Looking for the brighter side…

Tolstoy once said that ‘Patience and time conquer all’.  I came across this quote whilst searching simply for patience, because in my current situation, patience is something  I need, but that is sometimes very difficult to find.

About a month ago I started living with my granny, which isn’t where I’d choose to be ideally, but it is what it is. She lets me live rent free, and I help her out and keep her company. It’s a fine arrangement really, if a little frustrating at times.

I say a little, but if I’m honest, that’s like saying that David Dickinson has a healthy glow, or that  hell is a little stuffy.What you have to understand is that my granny has always been what my mum calls ‘toodelich’. It’s a german word that is just perfect for describing her. Roughly translated it means that she is a bit scatterbrained, forgetful, and generally going slightly senile , but it’s meant in an affectionate way. There are numerous stories about calling us to her house because the printer wasn’t working, only to find that it wasn’t plugged in, or the television wasn’t working…because she was trying to use the phone as a remote control… She does some pretty amusing things on occasion; but when it’s day in day out, it really starts to grate! I’m sure the majority of people with older relatives have similar experiences. And I’m sure they’ll agree that there’s only limited amount of times you can listen to a story before it starts to wear thin and you find yourself actually trying to watch Songs of Praise to drown out the story about Ann Pie and her broken down car.

The thing is, granny has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so when she tries to look for the milk in the dishwasher, it doesn’t feel quite as funny anymore.

It’s still very early stages and she might be fine for years, but when you’re watching, you do notice that things are slowly getting worse. Tasks seem to be made a lot more difficult than they should be,questions are asked dozens of times, she gets very anxious and there are mountain sized mole hills all over the place!

And I know it’s horrible of me, and I should try harder, but my god is she annoying! I mean she really gets on my tits! We went for a meal today, and I was watching her cut a chicken breast in the most ridiculous way and I felt myself getting really frustrated, to the point where I wanted to cut her food for her like a child. It’s not difficult to cut a chicken breast Granny! Try turning your fork the right way up for a start and it might be easier you daft old bat!

I felt quite guilty for losing my patience and realised that she must be feeling frustrated herself. At 78 she must have eaten her way through a whole farm’s worth of chicken breasts, and for it to suddenly become such an effort must be quite scary. The fear of loosing her independence is probably on her mind constantly. I can see her losing confidence and getting annoyed with herself when she forgets simple things .

 And it’s only going to get worse. As granny so poignantly puts it, it’s a life sentence. So in this case, Tolstoy was wrong. I can try to muster all the patience in the world, but in the end, time will conquer, and the granny I know will be gone. 

Despite the fact she drives me up the wall sometimes, I love her.  I don’t want my memories of her to be tainted with heavy sighs and rolling eyes.  So from now on I am going to try to appreciate more positive things about her. And if all else fails I’ll  use the vulcan technique of Kolinahr to rise above my frustrations!


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