A rant/not a rant

Rant/not a Rant

This may take a while and really, this is just me getting stuff off my chest so you don’t have to read on.

My neighbour who is 80 years old, has dementia. She also has a 50 year old son who’s deaf and dumb, who doesn’t live with her but visits daily in between work, his girlfriend and his life, what little (life) he has outside of caring for his mother. Between us, we’ve been doing our best to look after her for the last few months but it’s getting more and more difficult because she’s convinced that somebody has been in her house and stole her bible and an old handbag that was in her bedroom. This is typical behaviour for somebody with dementia but it’s been very difficult for me to explain this to her son. He’s never been around old people, let alone somebody with dementia. All of his family is in Africa, his mother left there with him, when he was a child, to get him some help, that didn’t exist in Africa.

A social worker came out to see her today to do an assessment and requested that I wasn’t there!!! I phoned the social worker last week and asked her to arrange for a sign language interpreter to be there. At first, she told me she couldn’t get an interpreter and I told her she could, and how to arrange it, I had worked in that very same team up until 2015 so I know how to arrange an interpreter.

Anyway, she arranged one, but only for one hour, she’s got to come back on another day to complete the assessment! Somebody was supposed to feed back to me after the meeting and nobody did. I’ve just been over to my neighbours house and she’s basically accusing me of stealing from her now. At first she was accusing her son and now it’s me. That’s ok, it’s typical behaviour but what concerns me is that I can’t go over there now because we’re just arguing because she won’t talk about anything else but this handbag and bible. So I’ve given her my key (to her house) back.

I found out her friend, who is a retired doctor, was at the meeting. I’m pleased she was there because at least my friend had somebody there who was looking out for her but this friend, the doctor, only visits my friend about once a month, if that, so she doesn’t really know what’s happening. Anyway, I phoned this woman up to find out what’s going on. This woman seems to believe that something has been stolen from the house, even though I had already told her what’s happening when we met at my friends house, by chance, a few weeks ago.

The whole tone of our conversation today, changed when I said I used to be a social worker and this is the point where I’m raging! Just because I’m a social worker she now thinks I’m worth talking to. I’m furious. I’m only good enough to be listened to because I’m a social worker. When they think I’m simply a long term friend (we’ve been friends for almost 30 years), and a neighbour who cooks for her, makes sure she’s fed etc and provides friendship, companionship and support, I’m not worth talking to.

My friend told them that she’s ok, exactly as I said she would and they all believed her, exactly as I said they would. It’s bad practice for the social worker to not take my input seriously and for her to think she can go to that house without an interpreter or with one but only for an hour. Even the retired doctor didn’t know that we could get an interpreter!!! The doctor wants to make the son power of attorney, which is ok, but as I explained to her, he needs support to do that role, he’s been driving around without car insurance for the last few months (without realising it) as he doesn’t understand what he’s doing (he has only ever had a work’s car up until a few months ago when the company changed their policy). He’s in a financial mess. He brought over to me, last week, a carrier bag full of all his bills etc and asked me to help him with it. They don’t know any of this, the social worker etc.

I understand now why social workers get a bad name. It’s like the blind leading the blind. It has been killing me to keep going over there when I don’t even go and see my dad who’s having chemo treatment for cancer and I’m shutting out the rest of the world but she’s a friend and neighbour and she’s very vulnerable, so I kept on going.

After I left my friends house today, her son came over to see me, to apologise for his Mum and to give me a big hug. After that I started crying. I’m most angry about the fact that one of them thinks I’m only worthy of talking to because I’m a ‘social worker’, as if that means anything, and I think the other one thinks I’m trying to tell her how to do her job. I honestly think they think I could be the one to have taken the bible and handbag, which isn’t really missing anyway. I said do you honestly think somebody has got into the house and stole a bag and a bible. I said she’s got dementia, this is a common trait. I said she’s confabulating to make her sound like she knows what she’s talking about. The doctor said yes, she’s filling in the gaps, as if to tell me she knows what I mean about confabulating. I didn’t think for one minute that she didn’t know what I meant by that! I think the social worker is put out because she thinks I’m telling her how to do her job, which I did with regards to the interpreter, and I probably didn’t say it in an nt acceptable way. But I don’t care what they think about me, whether they think I’m trying to tell them how to do their job or if I’m a thief, just so long as they look after this lady.

The doctor tried to say this was very upsetting for me. I said no it’s not. I’ve just told you, I know what’s happening, this lady has got dementia, I’m not going to be upset with her about that. But what I am upset about it, is that I’m in my house, crying and upset and she’s over the road in her house, no doubt even more confused and upset and this is a time when we would normally provide friendship and understanding to each other. That part of this illness upsets me but it’s not my friend who is upsetting me for saying I stole her bible. And I’m upset that these seemingly incompetent people are looking after my friend.

I just want my friend to be ok. I’ve given her her key back but I will go and see her later on tonight. I want to give her friendship, comfort and support. It’s much better for me that they’ve taken over her care, I wanted them to get involved anyway, and I’m sure (I hope) they’ll find out what’s happening, at their next meeting, and I can go back to being a friend and neighbour and not the sole carer and everything else. People make assumptions and even if their assumptions are right, they have to know that before they can act on them. I don’t know what they’ve all assumed about me but I’d like to slap everyone of them around the face. She’s got another friend, who is in regular contact with her, albeit by telephone, and I went to her house the other day to tell her and her husband (retired vicar) what’s really going on. They were really grateful and I’ll go and see them again today, just to let them know what’s happening. Not because they can do anything, I just want them to know so they can support our friend in whatever way they can. Even they upset me. They said my friend, who has been their friend for over 40 years, is just a sad lonely old black lady now!!!!!! My friend is none of those things, she’s who she always was but with some parts of her brain not working because of the dementia. But I don’t judge people on their thoughts etc, I know that these people are her friends and my friend values their friendship. My friend didn’t want me to tell them about the dementia when she was first diagnosed but I felt they needed to know now as our friend needs support and friendship more than ever now and if they don’t know what’s going on, they won’t be able to provide the support my friend needs.

