Anger, frustration and hurt

Oh, anger, frustration and hurt. We will be moving later this year and want to move Mr and Mrs Mason senior with us as I’m sure I have blogged about before. Today we go to Parent Central with a couple of boxes filled with food Mr Mason and I have cooked over the last couple of days. Being elderly and as Mr Mason Snr no longer drives, they rely on a neighbour to shop for them. We have offered to do this online for them but we have been rebuffed. As they are eating virtually nothing but ready meals, such an unhealthy long term solution, we offered to make a range of meals for them so they can be frozen and then re-heated. We make macaroni and cauliflower cheese, sausage and mash with vegetables and onion gravy, Spanish chicken and rice, spaghetti bolognaise, pasta with tomato and bacon sauce and a bacon and mushroom risotto. There may be other things but I have forgotten, as usual. They are happy to receive them and it all gets stored into the freezer.

While both Mr Masons go to buy fish and chips for lunch, I chat with Mrs M Snr. She tells me she cannot wash her hair by herself and the woman who comes to set her hair has not been able to come this week. I offer to help but she says ‘No’. I wonder how she manages as they have a bath but no working shower. I offer to do any cleaning or other tasks but again, she says ‘No. We are just about managing but I don’t know how long for’. This gives me the ideal opportunity to say that we know what the solution to that might be but I get no response. Mrs M Snr makes much of being wobbly and unable to look after herself but will not accept help from us and within a few minutes of our arrival is walking around as easily as I am. After lunch, Mr M Jnr shows the details of a house we have been sent which has the potential to convert part of it into an annexe. He asks his mother whether she would prefer to live in an annexe or nearby in a bungalow. She laughs and responds saying we will have to wait and see what happens, how long she will live. This does not make sense except she is saying that she will not be moved, regardless of the fact that she does not step outside the door. Mr Mason Snr,being gregarious, likes to go out and about but it has become increasingly difficult as he is subject to the desperate attempts of a frightened woman to stop him going out of the house at all. This is not good for his mental health and he says he gets down at times. Gets down as in feeling miserable, not in the dance sense. If only.

Having been in hospital a couple of times in recent years, we are concerned that we will not be able to deal with any future admissions for Mr M Snr easily. We will be around 500 miles from them which is not a journey of a couple of hours. With Mrs M Snr not leaving the house, our idea is that she can live in a very similar bungalow to the one they have now but which will be much closer to us. This way, Mr M Snr will be able to go out and about while I have a cup of coffee with Mrs M Snr, thus allowing her to feel secure and giving Mr M Snr an opportunity to talk to people which is something he loves. So starved of this opportunity has he been that he has even invited men into the house when he knew they were trying to operate some kind of scam. This worries us.

We are offering to buy a house with an annexe or cottage in the garden and they can live there without contributing to it. They can sell their house and live wildly on the profits. We don’t mind. Or they could sell their house and buy a lovely little bungalow which would see them with a tidy profit which they could fritter away on puzzle books and lottery tickets. We do not mind. We want them to be near enough so that we can cook them some food, do a bit of cleaning, help with the shopping and help out with any of the hundred and one issues that arrive with day to day living. Did I say already that Mr Mason Jnr would actually like to spend more time with his parents? Another option which has been thrown down like a gauntlet is that Mr Mason Jnr’s cousin, who has recently moved to the area, would be available to help with anything that needed doing. Mrs Mason Snr brandishes this like a weapon in our faces. Apart from the fact that Mr Mason Jnr’s cousin has looked after both her parents and is now able to enjoy her life free of elderly dependants, we doubt she has been informed of the plan.

We are offering to spend time, help and generally be more together as a family in the remaining years we all have left. This is what we are choosing to offer. I wonder just where we are going wrong.

