to talk about Peggy, aka Margaret Douglas:
Date last edited: Friday, October 16, 2009
What she looked like before is shewn on the photograph pages available at the Big Pond or in Northern Ireland. This is a studio portrait, obviously overpainted.
Verbiage to August 24th: This is the worst thing that has arisen now that I am temporarily living at my parent's abode: my mother seems to have dementia, Pick's disease, of the Lewy Body type. Margaret Dickins, née Douglas, is now 82, since we have passed August 1st. Dr Rock Mylvaganam considers that she suffers from confabulation, adding fantasies to the holes in her memory.
Admittedly, she has always followed a different drummer, but lately, in reality for over a decade, she has been filling in the gaps in her memories with strange ideas. For example, she is continually being "visited" by her parents and brothers: She thinks that I have always had a job and a new apartment in Carlingwood (part of Ottawa), and can't believe that I am unemployed at this time. When she first mentioned this situation I was still living with Michelle, and I thought it was a real contact that she had spoken to in Carlingwood Mall. Foolish me! Mum is rapidly worsening: she swears and threatens me, forgets what she has eaten before in the same restaurant she was at two or three days prior. Makes comments to the service staff that are completely inappropriate. Doesn't recognize what she has eaten and disagrees with everything anyone says. It's not just about her meals.
Sad signs, aren't they? Not quite Alzheimer's form of dementia, (visit Internet Mental Health for details on many disorders). Naturally, my father does not want to die, because he is frightened about what may befall her, and these are natural fears. He is under stress because of me, and I can't do anything about that, especially with no job. (Note however, as previously mentioned: a contract that has promise found mid July).
A really upsetting scenario: which means that, to reduce the stress on us all, that I have to find alternate accommodation very, very quickly. (Once, that is, I can find a job, save for an apartment, pay some debts).
It is possible that she has a protein deficiency, maybe a result of her vegetarian stance, lasting decades, and also possible that it is a precursor of Alzheimer's disease, that might, of itself, even be concurrently present. Not a good situation, especially for my father's well-being. He doesn't want me to move far away, not least because I could rapidly return to help him should there be a need.
August 26th: Last night was embarrassing for my father. He left the Amber Garden restaurant ahead of my mother, calling me forward, and said "She is acting like a child, isn't she?" So true, and later, when my sister Lynn phoned from Auckland, Mum could not remember what she had eaten a few hours earlier.
Now, the point of this is that she told the waitress that the chef had told her what food he had decided to serve to her. Now, this was totally in her head, because, not least, the chef is a woman. Luckily, the owners of the restaurant are aware of her condition and try to treat her circumspectly. They are nice people. My parents had discussed what Peggy should eat, but when she was seated she went her own way, and constantly remarked that the food was wrong and poor. She can't eat properly because her teeth are rotten or missing. On the other hand she is totally vain about her hair.
Lynn wishes that she would simply drop off the planet after a meal, just as our grandfather, Ernest Frederick, had done in 1975, when he was approaching his 85th birthday. He ate a meal, washed up, sat down for a nap, and died peacefully. Uncle Ken, the eldest brother, found him later, when he made his usual daily visit.
Of late, Peggy has been telling me that I am living with a girlfriend, that I can go to hell, that my friends are outside waiting for me to leave with my possessions. Oh, and my girlfriend is also a whore! Not that I, given my parlous financial position, would even dream of inflicting myself on any lady. Especially since I lost my job at VidNet last Thursday. Peggy believes that I am psychic and that I talk to her through the ether: that I am a liar and that I deceive my father. What is sad is not the belittling of me, that's merely amusing, but that not long ago, in Vancouver, she was the centre of attraction. She was running a Spiritualist healing group. That suited her personality, and it's interesting to see how she lights up if anyone now shows interest in her, given that she gave up the "business" when she forced Ray, and consequently Michelle, Katharine and I, to move to Ottawa. When, recently, she had stumbled and hurt herself on a path, she was happy for me to be around, because she saw that I was concerned for her. When she became better, inevitably her attitude towards me returned to its antagonistic state. No one can talk to her if they differ with her belief in spirits. And this exacerbates her behaviour towards both Dad and me.
This, of course, is simply typical of what
anyone can expect who has an elderly parent who develops dementia. Increasingly
common these days, and a curse to those having to nurse or live with them. It's
a very sad situation. In our case, it's obvious that Raymond is feeling increasingly
pressured as the days pass and as she degrades. In one way, it's beneficial that I
am there, but patently not in others.
Good, was mother, until total resumption of hate and persecution feelings this morning. Hi ho! Hi ho! It's off to "work" I go. On Sunday, in the humidity that has returned to our region.
October 1st: Lately, she has been a little better. Although friendlier towards me, and in fact having produced a cup of coffee on one Saturday, and lots of photographs of her family on another, she still cannot understand that I have nowhere else to live. Doctor Mylvaganam suggests that she may have sub-acute endocarditis, brought on by poor dental hygiene. She tells me of the devils that won't leave her alone, and cause pains in her innards. Where will this lead?
November 2nd: Last night was horrid.
