Monday, October 31, 2011
Dad is fine, now has his operation on the 11th November and let's hope it is successful to relieve his problems. I doubt he fancies having 2 weeks in hospital but there you go. I will see if I can get up to see him when he gets out or perhaps go and visit him.
I'm feeling good and up and down again - it's the final week of our project and it all culminates in a meeting on Thursday night to establish an end point and allow us to put a milestone in place for the 8th November - our investor ready day. Then we will see if our ideas have wings or not. There's a certain amount of trepidation about the amount of work we have done and its impact and whether anyone will invest in it or not. It is also a bust week with many meetings and chats happening too.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I'm doing some accounts and the problem with them is that I took these over and the last lot were bad enough as I had to back track over a years worth of accounts with no real notes to see where money had arrived in from or indeed where some of it went. A kind friend and very good accountant was able to easily see where the problems were and we ended up with a set of accounts I could work away from. Needless to say, the way thinks work for me, that hasn't been plain sailing as we handed over after the first meeting so I have pristine books for most of the year but the earliest part of the year is a bit different and it is when everyone pays their subscriptions. Anyone who paid by cheque or online I can see, anyone who paid by cash isn't easy as there is just a lump sum paid in.
I feel that I may need to call on my friend one more time to see if we can settle it.
My daughter A popped in to see my folks yesterday she needed to complete a set of photographs she started taking some 6 years ago and whilst she was up there managed to grab some lunch with them - I imagine that was a nice interlude for Mum and Dad to see her - she is a lovely girl and I imagine that she would have cheered them up. My "hugs" cushions arrived too which is nice. I thought it would just remind them that we are a fair way away but think of them.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
They've always done things together and been together. Apart from dad working abroad and recently when he's been in hospital they've really been inseparable. I live a very different life to that and so does the whole of my household so I probably don't get it. Me, I'd be looking to slowly get back on my feet but also to taste what freedom could mean and to do something locally and get involved in something. Oh well - that time will come and I hope to convince her not to cut herself off from life and become all insular and inward looking.
On Saturday we were treated to a great talk by Captain Eric Moody about his brush with a Volcano whilst flying his 747. The ash was so bad that all 4 engines stopped at 37,000 feet and he glided down attempting to restart the engines. When he finally arrived they found that their cockpit windows were sand (or rather ash) blasted. Some information here he was a mesmerising speaker and it was as if you were up there with him. We overran the meeting by 30 minutes but time just flew by. So that was good.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Simple right? WRONG! So Mrs. F. gets it last night, I drop the boy an email which he responds by asking whether it is self propelled and will fit in a car. Where upon I respond by saying no I didn't listen to what you wanted - You didn't ask for self propelled you asked for light and goes in a car. of course it goes in a car how did you think we got it home, towed it with a pick up!!! He's a bloody amoeba sometimes - stupid sod!
So he then tells me that he's already got one and thanks anyway but can we take it back! What?
Please tell me it isn't me? I mean didn't I have the conversation, tell him I had it and was going to get it and take it up there hundreds of miles away, at my own expense etc! Anyway so that is what pissed me off today. I've now rearranged for the chair to go back - been made to look some kind of fool - yet again. I've a good mind to keep the chair and use it to put my brother in after I meet him next and explain my level of pissed offness with him :-)
As an alternative I'm thinking of getting an Alien Anal Probe and impaling him on it. What a JERK!
"Do I not need that" as Gordon Taylor was heard to utter one day. It's been a horrid day really - I just didn't achieve much and that gets me annoyed that I've wasted some time. As it goes, I've done some work but not nearly enough. Soon I'm going to be twiddling my thumbs a bit as we await responses (or not) from investors. It is the final little bits and pieces of the documents that need that last polish, that last t crossed i dotted and so on.
We got to borrow a wheelchair from the local Masonic centre here which I can give to my brother to hold on to whilst dad isn't well and that will help if they need to transport him anywhere and he can't walk far. As it is at the moment he's pretty mobile and he's in good spirits and eating etc but he is sleeping a lot now during the day. Let's hope that he will be well enough to have this operation and keep well for a bit longer.