Talking turkey

I have a plan which is not so cunning but sound, nevertheless. Mr and Mrs Mason senior have been living on ready meals for a while as neither of them feels up to cooking. I have worried about this and tried to suggest many alternatives but none has been taken up. As we are in December, I worry about a decent meal for Christmas and then come up with a semi-cunning plan. We will cook a full-blown Christmas lunch here, package it up into foil trays and it will be transported into the Seniors’ freezer. We work out when this can be done and set off on our way to buy the necessary ingredients. We are at the traffic lights on a spur road which leads onto the A4 and, as they turn green, we start to move off. A lorry in the lane next to us suddenly brakes and there is a huge bang and we see a motorcyclist fairly flying through the air. There is a split second of apparent complete silence and then I am scrambling out of the car and running across the road to the man. There are a couple of other people there as well and the man is conscious and yelling and trying to get up. With another man, I am telling him to lie still, not to move and he shouts “I’m dyslexic!” as though this is the most important thing to get across. Understandably he is quite confused but in a lot of pain and wants to stand up and see what damage his bike has sustained.

Someone rings 999 and I crouch next to him, talking to him, trying to take his mind off the pain and to get him to breathe. He’s really too distressed to pay much attention although we do manage to keep him lying down. He wants someone to call his brother and, more poignantly, his mum but we all want to wait for the emergency services who arrive surprisingly quickly. As soon as the first paramedic arrives, I am asked to hold his head still which I do and he complies once someone in authority tells him what to do. He keeps asking why the man drove over the red light and I tell him I don’t know but that we all saw what happened and can tell the police. He is terrified someone will think it is his fault. He tells me his name is Jamil and I keep telling him how well he’s doing and that he will soon get some pain relief. An ambulance then arrives and there are sirens going off everywhere as police turn up. I can hear someone telling all pedestrians to get on the side of the road but I am still holding his head so I stay where I am. Another paramedic comes to take his head and I tell him the man’s name and then step back. The driver of the car is standing in the central reservation looking dazed and shocked. I ask him if he is OK. He can’t answer. He is just in a jumper and I ask if he has a coat in the car as it is really cold and windy but he doesn’t. I want him to get someone to come to be with him but he tells me he has a new mobile with no numbers in and can’t call anyone. I try everything I can think of but we can’t find a number he can call. I ask if he knows what has happened and he tells me he was in the outside lane and just jumped the lights without thinking. He is worried about the man on the ground. A policeman comes over and asks him to get back in his car which is a few feet on from the accident but no-one seems to mind about me. I wait for the lights to change and then cross onto the pavement to join the other witnesses and Mr Mason who has drawn up in the car and is waiting for me. A woman who was in front of us says “You were brave, staying in all the traffic” and I suddenly realise there were cars going all around us until the police came and blocked the traffic off.

From the pavement we count 10 police and 4 ambulance people have attended this incident. They have the bike up and out of the way in no time and after checking Jamil over thoroughly, including cutting his leathers off, they load him into the back of an ambulance. We give our details and short statements to the police but I doubt they will be needed as the driver has admitted liability. It has taken us an hour longer than usual to get to the supermarket but once we are there, we go round in a whirlwind, collecting all the things we need. As I write, it is cooking in the oven, courtesy of Mr Mason although I peeled the vegetables for him.

The evening of the accident, I head off to Waterman’s to see Frankenstein with 3 friends. It is a filmed showing of the NT production with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch who swapped roles every other night. In the version we see, Jonny Lee Miller plays Frankenstein while Benedict Cumberbatch is the Monster (or Adam). It is stunningly brilliant and although BC spends quite a few minutes at the beginning writhing on the floor, we somehow don’t laugh and understand it’s his process of learning to use his ‘new’ body. I supply a little chocolate to my chums and we settle in for a fantastic ride. I am very much in favour of filmed plays being shown. I’ve been to the National Theatre many times but it would be great to see more productions and gain a wider audience. The filming wasn’t intrusive in any way and, in fact, enabled us to see some scenes from above which clearly wouldn’t be possible in the theatre. As it ends, Ms Marsden heads off to Kensal Rise and the Carter-Foots and I have a couple of glasses of red wine. They then walk me to the bus stop and wait for me to get on the bus which is very sweet. But where is Mr Mason? I hear you cry! He has to go to a dull business dinner and is home before me.

It has been quite a big day. I wonder how Jamil is faring and hope his injuries are not too bad. I also spare a thought for the man who knocked him flying. It has been quite a big day for him, too.