Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weird Conversations

My grown-up kids call Mum Nanagoose. This is an email I recently sent them. It shows the progression of the disease from a few months back. I went to see Nana for a few minutes tonight. I gave her a carton of milk. I showed her that I'd opened the carton and said, "Now don't go ripping the top off the carton! It's already opened!" I put it in the fridge. Nanagoose: Can I use that? Me: Yes, you can use that. Nanagoose: Can I use it for anything? Me: Yes, you can use the milk in the fridge. Nanagoose: Can I use it for anything at all? Me: What were you planning to use it for? Nanagoose: I don't know. I'll use it for something. AAARGGH.
I asked if I could look at her bandage. Nanagoose: (looks at both legs) What bandage is that? Me: The one where you had the operation yesterday. Nanagoose: Did I have an operation? I can't remember that. Me: The one on your neck. Nanagoose: (checks neck, finds bandage) Well, I never knew I had an operation! I was asleep, so how could I remember it! Me: Don't pull the bandage off again or they'll have to put you in hospital and tie your hands to the bed. If you pull that bandage off you could bleed to death. Nanagoose: I won't pull it off. I don't pull bandaids off. Do you think I'm stupid? (Oh yes she did, all night long). AAAARGH. Me: And here's some makeup. You said you needed some. Nanagoose: Good, can you open it for me? Me: Here, it's open, now test it on your hand. Nanagoose tests it on the inside of her hand, on the palm. Me: You don't test makeup there. You test it on the back of your hand. Nanagoose tests it where you test perfume, on the underneath of her wrist. Me: No, not under your wrist, test it on the back of your HAND. Nanagoose: Where's that? I don't know what you mean. AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGH. Me: Here are the teabags you're out of. Nanagoose: Give them to me! I'll hide them right away! Me: No, don't hide them, you won't find them if you do that! Put them in the cupboard! Nanagoose: No, people come in at night and steal them! Me: No-one comes in at night and steals your teabags. (Putting them in the cupboard). Nanagoose: When you go I'll hide them. The nurses come in and steal them all the time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Shufflehop Stomp

Most days I collect Mum and we take the dogs for a long walk, either by the beach or near the harbour. The last few times, she's walked normally for a short while and then started this shuffle-hop-stomp walk. She stamps her feet onto the ground and lifts her legs high in the air, or else she shuffles her feet. If I say to her, "Mum, what are you doing? Walk properly!" she will make some excuse - "I was listening to the sand squeak", "I was enjoying the sound of the gravel" - and walk normally for a minute or so. Then the strange walk will start again. It seems when she is aware of her walking, she doesn't do it, but as soon as her mind wanders off the task, the shufflehop stomp starts again. I think this is a bad sign of progression of the disease. The neurologist told me last week he is quite sure there are now two dementias happening, both vascular and Alzheimers. This is very depressing.
The dogs like to walk with Mum.
Mum at the beach where we walk.

Wombats and Wallabies

We took a drive down to Kangaroo Valley. It's a little dairy farming village in the mountains surrounded by rainforest. You can always see wombats and wallabies beside the road. Mum loves it there. We got out of the car and walked around the village, having lunch in a cafe. She always behaves herself when out on a drive like this, which is a relief. A lot of people tell me not to take her on drives or holidays as new places upset them, but drives seem to make her happy and she seems to still recall them days later. '
This is a garage once owned by Mum's cousin in the 1930s and 1940s.
The primary school and headmaster's residence.
There was a wombat in the middle of the road!

A nice trip to Sydney

Mum's always happiest when in the passenger seat of the car, so we go for a lot of drives. A couple of weekends back we went to see the cemetery in Newtown N.S.W. where her great great grandfather is buried. He died in 1854. She recalls family history when I remind her. I might remind her about Grandfather Dawson, then she'll remember the name of Grandmother. We visited the cemetery and then walked around the area where he lived to see all the interesting old buildings. Here are some of our pictures.
Mum with G.G. Grandfather's headstone
This building was once a grocery shop owned by one of our ancestors in the 1890s.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Aged Care Facility

I took these photos today so you can see what a nice place the aged care facility is. It has a small kitchen and a spacious bathroom.

Mum hates it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A problem with beds

Sometimes I think I really shouldn't take her on holiday ever again.

