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The Dinner and the Sandwich Showdown

Unfortunately I have been finding it hard to not snap lately, and the straw that broke the camels back was sandwiches. I know in hindsight it is pathetic of me to get so cross over the sandwiches but at the time the sandwiches represented so much more than plain old cheese sandwiches.

We have been asking the carers to prepare some sandwiches so that nan has something to eat to tide her over until the evening carers come, and in case I go out. However after a few days it became apparent that nan was hiding the sandwiches in the bin, or picking the cheese out and throwing the bread away. After a week of observing the sandwiches not being eaten I asked nan why she wasn’t eating them (forgetting the cardinal rule from the Admiral Nurse – don’t question behaviours). She got rather snappy about it, saying she has been eating them. And I’m ashamed to say this flipped my switch, and all the concerns I’ve been keeping to myself, and the worries I have about her came flooding out. About how I’m concerned if she doesn’t eat she’ll get ill, end up in hospital and not be allowed home, if the social think I’m not taking good enough care of her they’ll put her in a home, she might fall if there is no one here to look after her, and as she has previous for leaving the grill/hob on I’m scared she’ll set the house on fire. Needless to say my rant did not go down well, and it took me a good half hour of grovelling to get nan to look at me again, let alone talk to me. I can’t say I blame her, she’s spent 80 years being a perfectly capable person and to be told someone thinks you are no longer capable of doing some of the most simple tasks must be awful. Nan also told me she feels like a prisoner sometimes, and that hurt me because I’m trying to help her have as much of a normal life as possible, whilst trying to protect her, I don’t want her to feel trapped. So then we sat down and had a big heart to heart, all the things she wants and needs and how we can achieve them as well as keeping her safe. She was much more honest with me than she was with the social, which is to be expected I guess but was still nice to hear. After a couple of hours we decided to drop the weekday carers and I will take over their duties. And at the weekends I will leave her with the carers to go out. We discussed activities that nan wants to do, and a few things I can do to help her feel more independent. 

I felt great after our chat, until I realised that nan probably wouldn’t remember it the next day but I have been keeping my side of the bargain and so far it seems to be working in that nan seems happier.

Certainly she was happy when we went for dinner at the weekend for my little sisters birthday. I was expecting her to pass into the silence but she kept on top of conversation despite there being a group of 5 of us, she was laughing which was nice to see. She found it hilarious when another table moved due our raucous laughter. There was a nice moment after lunch when my mum told me that me staying with nan had been having an effect. I’m not sure she meant this as a compliment however as she was referring to my nan’s new understanding of crude jokes and naughty words. But still, it’s nice to know that other people can see the difference and I’m not imagining it to make myself feel better.

 

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11 thoughts on “The Dinner and the Sandwich Showdown

  1. Dear Kirsty,
    You are one special lady for taking on the role of caring for your nan, and she is one lucky nan. Thanks also for joining my blog.
    My father in law had lewy body dementia, and he forgot how to swallow, which is horrific to watch. It was also awful thinking it could be me…
    Don’t be too hard on yourself, looking after yourself is far more important, as when you are ‘topped up’ you are a better carer.
    Take care,
    Kate

    • Thankyou for taking the time to read and comment 🙂
      People don’t appreciate how bad dementia can end up being, or that it really could happen to anyone. Much love and respect x

  2. It’s too bad that you’re not perfect because if you were, the remainder of us would not feel as bad about our instances of impatience, anger, fear, and snappiness because we would tell ourselves, “if a perfect person has normal emotional behaviors, then we’re not all that bad with our own imperfections.” Of course I’m talking nonsense – only because I want to encourage you that you are normal, you’re doing a great job, you’re not a bad person… As a matter of fact, you’re a hero to your nan, your mum, and to everyone else who is aware of the virtually impossible caregiving task that you’ve undertaken.

    Breathe – and go on to the next challenge.

    • Thankyou for taking the time to read and comment. And thanks for your support and assurance! Breathing sometimes is the challenge, as with all obstacles in life I suppose!

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