As for me - I'm a little worn down at the moment just wanting to get things to happen but I can't buck the process and we have to follow what we set out to do. I just could do with this next phase being over - it's the unknown again and that is unsettling.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Well kind of - I had to go and help a friend out tonight and:
- I'd quite forgotten what a terrible driver he is - he does frighten me when I'm in the car
- I haven't done electrical work for many years - I used to be an electrician
So we get to his house and he doesn't have any sort of spare lights or flex and things so I had to do some improvising. I eventually found out that the decorators had put back the light fittings and it looks as if they've lost a neutral somewhere in the process which I couldn't find as I no longer have any meters to check out my findings - shame as he will have to call in an electrician to sort it out - at least we know what it is and hopefully they can find it - I only had a screw driver that told me if things were live or not and had to rig up a test lamp - which was when I realised what had happened.
A day of hard work tomorrow to sort out the business plan and to steady ourselves - we are both feeling "unloved" by the wider team. they all have jobs, are away on holiday or generally cannot sit down with us in the next few days to sort this lot out. It means, as I've already guessed - we will be on our own with this - we haven't had the support up until now and we shouldn't expect it in the near future until we get the investment. When we are talking money I'm sure that we will have more friends then but be just as or more isolated. It's the road we have to travel so might as well get used to it now :-)
Facebook has a way of making people use it seriously and by that I mean gushing out some inner moment of their soul or making some cringe worthy statement. I suppose you could say that about this blog as it is "out there" in the ether/internet. Mind you I certainly don't have this visible to everyone I know and I doubt it is seen my millions of people if at all.
So why publish stuff about my dad on Facebook FFS! It isn't as if it is worth saying its a load of tripe and sentimental bollocks generally and whilst I know my brother is a bit of a sentimental twat at times - this just re-enforces my view. It really is cringe making rubbish of the worst kind of sickly sweet sentimentality. If he feels like this he perhaps ought to go and tell dad - who would probably thwack him around the head and tell him to get a grip. I can't even re-print it as I want to vomit when I read it.
So that's my rant over - I at least managed to put up my own status near his which said "Get a sodding grip" which he may recognise for what it was meant to be :-)
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
He is home and resting and on the list to get the operation done he should be high up the list as they say it is Head, Heart and Cancer in that order who get preference.
Me? I'm not beating myself up too much at the moment. Dad's home, all sounds settled again the business plan is almost complete, the list of investors is almost finished too and we've arrived at that point where we can send it out and see if anyone is interested.
In addition, some accounts that I've been struggling to sort out have been sorted out for me which is fantastic as they were in such a muddle that my head wouldn't work on how to sort them out - this friend who is an accountant and used to such things has applied his knowledge and experience and overnight done what it took 2 years for my predecessor not to do! This means we could get all the accounts sorted in days not months now. Pleased with that I have to say.
As it is Tuesday already. Dad gets home for a while and will have the operation to relieve his bile duct and duodenum and hopefully that will free things up for a while and stop these infections and give him some quality of life. It will certainly assist in giving him a bit longer.
Me - well I'm beating myself up and then doing my Mr. Logic stuff you know - what's the point of going up to see my folks to be a taxi service or to sit in another room whilst he is asleep and just get in the way. sure I can do the support stuff but but do they really want that? I doubt it.
I'll probably continue to beat myself up regularly for a while.
In business terms someone observed that I was bouncing off the walls tonight - well the main reason for that is that the business plan is almost complete now. It just needs final tweaks and by the end of the week - my 18 months journey and that of my partner will be over - we will have investigated our business, done all our research, documented it all, reviewed competitors, built financial models and written our business plan - all we need to do is send it out and get the money :-) It is a cause for celebration and for us to take a well earned short breather. We will find out soon enough if we are barking mad or not! :-)
Sunday, October 16, 2011
My brother keeps making sickly stupid comments on facebook which annoy the hell out of me but being as he is a little sensitive (although a big bloke you don't want to cross!) I find it unnecessary to public put this saccharin crap out but perhaps that's his way of coping. He won't hear of comments about dad dying or what will happen and somehow he's not taking on board what is coming down the track at us. I suppose that is his way of coping with it all.
