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Showing posts from April, 2019

The cabin in the woods

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I may have given the impression to those not in the know that yesterday we were heading towards a remote cabin in the middle of a forest, possibly with bears for neighbours.  Once upon a time that would be the sort of thing we would have looked out for (but minus the bears and not too far from civilisation).  Over the years my hobby has to been to look for holiday destinations that were just off the beaten track, just slightly different from the norm and I had a dream of staying in a cottage in Northumberland which was 8 miles from the main road and where the last two miles of that were only accessible by 4 wheel drive.  There was no electricity and no mobile phone signal and to both of us it sounded like heaven .  We didn't manage to get there and nowadays Ash needs a little more certainty when we're a way from home so this week we are staying in a forest lodge not too far from where we live.  It has the feel of being almost on its own but has all mod cons and there is no …

The mists are clearing

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Moved mum to her new (permanent) care home last Tuesday; spent Friday helping her, along with 10 of her friends from the village, celebrate her 90th birthday; spent yesterday clearing out some more stuff from her house (and, in the process, discovering one of the first photos ever taken of Ash and me when he was 17 and I was 15. Still can't quite believe how young we were) and then spent today finishing my last report for work.  My brain is now clearing and I feel more than ready for our few days away in the cabin the woods.  When we get home at the end of next week I'll be ready to clear the office completely and have lovely plans to turn it into a sitting room just for me.  Whether that will actually happen is still to be decided but I have a vision for it so watch this space.


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Feeling better

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The last couple of days have been difficult but not for any particular reason except that I was tired.  Then last night I saw something on the news about the recent bombings in Sri Lanka.  There have been numbers involved since it first happened - number of people killed, number of people injured, number of bombers but to my shame they tended to blur in my ears a little so I listened but didn't connect.  This particular part of the story however mentioned an English man at the end of his holiday who had lost both of his teenage children in the bombings.  I looked at the photos of that brother and sister and realised my life isn't so bad after all.  They of course weren't the only family to be affected by this dreadful event but that photo on the TV screen was the one to pull me up short.  I have no idea how you even begin to cope with losing a child but I am certain that what we are dealing with and what we have to come cannot compare and so I put my head up, gave myself a…

Missing the one you love

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Ash and I always shared a sense of the ridiculous.  Together with Jake our family hobby was people watching and often we wouldn't even need to say anything for the other two to pick up on what had been spotted.  We would smile at the same things, comment on shared views or, often, burst out laughing over something without a comment being needed.  I miss that so much.  It's not that the shared humour has disappeared altogether but more that it can't be guaranteed.  The man that could make me laugh from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep is disappearing before my eyes and, although I'm getting used to it, sometimes I turn to say something and catch my breath when I realise that at this particular moment I will be wasting my time.  I have amazing people in my life that I laugh with, others that share my sense of humour and even more people who join me in seeing the ridiculous in certain situations but Ash was the one person who could be guaranteed to ge…

Same name, different guises

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Actually the heading to this post isn't quite right as dementia does have different names for it's different guises although the one thing they definitely have in common is that they all involve a progressive degeneration of brain cells that is currently irreversible.  The difficulty here then is asking for and finding advice that works for your particular loved one.  Some strategies will work for many people but certainly not for all and it can be hard work pinning down help for that one thing which seems peculiar to your life.  As you know, if you've been reading this blog for a while, I recently read Wendy Mitchell's book 'Somebody I Used to Know' (ISBN: 9781524797911) and was amazed that she can still describe in detail what she's done during any given day.  I then discovered that when she is out and about in her busy life as long as she types as she goes we can read all about where she's been and what she's been doing.  If she isn't able to…

A prime example

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Yesterday was the day to talk about how not to react.  Last night was an actual example of how not to react!  Ash was 60 last Tuesday (where, I asked him, was the teenager I met and fell in love with all those years ago?) and for his birthday I'd booked a lodge in a forest not far from us where we can spend 4 days walking the dog in his favourite environment.  He'd loved this present almost as much as the new drill Jake had bought him and studied the website, asked questions and was really looking forward to it.  Last night I was on the website deciding whether we really needed extras such as rose petals scattered on the bed, confetti filled balloons, party poppers, an in-cabin spa etc etc when he came through to ask me what I wanted to do about some stuff in the back of his truck.  Absentmindedly, and only because I wanted to finish what I was doing, I butted in and said to just wait until I could get out there to look.  This was a stupid thing to do and I should have known b…

