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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Grandmother Difficulties

Yesterday was lousy for so many reasons but perhaps the one that will linger longest is the Wednesday grandmother visit. In the middle of January I wrote about how she wasn't really settling into her new home because what she has an issue with is the idea of being in a home, despite the fact it's a very good one. Since then, things have been a little more even. She was still miserable and moaning but she wasn't crying - I took that as a good sign. Last night all that changed.

When we arrived she was sitting in the alcove by the door. We keyed in the code and the moment the door was open she started wailing. I mean that in the most literal sense - it was nothing short of hysterical. For a while we couldn't get any sense out of her. She was disparaging the staff very loudly ("oh, her, she's not a good one") and screaming "go away" at another resident who stopped to watch the hysterics. When that woman reappeared a few minutes later my grandmother warned her, again very loudly, that if she didn't go away she was going to "clunk" her. I assume the weapon of choice would've been her walking frame, which could've caused quite a bit of damage to the little old lady. All the time, my grandmother's weeping, asking us to "do her in" and generally making no sense.

The story, when we finally got it, seemed to be this. For weeks she's been pestering my aunt to take her to a hairdresser she likes. She doesn't want to look like the rest of the permed women, she says, and she's got a long-standing relationship with this stylist. So my aunt has arranged it for Friday. The trouble is, I don't know what she told my grandmother but at 6:00pm on Wednesday evening she was sat in the lobby afraid that it was "too late" to go to bed because my aunt would be coming. I think this was the trigger for something else, something that's been building since she moved in there. What hasn't helped is that she had an accident a couple of weeks ago when she tried to avoid disturbing the staff by stepping over the pressure pad in the middle of the night and consequently going face first into the bedside cabinet. She has a black eye and a damaged shoulder which can't be helping her mood.

The half an hour visit was just a nightmare. We couldn't get her to calm down and she kept insulting the staff. My father threatened to walk out, which I gently said was not a good idea: it would've left her in a worse state and that wasn't fair on anyone. But then she started troubling the woman who was delivering the pills about the bathroom and my father insisted on making a break for it. Who knows what we left the staff with?

I hate that she's so miserable but, like I said before, there's nothing we can do about it. This is what she chose and her care needs now make other options redundant. But screaming at the staff and other residents is so unlike her, it's alarming. And this talk of suicide is getting more and more frequent. I know the staff there are good but they can't watch her every minute. All it would take is one staircase and there are two near her room... I don't know what we can do. And while it's probably more irritating my father and aunt more than anything else, it's physically hurting me. I got home last night and wept myself. It's a nice circle me and my grandmother are going round, isn't it?

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