The Story Of A 29 Year Old British Girl Who Moved To LA To Make Her Dreams Come True; Only To Move Home To Care For Her Mother Diagnosed With Brain Cancer. Day-To-Day Thoughts, Updates, Love And Laughs (yes, I'm still allowed to laugh...)

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Birds Are Singing This Night

You may think my need to write or simply the fact I am writing at such a time is bizarre or even unfathomable-but it heals me, and helps me get through hour by hour.
By writing, I don't need to talk, I don't need to speak-I can ease myself through the minutes by filling a blank screen with words.

There was no sleep last night, after my aunt and uncle left. I slept next to mum as usual, made my make shift bed on the crash mat next to her hospital bed in the living room. The district nurses ended up coming out four times in the night (last visit at 7am) to administer anti-agitation medication and some morphine.

The sounds that my mum is now making variate between whimpers and awful guttural cries. Listening to it is excruciating. I didn't sleep; I was either listening to her to make sure when her breathing stops it restarts, listening to her wails, calling the nurses out, or letting the nurses in.

Both the doctor and nurses say she isn't in pain, the noises are natural for end of life patients and more distressing for the relatives than the patients.

I'd rather feel the distress instead of my mum-but, it is horrific to hear and witness. Horrific.

Friday, 29 August 2014

"To Sleep, Perchance To Dream"

Sleep is my best friend, my enemy and my sweetest escape.

When my father died, there is a lot I have blocked out, a lot I have forgotten, except the sleep. All I could do was sleep. 
While I was still in England after his funeral and before my return to the US I remember just sleeping and waiting for it all to be over.  When I returned to the US, mum came back with me and I went back to work within a week-not because I had to, but because I wanted to, and I wanted distraction. I would sleep all day until an hour before work, shower and leave. I worked in a small Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood. I had a lot of regulars that would come in nightly and when I first went back to work the boss was great and just held my hand and made some jokes. A lot of the regulars knew and one man, called John, simply held out his arms and said, "a long trip-right?" and I was so grateful for that gentle welcome. When a world of people have no idea what to say stranger's words can mean everything.

The sleep is beckoning me again. I could sleep all night and create an artificial night for myself during the day. The stress, the pain, the fact my heart is breaking makes sleep seem such a luxurious escape.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

When The Doctor Calls...

Out of nowhere a man pulls up outside of my mum's house riding a motorbike and comes towards the door. I'm thinking, this reminds me of an episode of  'Crime Watch' you know, when someone has a "hit" on them and a man in a motorbike helmet comes to the door and shoots them. Luckily for me it wasn't a hitman, it was mum's doctor. (Yes-I've been watching too much true crime recently)

I wasn't expecting the doctor, and certainly not on a motorbike-Anyway, he is a great doctor and came in to check on mum. Mum has secretions on her chest which can lead to pneumonia so the district nurses had prescribed an injection to be given twice a day to reduce the secretions. 

The doctor listened to mum's chest and asked a few questions. When he began to ask if we had found anywhere for mum  e.g. a home or hospice the tears began again. I think I've tried every trick in the book to stop crying in the past few months; deep breaths, looking up to the ceiling, laughing it off-none of it works-and it didn't work today. 

I told the doctor that there were no beds in any of the places we have looked in to. Believe it or not, the hospice is preferable to a home. My aunt and uncle have been in touch with most of the homes and there are no beds, the same with the hospice. The hospice is more like a hospital with the comfort level of being at home. The word "hospice" used to scare me, now I feel comfort within it. If mum can't be in her home because she needs extra care, I want her there.

The doctor left a letter entitled "Statement Of Intent". This is a form a GP leaves with a patient stating that the patient has days to live and a death certificate can be issued. I've never heard  of this before, and wish I still hadn't.

I pulled out the form after the doctor had gone and I read it. I knew I shouldn't, I knew I didn't need to see it in black and white but I did, and this is what it said:

"Statement Of Intent to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death"

The first line after this begins, "This patient is expected to die within the next few days"

These words are so horrific. These words could have been written in blood or etched into skin and their impact could not be any more great.

When The Shadows Lengthen

The days are now being split up into merely hours, and I am grateful for every minute.

My darling mother seems to be at a stage now where the hours matter more than the days. 
I thought if you knew what to expect it would be easier somehow, but it is not; less shocking perhaps, but not easier. 

When my father was dying, he had hidden the extent of his disease from me, so I only really knew at the end. Days before my father died, he was still able to talk, communicate-yet his body was giving up. With my mum, she now lies in bed unable to speak for many months, but her body has been ok-meaning her organs have been functioning-but that doesn't seem to be the case right now.

Eating, drinking and swallowing have become near impossible in the past few days. Just being able to give mum half a yoghurt takes hours. Medication has now been cut and is being administered in liquid form instead of tablets to reduce the chances of choking. The doctors have been to visit, the district nurses-they all are recommending transferring mum to a home or hospice.  After consulting with my aunt-believe it or not, but, the hospice is the preferable choice. My aunt has had experiences with many homes in this area and says a hospice is a much better place-it has the specialized care she needs.

The noises from mum due to the secretions that lie on her chest, and the look when she tries to open her eyes, but her pupils just roll back,are so disarming and uncomfortable, yet these moments mean she is still here. She is still with me. The darkness has not drawn in yet.

A Weekend On A Wave

This weekend has been an emotional rollrcoaster in a tumble dryer on the Northern Sea in winter.

On Friday, due to much encouragement from all around, I set off down to London to see my most dearest friends on this earth and to get a break and a bit of a breather. The guilt of leaving was of course pretty intense, but I really felt like I was losing the plot.  
Two nights before I left mum had two seizures in a row, vomiting all over herself, eyes rolling back in her head. It was awful. We had the doctor out in the middle of the night to check her over. The carers had to cut her t-shirt off due to all vomit on her and not wanting to move her head too much. The doctor said the seizures may have been brought on by the fact she hasn't been to the toilet in a couple of weeks and the body is just expelling. 
It was a long couple of nights, as I was now terrified she would choke on vomit and I wouldn't hear her. 

I got on the train with a heavy heart and almost immediately got a call from one of mum's carers (one of my favorite-J) saying they couldn't get medicine down her. My aunt was already heading down and M & M from next door were in to sit with mum the second the carers or my aunt left.

I had an amazing time in London, I met with my friends who are my absolute rocks. I've known M since I was 5 and K and S are school friends too. It was so refreshing to be around people my own age, people that have known me for so long and people that know my mum.

They care about me so much, it shocked me. I am lucky enough to have friends that are so genuine, pure hearted and down to earth. I am caught up in a world in Los Angeles that is consumed with who you know, what you do, how much you earn and how you look. My friends are ridiculously beautiful, and not once did they start conversations about money, how much they weigh, or name dropping. Genuine love and friendship.