I'm beating myself up about not being there even though I shouldn't and I'm not sure if I'm going to decide to go up again in the short term. To me, it doesn't make a lot of sense as I can't do anything and whilst I can physically be there - that in itself doesn't make it right either. The other thing is that in all honesty, I only ever used to see my folks once or twice a year anyway so I've been up there twice in two months which is like a whole year's worth of visiting already and I've certainly stayed more days than I normally would do as well :-)
Now that sounds just horrible doesn't it but it is so, I probably used to see my folks once every 2 months when they lived down this way especially when the children were young. But for ten years or more they've moved away to the country and it's been best endeavours - more so now as we are all busy people and don't have that much time to spare or to arrange for hotels and all the paraphernalia needed. I somehow wonder whether I sound like a cold hearted bastard when I say that and yet - I don't have that sort of close relationship with my folks that other people have. Me dad is very much like me in that respect and I talk to them twice a week and we are all very pleasant to each other but they've never been involved in my life, my family or anything to do with what I have done and I've been independent for many years so it comes as a surprise that the "done thing" is to go up to my parents a lot as I can't change things and can offer very little assistance - I can never be there at the right time to assist if he has to go into hospital - how would that work? I'd need to be a mind reader. Then there's the "I don't want to be a Vulture" either side of me. I'm sure that everyone's happy that I call and take an interest and offer but do they really want me there all the time or popping in and out? Let alone the cost associated with me going up there and staying at a Hotel. It just isn't practical and whilst I may beat myself up about it I have to be practical here - I have to try and get my business off the ground - that will give me a living and it very much looks as if by the time we get finance I will have self financed for 18 months. I need to get that reversed as soon as. I can't do that if I'm not around here. I can't keep splashing out on hotels and petrol if I'm only going to be sat around watching my dad sleep for that's roughly what it was.
It sounds like I'm some tough old nut who doesn't care - far from it - whilst I may have complained that no one ever came and saw me when I was ill I would have been a bit put out if they kept tipping up and hung around for a few days each time. By all means - turn up at significant moments but at the same time - realise that there needs to be a balance and for me the balance will have to be worked out on my terms.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
He's better - made the oncologists appointment which was good as the chap told him straight what his options were. This has now, today, made for a bit more sombre and reflective mood even still dad is still on a different planet every now and then he does now "get it" by which I mean he has realised that time is limited and if he is to escape the cycle of home and hospital every few days he must make a decision on having some surgery. It may just sort things out long enough for him to get some reasonable quality of life in his remaining time.
Mum and I had the "death" conversation today - my brother is a bit too squeamish and he's a bit more "sensitive" about it all than I am. I'm not saying I find it easy I just find it practical - it's what happens and there isn't much we can do about it either really - it will come to us all. So we've spoken about it and also in a way that dad was so poorly that at one stage if he hadn't woken it would have been acceptable. No one likes to see a loved one suffer but to see someone who has never really had any ill health suddenly struck down and to see the quizzical almost bemused look interspersed with fear and worry is not a good thing to observe.
Let's hope that he decides to take one of the remaining options - the Whipple is far too much of an operation - even though he may be fit enough - at 81 it really shouldn't have been tabled. If he takes one of the others he will be out of it for 3 or 4 days but hopefully it will give him a long period away from the hospital and a better quality of life in the time he has left with us.
As for me - well I'm doing the "guilt trip" every day and my brother is taking most of the strain of it all. I've argued with myself long and hard about this and I'm not getting any grief from mum or my brother at the moment - they know the score and so do I. If I was there I'd do my bit but they moved away from me and not vice versa so practically it's impossible for me to do much based this far away - spending time up there is expensive as I stay in Hotels and if there are all 4 of us - it racks up a shocking amount very quickly... Doesn't stop me thinking about it though even though I've been assured that I'm not expected to do all of this stuff.
The other question on my mind is how many times will I see my dad before he dies? It's a morbid question isn't it? I don't think it will be many if at all really. As sods law would have it I'm just entering the culmination of 18 months work (4 years if I really count back to the first time this was introduced). I've got meetings now that decide my future and that of my family and also my colleagues so timing is pretty rubbish at the moment too. Oh well - these things happen.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
We don't know what's wrong with dad but he's hallucinating again and that's not good - he thinks I am there sitting next to him. He's very weak indeed and hasn't got out of surgical assessment despite being in there for 6 hours so far!!! Let's hope they see him soon and he gets into a ward and looked after overnight. He doesn't know where he is or who all these people are - I feel so bad for him and I hope he is out of it and not feeling scared etc.
It's terribly upsetting for my mum and my brother and sister in law who are actually with him. I have only seen a little bit of this of course and that was bad enough. Mum should have rung my brother 24 hours earlier but didn't want to put him out. Strewth I'd have come up if she'd have called me...
Oh well - I can't do anything - I have a meeting here tomorrow and I need to be up and ready for that. I hope that they sort him out and get him fixed up and comfortable though. These lapses and days when he doesn't know where he is are very worrying indeed - more for the impact they make on my brother and my mum as they have to deal with it.
