Monday, 18 June 2007

Mothers and Daughters

In a few weeks, my 78 year old mother is having her second hernia operation in 8 months, and she’s asked if we would go up and look after her when she comes out of hospital. Being a very independent person, it’s not just the operation that worries her, because she recovered from the last one very well, but the fact that she can’t lift anything or drive for a month afterwards. She lives 7 miles from the nearest town, and the buses are non-existent, so a car is a must.

For her last operation, her friends rallied and gave great support and she asked if we would (me, Himself and Mollie) would go up for a week. So we took the laptop so I could do some work, and headed up there. It was not a success.

I’m usually a good nurse. When Himself was very ill, I was calm (well, I hid my fear quite well in front of him), patient (not a word usually associated with me) and retained my sense of humour. Mind you, the dear man was extremely appreciative and that goes a long way to keeping a good nurse/patient relationship in my books.
One day, when I’d had to virtually carry him to the GP surgery, he insisted on stopping in town on the way home. He dragged himself off and returned a few minutes later with a big bunch of flowers. See what I mean?

My mother's usually cheerful, very loving, has a good sense of humour, is always interested in other people, and her extreme intelligence shines through. She has a huge army of friends because she cares about her friends and is a good listener, is very good company and looks after her mates.

My mother was none of these things this time, and subsequently was an appalling patient. I daresay I was also an appalling nurse. If it hadn't been for Himself I would have exploded, but every time I was about to BLOW, Himself would intervene and remind me that a) she was my mother, b) she wasn’t well and c) she was probably worried. So I put a lid on it, took several very deep breaths, took the dog for an even longer walk and had a very large glass of wine. Or several.

When she announced her second operation, my heart sank. What a cliché, but it really did sink, lower and lower. For her, because it must be horrible to have to go through all that again, and selfishly, for us. This makes me feel really BAD. I’m a horrible daughter, I don’t love her enough and I shouldn’t be so selfish. I feel horrendously guilty – why am I behaving like this? How would I feel if it was me? But it was such a nightmare last time, how am I going to manage without exploding?

Having talked it over with Himself and a few friends, this is what we think.
She behaved like that because she was scared. In pain. Feeling vulnerable. She was worried she wouldn't recover. And so as not to show her fear in front of me, she became stroppy.

Hopefully she won’t be so worried this time, and if she is, I need to say to her, gently, 'Stop It, Mum,' and give her a big cuddle. Well, a little one so I don’t hurt her stitches.

That is the plan…….


Cornish Dreamer said...

As plans go, it sounds like a good one FP.

I don't think it makes you a bad daughter at all. It must have been a shock that your mother behaved differently than what you were used to. Perhaps you are right and your Mum doesn't want to show her weakness or fear in front of you. And perhaps this time will be different.

We used to look after E.T.'s gran. Poor soul, she wasn't the easiest person to look after because of her stubborness. But the last time we did, we proved to ourselves that it's the attitude you go in with that will make all the difference and we ended up having a reasonably good week.

Stay positive, have lots of dog walks, and things might be better than you fear!

Flowerpot said...

that point about Attitude is a very good one, and one I mean to stick to. Fingers crossed!

Elaine Denning said...

I absolutely love my Mum to bits, as she does me...however....

A few years ago I found myself homeless and with nowhere to go, I went to stay with my Mum. I usually love her company, but after a week I was tearing my hair out.
I think there comes a point in one's life where you are MEANT to live in a separate house to your mother! Even if your mum was fighting fit last time, and not recovering from sugery, you may have found things would have been equally as difficult.

You're not a bad daughter at all! Grit your teeth, count to ten, do what you must (because you love her), and know that whatever she says, she won't really mean it.

Flowerpot said...

I was in a similar situation to you, miss understood, about 15 years ago, and went to live with my mum for a while. Surprisingly it was OK but I was glad to leave as I've never really lived at home since I was 12. I must just be getting cantankerous in old age - but thanks for your support, all of you!

Akelamalu said...

Followed a link from 'missu'to here. I love my Dad past the moon but the 3 days he spends with us over Christmas is more than enough!