I wanted to be a tourist in London again so my friends luckily indulged me. I was brought up and went to school near London, when I moved to the US, my mum moved to northern England, so being back down south is home for me. As you can see, we really acted like tourists... can't go to London and not get a selfie with Big Ben.

We laughed and laughed...and cried-we each did a bit of that; on the tube, in a restaurant, outside The National Gallery-but it didn't matter. These are friends that will follow me to the gates of hell and back and I am so very lucky.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Abnormal Normal

I've been back with Mum, and in the UK, for the past 3 weeks and the very horrifying reality of the situation now seems very normal.

It is interesting how we can manipulate the brain into becoming accustomed to such situations, that from the outside looking in, we could never imagine being ok with.

Feeding my mother, brushing her teeth, her hair, applying mosturizer, doing her washing while she is restricted to a bed IS abnormal-yet suddenly feels very normal.

I'm in the routine now and I am grateful of every second I am with Mum-but that doesn't mean it's not hard.
Luckily, the days are so packed with people in and out the smile I don to fool myself that I am ok becomes stuck to my face. I am the walking embodiment of "The Sad Clown"

The traffic of people through the house, whether it is carers, district nurses, sitters enable me to keep up the facade of being ok-the scary times are when you are alone and you think. You don't want to think, to contemplate tomorrow, just go hour by hour.  
I remember when my father died-I repeated the mantra "just get through the hour" If I could get out of bed, it was a good day.

We spend so much time planning and being told to plan-but as I get older and I keep being hit with unexpected traumatic events-I am convinced planning is an utter waste of time. 

Don't plan-just live and love. Always love. 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reality Taking A Big Bite

After 5 hours waiting at Heathrow, I caught my flight up to Manchester. I feel I am always prepping myself; preparing myself for the worst and taking a deep breath to "put on a brave face." I performed this familiar routine and left baggage claim expecting to see my aunt and uncle. They weren't there, which is highly unusual as they are NEVER late. Instantly, your mind goes to the worst case scenario.  Was I too late? Has there been some emergency and Mum is in hospital? Why is no one here?

I tried to remain calm and called my aunt's house, no reply. I figured I'd give them another 20mins-traffic, surely? It was. They turned up and I had prepared myself for most things except how much everything had taken a toll on my Aunt. I knew how much stress she was under caring for my Mum, but seeing her cemented it. My aunt looked exhausted, she had lost a lot of weight, and seemed on the verge of tears; her hair longer than usual, because presumably, she hasn't had a second to think about her own well being.

The journey back to my mum's house was long, rainy, and filled with more mental prep. I knew I would see a change, I knew mum no longer communicated, but when faced with it, it can be a whole other thing.  I entered mum's house, the comforting hall way, the memories of Christmas' and happy, excited visits gone before, when Mum would greet me at the door with a banner saying "Welcome Home!" and kisses and cuddles galore. Now it is a very different feeling, and a very different sight.

The hospital bed remains the same large grisly reminder of the situation-whirling every 15mins to help prevent bed sores. And there is my Mum-my beautiful, talented, intelligent, loving Mum. M from next door is by her side feeding her a cup of tea and automatically stands up as I enter to take his leave. He gives me a sad look, which I ignore and emphatically exclaim " Mummy! I'm home!" She opens her eyes and smiles-the best I can hope for and it means the world. M and M (neighbors of the year-actually millennium) are in and saying how happy they are to see me.

Mum's poor, battered body is covered in red welt-like areas. I asked my aunt what they were. Due to the steroids Mum is on, her skin is very thin meaning even a small scratch can result in blood loss and severe scarring.

Everyone left and I sat with Mum and stayed up until I couldn't stay awake any longer. It was a miserable journey over, but I was with Mum and I refused to be miserable with her-I am with her, she is with me, that is how it should be.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Tweet Tweet....Ig Ig....

Shameless self promotion time.

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Champagne, Beer, Emotional Brit and 11 Hours On A Plane Do Not Mix

I got to LAX pretty much on auto pilot. I seem to be here so often, never for anything to look forward to and usually $800 poorer.

As usual, the flight was packed and the lines through security were long, slow and suicide inducing. Getting through them, I usually go to one of the lounges (contrary to popular belief you can buy a day pass into 1st class lounges very cheaply)but this time I walked into the only place in the shitty lounge area that sold alcohol-an equally shitty bar- and ordered a pint. Gulping down the Blue Moon I listened to the disgustingly happy group next to me speaking excitedly about their trip to Ireland. I'm not ashamed to say I felt jealous and bitter. I just looked at them and wanted to be as care free as they were; being in an airport excited to land and go on an adventure. I feel as though I'm never away from  airports yet never on holiday. I just fantasize about going  on a vacation. Not feeling sick at the thought of another trip to nowhere.

So, due to feeling seriously sorry for myself, I downed another pint...and another.  *Bad Idea Beginning* I got on the plane pretty buzzed to say the least and I was sat  upstairs at the very back in the middle of a three. The man to my right, next to the window, I clocked immediately as being an arsehole. Slightly presumptuous you may think, but COMPLETELY accurate. I can usually tell a lot about a person very quickly-I'm rarely wrong about people- except boyfriends, I'm pretty much wrong about them 100% of the time, but that is another story for another time....

I was finishing sending txts and made a quick phone call to J and got off the phone when Mr Dick next to started huffing and puffing. Here's the deal, if you like to act like economy is below you DONT FLY ECONOMY-Mr Dick certainly thought he was on another level and he was already pissing me off.
The beer was really kicking in as take off began, and due to my mild drunkeness and small bladder, I decided I was going to pee myself if I didn't get to the toilet, so stood up and beelined for the bathroom behind me. The stewardess quite rightly told me to sit down as I declared to the entire section of  the plane "but I REALLY need to pee!" I sat down, crossed my legs and hoped for the best. The man on my left assured me he would jump up as soon as seat belt signs went off. He did , and I already knew he was the polar opposite of Mr Dick to my right.