Oh dear, dad's being taken into hospital once again poor chap - he just hasn't been well at all and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. He's really going through the mill isn't he? He wasn't right yesterday and thank goodness, mum saw the signs again and has decided to get him into hospital early this time.
I'm guessing they are going to have to make a decision now to do something but he is terribly weal but and I'm guessing that these episodes are caused by the tumour and swelling up inside - he just needs to get things sorted out and I know he won't have the major surgery but perhaps they can "do their best" on the minor invasive to see if they can rectify this problem and give him an opportunity to get some sort of respite.
I feel so sorry for him, he's hardly recovered from the last lot and he's back in again. It just isn't fair but I suppose it goes with the territory. He looks so frail and poorly it's such a shame.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
He's not in Hospital but his legs gave way underneath him and his limbs aren't working. His legs and arms are all weak he says and so mum's keeping an eye on him at the moment to make sure it isn't a recurrence of the infection - he doesn't need that.
Other than that he progress well I suppose - certainly better than a week ago but with this little problem it's not good news. Finally he has given in about the car and so that is one thing I suppose. I hope that this was done with good grace but I think even he must now acknowledge that in his present state he can't drive a car.
It's very sad to see him like he is now - I'm coming to terms with it I suppose now but it's hard work and I can only imagine that it is going to get worse from here on in. All plans are on hold and I'm being super cautious about what I'm going to be doing between now and Christmas as I'm pretty certain that I'll need to go up and see him again pretty soon. It looks as if A and Mrs. F. may be up there this weekend so it will be good if they can pop in to see him.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
"Picasso had affairs with most of his models. Although some tried to resist his charms, they found themselves strangely drawn."
I love stuff like this - it really is a great play on words.
Had a meeting tonight and enjoyed myself - had a guest of mine along who has turned out to be a good friend - we have very similar backgrounds and he's got a great sense of humour too. The one thing that I liked about tonight was the ability to just get a load off my chest without it going any further - friends listen to the sort of problems I'm having and just absorbing them and making them go away for me - that's nice and it helps a lot. I can have a good old whine about my dysfunctional family and come away with a problem shared is a problem halved sort of evening.
Mrs. F. Picked me up from the centre and one of my friends went and tried to wind her up with some funnies about me staying for one more drink - I think he may have been surprised by her resilience :-)
Monday, October 10, 2011
It was nice to speak to some friends today and get a load of last week off of my chest. It's good that they know me and were able to just help me get rid of some of the annoyance of the week and hopefully to give me a bit of support that I did the right thing last week. I feel I should be up there a bit more often but I was like a spare part at a wedding really and I spent a lot of time just sitting in the Conservatory or hovering outside to get cool as my parent's house was like a boiler room :-)
At least I'm back home and on the case and can catch up on work.
I've not spoken to my parents today - I've suggested I go back to my Wednesday and Sunday calls (normal) and see how we get on from there.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
We are off soon to my father-in-law's 90th and my nephews 30th birthday party. It will be nice to get away for a short while from the impact of my father's illness. It has quite stirred up dark memories and bad feelings and stuff that I'd buried into the recesses of my mind.
At least work will keep me busy this coming week as we struggle to finish off the business plan and make some sense of it all. It looks great but needs a bit of polish and some fine words at the beginning to make it impact and enthuse the reader. We should heed Steve Job's words - our business intends to shoot holes in everything that you ever thought about the computer industry and disrupt 20 years of a lack of innovation or thought in the products being delivered.
Let's hope that it all goes to plan :-) I also hope that I get an uplifted afternoon - I certainly could do with a lift after the 4 days I've had.
Saturday, October 08, 2011
It's pretty tough isn't it? I mean my dad has hardly been ill in his life and so all of this is just terrible for him as he never gets ill and when he gets something like a cold he shakes it off and he's back at things pretty quickly.
He can't understand why he can't do that now, why everything is so hard, why he has no energy, how come he's lost 2 1/2 stone in 3 months, how he can't eat as much as he used to, why he can't do things around the house and garden and so on. The car is driving everyone crazy - he hasn't got to that acceptance about not being able to drive it again - it has only been off the drive twice in 6 months. He isn't fit to drive, he doesn't have the strength nor does he have the wit to drive and frankly I'm not sure that the drugs he is on either are going to help him. I've suggested that he prove himself able to drive by walking to the shops and back. I doubt he could get to and from the drive and back at the moment - it frustrates him to walk from one end of the house to the other - I can see it and he isn't stable. He however doesn't see this, he just sees my brother, sister in law and mum telling him he can't drive. They have to reason with him and that's the problem - they are all happy to give advice and tell him what to do and treat him like some naughty kid and yet he hasn't lost his marbles and he isn't stupid either.
