19 April 2017

The thin end of the wedge

"Have you heard the news?" said Mum animatedly yesterday. "Theresa May is calling for a general election."

"I know", I said. "It's quite unexpected, isn't it?" 

"Hmm." she replies. "I can't understand why she's doing it, though.  Errr.  Forgive me for being ignorant, but what does Brexit stand for and what is it all about?"

I feel a sledgehammer hitting me sideways.  How on earth do I answer that? I'm not very good at masking. Lying. Pretending.  So I go for the full-on honest approach. "You are kidding me, mum. There's been little else discussed over the last 12 months. You even voted on it last year in the Referendum. It's a shortened form for British Exit."

There's a pause. "Oh I see." But clearly she doesn't, so I venture "It's the British exit from the European Union. You know, the Common Market."

"Aha".

This is not the first instance that I have felt something is not quite right. There have been a few others. On Easter Sunday, I brought her over to my house to share with Kay and me  in an old-fashioned English meal of roast lamb and Easter Simnel cake. There is just the three of us now. Mum's husband, my father, died in 2001. My husband died in 2010. Kay is an only child, as am I.  So on important occasions it has been just the three of us for the last seven years. The three musketeers. 

Kay helps mum from the lounge to her seat at the dining table. I dish up the meal and put it in front of mum, before I return with the plates for Kay and me.

"Where are the others?" asks Mum. "Are they not coming down for lunch?"

"What others?" I ask, not daring to imagine whom she means.

She looks confused. "Er. Er. I don't know. Er. "

Kay and I exchange glances. "Do you mean Kay's boyfriend?" I suggest as a possible way out, although he is 40 miles away with his parents, as my mother well knows. 

"Yes", she replies, although not with conviction.

I worry if these instances are just a slight wobble or a symptom of something much worse. She is in a lot of pain with her arthritis and the painkillers don't even touch the sides. Even then, she only takes paracetamol and the occasional codeine, as she has done for years, so there is nothing really heavy to cause her mind to behave strangely as it seems to be doing lately. Stronger painkillers make her woozy, so we have experimented with them way back in the past but dismissed them as too dangerous as she lives on her own and could have a fall.

Are these the first signs of dementia? She is approaching 94 after all, but then again her next-door neighbour is going to be 100 next week and is as bright as button. My mother is very interested in the television news and would read more if her poor eyesight did not let her down, so she is not completely gaga and at least knows what year she is in and who the Prime Minister is. 

But I can't help feeling these little instances are worrying and I don't know what the next few months will bring. I am not sure I am prepared for it, whatever "it" is.
 
Kay made a Simnel Cake for Easter


Isn't she clever?

7 comments:

Linda deV said...

Although forgetfulness is so common by that age, it must be very scary for you.

Maggie May said...

Your cake looked delicious.

I'm sorry that you're worried about your mum. I guess at 96 little instances do become more frequent. I think I fear dementia more than anything else.
Maybe it's nothing to worry about so take things a day at a time.

Maggie x

Valerie said...

Just keep your eye on things. It may just be her age. I have similar lapses and I'm only 83.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

I know it will be scary for you Addy, but as Valerie said, just keep an eye on things. Hopefully the memory lapses will be the normal process of ageing.
Or maybe your mum has a urine infection, which (if so) can have a devastating affect on our older and wisers, and the same could be said for constipation.
The cake looks yummy!
Kind regards
Anna :o]

Flowerpot said...

Do feel for you, Addy. Take care.

Shammickite said...

Simnel cake..... I've never had any but have always wanted to try it! Maybe I'll try to make one next easter.
My sympathy is with you regarding your mum and the sudden onset of possible symptoms. But we all have our moments of forgetfulness. Just keep an eye on her and if she gets worse, persuade her to make a doc appt.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Your daughter certainly is clever - to make such an impressive cake. As for your mother, it really does sound that there's a fogginess in her brain right now but you are very fortunate that she is still in your life at 94. I am rather envious of that.