Back in her room she's scribbled nasty notes all over the instruction booklet of her new TV claiming that men keep coming into her room and taking things. If ever I have to sell the TV it will be embarrassing handing over the booklet and with modern appliances you can't even use them without that booklet. I keep removing pens from her but someone gives her pens. I have taken away everything I possibly could to keep it safe from her scribbling and I've hidden the TV booklet.

She keeps taking the pictures off the walls. I wish someone would go into her room when she's in the act of doing these things and tell her to stop. I put the pictures back, she takes them down. Now she's scribbled on the back of the pictures as well. I can see a time coming when the pictures will have to go.

She also keeps packing things. I take away any bags, then she manages to get a grocery bag off someone. I wish the other residents would not give her grocery bags and pens!

When I told the head nurse I was taking her on the plane to Adelaide and then to Kangaroo Island and so on, she was alarmed. She said Mum would revert to the packing behaviour and wanting to get out of there. I was annoyed that she said that but it's true to some extent. So what are you supposed to do, leave your elderly relative in the nursing home and never take them anywhere? Mum loves to travel and I promised her we'd keep travelling when she moved into Five Islands Court, but it's getting too hard.

When we were staying with my daughter she was in the middle of moving house. She was moving into Defence Housing, which is cheaper rental, while her fiance is serving overseas, so there was no-one to help except me.

Defence Housing were to move her in one day, but they misjudged and weren't able to do it. As a result they had to put her up in a motel for the night.

During the travelling back and forth between the two houses, Mum was extremely disorientated. She thought the first house belonged to me and she kept asking me why all my furniture was being taken away. She didn't like the new house at all and said she wouldn't stay there. She wanted to be taken back to the first house. We had to keep telling her over and over what was going on and it's hard on the nerves. I don't know how many times I said, "Loretta is moving house Mum, she's going into Defence Housing."

So Loretta had a motel room with 2 beds. We paid extra to have a portable bed taken in. It was a bed suitable for children. I am quite heavy and if I'd tried to sleep on it I might have broken it, so Mum had to have the portable bed.

She didn't like it. She said she 'always' had the bed by the window in motels. This is not true. She told my daughter she had to give me the queen-sized bed because that's the bed that I always had. I told Mum I was happy with the single bed and as it was Loretta's room and she'd in effect paid for it she should have the big bed. We explained it over and over but it wasn't sinking in. Sometimes she can form new memories if she's told something often enough, but this bed thing was too much for her to take in.

We tried to get her to have a shower. She swore blind she'd had one this morning. We both pointed out we'd been with her all day, every second, and we hadn't seen her have a shower. She was furious - as she always is when showers are mentioned. She was quite clever how she shifted the focus from "I had a shower this morning" which she must have then realized wasn't true, to "You think I'm dirty. You think I never shower. Well, I'm NOT having a shower. You can't make me." By this time, her hair was greasy and dirty from not being washed for several days. My daughter pointed out that she needed to wash her hair. She said she never washed her hair at night, she always had morning showers. The truth is, she's never had morning showers in her life. We did try the positive "You'll feel nice and squeaky clean and sleep better after a shower" line but nothing was going to work so we gave up.

Her focus then shifted back to beds. We managed to get her into the portable bed, where she continued to complain. We went to bed ourselves and turned out the lights, but soon after, she was up, turning on the lights and demanding that I get out of the single bed by the window and let her have it and that my daughter get into the portable bed and let me have the queen-sized bed. She kept repeating that she had paid for the room and therefore she should get the bed she wanted. We couldn't convince her that it was Loretta's room.

You may think we should have just let her sleep where she wanted. But she'd have soon noticed that I was on the queen-sized bed with my daughter, as neither of us could sleep on the portable bed, and that would also have made her angry.

This went on all night. She'd get into bed, then get up again and start tormenting us about beds and whose motel room it was. She said my daughter was awful not to give me the big bed.

Poor Loretta. She had to go to university at 8.30 a.m. the next day. But none of us had had any sleep. At 5 a.m. she sat up in her bed and started to cry very loudly, saying, "I can't stand it any more, I can't stand it!" She was crying so loudly I told her to please be quiet as she'd have been waking up the people in the rooms on either side of us. Mum went to comfort her and put her arms around her and she shouted "Get away! It's all your fault!"