The trouble is that no one is thinking things through. I'm "Mr. Calm" and perhaps a bit too much of the ice man if I'm honest but I like to think that if I learnt nothing else being ill with bladder cancer, I'd know what it was like to have it and how best to deal with it. I certainly found being lectured at was not what I wanted to hear. I needed facts, figures, options, cause and effect, actions and outcomes etc. I was able to come to my decisions based on these, through my own reason and logic. In that way I decided that I wanted to live, to go ahead with treatment, to make a decision should things have gone badly about what treatment to have next, to decide which of those treatments would give me the best outcome and so on. Having someone tell me what I could and couldn't do would have been untenable to me.
So I managed to explain this to mum and brother and to also ask them to stop putting the pressure on - my brother especially who considers anything to be some sort of selfish act? Plonker! I mean if dad doesn't want major invasive surgery as it won't give him a good return on investment (you recuperate for 3 months if you are young) and dad may have 6 months to live I mean it's plain logic to me. Not to my brother who feels that he should go through all of this stuff (well he doesn't now as I've laid some heavy facts at his door to think about). I've also told him that I believe that HE is the one being selfish as it isn't his life to make decisions on and he is being emotional and irrational and not thinking things through.
He's bought guilt presents - a clarinet, harmonica and guitar for him - I mean what on earth is he going to do with those when he's got 6 months left to live and hardly enough breath to breathe properly? What were you thinking? The reason behind the clarinet and harmonica are that when we were children my father sold his to pay the bills and we both remember this. However, it's all a bit late now for that sort of gesture. Suddenly when I got there - everyone's buying birthday presents. We haven't done birthday presents for 10 if not 15 years as we only do Christmas. That necessitated me having to dash out and get a bottle of scotch for him - I hadn't planned anything. What were they thinking? Everyone seems to be going out of their way to say "HEY, you're dying!!"
I'm a cynic I know I am but I do find the way people deal with cancer is bizarre and this general ignorance about it is regrettable but you can understand why especially when you never hear of anyone passing away easily do you? They are always fighting or combating or battling cancer. They die after a short or long battle with cancer, bravely fought etc. You don't get a sword and shield or meet cancer on the battle field at all. It screws up your body and it grows inside you and takes over and weakens you and that is it. I can imagine that everyone is very upset - or course they are - but why should they suddenly change their relationship to you or treat you any different. I was probably more wary of my dad being tired out by me being there and told him to tell me to leave him be if it all got too much. We have pleasant conversations and we discuss lots of things - we are very similar in opinion, politics and shared a business relationship for many years but we don't talk regularly, we laugh and joke and we have fun but at the moment, dad's brain is lively enough but he can't play word cut and thrust for long and he can't do much for long. He isn't stupid though and that was what I tried to get over to everyone when I was there. Don't treat him like a kid even though he is acting a bit strange occasionally try and keep your voice normal and explain stuff in easy to digest facts.
So there you go - I'm pretty glad that I don't have to be up with my family for too long at a time. I feel that they all need to get a grip and to wake up and stop being patronising. Having said that to them, I hope they listen and I hope that they start to show a bit of respect to my dad, if nothing else he deserves to have that and he deserves to be listened to and he deserves to be given the facts and the arguments needed to back up an assertion like not driving the car. He can't see it because they've told him. No one has asked him, no one has reasoned with him. I know he can be as stubborn as hell (I have no idea where I get it from!!!) but start to do some reasoned logical argument and it will be indisputable - he'll have to come to the same opinion and if he starts getting illogical in his argument then it's blindingly obvious that there's something wrong and he may then start to see it.
Oh well - I'm hoping that they take my advice and just tone it all back and realise that he is just tired and weak not mentally retarded :-)
And have my close family here for the weekend - the girls get on great together and so we do have fun and enjoy each others company. I'm being allowed to let off steam and have some child like fun and be a crazy dad for the day so that's cool :-)
I'm glad I went to see my mum and dad and show some support and I spoke to my mum long and hard on Friday to make sure that she knows I can be there - she realises the distance and the cost but I think it is true that she also realises that practically it isn't possible to get there and back in a day so I have to plan things.
