annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary

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In the care home

I was going to write about an imaginary future where everything went as well as could be, for the sheer pleasure and lasting benefit of dwelling in that place - ah, maybe I will after all - it sounds quite enticing now.

But first I must report that I have made it in one piece to the care home and all is as well as could be. ED was so relieved - I could see the way she smiled and her shoulders relaxed - when I told her I was staying for a few days. Knowing that I'm going to be here for a while takes away the urge I usually have to push her beyond her capacity and speed. She needs a lot of quite long rests between bursts of thought and speech - I think on day visits I've caused her to become anxious and exhausted, which needs to stop. I don't come all the way up here to leave her feeling worse, Jesus. So that's up for consideration.

I did get into bed with her - we had a big cuddle and watched Eastenders together and it wasn't that thing I've been wanting to do, of scooping her up in my arms and rocking her like the wean she's become, in fact it was impossible to get comfortable for more than a few minutes at a time because she can only really move above underarm level - the rest of her is a dead weight, but we squidged in somehow - I'd asked her if she'd like it and got a very emphatic 'YES!' in return - and I stroked whatever bits of her were within reach of my hands and told her I loved her and in the end that's all I can do, innit?

Now she's asleep and I've just had a smoke with T, the resident I spent a fair bit of time with when I stayed here before. She's a 50 year old punk lesbian as well as being a person with multiple disabilities - she does have mental health problems but she's sharp as shit - fuck she's just whizzed past me in her electric wheelchair, out for another fag - I'm in the main lounge downstairs as ED's lights are out and I don't need to feel guilty about writing about her - I like her a lot and hope we become friends over time.

So. In my imaginary future, where everything has fallen into place with peachy perfection, ED has had a bit of a remission. (If I start imagining a world in which she's cured I'll weep for hours and I'm out in public here.) She's back to how she was two years ago - needing to use a chair quite a lot but can get in and out of a car, can see and can hold a conversation, even if her memory is on a par with mine. SIL has realised that living inland is for nutters and has got himself a job down on the coast, and they now live in a cushty bungalow exactly the right distance from me. Grandson has left that crappy secondary modern and now goes to the comprehensive where my friends are head and deputy head, and where his mind will be coaxed back into curiosity and excitement without him even noticing. ED is well enough to work in a shop, where she has a laugh and people to chat to - man, that woman could chat for Britain - and has developed a circle of friends. We pop in and out of each other's homes.

Bloke and I have spent his inheritance on a sweet little bargain house, near enough to everything, with a decent stretch of garden which we are turning from a plain lawn into a very paradise of loveliness. There's a veg patch and a pond and shady places. On the back of the house there's what my parents had and called a 'sunroom' - it's not a conservatory as this is a bit grubbier, with gardening stuff going on, but also a place to bask on sunny winter days. South-west facing.

We do all right, me and Bloke. We rub along. There's a quote by Thomas Hardy that I left on someone's comments recently, that for going on forty years has been how I've wanted to move into old age ďAnd at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall beó and whenever I look up, there will be you." -Gabriel Oak. I remember seeing the fabulous film of 'Far From the Madding Crowd' [spoiler alert!] when I was young enough to be sad that she ended up with stuffy old Gabriel instead of dashing Sgt Troy, but I can also remember the moment I knew that Bloke and I were going to grow old together, and that quote leapt into my mind. And now, we just are.

I could write pages of that, but I shall go outside and have one last fag then get my sleeping pills down my neck - they start the day at seven round here and tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day.

Today I am grateful for: finding out I'd left my bank card behind when only a few miles from home rather than halfway here; the restaurant manager sneaking me a plate of roast pork, mash and veg - I'm meant to be paying now, but shh, no one's telling; ED living here, in this far from awful care home; it's not raining - I can have a smoke without an umbrella; TinyM feeding Bob while I'm away.

Sweet dreams xx

10:54 p.m. - 04.03.14

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