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  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Belated Blogpost No9 September 2023

Better late than never?


For those who didn’t see my apology for the lateness of September’s Blogpost … sorry I’m so late! There are reasons. As you may recall in August Bob and I enjoyed a week of respite when mum went into a lovely Dementia unit for a rest. The whole experience was wonderful for all concerned.


Once home however about a week or ten days after her return, things took a sharp turn for the worse. First of all, that first week back, mum was getting up fully dressed and ready for the day, around 4am. I was able to get her back to bed maybe twice. The alternative approach was to get her snuggled in a blanket with a hot water bottle, in the recliner chair.


Rudely awakened with “HELLO!” bellowed from the bottom of the stairs, was often our first awareness something was afoot! Week two mum changed to a better time frame of between five and seven am for our early morning call. At this time we enjoyed a wonderful ten days of bright, sunny, warm and delightful weather. It was blissful but mum’s legs started to swell up. A first for her.


Then week three brought with it some stressful angry outbursts, mostly directed toward me, coupled with incomprehensible speech. These are peak experiences not constant and so they are manageable despite their stress inducing effects. A couple of times mum thought I was a complete stranger waltzing around her house as if I owned the place - apparently. Once I understood this, it was relatively easy to lower the tension. Distraction is a mighty sword in the battle with Dementia. Once the moment had passed and mum was feeling better, she started telling me about this awful woman who’d just been in the house. “You should have heard the way she shouted at me!” Not the most fun we’ve ever had and yet … hilarious.

Then mum fell out of bed one night. Apart from banging her head as I opened the door (doh!) we were able to get her back to bed calm and comfortable in a few minutes. No damage done. However the following morning as I was preparing to take Sweep for a walk, I noticed her door was open and the lights on so I popped my head round the door to say hi and see what sort of mood she was in. Mum was lying, sprawled on the floor on her left side, surrounded by the bed clothes which she must have made a grab for as she fell - asleep. No idea how long she’d been lying there. She was actually quite cheerful but in some pain and discomfort. Not wanting to make it worse, we called for an ambulance. They arrived within 20 minutes which was a huge relief as we were told it could be up to 90.


Once assessed, the paramedics (who are all awesome) got mum back into bed propped up and ready for breakfast. I think Bob and I were more shaken at this point. These various incidents prompted a phone call to the place mum had respite with. And so the conversation turned to the possibility of… full time care. We’d definitely reached our limits. When you’re no longer able to keep someone safe, the inevitable arrives. With many phone calls and even more form filling (I’m actually allergic to forms - honest!) everything was arranged. The last week leading up to the hand over, so-to-speak, was truly stressful. I think once the decision was made, I let go of whatever it is that helped me keep going. So everything was like sludge and seemed to take forever.


Mum’s comprehension went out the window, her speech became even more garbled and her ability to walk from chair to table, to bedroom/bathroom was failing rapidly. And just a few days before she was due to go into full time care, we thought she’d had a stroke. Another ambulance crew turned up. Bless them! In the 20 minutes or so they attended her, she became more coherent and capable again and so we opted to keep her at home where she could at least get a good night’s sleep. She needed help dressing and walking but miraculously made it through each day. She slept and slept and slept. I honestly thought she was ready to leave the planet.


On the morning of her change of address, she was up, bright eyed and bushy tailed and even making sense, by 7.30am. She spent the next few hours fast asleep in the recliner chair. The first she knew of this massive change to her circumstances was at lunch time. As I handed her lunch over I said: “Oh by the way mum you’ve been chosen to go to this lovely place for a few days for free. You were there recently and they loved your energy so much they think you’re perfect to cheer everybody up! What do you think?” With rice cake, cream cheese, ham and sweet chilli sauce half way to her mouth, she paused. Then tears pricked her eyes. “They chose me?” “Yes!”. I have become adept at lying and I know my mother very well. She needs to be needed. Maybe we all do on some level. Anyway … I felt good about this lie. And so did mum.


We’d set up her room the day before. It is light and airy and overlooking a garden. There are family photos hung on the walls and blue-tacked to the wardrobe doors and a large Amethyst crystal geode and a Buddhas head she loves, along with some of her more recent artwork dotted around and about to make the place feel familiar. She looked a little lost when we first went to her room. But as soon as one of the delightfully smiley staff arrived to offer tea and biscuits in one of the lounges, she was right at home. I needed to fill in and sign more forms (the things we do for love;) and explain the complicated medication regime. When all was completed I was advised to leave without saying goodbye. At this point mum was with other residents watching a George Formby movie … happy as can be. I left.


The waves of relief and disbelief are still rolling over us. They are less dramatic and more gentle in their approach but there none-the-less. We are very clear about the positive outcomes of our decision. My siblings and other family members are happy for us and mum alike. That we managed to cheerfully (for the most part!) Look after mum for the past three and a half years … through all that entailed … is something we feel good about and even grateful for. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other. I found a genuine love for mum I never thought was possible. Miracles abound.


She is still battling some serious physical/mental changes and has fallen several times since being at the home. They are able to care for her in ways we simply can’t anymore. We’re confident in their care and her safety. She’s only been gone a week. I’ve seen her several times as have my sister and brother. It’s a massive shift in responsibility for Bob and I. We’re giving ourselves till the end of the year to unwind before making any big plans but I’m sure you can see how this changes our outlook. Watch this space!


I’ll leave it here for now and be back in a few weeks before the end of October to hopefully give you a more relaxed and creative Blogpost to digest.


I’m looking for some music to share … hang on!


I have numerous demos written with various co-writers many of which never see the light of day. Here is one such co-written with Steve Lima aka Futuro1 ... this is our love song to nature: Nurtured By Nature.

In keeping with the nature theme here's an oldie but goodie taken from Collister&Fix's North&South CD released in 2019 ... it is an appropriately seasonal song:

As always, thank you for dropping by to see how life is at the moment. As you can see it's been full on. But we're still rolling along and enjoying this strange thing we call life.


Till next time, stay well and keep rising above the turbulence

Endless blessings and much love.


Christine x


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9 commentaires


Graeme Brennan
Graeme Brennan
12 oct. 2023

❤️ You fair made me weep there Christine. I wish every good thing for you all. Breathe deeply🙂

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caroline.blackmore782
11 oct. 2023

Christine what a weight to have lifted I looked after my nan with altzimers it's the toughest job ever well done for 3 and a half years respect to you and Bob enjoy your time together now

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Christine Collister
Christine Collister
12 oct. 2023
En réponse à

Thank you for your wise and compassionate words Paddieu very much appreciated 🙏❤️🙏

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avis
11 oct. 2023

Heart-warming news and I can identify with your journey. Great song with great rhythm!

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Christine Collister
Christine Collister
12 oct. 2023
En réponse à

Thank you Avis ... kind words are always welcome ❤️🙏❤️

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Bob Miller
Bob Miller
11 oct. 2023

I wondered where your mum was 😜


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Christine Collister
Christine Collister
12 oct. 2023
En réponse à

😱🥰😝🥰😱

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