I told Mum it was time to go down to the dining room for breakfast. I wanted to get her out of there so my daughter could get a little bit of sleep before going to university. I asked her to get dressed. She just got angry and said "I'm not leaving Loretta here in this state! We have to stay and look after her!" I kept repeating that Loretta needed to be left alone to sleep. I gave Mum her clothes and told her to put them on. She wouldn't. It went on for at least 30 minutes while Loretta continued to cry. Finally Mum put on her clothes, doing so infuriatingly slowly and deliberately as I've seen her fully dressed in less than three minutes. I took Mum down to the dining room and we stayed there for three hours.

It was absolutely awful. I hope this gives people some insight into why some residents of nursing homes never get to go anywhere!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mum on holiday

We had a great holiday really. We went to the outback and lots of other places. Mum is only ever really happy while out driving in the car. I had to watch her every second of the day to make sure she didn't get into trouble, make things disappear or hurt herself. It's easier to watch her while she's in the car. She's strapped in and can't get into much mischief from there.

Here are some of our holiday photos.

Nearly going crazy

I woke up yesterday morning after coming back from a two week holiday with Mum to Adelaide feeling like I would have a nervous breakdown. I am having trouble coping with all kinds of things. My car needs repairs and I just CAN'T ring up and make a time to bring it in. Boxes of Mum's china and kitchen things are strewn throughout my house which looks like a Chinese brothel, as my grandmother would say, and I just CAN'T even tackle one of those boxes. I need to go to the optometrist. I made an appointment 3 weeks ago and missed it due to extreme stress and inability to focus on anything (with my brain, not my eyes). I need to take Mum to the skin clinic. I can't motivate myself to get an appointment for that either. I feel like I'm falling apart. I guess all carers feel like this at times but it's awful, and frightening. I avoid doing anything by playing Farmville. It calms my mind and makes all my troubles go away. It is absolute hell watching your mother in effect, go insane.

Picture: Farmville

Strange goings-on at the nursing home

When I got to the nursing home today, Mum had a green grocery bag packed with:

*a picture of her cousin Jack Luke in uniform, 1943
*someone else's crocheted rug
*a pair of pyjamas
*spare undies
*the nursing home's washer & hand towel
*the key to the china cabinet which I thought I had put out of sight very high up on a cupboard where she couldn't reach it.
Evidently she's stood on something to get the key. That's very dangerous: why didn't someone notice?

The bag was tied in a knot at the handles. She denied having done it. She said men had been in her room and had packed the bag.

Then she said she thought the china cabinet was cracked. It might be, but I can't find the crack. However I did find a trail of blood down the front of the china cabinet
so she's definitely cut herself during the day.

The china cabinet doors were tied up with a hanky. I asked her why and she said "That woman's boyfriend came in here and got into my china cabinet. He wants my things.
You have to take them all to your place." She also demanded I take two large ornaments and some smaller ones from the top of the kitchen cupboards. I refused to take them. I don't have the room. But I'm starting to understand why some residents' rooms are completely bare. It's not that their sons & daughters are too mean to bring things like books, pictures and ornaments - it's that these residents are causing huge problems with these things.

The lady who is Mum's friend does not have a 'boyfriend'. None of the men in the area have dementia and they certainly don't go into Mum's room.

In the bathroom, she'd put a box of photos next to the sink. In the box, on top of the photos, were:

*hair brush
*2 bottles of perfume, lids missing
*hand cream (2 - none with lids)

When she wasn't looking I put the bathroom things back in the bathroom cabinet & put the photo box inside the wardrobe.

All her family photos were taken down and piled up on top of the wooden bureau. They were very neatly piled up there. Very strange.

On the window sill were all the towels from the bathroom - four of them. They were tucked in around the glass. I asked why and she said there was a nasty wind coming into the
room from the glass which wasn't properly sealed.

I told her that her window was wide open and closed it, then put away all the towels.

When I got home a nurse rang. He told me Mum wants credit put on her phone. I explained to him that I keep delaying doing that, because $15 goes down the gurgler within 2 days
as she rings me incessantly, waiting for the call to go through to the message bank but never leaving a message. Calls are free but the message bank isn't and this is what drains
the phone credit very fast. I said there is no signal for mobile phones in Port Kembla so it's no use her trying to ring me here. That's why the phone is always turned off when I'm home.
The nurse said he'd explain that to her. I will put the $15 on her phone, but it's such a terrible waste of money. I tried to give him the hint that I don't WANT 50 calls every day. That's one of the main reasons I decided she had to go to Five Islands Court - her persistent calls and demands which were slowly but surely driving me to the brink.