The story now spirals into shame, tears and embarrassment-but this blog is nothing but honest, so, for fear of total humiliation, I will continue with this tale....
I proceeded to order a beer, and another then thought it would be a genius idea to order a mini bottle of  champagne for one.  I remember barely eating my food on the plane (can it even be classified as food anyway?) and I just suddenly realized how drunk I was and every emotion I had been suppressing in the past few days just came pouring out. I began talking to Mr Dick next to me and he seemed fine and I began asking him the usual boring travelling questions and some point during this I began to tell him my tale and why I was heading back to the UK. He faked being interested and sympathetic and in hindsight I should have stopped there, but I think I was so scared, lonely and depressed (and drunk,don't forget drunk) I kept talking. The next thing I remember is him offering me a Xanex  (who gives a drunk stranger on a plane Xanex?) which I said yes to-but the gods intervened and I dropped it. I got on my knees trying to find this tab, removing the seat and god knows what else when I realized I had spilt my remaining champagne on him. He jumped up and started calling me everything under the sun and demanded the stewards move him. I was apologizing and crying and he simply said "you're a drunk, stop annoying me"

I got all his belongings that were next to me and handed them to him and he just laughed at me.
Ok, I fully understand how annoying I must have been and I'd have been pissed off too-but he said such cruel, cruel things to me I ended up having a full blown melt down. I was sobbing uncontrollably, trying to stifle my sobs as I realized drunk people on planes get fucking arrested, and curled up into a ball as Mr Dick went to First Class.
I was an idiot for drinking that much, I shouldn't have done what I did and I completely embarrassed myself, but I had just told this man I was flying home because my Mum was dying and he called me awful names. My saving grace was the man to my right, he was so very kind to me, he stopped me from doing something even worse-that would most certainly have got me on the no fly list. It ended up he worked at Forest Lawn cemeteries, a macabre twist of fate; but was used to dealing with people-admittedly probably not as drunk as me....Anyway he calmed me down and told me that man will get his karma for being so disgusting towards me and said "empathy should be a necessity".

What can I say? I was a drunken emotional mess, but Mr Dick was a cold bastard who wanted to be upgraded anyway and he got his wish.... I fell asleep eventually waking up as the plane landed with a sore head, dehydrated, full of shame and never wanting to drink again. Most definitely the worst flight of my life, but I haven't drank any alcohol since and can't imagine for a long time. I needed a wake up call with my drinking and maybe this was it. Silver lining anyone?

Prelude To A Flight To Remember...

Cheers for sticking with me birdies.

So as I previously wrote I had changed my flight from returning at the end of August to two days time. I called my agent to cancel the week I had booked on a show, scrubbed my house top to bottom (cleaning is a great distraction and somewhat cathartic exercise), began packing and called my brother. Even though he is 5 years older than me, I felt I have to protect him from the reality of mum's situation, but then realized how ridiculous that is. Due to visa issues, my brother can't come back to the UK. He hasn't had to deal with, or see the things I've seen as mum got progressively worse, he is already sheltered from that, he's older than me and anyway-who is protecting me? There is a part of me that would love to have not witnessed what I have, not have to see my mum in a hospital bed, left it to someone else-but I can't and I won't.
I didn't mince my words, I tried to tell him it's bad, she's declined and I needed him to be a big brother and support me. The convo went ok I suppose until he told me he was moving the next day and couldn't have Johnny (my darling baby kitty in case you forgot) as his house-instead he was bringing his monster sea-cow cat over to mine because he can't have cats at his new place. Ummm...when exactly was he going to tell me this? Anyway, I split the care taking of the beasts between him and my darling friend Clint. I said a sad farewell to Johnny and Sea Cow and locked the door-ready to embark on a flight to remember....

In case you have never seen what a Sea Cow/Monster Cat looks like.....Meet Sid (and the hole she created in my sofa cover)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Side Note About Ms Peaches Geldof

This is a pretty off topic entry but I thought there was some relevance and significance in it.

Today the inquest into the journalist, wife and mother Peaches Geldof was concluded. The coroner ruled her death was indeed due to a heroin overdose; Peaches had apparently begun begun using heroin again in February this year after being on a methadone program for two years. It seemed such a shock to so many of her fans, people who followed her on various social media platforms and even people who knew her.

I had met Peaches several times-by no means were we friends or acquaintances-but I'd met her as a younger girl with her dad and sisters as we flew to Ireland, and later in life when she helped me with a music magazine I worked on. She was kind, fiercely intelligent and seemed sweetly self conscious.

Attention seeking, wannabe controversial, E-list "celebrities" have voiced their disdain at the cause of Peaches death and her role as a mother  Utterly useless, self indulgent comments made by these trolls disgust me.
Peaches' struggle with addiction seems to have haunted the entirety of her short life. She had publicly turned her back on living in London and indulging in the party scene and was now married, living in an idyllic house in the country with her husband and two children.
Followers of her Instagram saw her multiple postings daily of her animals and children with notes of love, happiness and adoration. It has come as such a shock that the photos in the last few months of her life showed her looking beautiful, with flawless skin and rosy lips-but significantly thinner as the weeks went on.

There is no doubt Peaches adored her children and husband, and yes, it is hard to believe behind the beautiful Instagram photos she was a heroin addict, but people's struggles are not  always so easy to spot. The individuals that have voiced disgust at her addiction and its effect-leaving her children without a mother. Coming from someone who is writing a blog about slowly losing their mother due to powers completely out of our control, I understand people's anger, but do not agree that blame and judgement is what should be happening in the aftermath of a 25 year old's death.

Peaches Geldof's story is excessively sad one. Whether it will be a warning for anyone in a similar situation, who knows, but stop the finger pointing  and blame and remember that a young man has been left widowed with two children under two, her family and friends have been decimated by her death, every part of this tale is just very, very sad. A young woman struggled and lost-but I'm sure in the belief neither her battle nor loss was intended to leave her children motherless. Empathy and sympathy should be at the forefront-not blame and judgement.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

"Oh, I Remember You!"

Remember me? I'm that one girl that writes about lip gloss, Louboutins and lashes. Actually-I write about a subject a lot less vapid and a lot more depressing-cancer.

Well, it has certainly been a while. Hmmm, there is a lot to catch up on since I last made an entry. I will start at the beginning the best I can-without making a dissertation out of it-and fill you in on where I am now.

Well, after leaving Mum in March to return to The States, I had booked a return back to UK at the end of August. My Aunt reassured me, that I needed to go back and try to return to my life in Los Angeles. Plus, I seriously needed to work-it really adds to the pile of emotional stress caring for a parent when you add on transatlantic plane fares and the upkeep of an apartment and all the bills that go with it all while being 6000 miles away. And you can't work.

Going back is always such a cornucopia of guilt, sadness, worry, relief (and then guilt for feeling relief) happiness in seeing your friends, familiar things and ecstasy at getting back your social life-which of course comes with more guilt.
I wanted (and needed) to get back to work ASAP, so I called my agency and said "dudes, I'm broke-let's land me a national commercial and we'll all be happy" Actually, I just told them I was back-but that's what I was thinking.
They were great and got me working a lot-I worked on a fabulous new Zach Galifinakis movie (he is a ridiculously nice guy by the way) booked a couple of beer commercials (are they trying to tell me something?) and was lucky enough to work on the "True Blood" finale-Sadly, I signed a confedentiality  agreement or I would spill all the details here. All in all I was getting quite a lot of work and desparately trying to seek out distractions-some healthy-others,not so much;but I will get into that more later....