Not long ago, last Saturday morning, whilst I was watching the Premier League game on the box, Peggy came by the door and told me she wasn't well. "What's wrong then", say I? "Do you see my body, and how it has changed? I wasn't like that when I was married. It's because for the last thirty years and more, evil spirits have been crawling up my bum and attacking my head." Well, you can imagine my reaction to that, can't you! It was difficult to know whether to laugh or cry.
But now it is becoming worse. Last Wednesday, she told us at the Amber Garden that she didn't have Scots forbears, because her mother was half Spanish. Oh, really, then how come her mother's sisters weren't Spanish? "Because, Elizabeth told me that, and that she also had a brother." Dad, in reply, said "But, your mother had two sisters, Maggie and Lottie (married to Killer McKeown of the Fleet Air Arm), and that's all." "Oh, no, since she died she's told me about her brother and about her Spanish ancestors." Utter rubbish, sadly. Certainly, with the name of Douglas, probably a Black Douglas, she is descended from the rough crew who were thrown out of Scotland by their own clan! Not recently, merely a few centuries ago, before the King Billy episode.
And then, last night: "You married this woman and you never stay with her. No wonder she is leaving you, because I just talked to her. You are going down there (meaning Hell)." When I asked her: Who did she think Michelle and Katharine were; and where were the divorce papers, and was that likely since Michelle is Catholic; and who was here two weeks ago and you went to dinner with? Mum then says "She hasn't been here for a very long time, and anyway, women are only for babies, and anyway, I just talked to Michelle on the phone, and you wiped your arse with your divorce papers!"
Not only that, but since I am in financial straits, when the Bell Collection Agent phoned up recently, Mum told her that I was at the Computer Store in Carlingwood. Hah, that put the cat among the pigeons!! I emailed the collection agency to apprise them of the facts of my existence. Can't even afford to pay for my depression medicine, Celexa, right now.
November 2nd: I wish I could find a job and leave. This combination of factors causing stress at home is really producing ill effects. I am often waking up and realising I am aligned in the foetal position, not a good sign. That has occurred before, in Vancouver, and at Shillington Avenue around the time Michelle left our humble abode.
November 3rd: Last night, I came home to find Dad really upset and also physically ill. He had had a row with Mum about me. She insists that I have another wife, that I am ill-treating her by leaving her alone, and lying as usual. Also, Dad was upset with telephone calls from people seeking me. I shall have to put a stop to that, immediately. No money, but I will email these third parties now and then, together with the odd dollar in the mail.
During the evening, she came in and asked what I was doing there, then said she was listening to Verdi and why wasn't I? Where was my radio? I remarked that I didn't have one. She then looked at the TV and asked why I was watching children's TV. I said I wasn't but she demurred, telling me she could see that I was: Didn't realise that I was watching This Week has 22 hours!!
Today, as the soccer started, she asked me why I wasn't sitting next to Dad, watching Sunderland v Aston Villa (3-0 to Sunderland, reducing Schmeichel to tears of rage; three great goals, two by Bellamy and a terrific volley by Shearer). So I sat by Dad, and she brought me a cup of coffee. Then, (just before I left to walk around, casually fix a computer at Compact Music by pushing in the floppy cable that was loose, and find an Internet cafe to update my pages), she asked me if I was bringing my girlfriend to dinner, and was I going to pack up my stuff, because my wife/girlfriend had cleaned the house up ready for me!! Talks to her, my new and bigamous wife, all the time! Mum hammers on the wall to advise me she has just spoken with her on the telephone that isn't in their bedroom. I really wish I knew someone who was willing to put up with me and have me live with him/her!! Likely to be out of the frying pan into . . . . .
No wonder people were afraid of witches: this is quite likely how old ladies behaved in ages past, when nothing was known of brain wastage or of neurone diseases.
November 6th: Last night, she's leaning on the edge of the kitchen, watching the TV, and simply stares at me as I come in. Dad, later, comes into my windowed room, and tells me that Mum says that Michelle hates her. That comes after the morning's scenario, where I had to creep out of the apartment, because she was fiddling in the kitchen. No breakfast for me, and when I was taking a shower, she broke through the lock and opened the curtain, asking why did I always come down here, away from my wife!! Just little things, that vary in detail, but consistently arrive and do annoy Raymond. He has asked me to stop laughing at her and telling her that she's being silly. Well, perhaps I should desist, but how else to cope? When someone screams at you that you're a liar and going to hell, and not to deny what is transparently the truth in her mind, how does one cope? Utter codswallop, nicht wahr?
November 7th: Yesterday, and today, she's up very early, drinking warm water or something like that. I mean, how do I ask her? I try to raise myself out of bed at 7am just so I don't disturb them both. I creep around, take a shower, eat cereal, dress and creep out, locking the door behind me. But now, she's up at the same time every day, and the Inquisition starts: maybe she is Spanish! These sound like small things, but add them all together, and what do you have?
Our (Dad and I) doctor, Julian, Michelle's uncle, himself tired, states firmly that unless she is violent, nothing can be done. No one will come in to assess her. Perhaps, in her toothless, almost blind condition, she will harm herself and have to go to hospital. There, we could insist on a psychiatric assessment, which should reveal her condition. I have no faith that the assessment might be beneficial to all of us: firstly, I have seen doctors misdiagnose people, and secondly, would Dad allow her to be placed in a home. There is so much baggage attached to that thought, isn't there?
