient transport, we have taxi vouchers”.
Me… “So do my parents, but my father requires medical supervision as he is having trouble walking”.
“Hold”.
I wait.
“No sorry we cannot help, we don’t know about this transport service”.
Me… polite but angry frustration – you ARE a doctors surgery aren’t you?

“Thank you, I shall try and find out more”.
Look up website again and retrieve number of Ambulance Victoria.
“What do I need to book transport, thought it was simply a doctors referral – but his doctor won’t talk to me (not going in to pay him money that is) and isn’t aware of the procedure”.
“You need to get the facility where he has the appointment to book it”.
“Thank you I shall call you back if needed”.
Phoned the ‘facility”.
“No we don’t do that, never heard of it before, can give you a volunteer patient transport number, but they aren’t medically qualified so they will probably say no”.
Can you see my anger by now?
“I’ll get back to you”.
Phoned Ambulance service again, a different person answered.
“Sorry for the run around, but you do need to get your doctor or registered Nurse to make the booking”
Pulling my nails across their kitchen table.
Phoned Doctors surgery again.
“I believe a doctor has to authorise, can I please speak to Dr. Blah Blah”.
“Hang on I’ll see if he is free”.
“Hello Jenny it’s Dr. Blah Blah how can I help?
“I need you to phone Ambulance Victoria to advise that dad needs a patient transport pick up in the morning, he needs to be there by 9.15am”.
“Ok I shall do that for you”.
Gee thanks.
Me “Can you phone me back to confirm that the booking is made please?”
“Yes I shall phone you back”.
30 minutes pass.
Phone call.
“I have organised the pick up, but please for your peace of mind ring and confirm the booking (as I may not have done my job correctly)”.
Yes I haven’t anything else I had to do today.
I phone.
“I believe Dr Blah Blah has authorised the pick up of my father by the NEPT for tomorrow morning and wish to confirm?”
“Yes he has, we are picking him up at 9.15am”
“No his appointment is AT 9.15”.
“Oh…let me check..hmm the doctor didn’t say that, ok tell him to be ready from 8.15 onwards, if we have an ambulance with wheelchair access we will send that, if not it will be a stretcher, so can you tell him not to be alarmed?”
“Thank you”. (I think)
“What will the cost be?”
“I have to put you through to Head Office for that”
Head office…”No I shall put you through to accounts department”.
I am surprised I have any finger nails left.
“Accounts Dept, no if he shows his Pensioner card, it won’t cost him anything”.
Finally some relief.
Then a phone call to the facility.
“I have arranged for dad’s transportation for the morning appointment, you need to call them though when he is ready to be picked up please”.
“Oh ok…we do that? Yes alright that shouldn’t be a problem”.
Not unless you want an 86 year old sitting in your reception for an entire day..not a problem at all.
Hang up.
I phone back the Ambulance Service.
“Will we have to do this each time he requires transport”?
“Yes afraid so, or the facility can phone us to say he is requiring and we will book in”.
Phone the facility back.
“Sorry but for the future with the Physio appointments, you will need to book the transport each time”.
“Oh…ok guess we can do that”.

Can you imagine the elderly trying to organise this mess? Why in this country are things made so difficult, to have the run around and countless phone calls … they have paid their taxes…they should be entitled to a decent system or perhaps even a system that medical personnel know exists. I can only hope they turn up in the morning!