Being 6000 miles away-you have the advantage of not being face to face with the disease and the constant every day challenges that faced Mum. I set an alarm to call my aunt every morning at 8am my time-it was 3pm UK time and at that time every day my aunt was at my Mum's house. My aunt was going down to my mum's house, help with laundry, groceries, clean the house and deal with everything concerning carers, doctors, district nurses...the list goes on. My aunt is 70-a very young 70, may I add-but she has her house, but husband who also has cancer-the stress of it all was really getting too much, I could tell.

The carers come in 4 times a day, district nurses every other day, and there would always be an issue with mum that my aunt would have to deal with, called down to the house to deal with-over the phone, I could really do nothing and felt helpless, despondent and don't forget guilty.

I was progressively waking up to more txts from my aunt that weren't bringing any good news. In the past few weeks Mum had been having seizures, one very big one and she was taken into the local hospital. As you know, Mum is completely bed bound so getting her to and from hospital was a nightmare.

Two weeks ago I spoke with my aunt and I knew it was time to come back. My aunt really seemed to be at her wits end. Mum had another seizure, was sleeping more and becoming less responsive. As life goes, my agency had just got me a week on a new FX show "You're The Worst" but of course Mum comes before anything so I called and explained the situation and changed my flight. It was all last minute, something I have got so used to. Before I knew it, I was headed back to LAX to fly home. And then came the that was the epitome of a nightmare. Champagne, beer, Xanex and an emotional breakdown do not mix....but that is for the next entry.....

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Getting Used To The Most Unusual Things

Hello Birdies,

I hope the weekend treated you well.

I've been back in the UK about two weeks now and it just occurred to me how quickly we can become used to something that you previously thought would be so unbearable.

I am used to not hearing my mother talk.

I am used to feeding my mother.

I am used to my mother holding a golf ball in each hand to grip when the tremors from her steroids get too much.

I am used to brushing my mother's teeth and combing her hair.

I am used to seeing a scar the stretches from ear to ear across my mother's scalp where the surgeon removed part of her brain tumor.

I don't want to be used to this, I don't want this to be the way things are, but it is and I am used to it. This makes the isolation so much worse. You can try to explain to people how you feel, what is going on at home, how you sleep at night, but it often seems so impossible for anyone to really "get it" you give up.

It is a hard feeling to beat. The question rings in your conscious, "why attempt to explain the inexplicable?"

Friday, 21 March 2014

Fuck Cancer Friday

Morning Birdies!

Don't forget to join in on #FuckCancerFriday on Twitter or Instagram and write what it means to you!

Well, coming back and forth to the UK is certainly not helping me to get use to this cold, it's as though my body is constantly stuck in LA temperatures; but dealing with the cold really is the least of my problems!

I thought, today,  I'd give you an insight into my daily routine with my mum and it will show the difference only 6 weeks have made since I returned to the US last.

8am-Wake up. Go downstairs to wake mum up, open the blinds, show her the world outside, see if I can get a "good morning darling" out of her. See how she slept. Make sure her arms are above the duvet-which, with my mum's condition, patients can forget about their arms if they are not in sight.

I always make us both a cup or tea of coffee and turn on the tv so we can watch the news. My mum can no longer feed herself, so I wait until the tea is cool enough to give to her and at the same time discuss what's on the news.

9am (ish)-Carers usually come around this time to give her breakfast and change and wash her. This is my time to have a shower and get ready myself.

9.30am (ish) From now until lunch time which is usually around 12.30pm I do mum's hair, brush her teeth, clean and moisturize her hands and feet. I give her a mid morning coffee and treat and the rest of the time is spent doing laundry, dishes, cleaning and most importantly being with mum and talking to her, keeping her as entertained as much as possible!

12:30 (ish) Lunch, I make mine and when the carers have gone we usually watch a Come Dine With Me re-run-mum and I LOVE that show. I comment on the contestants and mum laughs. I will go out to get shopping and figure out mum's lunches and dinners for the next few days-and I like to get a treat for mum every day.

3pm Aunt H, comes over for a cup of tea and to see mum and catch up. We usually tell funny family stories and Aunt H, tells us her news and checks up on mum. From this time until the carers come for dinner we may have M pop in from next door.

4.30-5pm (ish) Carers come to change mum, make her comfortable, give her dinner. When they leave I make my dinner and mum and I always watch Come Dine With Me and Dinner Date-I love these shows-great fodder for commentary and mum laughs at it all.

From now until the carers come for bed, I might read to mum, we watch tv and I just try to talk to mum as much as possible and interact with her and it's all about getting her to react and engage.

Mum's bed is in the living room facing the tv, so obviously mum watches a lot of tv, but when people come in I always turn it off otherwise she won't engage and certainly won't be able to concentrate. Also, I like to read to mum to give her a change of pace and something new. 
For me it's all about making the day as different and as entertaining as possible.

I like having the evening with mum, it's just us, usually no visitors and we watch the soaps and I pull up a chair next to her bed, hold her hand and talk about the rubbish we watch on tv.

8.30-9pm Carers come to get mum ready for bed. Sometimes they come early, so I get in my pjs too and sit with mum until she falls asleep.

**And don't forget, I have left out the constant care of mum's needy but wonderful kitties as well as all the others in the neighborhood who love to come and visit.

10pm-Sleep and repeat...told you I had a glam life... ; )

Saturday, 15 March 2014

High 5-ing A Cat...Don't Be Jealous Of My Awesome Saturday Night

Because I love you all, this video is for you...

Being Back In The UK...

'Ello Birdies!

So, obviously, I'm back in the UK. The flight was gross and uncomfortable and there wasn't enough whiskey to raise my spirits (pun intended).

I knew it was going to be different coming into the house. The sofa would be gone-that sofa that used to be in our old house that all my friends slept on when they'd had too much to drink and didn't want to go home. 
In place of the sofa was a hospital bed that emitted the occasional mechanical sighs as it pushed air through the mattress to move it to prevent bed sores on my mum. 

And my mum, my dear mum. 

As I came through the door, terrified at what may greet me, and even more terrified that I may not be able to hide my fears-M from next door was feeding my mum a cup of tea. That image was enough to bring me to tears, instead, M made a quick exit and mum managed to say "hi baby!"

It was so good to see mum, I was exhausted from the flight and my aunt went over a little about medication, how to raise the bed etc. I grabbed a chair, sat next to mum and held her hand and just talked. I spoke to her about nothing and everything until she was tired and I went to bed. 