Ah well. I wonder what I'll find tomorrow.

I think she'll have a terrible accident in that room. I've taken away the china cabinet key, but she'll forget and try to climb up on the cupboard again. I think due to her craziness in imagining people after her things and packing bags, she'll do something really stupid like climb up there, fall and break something.

I'm surprised that the only damage she did to herself today was to cut herself given the mischief that she's been up to. Everyone went on a bus trip which she refused to go on, so she was probably left to her own devices with only one nurse on duty. No doubt she planned it that way.

Here she is on a recent visit to her grandchildren in Adelaide, 1400 kms away. On the farm where they live is this gorgeous old house.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Not her favourite vacation spot

It's been a very harrowing week. On Monday Mum was transferred from Coledale Hospital to a low-care facility where she had been offered a bedsitter room. Coledale Hospital had assessed her and decided she only needed low care but on arrival at FIC (the facility) she misbehaved very badly. For the first two days she tried to escape and succeeded because the area she is in is not a locked area. It's really not for dementia patients although some of the people there do have some memory problems.

She went around the side of the building and found the driveway, went out onto the street and started walking. Then she realized she didn't have a clue where she was and a woman out in her front yard noticed Mum was completely bamboozled and took her back to FIC. I don't mind her going out walking in areas that she knows well, on her own, but she would get lost in areas she's not used to.

NOTE: November 2011: This behaviour did not continue. This is the last time she ever tried to escape. She settled down after this and no longer tried to get to the driveway.

From that time, the nurse in charge ordered that a record of her whereabouts be kept and they had to write where she was every 15 minutes. This is extremely inconvenient for them and as the nurse said, "This is not behaviour we see in House Two."

I was there the first time she had lunch and she was rude and nasty to the gentlemen at her table. One of them asked how she was and she said very angrily "Not good and I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to be here and I'm not staying here." She's been like this all week. These people, as I said, do not have dementia so they are quite capable of being very offended by her nastiness.

The nurse asked me to come in and talk to her. She said Mum was not settling in and was an escape risk as House Two, as it's called, is not a locked unit. It's for people who are happy to be living there. Mum had previously inspected the unit and stated that she loved it and would take it. So she was there quite voluntarily, but of course she has no memory of ever saying that.

I was very upset because in House Three they are not allowed to have a jug or a fridge.I didn't want Mum to be living in a nursing home when she's still capable of enjoying making herself a cup of tea and watching television.

Last weekend before she moved in, my son and one of his friends had helped me move in some of Mum's furniture and treasured belongings. I spent a good two hours arranging her things in the china cabinet really nicely. I put away all her clothes. I looked forward to visiting her there, choosing curtains, going out to buy a fridge and a new TV. The way she is, I wouldn't dare take her out in the car. She'd certainly refuse to go back there.

Throughout the week Mum has continued to be unco-operative, unfriendly and downright rude. She keeps going outside without letting anyone know where she is. She's lost all the time and someone always has to take her back to her room. She gets lost just walking to the end of the corridor. She didn't get lost at Coledale Hospital - she soon managed to find her way around. I think she's deliberately getting 'lost' so they'll send her home to me, which isn't going to happen. I can believe she'd get lost out on the street because she doesn't know the area but she should be able to find her way from her room to the dining room and back by now.

I have tried visiting her a couple of times but she says things like "Get out, I hate you and never want to see you again." "I am calling Roger and going up to Queanbeyan to buy a house." "You have dumped me here. You are nasty." "This is a nursing home and I'm not staying here. I'm going to call my solicitor."

FIC is really nice. It's the newest residential home in the area.

By today, Friday, she had become a little less combative.

I went there today after work and after spending 2 hours ironing still more name labels on her clothes and she was sulking, lying on her bed. As soon as I got in the door she said "Get out! I hate you." I noticed she had found a few photos of me and ripped them up. I just left right away, dumping the clothes on the floor. I have been through hell looking after her the last three or four years and the last thing I need is to go and visit her and just get abused and accused of being cruel and nasty.

If this is how many of these dementia sufferers treat their families once they have moved into care, I'm not at all surprised that some of them never visit again. I certainly don't feel like visiting her. She's caused me terrible trouble over the years. But at least I have that sense of duty, unlike my brother and his 21 year old daughter, who even bother to find out what's happening to her and believe her story that she has her 'own flat' and is 'fine'.