The interesting thing that I have not mentioned is that she often whispers to me, except when she is in a foul mood. It's as if she doesn't want Dad to hear, which implies that she has doubts or a knowledge of her condition. It's more likely, I suppose, that since they have had arguments about me having to sleep there, she reasons that Dad won't approve of her constant barrage of abuse and disbelief. I wonder how she will react if Michelle and Katharine come up on Saturday.
November 8th: Yesterday, another funny day, as I returned "home" early to find that Dad was out having a car headlight replaced (part $15, + labour, total $65). Mum said, "Who's that?" "Me." "Who's me?" Etcetera, and why was I here? Then, "You're early for dinner, and are you going to bring Verna (sic)?" Who? "You know who she is, I've just talked to her." "No idea". Then, still in a bad mood, shouting at me, whenever she wasn't muttering to herself, she comes in with a scalding cup of coffee. "Why don't you reply, are you deaf?" "I hope not". She plops the cup down, leaves, comes back with two "organic" biscuits, then "proves" it by bringing in the box. Next thing is that she is complaining about water under the kitchen sink. When I start to help her, she looks there and mutters, "No, it's the bathroom sink, I must be having troubles with my head today!!!" And, truthfully, there is a leak, and it was a result of the incompetent, in-house plumber trying to fix a tap.
November 9th: This morning, Friday, she is up again, puttering
around, and, when I place the cereal bowl on the counter, wonders if I'm late
for work. Last night, my father tells me that Michelle and Katharine will be
here by 11:30 on Saturday. Michelle will take us out for lunch, and Mum tells
Dad that she won't go, because Michelle hates her. Obviously false, but what can
one say. Pity too, that Verna (sic), my virtual girlfriend, isn't Virna, or
Virna Lisi, (1937-). She remains a gorgeous blonde, lately appearing in La Reine
Margot (1994), a film about the Huguenot massacre on St Bartholomew's Day in
Oh, dear, more pressure. I admit to feeling hollow, clearly that's anxiety, about leaving this, even though known to be temporary, shelter. Very odd, I thought that it would happen soon and had written that in my diary. Must be psychic!!!
November 10/11th: Saturday morning I was up early as usual, creeping down to the laundry. Finished, borrowed the car, went out to Compact Music on Bank Street (they might need my help next week to put in NICs and cable for their new Dell XP box) and a newspaper. I returned to Gloucester Street. Dad told Mum that I had been out and come back already. Mum proceeds to tell us that Michelle has told her she's not coming: That she is definitely not going to lunch with Michelle, who has told her repeatedly that she hates her. The intercom rings, I go down to fetch them, and Mum disappears into the bedroom, with the door closed.
We four go to lunch, Michelle paying, and have a nice time at Maxwell's on Elgin Street. We drop off Dad, and go to the National Art Gallery, passing Fortress USA, the Embassy.
Michelle had asked me to check on the wheel nuts after having had winter tyres installed. Where are the spare wheels that we had for that car?! Anyway, whilst I was doing that, Michelle said hello to Mum: "Don't talk to me, you have been telling me you hate me, so stop being double-faced and go to Hell!!!"
Michelle did not apprise me of that incident. I found out after I had seen Michelle and Katharine off to Montréal.
Mum passed by my bedroom door, so I went and gave her a hug, and told her I loved her. She said, "Really, because I was very nasty to Michelle." "So?" "Yes, I told her off; she lives in your house on Shillington, and takes Katharine to Montréal. And then she comes back here. She is always telling me she hates me."
Mum also said that she had never done that before, ever. When I told her that she had told me to go to Hell, more than once, she denied it categorically. Naturally, because her memory is so poor. She forgets most things within a day or two.
We had coffee, again, and she brings out photos of her brothers and mother, looks up at the ceiling and tells me they're saying hello. I also had a conversation with Dad about his family, and gained some details which I have placed on the relevant page: Family.
Dinner at the Amber Garden was the usual exasperating scene where Mum makes incorrect decisions on what she wants to eat, forgetting everything, and causing Dad unwanted stress. He sometimes becomes very angry with her, and then immediately regrets it.
November 12th: Oh, dear, I wish I could sometimes button my mouth. Today is a public holiday for many, but Mama prodded me in the rear at 08:15 this morning. "Aren't you late for work?" "No, it's a holiday". Says she: "How was I to know that?" But, later, when I was about to leave, she asked me what I was going out to do. Try to find a job, say I. Stupid moi, she became very angry, because, of course, I am lying to her yet again about not working at Carling Computer Factory with whose unnamed boss she is in constant psychic contact!! Tra la la la, descendant
November 13th: Last night, Mother is talking on the phone to someone in Vancouver, an avid devotee of faith healing. Blind leading the blind, forsooth. This morning, she's up early, yet again: bursts into my room as I dress and asks why the woman is asking for me from work, not that anyone is. "Why can't you take your stuff. You're not destitute. Take your stuff. I know what you're up to, etc., etc."