I passed out and woke at 4am due to insane jetlag...I wasn't sure whether I was here or there, which continent, which cat I could expect to jump on my bed and what was to come; but I was with mum-that's all that matters.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

While Back In Los Angeles...

Well, I'm doing a pretty shitty, slow, job at updating you, aren't I?! It ends here, I promise-I will be better!

Anyway, back in the US, my best friend, A, picked me up from the airport and knew me so well, that we just caught up on her wedding plans. I think I have mentioned this before, but, she is getting married in April, and due to everything that has happened since Mum has become ill, I can no longer be her bridesmaid, attend the wedding shower, bachelorette weekend and perhaps not even the wedding.  To be honest, I know very little about all these obligatory wedding events that lead up to a wedding and cost everyone hundreds of dollars, and don't really agree with-however; she is my best friend and has been there for me through thick and thin and it's a shame I can't be there with her.

Anyway, we drove back into LA chit chatting and it felt so strange seeing the plam trees, feeling the warmth of the evening. I picked up my car which I had parked at W's (a great friend that I used to nanny for) drove home and was greated by this baby....

I jumped into bed and cuddled with my Johnny Cat-and admittedly wasn't looking forward to waking up.

As the weeks went on, I was very aware that my return date was looming. I spoke with my aunt every other day and the news wasn't great. Mum now was in a hospital bed in the living room. She was finding harder to move her limbs and to get up. My aunt had to organize to have a hospital bed delivered and one of the sofas removed in the living room to make room for it.
Mum's consultant upped her steroids again which showed some improvement with her.
She can no longer stand, walk, lift her legs or arms too well and can most times, not take instruction.
She does not respond to you for the majority of the time, but does talk occasionally-usually, monosyllabic answers. It all just seemed to happen at once, far too quickly, and all resoundingly unfair.

Every day, back in the US, I was having a hard time, dreading seeing msgs on my phone, not wanting to wake up-and not wanting to see anyone.  I just wanted to work, come home and be alone.

I was determined to work as much as I could and I booked a couple of days on Glee, a movie in Palm Springs, and a webisode where I played a hippie...don't I look the part??!

It was all great escapism-maybe that's why I love acting so much-because I am able to escape from the reality. While back in LA, I wanted to escape as much as possible. I worked as much as possible as I had a lot of bills to pay, rent for the month I was going to be coming was stressful to say the least.

I felt so deprived of having fun and acting my age while back in England, my friend T and I had some fun nights indeed while I in LA-but really, every act was merely a distraction from what was going on. 

And, before I knew it-it was time to head back to LAX...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Time For Us To Catch Up-Part Two

Ok...where was I? Oh, yeah, waking up...

It was hard to believe after a couple of months I was going back to Sunny LA, to  the life I missed so much, my friends, my social life-but it was all only temporary-I had a return date for 6 weeks.
I desperately needed to get back, not just to deal with all my financial issues, start to earn some money but to revive myself.

The last couple of weeks had been so, so tough-there was a decline with mum and she was needing more and more help. I was emotionally and physically exhausted-I needed my friends, some normality and a break.

My taxi was coming early, I woke up exhausted but determined to not think too much and just go step by step. Of course it was pouring with rain outside, I went into mum's room and kissed her and told her I loved her and I was leaving now. Luckily (only in this case) her emotions were not as they were. She seemed not to have all emotions register quite fully, so as I kissed her goodbye she didn't cry or look upset but said goodbye and that she loved me. I managed to keep it together as I locked up and stood outside in the rain waiting for the cab...which was 25 minutes late...  Needless to say, this gave me plenty of time to imagine all the things I may have forgotten to do for mum, or things I should have said. 

However, when the cab finally arrived, I was soaked through and kept saying to myself, "just get through the flight. You can break down when you're across the Atlantic." 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Time For Us To Catch Up-Part One

It's hard to know where to start to fill you in on what's happened, but the beginning would probably be a good idea.
I've been absent from these pages for around 6 weeks now. A couple of days after my last post my uncle suggested booking a ticket back to LA with the return date coinciding with a meeting with the consultant to examine the results of her scan after radiotherapy. My uncle and I went into Manchester, booked the ticket and within 2 days I was on a plane back to the US.

Leaving mum had one blessing, and that was that her emotions and reactions had become so stunted that she didn't cry or show any sadness at me leaving. Her state upon leaving had declined somewhat-which we all thought was due to the after effects of radiation. Mum was having weakness in her legs and was finding it harder to get downstairs, some days she was talking less, but still my mum; and hopefully coming through the back end of the radiotherapy.

I prepared to leave with everything in place I could. I went grocery shopping and packed the fridge, freezer and cupboards with all mum's favorites. We had carers in place four times a day-becaus carers were coming in to prepare food for mum unfortunately, it all had to be microwaveable (except breakfast). I hated this idea-but I understand, carers have limited time and it needs to be ready to go.

I wrote out menu's for the next couple of weeks, I left printed out instructions for morning, lunch, dinner and bed. A sheet just about mum, her weak side, what she likes and doesn't like etc. The district nurse, social workers, carers etc. had all this info, medicine etc. but, I wanted to remind anyone new. 

Example of my Post-It note labeling frenzy in the kitchen:

My aunt and the wonderful M & M (next door neighbors) as well as other neighbors would be popping in.

I tried to prepare myself to leave by keeping busy, making sure everything was as in place as possible (with the obvious HUGE help of my aunt-who was the one with the major responsibility)
While packing and digging out my passport and green card that were dusting up after my weeks back in the UK; I concentrated on getting back to LA and figuring out how I was going to pay all the bills stacked up, where I was going to get some work and how I was going to cope with the guilt. 

The night before I left, I stayed up as late as possible packing-hoping I'd be so tired when I woke to leave I wouldn't feel so torn.

When I woke, it was time to say goodbye...


Sunday, 19 January 2014

It's Been A While...

Hello ladies and gents,

It's been a few days since my last post for a multitude of reasons, but as I type these words to you, I already feel better. YOU save me.

So...where to start?? Let me start with this photo to show how truly exhausted and exasperated I am after this week (don't judge, I know it's terrible for me, but this is a one off-promise!)
The past week has been ridiculously hard. Every day we have had one person after another coming in; either delivering Zimmer frames, stools, or a multitude of other devices to make home life easier for mum.

When last I left you, mum was heading to my aunt's to give me a break and get mum out for some time. Well, while there she fell again, and it was made apparent to us all mum needed more help and I just couldn't deal with it all on my own. They told us that effects of radiation will get a lot worse before it gets better. We are now 3 or 4 weeks after the last session and her weakness, exhaustion, mobility and cognition are pretty poor.