What a jumbled up old mess but it’l get sorted. But seriously, what upsets me about this whole saga, more than anything, is that they let their thoughts or judgements about me, come before what’s best for this lady and their thoughts and judgements are based on the fact they thought I was nothing more than a neighbour and one who is probably stealing and I’m trying to tell people how to do their job but when they think I’ve got a back ground in social work, they suddenly think I’m ok!!!! The doctor proceeded to tell me her background, as a doctor, I said I know, but what does any of that have to do with this. I only told her I was a social worker because it was part of what I was telling her, but she picked up on that as if it was something important, i.e. it suddenly made me as worthy of her attention because in her eyes, we shared a similar profession. That’s bullshit, my mum looked after her neighbour, who had dementia, for several years, far better than I ever could and she was never a social worker nor had she held any other ‘professional’ position. And yes, I told the doctor that. I don’t beat about the bush and if they can’t handle that then they need not speak to me. One of the reasons why me and my friend have got on so well for all these years, is because we’re both straight talkers. But she can get away with it, because she’s a strong black African lady, and I’m what, white trash!!! I probably had my pyjamas on when I first met the doctor, not appropriate day time attire, I presume!

And I don’t ‘blame’ these people, as Jesus said, they know not what they do. I’m upset simply to see a dear friend tortured by thoughts that either her son or friend is stealing from her and she’s genuinely heartbroken because she thinks her beloved bible has been stolen.

This is one of the daily struggles I have, which I know are only struggles if I allow them to be. The majority of the population are so hypnotised into thinking certain things, but how can you get upset or annoyed with them. That’s like getting upset at a dog when it barks. It can’t help it and neither can they. They’re under an hypnotic spell that keeps society working as it does, which makes one man kill another, just because he was told to. But if I’ve got a problem with that, then the problem is in me because nothing outside of us is real. And nothing real can be threatened; nothing unreal exists. So it’s all good. Just trying to process my emotions I guess. Coming to terms that my friend has dementia. She never lived long enough to live out her hopes and dreams. She dreamed of having a big house, with a big kitchen, where everyone was welcome and she would cook and share her food and we would all eat together. Her most treasured memory is of her late grandmother who raised her. She said she had the biggest and softest bosoms in the world and as a little girl, she would snuggle up to them. This lady had a hard life and a big dream, but she never got to live it because she had been programmed to think certain things. First by her native African culture, then by the Spanish catholic nuns, who lived at the school/nunnery where she was schooled and fed bread and water. She wanted lots of children and instead had 14 miscarriages then gave birth to a child who was without hearing or speech. She was married to a man who she later told me had many children and many wives and lots of money as well, yet she didn’t go to his funeral in Africa when she found out she had been left nothing in the will. Her parents property and her grandmother’s property, where she grew up, is all but out of her hands because of the situation over there. She never got to live out her dream although she tried to make it happen with me and her. She would get me to eat with her over at her house, I used to take my grandchildren to see her and she loved it. She’s a lovely lady but she was sold a lie about god and religion.

If you’ve got a dream, you’ve got it for a reason. You’re only job in life is to allow that dream to manifest. Maybe she couldn’t haven given birth to any more children, but there are more ways than one to have a loving and open house, filled with loving people, serving them with your delicious, wholesome, nutritious food.

If you’ve got a dream, no matter how big or small, big and small don’t mean anything. What’s big for one is small for another. If you’ve got a dream, you’ve got a dream for a reason. That’s your job. To allow it to happen. To not get swayed by social conventions designed to keep people in their place. A place decided on long before you were even born. No one knows our place, but us, because nobody else is us. Nobody can do that job better than us. If social conventions say you don’t listen to the long haired pyjama wearing wellie wearing hippy but you do if she’s a social worker. Then I don’t recognise social conventions and I live by my own convictions. Live by yours. Live your dream, while you’re still here. And the ‘dream’ isn’t a destination, it’s a journey and as soon as you’re on the road, you’re living the dream. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • What’s upsetting me now, is that if my neighbour was my mum, I would want somebody who really knows her, who is genuinely looking out for her and who is competent to make sure that her best interests are served. As I sit here, in my house crying, I can see her room light on and I know she’s by herself and she’s either in physical pain or emotional pain or both, and I can’t go over and see her. It’s crazy. I just want them to work out what’s best for my friend and there’s nobody alive who knows her like I do. She has always confided in me and more so in recent months. She’s been a regular Church going, going to the church at the bottom of our little street, for many years, and nobody from that church comes to visit her. I’m not going away though. Tomorrow I’ll go and see her other friend. She’s not an old black African woman, she’s the beautiful woman she always was, it’s just that some parts of her brain and body aren’t working like they used to. 

  • She’s been a regular Church going, going to the church at the bottom of our little street, for many years, and nobody from that church comes to visit her.

    This was the same with my nan when she was ill and alone.  Heard it so often...

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