I feel pretty helpless to do much more than do what I'm doing - it's upsetting but I've got to get real here - I can't help much other than provide the balanced views I'm doing and a little insight into the overreactions of my brother and sister in law and my mum. All trying their best to help but disturbingly not allowing my dad to consider his options and decide what he wants and what he considers best for himself.
Friday, October 07, 2011
A bit of a hold up on the way back but back home and thankfully able to divert myself this weekend with a party for my father in law and nephew - 90 and 30 respectively. That should be nice.
I've come bearing gifts - well - lots of farm produce for us and I need to take in all the things that have happened this past 4 days. I find it disturbing that my mother and brother are treating my dad like some sort of naughty kid (even though he was like that when the fever was rampant). However, I may have got it through to them that they need to be reactive to his needs not proactive - in other words the last thing a dying man needs to be reminded of is that fact. If you think an electric bed is a good idea then have that idea ready for when he finds it difficult to get in and out of the bed he is in now. Don't get him it, make him change into it for all it does is remind him that he is ill. If you'd have done it to me I would, like him, be bloody furious.
People do things in "good faith" and yet they don't think of how the person who is ill and facing death is actually going to feel when they act out of the kindness of their hearts and kick him in the teeth at the same time. You can overdo the love and support and I hope that, if I've done nothing else, that I've stopped them trying to over protect and try and wrap him in cotton wool, he has pancreatic cancer - he isn't going light in the brain!!
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Was it a good thing to come up here? I think perhaps it was right to do that and in a way I would have kicked myself if I hadn't. I found it amusing for one of my friends to say that I had "now done my bit" which I found amusing and disturbing at the same time. What he meant was that I could perhaps stop kicking myself for not being there for dad whilst he also knew that no one had come down and seen me :-) But at the same time it belittles the act too.
I would have felt bad if something had happened this week and I hadn't made the effort. In a way I feel I should be here more but it really isn't practical. We would all like to "be there" and yet in reality that isn't possible is it? Ideally I'd like to be here for my mum and dad for as long as it takes - it isn't going to happen.
I feel my mum's pain and my dad's confusion and upset and the wider family - especially his two brothers, one older and one younger. I feel somehow that I need to do more but you know what, I also have my own things to do as well. The trouble is that my mother and brother (and sister-in-law) too are treating dad like a kid - I've "had words" about that and suggested that they treat him like the head of the family he is and give him a bit of respect. He doesn't need to be told what to do - he needs to come to these decisions in his own time and when he needs to. He doesn't need an invalid bed now - he may do later, leave the suggestion that we will do what is necessary to deal with his condition and respect his wishes. Everyone wants to advise and push him and yet he needs to make some decisions in a logical fact based way. I know he shouldn't drive the car and so does he but he needs to arrive at that decision based on facts about his reactions, his body movement and his strength - he knows he can't walk down the garden let alone drive a car but he doesn't need to be told.
So - I've done my bit and I know I've got to come up here again and perhaps only a few times more. I've no idea whether I'll be here at the end - that's not my choice, that's the predicament I am in because it wasn't me that moved up to this area of England. It's desolate farming country a million miles from the sort of countryside I live in. There are some amazing houses here but they are rotting away and yet it must have been some place given the scale of the buildings I saw on my walk today - including a house that has to be 17th century that is just what I have always dreamed of owning - a place probably older with turrets that appears to have grown organically and has bags of character. The trouble is - what on earth would you do up here but be a farmer? There really isn't much else I can see to do.
So I've got mixed feelings - it could be the last time I come here I suppose. However, I hope not but I don't think I could hack the day I had Tuesday - my poor old mum and brother had a terrible week with dad. Every now and then dad goes off somewhere in his mind and drifts off and back again but normally he is tired and I'm concious that perhaps I can only just be there and around for them - maybe that's all that is needed - just to be present.
Oh hell what do I know :-) Mind you sat in the bar tonight and there was a conversation going on following a wake for this chaps mother who had just died of Pancreatic Cancer and they mentioned Steve Jobs and Patrick Swazy and of course that just re-enforced what will come in the near future. I don't see dad living beyond Christmas unless he has a very strong will and starts to take on some sort of diet and treatment that may help - I find it unlikely that it will happen I think the decision to die has been made.
I should have been at the Guildhall this evening and I've only just thought about that. It would have been a wonderful event but I'd rather be here - it's dad's birthday tomorrow and so that is important I think. Oh well - I'll be home tomorrow night and I think I will be quite morose and quite upset when I get back there - it's been a strain and it's been emotional :-) I hate what cancer has done to my dad and the frail man who stood there today and at one time he was almost child like and you never want to see your dad in anything other than how you remember him.