We have met with social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists,  district nurses, bowel and bladder nurses (lovely, I know...) Careline representatives, financial assessor, people installing lock boxes it goes on and on...

All these people are employed by the NHS or the town council and they could not have been more kind, efficient and helpful. I mean, it is astounding it was all free, and they installed everything so quickly, they were all fantastic, but the emotional effect of their visits and the never ending questions were outstanding. Having to repeat the same thing over and over again and hearing the reality so bluntly from an outsider was devastating.

One particular district nurse really impeded upon my iron clad emotional lock down. 
She came in as a crisis nurse after mum's fall on Sunday to immediately put help into place. She was here several days and accompanied a social worker who had to asses mum's current situation and get her (and myself) more help. She asked so many questions and when she began talking about "diagnosis...long term prognosis...long term care...hospice" I got sweaty and hot and I'd just had enough. She was being tactful, but it was all just too much.
After she had finished, I went into the kitchen and just started cleaning...everything and anything.
The nurse came in, and asked how I was. I can't remember the last time in a few weeks someone asked me how I felt. She reached out and placed her hand on mine and I instantly backed away and tears began to rise. She understood instantly and said,
"I'm here"
As I've said before, the kindness of strangers is sometimes the type of kindness that can break you. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Confession Time...

I was considering boring you all with an account of my dreams last's very possible I still will, but first a little confession...

I've been scribbling for a while now and it never ceases to amaze me that you are reading this, emailing me, tweeting me and keep supporting me. You are all pretty fucking awesome and keep me going when the blues hit home.
However, I have suddenly realized I have not told you all that you are privy to information the majority of people in my life are not.

I began writing this believing it would simply be for me, myself and I, but it has quickly gained momentum which I hope will continue. As it has built and you, dear reader, kept...well reading, it has now become words between me, myself and you. I have set up an Instgram (@TheBirdsThatSingAtNight) and Twitter (@TheBirdsThatSing) just for this blog and you. My personal Instgram and Twitter are completely separate and barely used since I've been back here in the UK and writing this.

You will notice throughout my entries that I don't use names of any of my friends, family members or others because none of them know I am writing this. I have kept these scribblings secret from everyone around me both here, and back in LA. 
Even though this is an open forum and anyone can view this, I have shied away from telling anyone for several reasons. 
I have a feeling my aunt and uncle wouldn't understand why I am writing this and feel it might violate mum's privacy. They barely use their computer and certainly don't have the word "blog" in their vocabulary; and I don't know if my mum knew she probably wouldn't fully understand it as she is right now.

I haven't mentioned this to my friends, put it on my Facebook, my personal Twitter or Instagram; even though they would read it, it would boost numbers for the site etc. but I don't want to. Perhaps, it's because it is easier to tell strangers the truth rather than those we feel closest to. Yes...I think that is it. 

When I speak with my friends and they ask me how I'm doing, I fill them all in on different things at different times and it would certainly be easier to just direct them here, but I cannot.
They know what is happening, but the words I write to you are like secret scribblings that I don't need to answer questions about.

When my friends do end up reading these lines-I love you, you are my family, but sometimes the raw truth is a little too
hard to tell x

A Slight Change Of Plan...

I went to have my highly valued shower and sometimes your greatest realizations come when you have your hair full of lather and you are left alone with your thoughts.
The past few days have been a lot,and I kept thinking of going to my aunt's house  and as much as it is a second home to me, I'd have to get dressed, get mum ready and be on my guard while at my aunt's. Checking to see if she needed the bathroom, if she drank enough, was she just saying she was ok or did she just really want to come home? I just couldn't.

Earlier, when she went into the kitchen, she was in there for a while and when I went in and asked her what she was doing she said nothing. I checked and she had taken the a coffee jar, emptied it out and filled it with water. She has no idea why she did it, couldn't explain it to me. It may seem like nothing to you reader, but it was the straw that broke the carer's back.
This incident just reinforces the fact that she is just so different than what she was and frustrating that I could ask her a thousand times why she did it and she would just respond, "I don't know."

I got out the shower and called my aunt and told her the situ. I told her I was tired, I was frustrated and I just wanted time on my own. She started getting emotional when she said she understood and it was hard on her too. Then, of course, the guilt came in and that made me cry as my aunt reassured me,
"We all feel guillty".

It never ends, you feel guilty if you ask for time out, but can't continue doing everything you do day in, day out, especially with some days a lot worse that others.

As I got mum into my uncle's car, I felt more guilt than ever, she just seems so vulnerable and you can't help but question if you really are doing all you can.
With time on my hands, I've done laundry, cooked lunch...and bought some more coffee.... X

Sunday-The Day Of Rest...?

Happy Sunday Birdies!

We are heading over to my aunt's house for Sunday lunch in a couple of hours. I'm a bit nervous as mum hasn't been anywhere since New Year's Day and since this UTI her balance has been so off-but the antibiotics are helping.

Every day things just take so long it can be unbelievably frustrating. When you put  on your socks you don't give it a second thought-today it took my mum 15mins to put in her socks. I can't just do everything for her or else she won't push herself to get back to some sense of normality. Watching is so frustrating and just telling her to lift her leg, or lean this way or that can be unbearable. 

She goes into complete dreams especially in the morning due to the extreme tiredness, I presume, so getting her up and moving can take a LOT out of me.

But, hey ho, she is up now, she has had breakfast and I can go and have a shower-a little luxury for a few minutes. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Who Wants A Ghost Story?

It's cold outside, it's late at night, I'm lying in bed and thinking of a story I was told today.

Today, my aunt recalled a ghost story she was told when she was training to be a nurse in the 1960's by a colleague. 
While training, my aunt and her fellow nurses used to have all night shifts, their break would be in the middle of the night when all the children on the ward were asleep. It was already dark, quiet and only dimly lit due to all the children needing uninterrupted sleep. 
While in the break room, as the children slept and the tired nurses downed coffee to stay awake, they began to tell each other ghost stories; this is one that was told to my aunt by a woman who was from a remote location in the Scottish Highlands. Her mother told her this true story from her own experience as a nurse in the 1930's..,

"My mother in her younger days was hired as a private nurse for a man who didn't have long left to live. The man did not have any family, no children, no siblings, only one housekeeper that hired her.
He was living on a very isolated island off the coast of Scotland, his house was in the middle of nowhere, only accessible by boat. 
Upon starting work for the man, the housekeeper informed her that her patient had lived a "very evil life". My mother would never elaborate on the details of this "evil life" but it was so extreme he was now living alone on this desolate island to escape his past.
My mother nursed him for weeks, he was barely conscious most of the time and she knew his time was coming to an end. She realized that this one particular night would be his last so decided to stay with him throughout. 
There was no one left in the house, just my mother holding the hand of the dying man. While staying by his side, knowing there were mere moments left, the bedroom door swung open and a jet black dog entered and skulked under the bed. That moment the man took his last breath. Shocked at the invasion of this unknown dog, my mother looked under the bed to remove it from the room. The dog had vanished from under the bed, was nowhere in the room and was never seen again. 
It is a common belief in the Scottish Highlands that the devil disguises itself as a black dog to enter the room of the dying to take the soul to hell."

