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Without Nan

As regular readers, followers and friends will know I went away for a week. Following a massive melt down on my part, it seemed like a good idea to have a break away from everything. The idea of going away was glorious for all of about 5 minutes, and then I just started worrying about if everything would get done, and not only done but done in the right way for nan. I made a list and routine which I was hoping could be followed to the tee and packed up my bags and left.

I hadn’t even been gone 24 hours before I wrote in my diary how much I was missing nan. No matter what I tried to do, nothing was enough to distract my mind away from the fact that I’d left her. Mum said she had asked about me, and when I was coming home. But was vague about how they were both coping with the change. Because it is not only a struggle for nan to have someone different in, but also a struggle for mum to learn how we do things, and to become more in the fray. I’m glad she didn’t go into detail when I asked, not that things went badly, but I would have twisted it in my head that they weren’t coping and I should come home.

I felt so helpless (? – not so much that I couldn’t be helped, but more that I couldn’t help, there was no one to devote my attention to and it all felt a bit disorienting and I felt lost). It was so weird not getting up and sorting breakfasts and meds, cooking, cleaning, encouraging anyone to stimulate their brain or do some exercise. I was lazing around all the day long, and I felt slobbish and didn’t like it. In fact, I felt more stressed because I wasn’t getting anything done. I had less energy than when I force myself to run around, and just felt so tired. Which I guess was why I was sleeping in until 10!

I was constantly fretting in the back of my mind that something would be forgotten, or mum or nan weren’t coping, or the daily routine was being thrown out the window. I was worried about the effect of a change in timings, due to mum going to work etc timings were shifted slightly. And this was a concern as nan and I have spent a long time working out the perfect timings for her to have optimum output throughout the day (ergh that makes her sound like a robot, I mean, contributing factors like enough sleep and a cup of tea can completely change the kind of day nan has).

I was worried nan wouldn’t be eating properly, if she’s not supervised she’ll throw away the savoury meals and fill up on puddings and chocolates. Not ideal for a diabetic.

I know when I leave nan for however long or short a period of time I say I feel more like I can go away without the world ending. And it’s true. In the end I had a lovely time with dad, going up to see my grandma in Yorkshire, and nan and the house were still here. Although mum was feeling poorly and ragged. And nan seemed to have dipped slightly with the memory loss. But nothing bad happened. I know deep down I can and should have a proper break every now and again, but every time I go away I then spend ages getting the routine back up and running, and once we’re functioning well again it’s scary to think of leaving and essentially starting over.

I was kind of hoping nan would play up a bit (harsh I know), but I needed mum to see that living with and caring for nan are two different things. I don’t live with nan for a cushy life with no rent. I care for nan because she needs help and doesn’t want to go in a care home. And that sometimes, when the dementia takes over, nan can be a horrible, stubborn, mean old bag.

So all in all, not an easy break away, but certainly a needed one. And one that made it clear to me that I’m just as dependent on nan as she is on me.

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