The past few weeks since Ray has been back in hospital have been awful. It seemed as if each day I got some new bad news. This is wrong with Ray, that is wrong with Ray, his behaviour is worse, he is having hypos through the night, he seized one of the nurses by the arm and wouldn't let her go.
I can only take so much bad news in. In the end I wanted to say: "So deal with it!" Instead I took on the guilt of a mother with a child who is misbehaving at school. In the social worker's interview this week she remarked how much I had changed in the past six weeks. I guess the stress of it all has just ground me down. And that is why I knew that they are right and I will not be able to manage all of Ray's care needs now and he will have to go into full time care.
The interview on Monday was the most shattering as the social worker who likes to "tell it like it is" was fairly brutal in her assessment of Ray's mental capacity now. I wouldn't say she exaggerated but she did describe the bad days as if that is all there ever is or will be. I was devastated and cried and cried. I was alone as I had not expected to have that particular interview right away, Ray only having got back there on the Friday.
The past few days have been like walking though a fog. The road is familiar and you know if the fog would lift you would still see the landmarks but while the fog is there landmarks are invisible.
Our daughter came up by train and arrived at 8.45pm on Tuesday night. I was so glad to see her as I thought it would take a lot of the strain off Trevor and Edie. She and Trevor sat in on the interview on Thursday morning and because they had been forewarned by what I had told them about the interview on Monday they did both have tears running down their cheeks but agreed that they did want me to survive this and placed care was our only choice. If they had decided the other way I would have gone along with that but I know the amount of support I would have needed was beyond reason.
We then went together to look at a couple of nursing homes in the complex close to where I shop and behind where Mum is right now. The accommodation at one is like large rabbit hutches, each resident in a slice of a room with a shared bathroom, another had four beds in what is obviously a large room designed to take three beds. Another was okay, full of light, cheerful staff but the "extras" would take a lot of my money as well as Ray's to pay for, don't know how much I would have left to live on.
Now we have to wait and see what I can work out from our financial point of view, what is available and then make the decision. Of course there will be pressure for me to get on and make the decision as the hospital needs to "free up" the bed. And it is my decision. I cannot get Ray into the nursing home where Mum is as that is a three phase system, self-care ->hostel care -> nursing home so they always have a long, long waiting list. One of the others will have to do.
Will Ray's conditions improve? Some people do really well in assisted-living nursing homes. They love the fellowship, the fuss the staff make of them, the courtyard and the activities - whatever angst they have had they leave behind at home or in the hospital. Others grieve and pine and don't do well at all. Only time will tell what is to happen to Ray.
As for me, I will grieve and hopefully one day come back to whatever is a "new normal" for ex-caregivers.