Friday, 30 January 2009

Girl interupted

After the last BlackLOG I had the following note to cheer me up from a regular BlackLOG reader Richard Walker. Mrs B feels Richard should also be employed to cheer up fellow readers of the BlackLOG .

"I thought you might enjoy a project to get your year back on track – maybe creating a network of Mr Bs (I can’t imagine why we’d want one but don’t let that put you off). I’ve made a start for you with another remarkably talented Mr B, he’s down your neck of the woods (the South) so you could at least go see him in concert. Of course, I’ve just realised that you may already be aware of him and possibly be embroiled in a bitter fight for the right to the Mr B brand, in which case I’m sorry for mentioning him."

It is well worth following the link, you will find an astonishing combination of "Posh Rapping with a Banjo, not forgetting that particularly dodgy moustache"….2Pac will be spinning in his grave. Now this is going to sound odd but I found it fascinating in a "pain you have when you have a loose tooth" kind of way.

No matter what you do, you can't stop your tongue straying and giving it a little wiggle. The pain is excruciating yet addictive. That Mr B (him not me, althoug that might be open to debate) should definitely be sectioned as he is truly mental but I can't help liking the quirkiness. I should know, the latest BlackLOG disaster - I have had first hand experience of getting my mother sectioned. (As explained in the last BlackLOG in order to get through this, she is henceforth to be known as Shuffler, due to her irritating habit of shuffling around. While you might regard me as being unnecessarily cruel I would like to point out that when she thinks no one is watching she walks normally. It also helps me to stay detached and able to cope with the situation.) I would like to point out that she is not insane just severely depressed. There are only three occasions that I recall when her actions were questionable :-

1) Throwing a brick at me. Fortunately I ducked and it went through one of her window. Not totally everyday behaviour, but since it was a long time ago I will give her the benefit of the doubt and put it down to something I said which may have upset her a bit.....(In my defence no one else has thrown a brick at me, or not that I have noticed)

2) Driving her car into the garage - on the face of it nothing whatsoever abnormal. It is only when you dig deeper and discover that the garage door was closed at the time and she had been aggressively revving the engine for quite some time beforehand......

3) Lighting her gas oven with a match - again, nothing particularly unusual in this, many people have to do this with old cookers. Where it gets a little more interesting is that she had switched the gas on some 10 minutes before and got distracted. As she put her head in the oven and struck the match she was hit by a fire ball. Rather fortunately for her, the result was only the loss of her eyebrows and her fringe was reduced to a 1cm red stubble. Combine this with a bright red face and she spent a number of weeks looking like a cross between a Baboon's bottom and a cartoon character who has been in an industrial-strength explosion.

The loss of my brother-in-law brought it home to me that life is too short, so I decided it was time to stop hiding from reality and take steps to sort out Shuffler. It has been something that I have been avoiding for way too long. The day kicked off with a trip to her doctors. I managed to convince Shuffler that wearing clothes would be a good option. She half took the message on board, managing to put together a fine ensemble consisting of slippers, long skirt, furry dressing gown and, topping it off to perfection, a green gardening coat. I expect to see this inventive new fashion style, combining as it does the casual and the comfortable, hitting the catwalks of Paris and Milan any day soon, followed by spring launch for the TK Maxx leisure world range .....

From the doctors we rapidly progressed to a visit by social services at Shuffler's home. Not pleasant, as not only has Shuffler been neglecting herself but her home as well. (In truth that has been going on for a number of years, but Shuffler is such a strong character it always became a huge battle). We were banned from going inside her house, over a decade ago, when, after Shuffler was last ill, we had a sort out to get her back on her feet. It is only at points where she is extremely sick or low will she condescend to allow anyone to help (once recovery starts the drawbridge goes up again). The fact that Shuffler gave me a key and access to the house just before Christmas indicated that all was not well. It became clear that she was suffering from depression and probably in truth has been for the last 27 years, since my father died, only now it was becoming severe. It is at this point that you discover that Social Services can only work when people are either willing to be helped or are so mentally incapacitated that they cannot object. Unfortunately Shuffler falls into the middle ground. She is certainly not stupid and has a memory that recalls accurately details from decades ago. This, combined with stubbornness and pride, is a lethal combination for relationships and has seen Shuffler drive friends and family away.