Simple, short and bloody terrifying...I'm now going to attempt to sleep....night night Birdies....x

The Story Of A Saturday

I've just come back from an unexpected break in my ever continual "carer" routine.
My aunt came around and suggested we went to town for a drink. I couldn't have had my jacket, gloves and boots on faster if you'd told me I had an audition with Ricky Gervais...actually, I would have been faster but with no boots...

We sat and spoke of my aunt's research into the family and how she went up to the Scottish Highlands to track down the home of my great, great grandparents called 'Rose Cottage'. 
Quite a romantic story about this home that was surrounded by a raging sea which my aunt had been told stories about growing up. At 60 years of age she stood in front of the cottage where her great grandparents raised 9 children: no town in sight, one road, on top of a hill overlooking a temperamental sea. I told her next time I will be with her.
There is something about that isolation which is so appealing, just you, nature and your thoughts. Sounds pretty good.

I came back and Mum had a visit from neighbor and friend S, which she said went well. I'm sure it did, the problem is you can never be sure about accuracy with stories my mum tells, there is still a fog about her-but I'm hoping it will dissipate soon.

I'm attempting to get my arse off the sofa to cook a decent meal tonight; as it a Saturday night and the tv consists of D-list celebrities either jumping into a swimming pool or being locked up in a house begging to regain a career-I'm sure they'll be another post or three later....

Friday, 10 January 2014

My Twonk Of A Landlord

What beautiful birdies you are...

So, I'm not going to make this as depressing as the last couple of posts-purely because I'm sick of it and I don't want you to get sick of it too. So on the depressing scale of 1-10 I'm aiming for an even 5.

Yesterday, I recieved another big package from my client in LA filled with luxury biscuits, their generosity is unending. Needless to say this means I'm heading for new cavities and an increase in my chocolate addiction...
Mum was better with the antibiotics she is now taking as she has developed a UTI. This *hopefully* will get rid of the weakness in her legs and no more "jangly legs" -that's what I named her tendency for the scary tremors and weakness she it reminds me of the song "Mr Bojangles"

I was up until 2am this morning dealing with my landlord back in LA which has been a royal shit show of a time. 
The time difference is so hard to co-ordinate speaking with people. I will not bore you with the whole saga, but I ended up having to contact my amazing best mate A, to drop off a check to them ASAP.

I don't want to use my situation to gain sympathy or special treatment so I originally just explained to my landlord that I was in the UK due to a "family emergency". When I was forced to explain further, I did, everything, and the email I got back said,
"Thank you for your email, please drop off your check as soon as possible"


But, what are you going to do? I wrote back,
"Not a problem, thank you for your kindness at this time".... #KindnessIsMagic

I was speaking with my best friend since high school, K, who is one year into her nursing degree. Her and my mum are very close, she came to visit me in LA a lot and takes the term "partner in crime" to another level...she is my love.
She was asking if I wanted to go to Sweden with her in the summer. YES, I would love to, but I can't plan anything in my life, not a week's time and certainly not the summer...but I can dream...

I am so knackered and am the master of cat naps...going to try 15mins so I can last the entire night without passing out....Plus, I have this beast on my lap keeping me warm...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Good Day, Bad Night (Part Two Bad Night)

Onto the night...
I got home to my aunt and mum having tea and all seemed good. I had a delivery from Amazon waiting for me. I was so happy to receive a surprise parcel (I LOVE getting mail) and it was from my amazing clients back in LA.

It included this book called "Devoted" about amazing dogs and how they have helped to heal and care for their owners. It was so kind of them. I love them.

My aunt went, the evening carried on as normal until my mum needed to go to the bathroom. She has been so,so weak recently and getting off the sofa is a huge deal. I got her up and as I was walking her to the toilet, she seemed to glaze over and suddenly her legs gave way and  she just fell to the floor. I was holding her under the arms so she didn't hurt herself and just fell on her bottom-but Jesus, it was scary. 
I immediately asked her if she was ok and what happened and she said she just "passed out". 
The problem now was how to get her up. I called my aunt-my mum was telling me not to, but I told her I had to. My aunt suggested I get M&M (amazing next door neighbors) to come in and help, but instead I left mum to rush across to get mum's good friend S to help me get her up. S has been an amazing neighbor and friend during this time and came straight over.
It was horrible to walk in and just see mum sat on the floor utterly helpless. I could tell S was shocked but she hid it well. After about 15 minutes we managed to get mum up. 
Sue stayed and is great at making light of any situation, but as soon as she put her hand on mine to comfort me I felt the familiar burning hot tears stinging my eyes, and picked up a mug and took it into the kitchen to compose myself.

I ended up having to set up the sofa bed downstairs as there was no way mum would be able to get up stairs.  
As I left her downstairs, I went upstairs, my neck ached, my back ached and I was scared and exhausted. I then had to go through my US bills and try to pay them.

Like I said, good day, BAD night...

Good Day, Bad Night (Part One-Day)

Heyho Birdies-

Firstly a monstrously HUGE thank you to all of you that continue to email me/tweet/message me your deeply personal stories and thoughts on my situation and my scribblings. Please keep them coming; I love reading everything you write and enjoy writing back even more!

Anyway...onto the cancer thing...sigh...
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a mightily crap day (or night, rather). My aunt came over to take charge for the day. I think she can see how desperately I need a break. 
I took my time to shower (luxury) got ready and went into the local town. 
To be honest, I had to do one thing-go to the bank-I did that, then had no idea what else to do. I didn't feel like shopping and really, I'm not in the position to be spending money on clothes right now, so I just walked. I don't know the town too well (I grew up down south, and my mum now lives up north) and it's a small town with not much to do, but to have the time to wander was pretty odd. I didn't know what to do with myself and ended up in a coffee shop trying to carry a ridiculous shaped cup to my table without spilling it.  I sat and read YOUR awesome correspondence, drank my latte and watched life going by. 

