Monday, 23 October 2017

And Just Where Have I Been This Time...?

Well here I am - after a fairly long, unexpected blogging break - I'm back, attempting to apologise - yet again - for my seeming inability to be able to do everything I need to do simultaneously.

I do try to juggle everything I have going on but sometimes certain things in this thing called life push themselves forward, catch me totally unaware and then require my full, undivided attention.

Which is what I've been dealing with recently.

But what was it this time I hear you ask?

Well there were all of the hospital issues with Willow, the ones which sent me into a total spin - the ones I'm still waiting on appointments for so have zero real answers about - and, if you've spotted my drama filled social media channels lately then you will have seen that there has been a whole host of issues I've been attempting to unravel involving my lovely Mum.

Now I've spoken to my Mum about this post and because she was so overwhelmed by all of the support and lovely comments a lot of people took their time out to write (thank you), she has said it's OK for me to give a little bit of a back story just so people are aware of why last week was so important - and so stressful, so needed, and so important - for me to get right.

So, for as long as I can remember my Mum has been poorly.

Not physically poorly (that came later) but, even though I didn't understand anything at the time, there was a part of my life - when I was in Middle School - where I would get up in a morning and my Mum would be crying, we would get ready and go to school and she would be crying, we would come home and there would still be tears and then we would go to bed with the situation still the same.

This being said though my childhood was bloody amazing - please don't think that because my Mum was depressed and extremely anxious (I know this now) that she wasn't a fabulous Mum - my god she was and still is - very much so.

We never had spare money - my Mum was a single parent on benefits with two daughters to raise, we lived in a two bedroom maisonette (which I blooming loved) and when it snowed the definitely-not-PVC windows had thick layers of ice on the inside - but when I look back there was never once a time where I feel that I missed out or couldn't have things - my Mum was the one who sacrificed the little she had to make sure we had amazing memories to look back on.

But now I'm older I realise that she wasn't well.

And then as the years went by this only got worse - my Mum didn't go to my eighteenth birthday party, she didn't go to my Uni graduation, she didn't come away with us when we got married and didn't come to the wedding party we threw weeks after, she hasn't been to any of the parties we have had for Charlie's birthdays over his eleven years, she hasn't been to any sports days and wasn't at the hospital when Willow was born...


We don't ever go out for meals to celebrate her birthday or take her for Afternoon Tea on Mother's Day, she didn't come wedding dress hunting with me, we've never had Mother-Daughter shopping afternoons and, what gets to me the most, is that there isn't one single photograph of any of us with my Mum floating about - not one.

But what I do know is just how much she has wanted to be there, front row, shouting how proud she is, longer and louder than everyone else.

I also know how much it kills her each and every time she has had to miss out.

But she couldn't do it - there were always too many people around, too many uncontrollable factors, too many eyes, too many strangers, too many familiar faces, too much uncertainty - just too much of everything.

More than anything I wish we had the memories to look back on but something I want more than that is for my Mum not to panic for days on end worrying, making herself sick and poorly thinking over and over again about something she feels that she should be doing but knowing she can't manage it, when really, no she doesn't have to do any of it.

So yes, we've missed out on a lot.

And as the years rolled by eventually myself and my sister moved out of our home - the home my Mum has lived in now for twenty years.

This large, three bedroom family house with it's massive kitchen, it's utility room, it's downstairs loo and two massive gardens - a home we all loved but one which became more and more difficult for my Mum to manage.

Yes she has depression - it's a lot worse than it once was too - she has anxiety, she is also a diagnosed agoraphobic, she has lymphadema and cellulitis in her legs and she has arthritis in her knees, hips, and more worryingly (as it's only going to worsen) in her spine.

So things such as climbing stairs, lifting her leg over the bath to get into her shower, sitting down in the bath, became impossible and so for the past two years there has been none of this.

~ her sofa has been her bed

~ her personal hygiene has been left to washes and teeth brushing at a downstairs sink

An agoraphobic literally trapped within a living room and a kitchen of this massive house that she came to hate and couldn't maintain - it was horrible and there never seemed to be any light at the end of the tunnel for her - it got to a point where I literally begged "can someone please give this woman a break".

She was at risk of being fined for not maintaining the gardens, she was being bedroom taxed for having three bedrooms and after all of this there wasn't even that moment of "let me climb into the bath and de-stress and get into bed".

The woman is only 53 years old for goodness sake.

And so I tried and I tried and I tried but this head of mine felt like it was being bounced off of a brick wall I managed to get that little help - until recently that is - it took another garden inspection which resulted in my Mum having a really nasty panic attack and I knew something had to be done.

After a lengthy telephone conversation and an in person meeting my Mum was, very surprisingly and very gratefully offered the world - a ground floor, one bedroom flat with a walk in shower.

She couldn't believe it and was a little overwhelmed that finally - after two years without - she could actually buy shower gel again.

I popped her in the car the very next day and we drove the two minutes down the road (same area to help keep that anxiety in check) to look at her new area and I could actually see a little bit of hope creeping onto my Mum's face...it was amazing...but it was quickly wiped clean again when, whilst we were still sat surrounded by these perfect-for-my-mum type homes, a telephone call came in to say that due to "an oversight" the property was no longer being offered.

Erm - excuse me - an oversight?

An oversight like this to anyone, never mind a person with mental health issues, couldn't be just swept away - what the hell were they trying to do to her?!

It was so, so wrong and so I fought.

I fought for my Mum.

I spoke to management, I spoke to my local Labour MPs office numerous (lots of!) times - and they were out of this world amazing let me tell you - and then, not even 48 hours from having the property offered in the first place, after a lot of work, the house was my Mums again.

Relief doesn't even come close to explaining how I felt.

The shine has been wiped off it all a little for my Mum, I think she's in the "seeing is believing" mode now and I can't say I blame her really.

But I still have a lot left to do - my Mum needs so much - an actual bed, a sofa that hasn't been doubling as a bed for years, carpets and curtains and paint and oooh, as much as I can possibly source from charities and grants just to help make this tiny little flat, sitting slap bang within it's elderly person's complex, be as lovely, as perfect and as much hers as I can possibly help make it.

After all of the years of worry, struggle, anguish and stress she has dealt with all I want now is for my Mum to feel warm, settled, as stress free as she can be, comfortable, safe and most importantly, happy.
(I'm getting her one of the super glamorous David Nieper dressing gowns too to help her match her new surroundings)

But I mean who doesn't deserve that, right?

Some happiness - finally...


* sponsored post - words, thoughts, images & situation are 100% true & 100% my own
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