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  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Autumn's well and truly arrived.

Blogpost No 10 October 2023

Blogposts are sometimes like buses … none for ages then two at once! Not wanting to lose momentum for the year I thought it best to write about October for its own sake … while it is still in fact October.

Surely nothing much has happened since the Blogpost No9? Maybe but I’ll write about it anyway.

I last left you, dear reader, with the challenges of getting mum ensconced in her new, full time care home. There were many dramas, some I touched upon but needless to say all is well. All shall be well. Becoming a daughter again instead of full time carer has its own challenges but so far … I’m good.

During the first week mum fell three times. Each time I was made aware of the incidents and that a Doctor had been called in to check nothing serious had happened. However after the second fall I was asked to bring mum to an “urgent” X-Ray scan at Ramsey Cottage Hospital because a deep bruise had appeared on her right elbow and the Doctor wanted to make sure there was nothing untoward going on. So on Friday (I’d only brought her in on Monday) I drove over to the home. Mum was up and dressed but didn’t look particularly at ease. I don’t know if she recognised me but she was fine with my being there. She complained she’d had nothing to eat (not true) so we left with a rice cake (which she chomped on in the car) and a full packet of biscuits - just in case.

Getting her into the car was quite the challenge. I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get her there and back without doing some damage myself. Anyway … we got there. And much to my surprise she managed to shuffle, using the Ferrari (her shiny red walker:) into reception. There are times when “jobs-worths” become boulders. I approached the screen and explained someone had requested an emergency X-Ray for mum. “What do you mean by Emergency?” the disdain was dripping. She looked at her screen and said: ”I can see there’s been a request for an, “urgent”, X-Ray but you still have to make an appointment!” They made us leave (we could have waited 2 hours to be squeezed in) as the radiologist was very busy. I totally understand that appointments are made for a reason and that keeping those appointments is what makes things work … but we were told, had been assured, that an appointment had been made. The receptionist could see mum, standing but unsteady and obviously not with it but she had not an ounce of sympathy. As we were leaving she piped up: “Oh wait a minute …” hope raised its beautiful head … “Oh no sorry.” That was it!

I was not impressed. I took mum back, got her sat with a cuppa and one of those biscuits she'd brought out with her. As she came through the door her eyes lit up at seeing one of the other residents: “Oh hello!” "Hello!" No idea if she or the other person actually recognised each other but it made me feel good about her being there. The distraction of other people is a huge boon for someone like mum, who comes more to life when there are others to play to.

I returned with 45 minutes to spare for the acknowledged appointment, only to find mum so fast asleep in a chair, that no one could wake her. The effort of the outing earlier had totally drained her. We cancelled the appointment and another was made for Monday. As it turns out that appointment also had to be cancelled for the same reason - mum was dead-to-the-world fast asleep in a chair in the lounge. She’d apparently slept in a chair all night, refusing to go to bed but had been encouraged to wash, dress and have breakfast before I arrived. At that point, I was told, she’d been upbeat and chatty. She’s had a chest infection which took three different antibiotics to clear but she’s fine now. Which is a relief.

I’ve seen her half a dozen times now, twice with my sister on a Friday and other times on my own. It’s great to just pop in and say hi. I turned up this Monday around 11.45 and sat next to her on a sofa. She opened her eyes and said: “Oh hello I’ve just got here myself”. We sat next to one another. Samson And Delilah with Victor Mature and Larna Turner was on the tv. Not one person was watching it. They were either asleep like mum, or looking out the window or looking at me! You have to chuckle. I just held mum’s hand and kissed her cheek every now and then. I left when she started snoring. As I stood up she opened her eyes: “Where are you off to?” “I just need to go to the shops mum I’ll see you later OK?” “OK”.

We’re now into week four and I actually feel like I’ve just come to after a very long sleep. Sleep is still an issue … any muffled, distant noise in the middle of the night can have Bob and I both wide awake and listening for further signs mum might be up. Ridiculous we know. But it’s a muscle memory response as well as an habitually trained reaction. Most times we can fall back to sleep but there are those occasions (I’m sure you’ve had them yourself) when the shock of waking is too deep to shake off. C’est la vie.

I’ve watched The Wheel Of Time three times! Dad and I loved the books and I know he would have loved the series too. I ignore the blood and gore and focus on the magic. I've watched a few movies and sat with friends whiling away the time happily talking, because I can. It will take a few months yet before I begin to feel like I’ve let go. I put my left hip out last week which made me slow right down. I could have done without the pain but … it worked to bring me into the present and allow myself to relax a little more. I’m all good now - thanks for asking.

A few days ago David Suff sent me a pdf of the first draft of the book: The Children Of The Sea. It’s very exciting to see it come into being. We’ve missed our deadline to release it before Christmas unfortunately but the new year is as good a time as any to aim for. As it stands right now I should be able to support the release with an actual bona fide tour! I need to figure out how to present it all but feel confident I can try some new technology to bring it all to life. If you can think of an Art Centre near you that might be interested … let me know!

The idea that I could actually sing to a room full of music-loving people for more than one night, is almost too much to contemplate. Almost. Watch this space.

Talking of music (yay!) this month I’m sharing, yet another demo, of a song that never saw the light of day. Sweet Rain was written with Rob Laufer in L.A. in 2015 (I think?). He’s such a creative and talented musician songwriter, producer … and all round fabulous human. It was a delight to hang out in his studio and just play around with ideas. I took our noodling sessions back to the Isle of Man with me to tinker with once I was home. We finished these demos off the next time I was in L.A. which used to be a regular and exciting part of our lives - sigh. We wrote 4 songs in all. Hope you enjoy this little offering:

A month ago … just before the decision was made for mum to go into full time care … I had the opportunity to see Brooks Williams play here on the island. I was super excited! We thought it would be a chance to sing a few songs together. We’ve only met in person once, at a festival in Norfolk when I launched myself at him and nearly knocked him off his feet, at the end of his and Boo Hewerdine’s set. He was gracious then and remains gracious. Imagine our shared disappointment when, come the day, it just wasn’t possible for me to go. Mum wasn’t in a good place and I just felt I couldn’t leave her. C’est la vie. Brooks, of course, totally understood but we were both sorry not to be able to make good our shared wish. So … here’s a reminder of a wee collaboration we did in 2020. Such a talented and sweet human. Enjoy:

Thanks as always for dropping by to see how life is for this songstress on the tiny isle. All things considered … I’m doing well. And there are brighter times on the horizon.

Till next time sweet reader … stay well and keep rising above the turbulence.

Much love

Christine x

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