Without exception this is one of the most confusing weekends I’ve had in some time. I drove over to pick my folks up from Leicestershire, about 1 and 3/4 hours away on Friday after taking a half day from work. Traffic was shite, so I got there, had a piss and bundled them back in the car, keen to get them back home to safety in North Clifton; the land of little traffic and quietness. This was to be a weekend in which I will be consistently speaking up and telling people to speak up, as my Mum refuses to admit she is going deaf and it’s everyone else who mumbles and would probably blame it all on the immigrants if she could and if she could be sure that there would be someone close by who may agree. Problem is she can’t hear much any more and so relies more and more on guesswork and lip reading, and lets face it the kids talk with their heads down and their faces buried in their phones now talking without moving their lips, like ventriloquists’ dummies; it’s up to others to confirm or not as to wether they actually are dummies.
Now days, after at least 2 years of not seeing my folks in an overnight situation, it seems to me that my Mum is caring so much more for my Dad, setting him down the path of the straight and narrow, making sure he does his trousers up in case the old chap pops out, making sure he shuts his mouth in case dribble pops out. These are the problems of old age unfortunately and regrettably it seems to have accelerated somewhat since I last saw them in an overnight situation. And this makes me sad because with the one hand Dad finds it incredibly hard to take any more due to his stroke of 20 years previous, but on the other hand he still has the eye of the entertainer. As an example when we were all sitting in the local pub on Saturday, having a pre dinner drink or two, Dad spotted that Mrs T had finished her wine, and so he got up, struggling against arthritic gravity and various items of pub furniture, hobbled over to the bar and had a quiet word in the barmaid’s ear to bring another drink for Mrs T when they had 5 minutes; like i say, “The Eye off the Entertainer”. So it is relentlessly sad and frustrating that a man, this proud requires after care, and pre care. But I understand that this is Old Age, creeping death, slowly and surely taking the things we know and throwing them into life’s central reservation like the lorry drivers’ piss in bottles, forgotten by them, remembered by us, missed by them, seen by us.
My folks new adversary unfortunately is the marching of time and rather than be contrite in the face of this, it is up to them to kick old age in the knackers and, as my folks say; “Keep Buggering On” KBO amongst their ever shrinking group of friends. Shouting with my Mum prior to Sunday Dinner she revealed that a “surrogate” Uncle of mine is going deaf and won’t get a hearing aid. I don’t get it with these folk. They can afford the cost, it would vastly improve their lives and yet anecdotally, a sizeable chunk of Mum and Dads friends and acquaintances refuse to get one, or if they are pressurised into having one, by sons or daughters, they won’t wear them. I just don’t get it and really hope that when I reach a similar state I have a diametrically opposing view. The problem with this is the ever growing list of things to remember which I’ll file under how to have a pleasant old age. Gas prices are set to rise this winter, My folks house has absolutely no insulation and the masonry bees are doing their best to create more draughts, holes through which jack frost can poke his deathly tendrils. Winter at their house, is a pretty sedate and static affair, they sit down in the same chairs with the fan heater on, under blankets, and according to my Mum, Dad generally drifts in and out of sleep through out the day, so with the cold and the inability to feel his limbs i’d say that walks around the garden will be limited too.
So it’ll be a case of KBO for the winter and come up smiling in Springtime, or that’s the plan assuming all goes to the plan of absolutely nothing changing and the Status Quo being maintained. Note to self, “Make sure to have a plan, slightly more detailed than just hoping nothing changes for the last 30 years of my life”