Update November 2011: They still have never visited. Phone calls are around three per year.

I've found the most beautiful place for her to live safely and have company and outings and she hates it.

In stark contrast, Dad's sister, who's the same age as Mum and went to school with her, asked her family to find a nice facility for her. She had had a couple of falls at home and realized she couldn't expect her family to come running every five minutes - unlike Mum who would demand my constant presence and attention even before the dementia set in. She's in one further south which sounds a lot like the one where Mum is. She has a bedsitter room too and she told me on the phone the other day she's never been happier. She has friends there, she loves the outings and she loves getting visits from her family. She's looking forward to selling her house and land so that she can enjoy some of her money by going on holiday and buying things for her six children and dozens of grandchildren.

I've really had enough of Mum, she's so awful and she's ruining her chances of staying in the lovely bedsitter unit. I told her that she would be moved to the nursing home section if she kept running off and being nasty to people but she just said they couldn't do that to her and she wouldn't go there. She seemed to think if she misbehaved and lost her unit they'd put her out on the street and I'd have to take her in. I told her on the phone in no uncertain terms that they won't put her out on the street, they'll transfer her next door and she won't like it there.

I've also had her cousins call her and plead with her to behave, but she just repeats to them that she hates it there and won't stay.

So, if she ends up in the nursing home at least I've done all I could to prevent it. Coledale Hospital nurses are quite shocked at the change in her behaviour; they said she was lovely up there, co-operative and friendly, but I think that was only because she saw the hospital as something very temporary, expecting to be taken back to my place after her stay. They had sent a report to FIC stating that she was a lovely lady who'd fit in well at FIC.

I haven't put any credit on her mobile phone, either, which is making her extremely angry. My cousin called me and said Mum said to ask me to put credit on the phone so she can ring me. I told my cousin I won't at this stage because I can do without abusive phone calls. When she was at home she was ringing me 150 + times every week. It was hell - just constantly demanding attention. She did have credit on the phone when she arrived at FIC but she used it all up in about an hour, ringing me again and again when I was at work and unable to pick up the phone. She let it ring until it went to Voicemail and then each call cost 50c. She never left a message as she didn't realize it was Voicemail - thank goodness for that. Two years ago I had the voicemail cut off my home phone as I'd go to listen to my messages and hear things like "Why aren't you over here? Where are you? You hate me and I don't want you coming to my house ever again." This was when she lived in her own house. The nasty messages would be left when I was at work or busy doing important things. She'd leave nasty messages well before she had dementia, but after dementia arrived they got more frequent and much worse.

I have had an awful time trying to pack up Mum's house. It is just so cluttered with all kinds of things and paperwork going back 100 years, some of which belonged to my grandparents. Sorting it has been a nightmare. I have had to decide what goes to the Salvation Army, what goes to my brother (I'm sending 4 boxes of stuff up to him by courier next week so he can't say he didn't get anything of his mother's) and what I need to keep at my place. I've had to sell the furniture and that's been a terrible nuisance - some people said they'd buy things and then never turned up. I have spent up to 6 hours a day over there trying to pack up for the last 4 weeks and I still haven't made a lot of headway. The house has to be vacated by next Thursday for the new owners.

So that's the situation. I've done my best but apparently I've failed. I've certainly failed to make her happy. I can't visit her because she's absolutely vicious towards me. I don't know what will happen next. Maybe I should start to enjoy my newfound freedom after years of being a slave to her and not feel guilty.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Get me out of here, I hate it!

Moving Day finally arrived yesterday. I had already set up Mum's bedsitter unit at the nursing home really nicely with all her family photos and so on, as well as her china cabinet and an antique dresser that she loves. I spent hours and hours on it. But people with dementia have no understanding of these things and no idea the extent of what you try to do for them.

She was absolutely furious when she saw the unit. She started shouting "I'm not staying here, take me home!" and other horrible things such as "Well, I'm sure you're happy now you've managed to dump me and get rid of me." "I'm calling your brother to come and get me." (As if he'd come, ha.)

I had intended to spend hours there organizing her clothes and taking her on a tour of the place including checking out the magnificant 180 degree sea views. But she was so foul and nasty I was out of there in a few minutes. I'm not stopping to listen to abuse.

