Back on guard

The pouring rain all morning means the golf course is off bounds today and the session is reduced to an hour on the driving range. Only two of the group turn out, it turns out that there are more helpers than clients.

I jokingly ask for a go. I make an impression with my incompetence, hand eye coordination has never been my forte, and my efforts cause laughter. All that is except from Ken. He looks at me with disgust, how dare I attract attention, when I’ve no right to join in.

It’s happened before. He thinks it’s not my place. I hand over my club in case it makes matters worse. No one else I’m sure even noticed, but I’m disappointed, and it’s a glimpse of things to come. Ken is harbouring negativity towards me again.

We’ve an SOS phone call on the way back home. Our daughter has just had to pick up her daughter from school.

She has Chicken Pox.

With an important meeting for Mummy to attend at work the timing isn’t good, of course I come to the rescue.

I’m very careful to split myself in two. Dealing with a four year old and her Grandpa at the same time is a bit of a challenge. I think I’ve done quite well keeping them both occupied threading buttons with laces. Our granddaughter soon progresses to making lacing patterns on a traditional wooden board, Grandpa fiddles with his buttons then falls asleep on the sofa beside us.

We’ve big brother to pick up after school, and get special permission to drive into the teacher’s car park whilst the school secretary collects him from class. Everything is going well.

I’m on the verge of congratulating myself as I wave the pair good bye after tea time and a play. Ken seems to have enjoyed having them around.

But then there is a twist.

Tired, after such a busy day I suggest Ken gets ready for bed. He has refused to take his neck and body warmer off since the golf session, it can’t be comfortable, the fire is lit and it’s nice and warm he must be boiling.

He seems quite amiable at first, but when it comes to brushing his teeth he suddenly changes. There is no way he is going to cooperate, and no way I’m going to push things.

It’s that ‘how dare you suggest such a thing look’.

Almost as if I’ve given him a poison challis rather than an electric tooth brush to hold. He shakes it in my face, and I feel a rush of fear, something I haven’t felt in a while, just as I was beginning to believe we’d turned a corner.

Angry he can’t open the door, so I slide it back and watch as he doesn’t know what to do next. There’s that degree of suspicion against me again that I’m aware not the aggravate.

He sits in a chair. I keep out of the way.

My worry is how I’ll get him to take his tablets tonight I decide giving space and time out is my only option.

There’s something on tv and it’s drawn Ken’s attention, but a long yawn tells me that he’s tired.

‘Ready for bed?’ I ask brightly.

‘I’ll just get your tablets first’.

He takes the ‘two important’ ones, but then refuses the others, it’s as if I’ve tricked him and he isn’t happy.

I sit by his side and talk calmly trying to find out what’s gone wrong.

I try to make it easy with open/closed questions, he tolerates my presence and I think I’m getting through.

There’s mutterings, but nothing I can get a grasp of, I think he mentions ‘a man’ and it makes my soul sink. Are we going down that road again?

I’m doing all I can to reassure, and spend a long time listening and trying to make eye contact. I manage to get him to take the rest of his tablets, with more luck than skill.

‘Do you want to brush your teeth before bed?’ I suggest.

I’m feeling confident that the risperadone may have taken affect. Calmer he agrees, but as soon as I hand him the tooth brush there’s another similar scenario.

‘I told you…….’ He threatens.

‘It’s fine’ I reply pretending.

‘Let’s get you to bed’.

He grips the tooth brush, I know he won’t like the fact he has paste on his fingers but he isn’t letting go. He gets into bed still with it in his hand.

I tuck the covers under his chin, he scowls and closes his eyes.

Shutting me out.

I’d rather hoped increased medication, the sharing of responsibility for personal care so that the onus isn’t just directed in my direction was really starting to work. Ken couldn’t just scapegoat me for his resentment.

Only yesterday things were so very different. I was so confident. Now I realise naive and complacent, or perhaps the hopeful optimism that I’d learnt the skills to avoid triggers.

But tonight it’s made it clear that the safe guarding issues are still with us nothing serious but a sharp reminder how quickly situations change.

Tomorrow we have no Carers due to logistical issues, I’d glibly said ‘We’ll be fine’. Now I’m not so confident

But as my sister has just said ‘If Ken stays in his pj’s all day does it really matter?’

She’s right of course.

And anyway tomorrow is another day.

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