Dad told me that she cannot find her way around a store any more. No idea where things are located in the places she goes to several times a week. He can see substantive changes occurring with increasing frequency. How distressing for him.
I had a nice email from Sarah: uplifting. Allan and Kirk asked me yesterday why can't I get help from Welfare, many abuse it, and doesn't my situation warrant help for accommodation, at the very least? Good point, I'll try. But, given the Harris government destruction of aid services in Ontario, I won't hold my breath. If I could get out of Gloucester Street, it would certainly be better for everyone concerned. To be able to sleep in, take a shower without the curtain being shaken, read when I want, watch the TV when I want, on a comfortable chair. These are the stuff of dreams!!!!
November 14th: And so it goes. Afghanistan in chaos, diplomacy by gunboat needed. Reprisals everywhere. Here, back in Ottawa, mother mine comes in to my bedroom last night and asks: Are you there Paul? and then turns on the light, further awakening me. Then she leaves, coming back shortly, opening the door and muttering something that I couldn't make out. Result was a bad night for me, but I wouldn't try to guess at what she was dreaming when she was asleep.
November 22nd: It is worsening. Last night at the Amber Garden, she sent back the soup, saying it was too salty, but in reality this action was caused by Ascha (sic), the co-owner, who Mum thinks hates her, bringing it to the table. Last night and this morning she was ranting on about me, calling me a liar, as usual, but the invective was significantly worse, and included bananas! Dad cannot cope with this, but is good enough not to blame me.
On Friday evening last she tells me my psychiatrist is at the door!! I ask her to open it but she won't, telling me that Dad is there, watching her. Then she comes back and tells me that an evil spirit must have lied to her, because, of course, there is no one there.
Raymond Ernest has to have an operation, sooner or later. He is to see a specialist after Christmas concerning occluded arteries in both legs. (Femoral and popliteal arteries, with ischaemia in his ankles. Venous side is good). Now, that's a problem for him, but it is also a problem for both of us, determining how to deal with Mum. How can I deal with shopping with her, and other things that Dad handles, whilst he is in hospital? Something needs to be planned.
Mum went nuts at Dad, and also accuses me of using him. Comes in, sees me, with a migraine, in bed, and shouts "Bloody Hell!" and goes out, slamming the bedroom door.
November 24th: A poor Saturday, of English Premier Soccer. Very few goals and the games we saw were very scrappily played. Now, what is wrong with my stomach? That's what Mum told me I had said was wrong with me, this morning. After having previously asked what was I here for, and, furthermore, that she had far more brain cells than I possessed. Probably true, after all is said and done, I consumed a lot of alcohol in the past, but what few cells remain seem to work. Seem, I said.
Every day a different story. With a consistent theme.
November 25th: Mother dearest comes in, smiling, at 20:10hrs. "You're not going to bed yet, are you?" "No". "I've two new beings with me. High, high beings, which they have to be, to be with me. One is inside me, the other is outside". Grins at me, constantly, and then, talking to the spirit beings: My husband made this, see the dovetails (the mahogany dresser), and this, laying her hand on the oak table, and this, opening the mahogany bureau. I remark that that was in my bedroom at home. Yes, she says, but it's not yours, it's ours now, smile, smile. And wanders out of the room.
November 29th: A really bad day, for Dad, when Mum becomes angry with him. I had left about noon, because the weather is changing. Dad had gone down to the mailroom and was told by a woman to be careful, because it was really slippery out there. Freezing rain, at the time. He has also mentioned, more than once, at the Amber Garden, jocularly to Ches, that he would like steak and kidney pie. Not that we expect that in an Eastern European restaurant. So, when they're back from shopping, Mum starts in on Dad about him having a girlfriend on the seventh floor. That she is making steak and kidney pies for him. Dad states, I have never had any other woman, but you. Which is absolutely true, in my opinion. She is hammering on the table and screaming at him like a fishwife, that there is nothing wrong with her, and that she is not ill, and that she is going to leave him. And more, much more, of the same.
When I come back to the apartment, out of the rain, with a dripping umbrella, she comes into my room and asks me whether I am just leaving or coming in. Don't want you here, you don't pay the rent, you don't pay for anything, you take our bananas. All of which comments are true, not that I wouldn't want to be elsewhere in a flash. Have you had your dinner? Yes, I say. Well, I hope you choke, she says, slamming the door.
Dad comes in, after I hear her ranting on to him about the other woman, and tells me she has been really bad, and then relates the story about the girlfriend!!
A little later she returns, opening the closet door in her slip, asking me what am I doing there, obviously having forgotten her previous haranguing session!
November 30th: My bi-weekly visit to Dr Rock Mylvaganam. We mostly
talked about the USA Act:
which he is worried about, since it has privacy and security sections that
concern him, justifiably. I would like to become involved in this field, as a
source of income.
And, when I got home in the rain, I asked Dad how was it today? Not too bad, says he, although the joke I told her went over her head. When I bumped into her, her comment was: You've left your woman behind again. As if I should be so lucky!!