The lady from Social Services was trying to work out how to help Shuffler, but the depression has left her in such a state that she can see nothing but hopelessness. From Social Services the next step was a visit from a psych nurse. A similar story - lots of questions with Shuffler becoming more and more agitated. Again all offers of help were refused. It was while we waited for the Hospital gateway service, (which is the final step between someone receiving help outside or getting treatment in hospital) that any lingering doubts I had about my actions were put to rest. Shuffler refused to put the heating on, claiming it was dangerous. The same with the lights. As it started to get dark she was almost shrieking that we had to get out. I don't scare easily (the last time I was genuinely frightened was when I was about 15was on my own in a 16th Century hunting lodge watching a vampire movie, when a bat flew in through the open window. I fear a change of underwear may have been the order of the day) but the screaming started me thinking of banshees in the rapidly fading light, I was not unhappy to get out of there.

It took Hospital services less than 5 minutes to ascertain that outside treatment was not an option. A bed was found for her and I found myself driving her to a hospital. Despite all appearances, any pretence that this was a normal hospital went out the window when a little old man shuffled passed me with his trousers and underwear down around his ankles. That and the door to the outside world being permanently locked. As I suspected, Shuffler was not suffering from any dementia. Of the orientation questions she got them almost all correct. She knew what day it was, where she was and roughly the time of day. The only question she stumbled on was who was the Prime Minister. All she could manage was "Brown" which is only half correct. The full answer is, of course, "Gordon 'clueless, backstabbing, incompetent, gold-selling weasel' Brown" but I'm sure she can be forgiven for this slip.

While this was a difficult road to go down, to continue to do nothing was clearly no longer an option. It was a very frustrating day with a lot of waiting around but I always felt things were progressing which stopped me from getting worked up. I feel that Shuffler is, at last, in the best place to receive proper treatment and hopefully move on. Time will tell. Thank you for everyone who has stuck with this Blog, I suspect it is not a comfortable read at the moment, especially when the idea behind the blog was a way to entertain people. Along the way I have found it is also a good way to diarise important events in our lives. I have recently discovered that not all these events are happy ones.


  1. Hope you get things sorted with your mum, not a good thing to deal with, but needs must.

    Blog stuff: it's your blog, write whatever you want, no need to apologise for anything.

  2. Niel just wanted to say that I'm sure that when you come to re-reading your blog it will help you and Nicky to see the progress you make in the particular area of your life that you are writing about.

  3. Well done for the Mother thing, its progress. We proud to know you. Missing you already next weekend and hope Mrs B's sister party goes well, John very excited about his 'do'. If only he finishes his anti-biotics in time to have a celebratory drink....

  4. We have recently been through a very similar experience with my father-in-law and it is very demoralising. It is heartbreaking to see someone behave in a way that you know they would have found anathema only a few short years ago. You do what you think is right and you do your best. Nothing else you can do.

  5. CS True it is my Blog, I guess it is more that I am not used to writing about the really grim side of life. My natural inclination is to try and be funny. I'm just aware that these are sensitive subjects and while I can be harsh with my humour I never intentionally set out to upset people. I have been described as unintentionally cruel.

    AnnaIt was when I was reviewing some of my Old Blogs that I realised that it acts as a diary. This made me realise that I should cover the good and the bad.

    SkipperWe are sorry that we won't be seeing you guys on the 7th. I'm not sure what is up with that date but it has been like Liverpool street station during rush hour. We have had to turn down John's party, a number of Dinner invitations as well as sell our tickets for the CIRQUE DU SOLEIL. As soon as things sort themselves out a bit we would love to see you. I guess we will have loads of time as I suspect invites are like buses you miss a load and then nothing for months on end....

    LothSadly my mother has been this way for a number of years. It has just taken me a long time to bring myself to take the necessary action.

  6. Just checking that you have had a disaster free day or two, to give you a break from your nightmare. I see no new post so far with another tale of disaster. THis is a relief! have shared your latest post with a friend of my sister who has a parent being diagnosed now with dementia - she found your tale heartening and touching - so know that it has helped someone else too.

  7. I'm feeling like I have been deserted by a friend, no disaster for weeks.

    I'm really pleased that your sisters friend got some comfort from the BlackLOG. I believe it helps just knowing other people are going through similar issues, you don't feel so Isolated.

    So much for my pitiful attempts to entertain people, turns out that I can reach far more people through sadness


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