Although the Goldfish kept asking where his wife was, he appeared satisfied when I explained she was on holiday at her sister’s. Of course, he immediately forgot where she was so I had to answer the question many, many times, especially in the evenings. A few days before her return he seemed less satisfied with the answer. “Well, no one told me she was going away,” he would exclaim.
Within days of her return, even the joy of sleeping in my own bed had evaporated and my mood swung between raging temper and a deep sadness. She never said a word about the new carpet or the chair. Only when her granddaughter commented on the lovely carpet and pointed out that green was the step-monster’s favourite colour did she grudgingly admit it was ‘nice.’ The commode was out and the bucket back in place. I had told DH to remove the bucket from the premises but he didn’t think she would actually swap them over, especially as the Goldfish had been using the commode. When I challenged her about it she said, “It’s only for a few nights until he gets to used to it.” The urine-soaked cloth was back in the bathroom, which stank to the heavens again.
The arms and back of the Goldfish’s lovely chair were covered in mis-matched throws and the back twisted out of place. I pointed out the damage to the chair, asking why she had moved it.
“No one moved it,” she said. “It’s too heavy to move.” Quite – but she’d had a good go at it. I called the shop and someone came out to fix it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there when he came and the step-monster persuaded him to move it to where she wanted it so it was too close to a wall and could no longer recline. I wanted to cry.
The CC came for a meeting to discuss the new care plans including having someone in to help the goldfish have a shower at the weekends. As we expected, the step-monster was not happy. She liked to have peace and quiet on the weekends (remember, the carers come in for half an hour each morning) and she goes to church on Sundays. We know she often sends him back to bed while she goes to church and he remains unwashed and unshaven all weekend. Having someone come in at night to give the Goldfish his meal didn’t go down well, either but the CC knows Wee-sis and I are struggling now. We’ve been providing three meals a day for months. We stopped going in at lunchtime but left soup and a sandwich for her to give him – we suspected she shared the soup so the goldfish was only getting half his lunch but we reckoned if he had a good enough breakfast and evening meal we could still be sure his calories intake remained high enough. Finally, after lengthy debate, she agreed. Well, she said: “You must do what you think best.” As far as she was concerned the discussion was over.
Two days later she was threatening to leave the Goldfish and live on her own. Her arguments were that she can’t cope. It’s too much work. She said the Goldfish keeps pressing his fall detector button – something he only did once before she came home. I told her we’ll find out how often he does it because all calls are logged and we’ll be sent a record. I don’t know if they log the calls or not and I’m pretty sure we won’t be sent a record but it stopped her in her tracks and we heard no more about false alarms. She said it is too much work for her. We agree and explain this is why we are putting in extra help. She then shifts the argument to how she can’t cope with the intrusiveness of having people coming in to provide the extra help. She said: “I have to think of myself, you know.” Like she’s ever done anything else.
Wee-sis and I were stunned to say the least. Is this something she was planning while away at her sister’s? Was it really anything to do with the new care package? Did the thought of what the Goldfish had spent on the new carpet and chair tip her over the edge? Whatever, she seemed to have second thoughts and was overheard telling someone how relieved she was to have extra help.
Needless to say the dominoes and jigsaws and books have been tidied away out of reach of the Goldfish. Really, she makes me want to cry – and she makes me want to scream. And I so wish I could make her see what she is missing out by her refusal to engage with the Goldfish.