More later when I get past the upset. However, I'm not as cut up as I could have been I think.
I got my tyre fixed this morning and got to my parents a little later - dad was in bed and it was nice to see him a little better and the bruises receding. I then went to the shops for them and dropped of the notes to the doctor, picked up some scotch for dad's birthday and posted some letters and had a nice breezy walk.
I left earlier today as dad got quite tired - it just floods over him and that's just the way things are. It's so frustrating for him and so I got out when he started to get tired just before his tea. My mum wants to feed me but its too early for me.
I have a list of things to get tomorrow from the farm shop as it is so cheap around here. I should be able to do some pickled onions over the weekend with a bit of luck.
I'm sure I'm going to be really cut up when I get home tomorrow - I've had to be massively diplomatic so far. Tomorrow my brother and his brood will be there, dad will have his last birthday with us and I'm sure that the moment will not be lost on anyone in the room. He laughed with me today and gave me my inheritance - a bag of sweets :-) bless him.
Of course Steve Jobs dying today also hit home especially as he had the same cancer! Oh well tomorrow is another day.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Well Dad's home, I brought him home with mum and my brother late on Tuesday afternoon. He was being a "bit of a handful" and not taking things seriously, he was told not to drive but the doctor and the nurse weren't really that good at delivering this message but frankly, I cannot see him ever getting behind the wheel and I think today that he knows that.
It's difficult to understand that this little step is just one of the things you have to give up as you head towards your destiny. It is one reminder that you are losing your independence and that's why he wants to hold on to it. Of course, he isn't thinking clearly on this and there are lots of other problems like this. The interesting thing is that everyone is dealing with this differently and Dad doesn't do "being ill" so was surprised to see me yesterday and also that I was here for the rest of the week. In a way - I had to come up and he could have been in Hospital all week but I'm here and was able to fix some stuff in the house and also baby sit dad whilst mum did some chores too. It was nice to wander out into the Conservatory and let them both have a sleep and catch up. Things were a lot less frantic and a lot better today.
Dad looks so much better after just one evening of real sleep. Hopefully he can build on this and just have a stable time from now on.
Now the bad stuff - well he does look much thinner than when I last saw him and he is much much weaker. I can see the fear and also confusion in his eyes, I know him of course and I've never known him be scared before.
I'm glad I came.
Monday, October 03, 2011
I'm off to see my folks tomorrow at the crack of Sparrows. At least I can take over from my brother and sister-in-law and do some supporting chores if nothing else it will give me an opportunity to see dad and mum and try and assist.
I've got my Hotel sorted out - well my brother may need his spare room :-) yea right! I have to laugh about it - he even recommended various other hotels I might like to check out :-) At least I can get away at a reasonable time and spend some time in a Hotel Bar having a cool beer and thinking stuff out. I've got my friend bringing me some literature tonight. He works for the Samaritans and it will be worth leaving the leaflets to hand in case they need them - sometimes it isn't easy to speak to family and these guys provide a vital service to just allow you to chat and talk and get it off your chest. They are well trained and know how to get you to talk about yourself and your feelings etc. A lot of people think it is only about suicides which of course they do deal with but also dealing with other difficult situations too.
It sounds strange but I looked at my dad a few weeks ago and I saw myself. I saw what might have happened to me had they caught my cancer a little later than they did. It brings back much of the trouble of that time to me and in many ways I dread going up there this week. I think everyone is putting a brave face on at the moment but deep down inside I'm certain that they fear what will come next.
Me? I'm reminded of all the stuff I go through and how fortunate I am to still be here. I'm not saying it hurts any more than it does to the rest of the family but it certainly hits home a lot more to me. The spread of the cancer and the speed at which dad has changed in a very short space of time is frightening and this latest period in hospital may herald a pattern (I hope not) for the future.
I'll go up in the morning to see him and see what I can do this week. It's going to be a hard old week but I should go. I may have been disturbed by the fact that no one came and saw me in all the years I was ill but it doesn't mean that I have to behave like that.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
I spoke to my brother and I think I ought to go up this week if only to share the load and take mum to and from the Hospital and sort that out. It sounds dire trying to find a parking place and all that! Typical hospital - pretty new one too and not enough places to park - who designs these things FFS!
Dad's a bit better, has been able to get up and wander around himself and has started to get around without the aid of a walking frame so a good sign there.