December 2nd: My sister, Lynn, phoned up Saturday evening, as is usual, from Auckland, where she waits for her son to return from London, where he had been working. There was a massive party there last Friday, if the millions asked appeared! Mum, of course, kept herself together when on the speakerphone with Dad. That reminds me of the inmates of Hooper Apartments in Vancouver, when I worked for Coast Foundation. Lots there could seem sane when they visited their counselors for their periodic assessments.
However, some time yesterday, she found a photograph of Raymond Ernest and presented it to him. That would be fine, except she told him to give it to his girlfriend!!
More and more often Dad gives me the nutcase sign when I return. Last night, after the Amber Garden, he whispered to me that he was glad I was staying there, otherwise he thought that no one would believe her antics. Not me, said I, I have had lots of experience, going back years, of how her mind works. Lynn and I repeatedly phoning and being totally unrecognised if she answers, is one common instance. It is odd, though, that one can have a sort of conversation with her except that one had better be careful not to mention any topic that might set her off. Whenever that happens, she blows her top, and everyone is a liar, and she becomes violent in manner. I fear that she might become physically violent at some point, as she inevitably deteriorates over time.
December 3rd: Researched in the Ottawa library and was helped by a gentleman on the desk, who has had problems with his father (Alzheimer's disease). He suggested I approach the Ottawa-Carleton Community Care Access Centre (http://www.ccac-casc.on.ca) &/or the Geriatric Assessment people. We have a problem, since Mum has never seen a doctor and is on no list anywhere. Will try to have an assessor visit the apartment. If this works, Dad will have to have Power of Attorney and Safeguarding. I don't want to see her in some execrable home, with unfeeling overworked nurses in charge of her life. That is what Safeguarding will prevent.
Dad, of course, is worried about her, and about his impending operation. He told me that he is watching the box, reading or doing the crossword, and then, aaargh! his mind flicks to entering hospital. He can't stop doing that, and I have phoned his doctor about this problem. We'll see what can be done for him.
December 6th: As I wave goodbye this morning, Mum looks at the clock on the dining table, to remind herself that I am late again! Nose in the air, too.
Nothing significant, you think? Well then, why were the police here last night?
As it started to pour with rain yesterday afternoon, for the second day in succession, I tramped home. Mum comes in, giggling, to my room and tells me that Di has told her, whoops, my Doctor has told her, that I have a disease. The conclusion is that I have a "childish disease", in that I am seven years old. Then, she laughs hysterically, and prances, high-stepping, out of the room. This attitude is maintained through dinner at the Amber Garden, where she tells Dad, during my time in the little boys room, that my girlfriend is upstairs.
We return to Gloucester Street and, just after 11pm, I hear loud voices. Dad comes in to my bedroom and tells me she has just run out of the apartment, with just her runners and indoor clothing. I put some clothes on and both of us go searching for her, in and out of the apartment block. This is unsuccessful, so I ask Dad the reasons for this disappearance. Dad says, she tells me to go up to see my girlfriend, and when she refuses to listen to me she runs out the door. He then tells me they had had a row this afternoon, because Mum accused him of having a necklace for this girlfriend of his, that he wouldn't deliver! This is delusional behaviour, acting out her misconceptions.
I decide to dial 911, and we shortly have a visit from the police, since the ambulance service considers the situation not to be within their purview. As we are explaining the situation to the constable, and showing him a picture of Mum, and he is advising me to start any search at the top of the building, we hear the elevator and Mum pops round the corner. She goes ballistic, as one would expect, telling the police that there is nothing wrong and why am I interfering with her life. The police talk to her and leave. She then comes in and berates us both.
Mum continues to harangue both Dad and me in succession, asking each of us in turn to believe what is happening and telling us that we are both liars, and on and on it goes. She says that she will leave in the morning and go up to the girlfriend's apartment where she had been when she ran out. We (and the police had) ask her which apartment, on what floor, but, as expected, she says she knows but can't, or won't, tell us. She pretends that she talked to them, and they told her to come up and see them in the morning. On the eighteenth floor, apparently.
I have decided to stop creeping around, trying to minimize these travails, and Dad agrees. If only I can escape from here, and ameliorate the situation. Dad, however, is in need of moral support, because it is not simply me that she attacks constantly, it is now both of us. And, depending on where we are at any given time, any other people that she decides are enemies. She asked Ascha, at the Amber Garden, what (poison) she had put in my drink, because, of course, she had put something in one of her drinks on a previous occasion.
And, she was rambling on about the planet Jupiter affecting both of us, making our behaviour excessive.
And so it goes! Will see what psycho-geriatric services can do for us, Dad admits to becoming rather tired of these shenanigans.
December 7th: Last night was a scene from wonderland. Firstly, Dad told me that they had hardly spoken all day. If she said anything it was to berate him. Secondly, she roundly chastised me, with all the usual epithets.
What followed was interesting, clearly delusional, in that I wondered why she kept coming into my bedroom and taking things from her clothes closet. Each time, she seemed to be putting on more outdoor clothes and taking other items to put in a suitcase. This happened fairly late in the evening.
Suddenly, Dad tells me that she told him she is going off on a plane! What? When asked, she said that because Dad was not treating his girlfriend properly, she was going away with a friend. Who? Someone from upstairs. Who? I think he is French. For how long? Oh, for a couple of days. He is off on a business trip and he's coming down to take me with him. We're going in a Cessna. This question period was liberally dashed with expletives and bad tempered statements, particularly when I became involved. What do you think you are, my husband, that's what you're acting like? Ad infinitum.