Think before you react

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A friend asked me a couple of days ago whether I believed that someone living with dementia may not remember what you said but would always remember how you made them feel.This is a statement often made and was I think a very good question.I read the email just before I went to bed and spent quite a portion of the night when I couldn't sleep thinking about it (this was good as it saved me from the boredom I usually feel when I'm lying awake at night).  I think that one offs probably won't be remembered and there's a section in 'Contented Dementia' (by Oliver James)where Penny Garner tells us how to flip a difficult situation so we know it's possible to turn things around when we've got it wrong as long as we're quick enough.  None of us is a saint and it's impossible to be calm and collected at all times but I think the problem comes when someone is cross all the time.  I've seen this on forums many times and have actually left them for that…

Safety in numbers

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When you are living a life affected by dementia it's very easy to think you're on your own.  When that diagnosis arrives at break neck speed and you're under 65 it's even easier to feel you're on your own.  Support groups, dementia cafes, benefits - if they exist at all (and in our county they are few and far between) they are aimed at the older generation.  However just because we are fewer in number  doesn't mean we can't learn lessons from others and there are an awful lot of people to learn those lessons from.  Figures show that in 2014 there were 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK with 5% of those people aged under 65 (www.youngdementiauk.org/young-onset-dementia-facts-figures).  I'm a very visual person and when I read '850,000' I found it hard to grasp what that number of people would look like so, having thought 'that's sounds like a lot of people', I put the information to one side and left it there.  Last night A…

Relaxation takes hold

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A few years ago when I had a very stressful job Ash and I spent a week in a cottage on a beach on the west coast of Scotland.  To get to it we had to drive across two fields and then down a cliff face.  At the bottom was the cottage and we had the beach to ourselves.  It was amazing but I was so wound up that when Ash suggested I take my watch off I panicked!  I tried and tried but it wasn't until day three of a seven day holiday that I managed to relax enough to leave the watch on the bedside table.  I'd just started to properly unwind when it was time to make our way home.  Yesterday was a little like that.  I did manage to sit down and read a little (Terry Pratchett's 'A Slip of the Keyboard' if you remember) but I gardened more than I sat still and I listened to an audio book while I gardened.  Today I sat still more than I gardened which wasn't particularly effective in the area of weed control but was very useful for gathering news from the Saturday paper…

Life is going to be different

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Some of you may have noticed that my posts have been a little sporadic over the past couple of weeks and that's because I've been tied up with one of the best parts of my job and the one I'm going to miss the most.  For the last 3 years each Easter and summer holidays I've been in charge of a play scheme for children with complex needs and this was the first of 2019 (and the last for me altogether).  A lot of planning goes into these (approximately 18 children and 23 members of staff at each one) and while they're running I find them all consuming so no time or energy for blogging.  Also I find that spending my days with children who are unable to do a single thing for themselves but still have a smile for the people caring for them makes me less inclined to focus on my own needs or those of anyone else in my life.  These children really did make me appreciate my own life which, in the scheme of things I've decided, really isn't all that difficult.

Anyway p…

Be careful with that self-esteem

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Every morning an email drops into my inbox from a website called Quora www.quora.com.  For those of you that haven't heard of it this is a site where people post questions and others answer those questions.  I'm usually sent the questions posed by Americans regarding life in the UK and the answers are generally amusing so every day I have a read.  The idea is that you click on the link in the email which takes you to the relevant question on the site and then if you want you can scroll down to see what other questions have been asked.  This morning I did just that.  I read the question 'My husband is getting a job offer in Great Britain. We are Indians and will be there...?', I read the answer and then I scrolled idly down to the next question which was something like 'At what point did you realise your marriage was over?'.  I clicked on it just because the part of the answer I could read seemed to say the guy realised his marriage was over while on his honeymo…

Ginger tea ....... with milk!