It always surprises me that I have to stay in a hotel when I'm up there considering my brother has a spare room but they may give you an inkling of why things aren't exactly great between us. Anyway, I'd rather pay to do that I think :-)
It's all a bit difficult in terms of work etc but they have wifi and I have a PC and a phone so that can work :-) I hope to get away pretty early so as to get to my mums in time for breakfast and so I can do whatever is needed. Additionally I'll be there for my dad's birthday which will also be good (and bad) all at the same time. I have no doubt that the Elephant will be in the room at that time.
Pondering the words I heard my mum say tonight and how sad dad was that he wasn't fit enough to come home. He knows that it will be hard work for mum and I can see that he's beginning to start to think things through in a pragmatic way. A few weeks ago he wouldn't have seen that he was soldiering on as if nothing had happened.
I caught a moment in mums voice and it's kept me up to gone 1 so far and I think it may be time to go up again and see him. This is the bizarre thing, it's only 14 days since I last saw him and so much has happened and changed. That's what is alarming about this, it is as if someone has flipped a switch and dad's gone from one state to another and transformed. It reduces us to helpless and weak individuals and that's not how he was - ever. I find myself listening to various pieces of smooth classical music and working out what I can do this week and how long I can go up for.
I'll take a view on it tomorrow but I think the hidden message is that dad may be thinking he isn't coming home. Whilst he is up to his usual laughs and jokes he actually doesn't have the energy to get up and down and move around fully unaided. That's got to be hard for him to bear and perhaps I ought to get up to see him as soon as I can - I don't want him to interpret that as some sort of last gesture either. It's hard to know what to do and of course the business is at a critical state but then again I'm sure that me thinking about this rather than taking action will materially affect it anyway.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Dad's improved in terms of his attention and his mind and he is very very slowly getting some strength back but not enough to get him home yet I fear. He is very weak and needs assistance getting around. He can get about on his walking frame but it is a slow process and so he knows, and told my brother, that he felt he would not be coming home too soon.
I'm in two minds now what to do about this and whether I go up this week. It may be the case that I take a view tomorrow and Monday and make a decision and just go. I can ring around and get a Hotel easily enough, I have their addresses and details all written out now.
I fear going as I fear it may mean that if I'm there he may read it all wrongly. Perhaps not, I probably don't want to see what has happened to my dad. Let's face it, I only saw him 13 days ago and he was fine - a little thin but otherwise fine. That's what is overtaking me, how quick this all is and how fast everything is moving.
Talking to my mum tonight it was pretty obvious that there is an acceptance that things aren't quite what they should be and dad's blood pressure is going up and down all over the place. Until they stabilise him, he isn't going anywhere.
What to do?
Whilst dad is having his own problems and living out the final chapter of his life I wonder whether I'm recoiling from the very real feelings that go back to my time with the early stages of the disease and the things I lived out in my waking and sleeping dreams and the visits of the Black Dog and the barriers and walls I've built up around myself to protect me from it.
I'm certain that I've built a legend and a narrative about me illness that is for me and for me alone but it helps to deal with it personally and when interacting with others. There's a tale, a weaving of truth and fantasy, of anecdotes and experiences that I hold onto as "My Story". It's part of who I am, it helps me deal with what happened to me, it allows me to explain what happened in my language and to suit me. Some of it may be blown up or down to suit the story telling but it is a shell that wrappers me and keeps me from harm. What I see and hear in my father's situation is all of the things I dreamt would happen to me (that didn't thankfully) but other things remind me of the loneliness and the doubt, the fear and the worry, the pain and the anger, the Black Dog and the Little Voice, the shame and the worry.
I see myself dying with him and I don't like it at all it really pulls and I see myself holding back and trying not to get too involved emotionally as it will tear me apart. I'll need to be at my best in the event to deal with the relatives - mum already can't deal with them and my brother is a lot closer to my parents than I am and so I will need to hold it together for him too. He's actually stepped up to the plate magnificently these past few weeks - it hasn't been that long but it feels like it. I may have reservations about other members of his family but he's done well and I have no doubt he'll feel particularly wiped out when the inevitable happens.
Me - I'm afraid that bits of my defence are falling apart now and that I'm questioning things - I don't tend to do things on an emotion I tend to do things logically - one one hand I want to go up and see them but on the other - what purpose does that serve? I'd rather wait until I get called up or when there is time at home. By the end of the weekend I think I might be able to forge a strategy about what to do for the best.