When asked to go to the dining room for lunch she said "No, I'll go out to lunch every day thank you very much!" in a nasty tone of voice. I told her I was not taking her out for lunch but was going home soon. So she angrily stomped up to the dining room where they sat her next to a very nice gentleman. He greeted her and asked how she was. She said "I'm not happy and I don't want to talk to you."

Most of the people in this section either don't have dementia at all or have very mild dementia. Mum was able to mostly mask her symptoms during her time in hospital so no-one has seen her acting like this before. In fact, she only got into this unit because they did another 30-question dementia test at the hospital and she got 26/30, which is normal for someone her age. The dementia quizzes are useless for Mum. It's her weird, paranoid behaviour that is more the problem, not her knowledge of various things. For example they asked her the name of Italy's president during World War 2 and she not only answered correctly but added a number of facts on fascism. This is an indication of her former level of intelligence and I don't believe these 30-question dementia quizzes are any use for people who were formerly near-geniuses; their intelligence level has certainly dropped but it's still nowhere near below normal.

She was to have gone into the next level of care, based on my observations of her behaviour which I told the doctor about. However, somehow she knew she had to behave herself at the hospital and put on an act of normality and she pulled it off and as a result she's really at a level of care that's not high enough for her. If she's not watched when showering, she'll just turn on the water and not even get under it then put on the same clothes she's been wearing for a week, including the dirty underwear. When I asked her at the hospital why she was putting on the same underwear all the time she said it was because I hadn't given her any other underwear, whereas there were ten pairs in the drawer. She never thinks to look in drawers for underwear - she just decides there's none there and that's that. And it's no use me telling her the underwear is there - within seconds that fact has gone from her memory.

I hope she manages to stay in the bedsitter unit. The next level is a single hospital-style room with no space for her own furniture. But if she keeps being nasty to people she won't get to stay there, that's for sure.

What sister in law?

We were at Austinmer Beach the other day when I saw Mum's sister in law and her family. As I headed over to talk to them, Mum said "I don't want to talk to those people, I don't know them." I said, "It's your sister in law, Pat. You know Pat, Dad's sister!" She said "No I don't know any Pat, I didn't know I had a sister in law.'

This is very worrying. It's the first time she hasn't recognized someone.

Over the past 4 months or so, she has got her two cats mixed up. She'd pick up a cat and say, "What's this cat's name? I forget." So I had to start telling her the cats' names. Then she'd keep asking, "How many cats have I got?"

On the other hand she remembers the most amazing things and would blitz the Coledale Hospital's Trivia Quiz every time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Four months later...

I've been too exhausted to write anything since December. Things certainly got a fair bit worse over the last few months. Finally I asked the GP to refer Mum to a psychiatrist specialising in problems of the elderly. The psychiatrist put her in hospital in February. After observing her for several weeks and listening to what I had to say he said he believed it was too much to expect me to take care of her in her own home. As for possibly taking her to live at my place, he could see that causing huge problems too, due to her night-time obsessive cat-hunting habits. No-one can do without sleep.

He's about the only psychiatrist I have ever liked or trusted. He did not prescribe drugs. I'm pleased about that. He approved Mum's supplements, too, and instructed the nurses to continue giving them to her. Most doctors have no time for vitamins and so on. Mum is trying the new Turmeric capsules. I've read the neurologists in India are very hopeful they can slow the progress of dementia.

So she's been in hospital for a long time. At times she gets very angry and demands that I take her out of there. She was lucky to get a place in a nursing home near me. She'll be in a bedsitter-sized unit which is very nice and help will be on hand when she needs it. They'll make sure she showers (something she rarely wants to do) and changes into clean clothes afterwards. It will be a huge relief but the caregiving won't be coming to an end. I'll need to visit her every day and bring her to my house to visit her cat. I'll also be responsible for taking her to her G.P., dentist, podiatrist and so on.

Here she is in hospital being visited by my daughter and her fiance. They are so kind, but they live 1400 kms away, so I can't expect them to be here all the time.

Packing up her house has been absolute hell: 60 years' worth of accumulated stuff and I have to check every item to see if it's something important or historical that can't be thrown out. As well, she has most of my grandmother's possessions and paperwork so I'm really dealing with nearly 100 years' worth of stuff.

I believe these last few months have taken years off my life. I don't feel well any more like I used to. I get tired and exhausted.

Today I took a china cabinet and a sideboard to her new room and set up all her china nicely. She moves in on Monday.

I hope she doesn't get angry and hate it there.