While sat drinking out of said ridiculous shaped cup, I couldn't help but notice the amount of people sat outside. It was freezing outside and it didn't click straight  away but the reason was that they were having a smoke. As I've said before, I used to be a smoker and cannot stand ex-smokers preaching about the dangers of smoking; yet, I looked at them and wanted to say, "come and see the effects of cancer, the people it effects-it fucking sucks. Why don't you do yourself a favor and just quit now. Please"

It is not my place to tell anyone what to do, if you wanna smoke-it's legal, you can do what you like, but I couldn't help but wonder if they saw cancer first hand (which we know for sure smoking can cause) if it would change anything. Who knows, but it made me keep watching them until both parties were way too uncomfortable...

I left and headed back to mums-feeling a lot lighter as I'd had a mini escape from reality, but worried in case anything had happened when I got back...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

I Can't Be Blue, I Have You...And You...And You

All these posts are about me, my life, my problems...blah blah blah. Granted, this is a blog that began life as my open diary but this post is about how YOU allow me to cope with days like these.

I was in tears before midday-not a good omen for the day to come. It all got a little too much today, I woke up exhausted, stressed,teary and worried (and that's before I'd even crawled out of bed)
Many of you beautiful birdies are in similar situations to me, or have been, and you will understand what I mean when out of nowhere it can all get a bit too much.

It was hard getting her out of bed and I just seemed completely useless. My aunt turned up unexpectedly and I just said tearfully, 
"I need to go upstairs"
I went and just cried. I just needed time. Time to sit alone, not talk to anyone and just cry. 
There were so many things on my mind, I couldn't even list them to you.

My aunt told me to just stay in my room and have some time to myself as she dressed my mum and I did.
I hadn't felt so despondent since mum first came home-I think things are taking their toll. However, I had no choice but to get myself together after my aunt left and I did-and it was thanks to you.

I sat in my room staring at the unexpected hole I found in my leggings, and thought about your emails; your tweets, your comments on Instagram and as cliched as it may sound it gave me the energy to get off my arse and carry on. 

This shitty, shitty situation in my life cannot be drowned in my self pity it is about making my mother the priority and make life as amazing as possible; and you all are making that happen.

When I see emails from you telling me your most personal stories, when I read your tweets, from continents away, telling me you are sat by your mother's bedside in her last hours-it makes me feel just that little less alone.  
It makes me realize other people are going through extreme struggles too and I cannot falter in making my mum's life as happy as possible. 

No one is exempt from pain-we simply have different levels of it. So, if you are reading this and you are feeling as though you've had enough-it's ok to feel that way-I may never have met you but I'm here listening, the way you have listened to me. 
Strangers can become the best listeners and thank you for continuing to listen to me.

If you feel like allowing me to return the favor, contact me here and let's make life a little bit more beautiful. Thank you x

Twitter: @TheBirdWillSing
Instagram: @TheBirdsThatSingAtNight

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Your Thoughts Please, Dear Readers...

Today was  tough, not sugar coating it, it was fucking rough. Probably the hardest day since before my mum's brain surgery. Days like these remind me how much of my Mum is missing right now, there are sparks every so often of her coming back to her old self, but they are fleeting, but they are there.

So, here is a question I have for you and I would love your honest feedback in the comments below or, you know the deal, you can write to me at: or tweet me: @TheBirdWillSing aunt has been talking to me about heading back to Los Angeles for a bit. I haven't worked in nearly two months and obviously have my life in Los Angeles that I have built for the past 9 years which I need to keep going. I suggested going back for 2 weeks this month to work and get some things settled back there, she didn't see the point in such a short amount of time and suggested going back for longer.
We have a review meeting with Dr T at the end of this month just to see how Mum is feeling, then a scan will not take place for another 4-6 weeks to see how the radiotherapy went. This will be a very important meeting and I obviously would never miss that, but my aunt suggested that I go back in the interim.

At the moment Mum needs me here 24 hours a day, we are hoping to see some more improvement as the weeks go on, but still she would need a lot of help. My aunt can come once a day, but not provide  24 care, so she has contacted my mum's GP who then called me.
The district nurses let me know that the local hospice has respite care and day visits. I could have vomited at that word. The nurse assured me that hospices aren't what they used to be, but I can't let that happen-mum would hate it and I couldn't let her go anywhere she didn't want to be.

My problem is a tough one. I don't want to leave here, I want to be with her as much as I possibly can, but life is getting in the way; I have bills, an apartment, a car and I don't know what to do. Now, this is where you guys come wonderful reader of these scribblings of mine emailed me to tell me their story and suggested I check out a website called GoFundMe. Have you guys heard of this? Donated via it? Used this?

It is a great idea, basically a forum for people who need help in different ways in life (mostly medical from what I've seen) they tell their story and people donate to help them reach a goal.  I have no idea how comfortable I am with thinking of doing this myself, however, it is a beautiful idea that people out there need help and generous souls do just that.

I'd love to know your experiences with it, what you think, and if you think it is something I should even consider to allow me more time here with my mum.

I will be reading your comments with great interest!


Sunday Funday...Or So I've Been Told...

My first blog of feels so shiny and new and different's just exactly the same.

Anyway, I woke up today after dreaming about rats-naturally I looked this up and found the following:

"Dreams about rats and mice usually reflect the worries which are "gnawing" you. Seeing a rat: you will go through some unpleasant experience with other people."

Cheers for that, subconscious. 

We were supposed to head out to a pub in the country today to get Mum out and give us a change of scenery. Dare I say it, I was actually looking forward to see another set of four walls and drinking some good beer.
I woke up and knew it would take a while to get mum ready as the end of radiotherapy has seen her lathery and fatigue get worse. I made her breakfast as usual and brought it upstairs. What follows was her complete inability to get out of bed.  She doesn't have any problem usually but it was as if she couldn't remember how to. 

I kept saying, 
"Just swing your legs out and push yourself up"
"I know...I can't, my back hurts" she'd reply

I finally had to pull her out and once she got up she seemed fine. She headed to the bathroom and I waited...and waited for her to get up and she simply couldn't. It was the most bizarre thing, she was talking to me coherently enough but just not able to get herself up; seeming to be a mix of tiredness and inability to figure out exactly how to stand up.

I ended up calling my aunt who had to come down and help me get her up and sat downstairs. Needless to say the pub (and my escape for a few hours) will have to wait.

Incidents like these are uncomfortable and awkward and frustrating for both parties. It is undignified for my mother and unpleasant to talk about. I don't particularly desire to go into a lot of the really unpleasant things you end up having to do when you are looking after someone on a 24 hour basis. In my case they are things you never imagined or wanted to have to do for your parent, but this is what comes in hand in hand with caring for someone on a daily basis.

We had been warned that the effects of radiation will become worse before it gets better, and what's ironic is that she was in better shape during radiotherapy than she is now it has ended.  She seems ever so out of it and distant. 

Today I even asked her rhetorically,

"Where have you gone Mum?" 
She sighed and said, "I'm not sure darling, I don't know..."