I ask Dad to phone Lynn, in Auckland, to see if Mum will relate this to her. At the very least, it would show Lynn what is happening, and would prove that she truly believes this nonsense. She does indeed tell Lynn, and I shortly thereafter advise her that, yes, we are trying to do something for Mum.
Mum sits on a chair, and then goes to the spyhole in the door, to check. She later opens the door to look out. Nothing, naturally, happens. She sits there with her case and her coat on. Dad watches TV, I watch TV, each in separate rooms! Mum sits in the recliner.
Dad, at about 11:45pm, opens my door and says that she is going to bed.
In the morning, she mentions nothing about what happened, except to tell Dad that I start work every day (yes, every day) at 10am and I am always late. She empties her case and reloads her closet.
I have telephoned psycho-geriatrics and given them Mum's Health Card details. Dad had to search surreptitiously for this in her bag. This action, I hope, will start the ball rolling so that she can be assessed and something done for her. Not only for her, but also for Dad's well-being.
As mentioned previously, the lack of a regular doctor has meant delays. However, psycho-geriatrics have told me that, as soon as I gave them her Health Card number, then it is likely that something will be started next Tuesday, 11th December. A home visit will be scheduled. It may result in permanent incarceration, and that will be horrid. I wish I had the money to do something that kept them together, naturally in a stable environment. Fat chance, at this point in time.
December 10th: Turn your partner all around! Last night: How are you, just come in? Yes. So, are you feeling alright? Yes, Mum. Upon which statement, she smiled and blew me a kiss!!
This morning: Get up, you're late for work, as she ripped the bedclothes off! Tra bloody la la.
December 11th: Slam, swish, yells, punch, slam, bang bang, BANG, BANG, BANG BANG, BANG. This was mother, trying to make me get out of bed this morning. Opening the curtains, hitting me, pulling back the bedclothes. When that didn't work (not at that time in the morning!) it was the noise of her hammering on the bedroom door. I get up and come out and watch her. She is muttering to herself and then rises up to return to the bedroom. She sees me and starts haranguing me, then calls Dad to look at my expression, because I am being dumbly insolent. Can you estimate the likelihood!! All this includes telling me she has phoned the manager at Carlingwood and that I am late for work. OK, there is the phone, what's the number. I don't phone, I am psychic and we talk together all the time.
Oh, bloody hell and boiled cabbage.
"You are always reading and won't get up. You are lying to your Dad, and both of you are as stupid as brushes. He will learn that you are lying about everything, and then we'll see."
I listen in, just as I am leaving and she tells Dad that she has no friends here, none at all. "Well," says Dad, "you were the one that made us leave because of the earthquake, and it didn't happen." "Well, the spirits aren't always right." Dad: "So, do you want to go back?" "I am not going to be doing any healing," says Mum. "No one said that you have to," replies paterfamilias. "No, I don't want to go back." Dad then says "But you blame me for you having no friends." To which "that's your fault."
Back and forth it went. Dad trying to be reasonable, Mum thinking her way through her fog.
So, I phone psycho-geriatric services, bonjour, and am put through to voice mail. My message: Please, if you phone the apartment be very circumspect. Talk to Dad so that he can answer with yes or no.
Whenever that might be, because with their case load I doubt anything will happen soon. I don't know what their case load is, of course, but with so many people living longer lives, it can't be decreasing, can it? And these oldies still have the vote!!
Thank goodness, I do read. Try to find Boiling a Frog, by Christopher Brookmyre. Really nastily hilarious, as are his other novels. I have read all of Carl Hiaasen's work, so it wasn't a total surprise. And, on a different tack, try Alice Hoffman, her book Practical Magic, at least.
December 12th: Dad has an appointment at St Vincent's Hospital for 15:30hrs today. He failed to grasp the doctor's name, but is to meet at the main entrance. I will go, in case Dad doesn't appear, and, in any event, he needs support. He doesn't know if he can leave without having a problem with her. I suggested that he should say he is going for the Guardian Weekly. Does not matter if he fails to bring one back, does it?
Mum was talking loudly in the bathroom this morning. Last night, she swore and threatened me when I returned just after 21:00. Nothing new, what!
December 13th: Yesterday, as planned, Dad and I met with a social worker for the Psychogeriatric Community Services (to change its name soon) and it was good for both of us. It seems likely that a home visit will be arranged and will occur shortly. Dad has agreed to allow Mum to be taken away for tests, should that prove necessary. At the very least he should have a couple of days of peace. We can go to a different restaurant, perhaps for steak and kidney pie!!
She, our beloved mother, accepted me resting, wearing my nightshirt, in the bedroom hier soir. But, she asked me if I had been in her closet. Denying this, she then, with a really worried expression, told me that a really evil spirit had taken away a bag belonging to her.
At the Amber Garden, she was reasonable, but would hardly talk to me. All comments, in the early part of our dinner, were made to Papa. Food never pleases her, although she rarely makes any comments to Ches, but does to Ascha. Of course, her remarking that the food is always hot is a result of having no upper teeth, and that her gums are probably overly sensitive.
