A month ago tonight, The Accident That Was Waiting To Happen finally happened. Mum slipped over in the kitchen and fractured her hip. It was a straightforward, clean break (resulting in 2 pins and a thigh-length scar) but it's totally thrown our lives up in the air.
I'm a creature of habit and for almost 30 years our front room has been my little world - my office, my living room, my dossing space. Now, with 48 hours' notice, 30 years of clutter had to be bagged up and shifted upstairs into Mum's tiny box bedroom so she could have her bed downstairs. At least we've been able to come to a room-share agreement so I can still use it as my office (with there being absolutely no more room for furniture upstairs) but now I have to get booted out at 10.30-ish so she can go to bed. The arrangement sometimes works the other way round. Some nights I'm really shattered and would love to turn in early but I can't because I need to be available to help her get into bed. When you're middle aged it rankles a bit when your Mum goes back to dictating your bedtime!
The living room that is now a bedroom.
The clutter that used to be in the living room that is now a bedroom and is now in the box bedroom that is too small and too cold to be any use whatsoever. Yes, I know it's a tip. I'll tidy it up when I find that elusive 25th hour in the day.
Thankfully she's fairly mobile now, she can get to the downstairs toilet and back unassisted, using a walking frame. Often she's up before me and can get dressed and washed on her own. But mostly my day consists of making sure she's OK getting in and out of bed; brewing endless cups of tea; not letting her starve (because she insists that if I do her so much as a slice of toast she's being a burden); struggling with fitting her compression stockings (so tight they almost wrench my thumbs out of their sockets); putting up with her moaning as I make her take her tablets and do her exercises; tackling the housework (it's amazing how little you can get away with and still not look like a pigsty); reassuring her that, no, she HADN'T been stupid in falling over and it could have happened to anybody; overseeing the nurses (thankfully no more visits after yesterday) and emptying the overnight doings in the commode.
Ah yes. The commode.
If a seat that conceals a piss bucket could talk, it would greet me every day with a loud, camp "goooooood moooooorrrrrrrniiiiiing!" It certainly commands the attention. So it's on with the lid, trudge up to the bathroom, dilute, empty, rinse, empty, bleach, dilute, slosh, empty, rinse, empty, flush, trudge downstairs, disinfect. It's not dignified but neither is cleaning up after a dog. I'm also the only person available to do it so a piss bucket kind of sums up my life now. That's why I decided to work from home, because I knew the day would come when I would be called upon to flush my mother's piss.
But the bucket is the least of my worries. I don't begrudge doing that or anything else to help Mum get along. She's done plenty for me over the years, time to pay the debt back. No, Jean-Paul Sartre is the man who summed up my problem perfectly - Hell is other people. By other people I of course mean my brother and sister trudging in and out of our day thinking they know best. So, for the record: I really can't be arsed to grab every penny you think we're entitled to, even given your bizarre logic that if [RACIST INSULT DELETED] the government would fall over themselves to give us millions. I haven't done that string of worthy but non urgent chores you're suggesting because I haven't found a 25th hour in the day. Getting your mother to do leg exercises does not make you homosexual. I, unlike you, am not going to second-guess how Mum will recover and start ranting about scenarios that may never happen. The physiotherapist has years of medical training, you do NOT know more about the workings of the human body than she does. Crutches are a sign of progress, not a stigma. We have our house the way it is and not the way you think it ought to be because it's OUR house and you don't frikkin' well live here.
Honestly, if anything ever happens to me I DO NOT want Negative Nancies like that hovering over me telling me I ought to know my place and not push myself to get better. Too many opinions, no consideration for the person actually trying to recover or the one who sees what really goes on all day.
So that's been my month. Absolutely no time for anything else, never mind work-
"To remain entitled to New Enterprise Allowance, you must provide evidence of continuing self-employment when we ask you... Please send your evidence to reach us by 03/02/12. If we do not have the evidence by this date, your payment will be suspended."AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH! NOT NOW! CAN'T YOU SEE I'M BUSY WITH A BUCKET OF PISS?