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Before dementia entered our lives Ash and I would take it in turns to go downstairs to make our morning tea.  Post diagnosis he can't handle the responsibility so I make the tea every morning and that's how it's been for the past fifteen months.  Last night I was craving sleep and panicking that, as usual, it would elude me so took something to help me along the way.  The plan worked so well that, instead of waking up at my normal 4am, I slept until 7 which is way past 'cup of tea' time.  It took me a while to focus but then I realised Ash was getting out of bed apparently to make the tea - he'd obviously got fed up of waiting.  I thought about telling him I would do it but then decided it was better to let him do what he'd planned so kept quiet and relaxed back onto the mattress.  Now I have always drunk weak tea and Ash used to be able to make it just how I like it, further down the line however he seems to think that 'weak' means 'slightly co…

I decided yesterday .....

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........... that in a previous life I must have done something really bad.  Having left mum last week smiling and chatting at the tea table in the care home I arrived to visit yesterday with high hopes.  No such luck.  Apparently it's boring and there's no-one to talk to.  Didn't she join the scrabble group on Monday?  Oh yes and it was great fun.  Didn't she join the carpet bowls the day before?  yes and that was great fun too.  And how did she like the singing in the lounge on Tuesday?  It was wonderful.  And what would she be doing if she went home?  Silence!  I then went down to talk to the manager about her staying an extra three weeks with a view to her moving there permanently only to be told they really didn't think that, long term, they could meet her needs as they think she has dementia.  I cried (understandably I think) but then they told me about a new care home which had gained an 'outstanding' for care in it's first report.  I was given th…

Relax and enjoy - the keys to life.

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The past few weeks have been a real struggle both mentally and physically when the only way to cope seemed to be a 'head down and plough on' mind set.  At last however there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel and this weekend was a lovely example of life becoming relaxing once again.   With activities ranging from log collecting with the 5 yr old to watching Bohemian Rhapsody at Flix in the Stix (a monthly pop-up cinema at the local town hall for those who haven't heard of it) with friends to lunch with yet more friends and family today.  Finishing the afternoon in front of the fire watching Pointless Celebrities with Ash and now feeling ready to face the world again.



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If you would like to follow this blog without having to think about it just hit the 'subscribe' button and the posts will be delivered straight to your inbox.If you would like to contact me privately email memoryfortwo@gmail.comIf you would like to comment use the comment link…

Life's lighter moments

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Went to see my mum in her new (temporary) home yesterday and we went into the lounge to sit and chat.  Two other ladies were in there, obviously friends, both smartly dressed and both very switched on.  They were however completely deaf.  The ensuing conversation between the two of them was like something from a Victoria Wood sketch and if I was only half as good as her with words I would write it myself.  Instead you will just have to imagine my delight in the entertainment.  It lightened my whole day and made me realise all over again that if you look hard enough you can usually find something to laugh about.


Don't forget:
If you would like to follow this blog without having to think about it just hit the 'subscribe' button and the posts will be delivered straight to your inbox.If you would like to contact me privately email memoryfortwo@gmail.comIf you would like to comment use the comment link at the bottom left of the post.If you would like to share a post with the out…

Life is, I hope, about to get easier

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You may have noticed that my posts this week have been a little sporadic to say the least and you may have wondered why.  Am I too busy?  Is my life spiralling even further into chaos?  Have I broken my wrist making typing impossible?  Have I finally collapsed sobbing in a corner unable to cope?  Some of these are verging on the truth but not all.  Work and home have combined to make things so hectic I've had no time to think of anything interesting to say and I have managed to collapse sobbing once or twice which is so unusual that friends have been left open mouthed with amazement but I have coped and life really is about to get easier.  Mum is now ensconced in a lovely retirement home initially for two weeks but she's so happy I've just extended her stay by another two weeks to give me some breathing space and her time to relax among lots of lovely people who she can sit and chat to; because I'm dealing with mum Ash is completely at ease with me being away from home…

Bed building

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A busy and slightly stressful few days have just disappeared into the ether hence the lack of posts on here but we're back up and running now and ready to entertain and inform you all.  Yesterday saw, for complicated reasons, Ash and Jake fetch a single pine bed frame down from the loft.  It needed new slats so the tape measure came out and we discovered that it was too wide for the slats I could order from the internet but too narrow for the double bed ones available so Ash and Jake decided that we could get some wood, screw it to the inside of the frame and reduce the interior width (no, I didn't quite understand either).  This sounded like the sort of thing Ash used to do in his sleep and he was really enthusiastic about doing something which would save us buying a new bed and in the process save us money.  The tape came out again and the bed was measured inside and out, floor to the top of the bed frame and top to bottom with all measurements being written in his 'jobs…