I have been placing a chair at the door for the past two evenings, before I turn off the light. She has tried to push her way in, each morning, but failed. Good!!
December 16th: Yesterday, from Montreal, came Renee, a surprise, and Michelle and Katharine. Michelle drove Renee's new Toyota. Mum did not expect them to come and stated, again, that Michelle lives in Ottawa. When they came in, Mum surprised Dad and I by welcoming all three, especially Renee. Mother stayed home and the five of us crammed into the car and went for lunch. Good times there, and the two ladies dropped us back at the apartment whilst they went off shopping. Mum and especially Dad helped me play around with the bundle of energy that is Katharine. Not that I like Abba, but their music kept Katharine and Dad dancing, which the latter should limit, given his medical problems.
Prior to leaving, Michelle hugged Mum as did Renee and Katharine. When they had left, Mum stated that Michelle is nowhere near as nice as Renee. Michelle is a nasty person and hates her, ad nauseam.
We went to the Amber Garden. Dad told me this morning that when they were retiring to bed, Mum said that Ascha, the co-owner, "told" her that she will knife her, whenever they return to the restaurant. This is a new wrinkle, and we shall have to see what happens next Wednesday.
December 17th: Fine snow, freezing rain, but a little warmer than yesterday. I did not leave the apartment until nearly 1pm. This put Mum in a fizz. Why can't you pick up your car and leave? Then: Are you sick? Go home, you fool!! So, out to check my email, and wander around until about 7:30pm. What a life, Dad coping reasonably well with Peggy, but she kept on about me wanting his duffle coat yesterday. Then, she opened my door, and yelled: Dad says you can't have it! I had no idea what she was on about until he told me of her constant barrage. Neither of us can work out where each idea that contaminates her brain originates. It's a different fixation each day, all on the common theme, of everyone hating her at times. Plus me, and my lying, foolish self.
December 18th: Not supposed to be any precipitation today, so I left and it was snowing large, fluffy flakes, not heavily, however.
Mother dearest came in, last night, looking for her father's photograph. Was upset that she couldn't find it, but I reassured her it was safe lying flat in a plastic case, under the bed. She then told me that her father had a new lady friend and that he was standing behind her right shoulder. She showed him the photograph, told me that my not-friend had not come to help me pack up and leave, and then left the room.
This morning, she forced her way into my bedroom, and woke me up, telling me that I had to be at work by 9am.
December 19th: Really becoming vicious in her speech to me. Opened the door last night, and snarled at me about not using the chair to block her access, calling me ignorant. The worst was her trying the door at least twice in the night: I did have the chair there, behind the door, because I don't want her coming in and yelling at me in the dead of night. Dr Rock Mylvaganam wondered yesterday how much of her problems are psycho-medical and how much dependent on her past activities and attendant beliefs in the psychic arena. No answer to that, except that she is becoming increasingly delusional and equally bad tempered, both with me and with Dad.
December 20th: The day before winter begins in the northern hemisphere, when, in fact, the days start to lengthen once again. Dad said this morning that Mum has spoken a couple of words to him so far today. This is to do with her being angry with him, and refusing to converse with him, in anything other than chastisements, for all her waking hours yesterday.
After the Amber Garden: Where Ascha was told, sotto voce, to shut up when she said that Mum could keep her coat on: Where I had to retreat to the toilet with alacrity before the coffee: Where Mum found fault with everything she ate: Where, several times, Mum said she didn't care if she died or if anything else happened: Where she was grouchy at all times and would not look at Dad, continually peering out of the window at the snow falling, which she said was freezing rain; we drove home. The code of silence continued, until I was forced to go to the toilet again.
When I came out, I had a severe stomach ache. Mum took notice of this and gave me the hands on, healing treatment.
She proceeded to tell me that she was angry with Dad because she had no friends. This was the result, she said, of what he did some fifteen to twentyfive years ago in Vancouver. She had been having one or two "patients" bring her home and stay awhile. Dad took umbrage to them always being there when he returned from his teaching job at Jericho School for the Deaf. So, he told Mum to stop having them there. In fact, he told me about this not too long ago, and last night he said that he has apologised about this matter several times before. No matter, Mum has remembered this slight and constantly brings it up, especially now that she has nothing to do, but stare out of the window or read.
Dad said that he takes her around but she won't talk to anyone, and can't seem to understand that her having no friends is the result of her fleeing from the presentiment of a massive earthquake. Too bad, isn't it? I wish, I really do wish that I could reduce the stress that they suffer. Dad told me that he is worried about me having to trudge around, especially in this weather, which undoubtedly will rapidly worsen after Christmas. I told him not to worry, but how can I change someone's character by wishing for it? He is relieved by the thought that he can wait until Mum is seen to in January, although we (because Dr Rambert asked for me to attend, too) have an appointment with Doctor Brandeis (sic) on January 18th., 2002.
