I was up and out of the house early with birding gear packed, in case I had time to go birding, or had to make time if it was a mega! My first job this morning was to get Mother to the opticians at 8.55am in Hunstanton. Last week I made her an appointment, but didn't tell her – the reason for this is, that if she had known about the appointment, she would have cancelled it. 'Why' you ask? Because she stubbornly refuses to go to any appointments that are involved with health, GPs and all! I wasn't actually going to tell her until this morning, but my plan was blown yesterday when the opticians phoned her to confirm she would be attending! Needless to say, I was in trouble!
Mother has been suffering badly with her eyes over the last year and I knew that she had cataract issues at the very least, as she had been told this at her last eye test in Spec Savers, King's Lynn a couple of years ago. Both my sister's and I have all remarked on mother screwing up her left eye on and off for a long time now and also her iris appears to have dropped to the side and seems to be looking in a different direction. We have constantly nagged her about getting it checked, but she made all sorts of excuses and refused to get it looked at. As with the hip situation recently, I decided to take control myself!
I was surprised that she was actually prepared and ready to go to the appointment when I arrived this morning, so off we headed to Hunstanton. I waited by the reception in the opticians and then was called in by the optometrist to discuss what he had found. There were indeed cataracts that were now ready to be removed when mother wanted them done, but they were not the main issue we were told. Mother's symptoms that I described, were being caused by something, but the optometrist wasn't sure what and said that she needed to have a scan to find out what was going on – he also ticked mother off and said she should have had this eye test a long time ago and that quote 'leaving things will not make things better'. Mother was diagnosing herself (which is the usual pattern of conversation!) AND not listening properly and when I asked did she understand what had been said she said 'yes' and repeated what she thought she had heard back to me, which was in fact incorrect and the optriomist swung round from his swivel chair and corrected her in a very firm tone!!! Mother now has to give the referral letter to her GP to send to the QEH for a eye scan.
Anyway, obviously Mother was worried when we left and I was too – but I tried my best to reassure her. She has had no headaches or sickness, so my gut feeling is that it isn't anything really nasty if you know what I mean. But I have no idea what it is – I just hope that it can be sorted out for her.
We then went to Sainsbury's and then on to visit Father in Heacham. He was sat in his chair asleep when we arrived. I was very concerned when I felt his skin – his hands, face and forehead were extremely cold and clammy (which I highlighted to staff). His didn't look a good colour at all and he seemed extremely fatigued, more than normal and could hardly speak to me. I went to his room to fetch his blue/green tartan rug, but it wasn't there, so asked staff to find it for me – it was found in one of the other resident's rooms – put this over father's lap and knees to try and warm him up. I have never felt him so cold before. He managed to become more alert and then told me he had been 'left in the bathroom all night' and that he had been cold. When you hear something like this, you try to brush it off in your mind when your father has dementia, but the words keep springing up in your mind again and again. I presume he mean't that he had been left in his room all night – which is where of course he should be!
Anyway, we took Father into the garden in his wheelchair, but only for a few seconds as he said it was too cold. We helped him with his lunch, which looked very nice indeed and he ate nearly everything – he also really seemed to enjoy the banana milkshake. A resident's wife seemed surprised at how much my father had eaten and said he doesn't normally eat that much, which made me feel a bit sad, as overall he had a very good appetite in the middle of the day at home. We took Father back to the living room where staff transferred him back to his armchair – we covered him up with his rug and left him having an afternoon nap.
Mother and I were exhausted when we returned to Holme and after our ploughman's roll purchased from Sainsbury's, we both had an afternoon nap. Then the house went into black out with the most massive thunderstorm, lashing rain and lightening I have seen for a long time. It rained and rained as I tried to cat-nap. Later there was a break in the rain. Mother and I walked to the top of her garden so that I could assess the tree situation (long story). A neighbour wanted to cut some very tall and mature ash trees down to 20ft 'ish and I needed to check some facts – mother seemed to think they were her trees, which in fact there are not, as they were in her neighbour's garden (just) and she also seemed to think that because she thought they were her trees, that he was going to leave all the cut down sections in her garden. So off I went, to pop round the said neighbour's house for a friendly discussion – all sorted and clarified, trees coming down to 20ft 'ish and all sections cut will be removed and taken away. Obviously I agree with Mother that the trees would be nicer left as they are, but at the end of the day they belong to the neighbour, so its up to him – he said the trees had alot of dead wood and were diseased – I couldn't see this, but again they are his trees, so his decision. Mother was frustrated about the trees coming down, as they have been there for many many years and she said 'the Fieldfares like sitting in these trees'. Whilst chatting with the neighbour another massive storm occurred. The torrential rain lulled into normal rain and I sprinted back to my Mother's house, which just about killed me off. Reported back to Mother as to what had been agreed and then I left to return home.
The crossroads at Holme was flooded – I kept thinking about Father as I was driving and decided to visit him again, to see if he looked any better. It was 8pm when I turned up. I was told he had been shouting earlier – the staff thought it had been because of the storm. He was in bed, but not asleep when I crept up to his room. He was very surprised and seemed pleased when he realised it was me. I was glad I visited a second time as he skin now felt warm and toasty and he looked a much better colour in his face. He was laying on his back which he hates (presumed he wriggled into this position), so I re-positioned him onto his side with help from a staff member and requested a second pillow to support his back (which mother and I always did at home), kissed him good night and left.
Back at home I promptly fell asleep. There has to be some rare birds tomorrow surely? With the east winds and massive storm this afternoon, I would be shocked if there wasn't a good bird or two to see in the morning – will keep my fingers crossed, as I will be birding all day. I noticed on Twitter and Facebook, that some of the regular Blakeney Point birders had been out this afternoon – brave people! I've been out there in a storm and its not funny at all. I'll walk it in rain, but don't really want to be struck off yet!!!