December 21st: The start of winter, and of Mum trying to kick me because she was enraged at my not leaving for work, even when Lynn tells me to get a move on!! Dad says he tries to keep her on an even keel. My reply was for him to forget that, it is too stressful for him. This little person is not afraid of me, she screams, spits and froths this statement. All to do with me having to clear my throat! And brought the cereal dish out to late for washing, too. It's cold out, but soccer tonight at the new Coliseum, on the plastic grass. It's a neat surface, but expensive. Perhaps we will win for the first time this season, as a Christmas present!
December 23rd: The past two days: normal behaviour from Peggy. That is, total contrariness to whatever I or Dad say: Total inconsistency in remarks to anyone: Chatting up Ches and ignoring Ascha at the Amber Garden: Usual treatment of me, horrid bugger that I am!
Will see Doug, Ricc tonight, and others, on a day of freezing rain. Will try to find somewhere for Christmas Day: for the souls at Gloucester Street, that is. And try to maintain my and Dad's sanity.
December 28th: The past few days, including Christmas, have been very weird. She was fine when I gave her a present on Christmas Eve, and even early on Christmas Day. But, when I returned, and after our Wednesday meal at the Amber Garden, what on earth is she doing? Chastising everyone, including Dad. Telling me that I am nuts, because I married a woman in the morning, and divorced her in the afternoon, and she will be telling the news people about it, because, of course, she has friends within the fifth estate. As if. Laughing hysterically in the bathroom, chanting away at her spirit friends. Dad said this morning that she has been completely crackers all of the time for the past three days. Cannot stop ranting on to him about my relationship to the woman that I have just divorced. That I am now a bigamist and that Michelle is a bitch, even if she is married to me. Now, of course, ranting at me that she has divorced me and that I am not her son, anymore. Whoa, Nelly!
It has become colder of late, and it is difficult to cope with it all. I am increasingly nervous overnight, thinking that she might come in and attack me. It causes me to wake up incessantly, whenever my subconscious catches a sound that, to it, is abnormal. Roll on the 14th day of January. Roll on too, the return of Doug Green, so that I might be able to maintain access to these pages. Of some import, to maintain this record. The last few days have been horrific.
At least, on Christmas Day, I saw my daughter, Katherine, in Montreal. I drove down, on the north side of the Ottawa River, and came upon an horrid crash. We were, eventually, diverted through the more rural countryside. That was charming, but I would rather not have had it happen because someone quite clearly was overtaking on a double-yellow, round a downhill blind curve. To be in such a hurry, and to cause the death of innocents, with a head on crash, especially on such a day, makes one despair of the idiocy of some of our citizens.
Bertrand and Norva immediately bade me enter when I knocked, with some trepidation, on their front door. Michelle, Renee, and most of the others, were astonished at my sudden appearance in their living room. Katharine was, I am told, delighted that I came down to give her her Christmas present. She is due another, when she turns seven on January 8th next. Let's hope that I can maintain contact with her.
December 29th: Have
you been here all night? Yes, say I. What, after begging, begging, begging to go
back to her, you leave her again! You are a stupid bugger.
The head of the National Portrait Gallery, Charles Saumarez-Smith, has described the 6" by 9" painting as "thought-provoking and psychologically penetrating".
Back to Mama, who opened the door this morning, and stared at me. "What are you doing," I asked. 'Staring at you,' she said, 'because you are here away from that woman of yours again. What do you think you are doing, just sitting there?'
I know, this is repetitive, but she was so childish at the Amber Garden last night. Pulling faces at Dad, telling him off. He was not pleased and yapped at her. She responded by saying she was totally fed up with men. "You two," says she. Sends her soup back because it was too "hot", meaning it was both hot in temperature, and because she had no patience, therefore she had thought of another reason not to eat food brought by Ascha. Chastised me for being "charming" even though I am fond of staring malevolently at her when at home.
It seems to me that she is aware of many things that she does. Selective memory, or fragmented by disease. I cannot determine which, her situation certainly needs appraising by professionals.
What's more, the temperature is dropping steadily each day. Snowing steadily this afternoon, Sunday, as I write this. Will fall to 23 below by Saturday, we are told. At least we are not in Buffalo, with winds now blowing the seven foot drifts that arrived in quick time. And, on the other hand, who would want to be in Sydney, where wanton fools are exacerbating the forest fires that are overwhelming the firefighters. Causing untold grief for asthmatics. Apparently, Sydney is normally not so hot for these sufferers at the best of times.
What I am saying, I suppose, is that there are worse situations than those Dad and I are encountering with dear Mama. Here is Freud's pitiless self portrait.
December 31st: New Year's Eve. Dad was threatened with death by Mama this morning, prior to them leaving for the Carlingwood Mall. She had come into my room several times this morning, early, to waken me. I had not had a good night, in any event, what with the psychobabble in the media. Dad, dressed to go out, saw the humorous side of this, making signs of cutting his throat, and waving the nutcase sign. Tells me I ought to have more sleep. Fine, if only she could be prevented from assaulting one's senses. Totally intransigent; nothing anyone says is not contradicted. Too bad. Let's hope that the three re-runs on SportsNet tomorrow are worth viewing again. Ta rant ta ra, ta rant ta ra. Emphasis on the rant, don't ya know!
of the page, whoops, morning, Peggy Española!!