So, after leaving Madrid for the UK and worrying myself sick over the flight, and all the messing about that is associated with flying in this time of paranoia. I am once again returned to Madrid; my week away gone all too quickly.
Getting myself back into the routine of life here in Madrid is proving a little difficult, although I know I have only in theory really been back a few hours.
What is making the settling back down harder is the fact that this time I stayed at my parent’s house. I am a person who is used to and likes time alone, but I didn’t get much of this back in the UK. So, now I have become accustomed to having people that love me around me more frequently, and I am used to talking about things with them throughout the day. Plus, I have become a little too reliant (and enjoyed) my families home cooking – so I feel I was spoilt whilst there.
Yet, it isn’t just that.
My Grandmother (Nanna) was taken into hospital the second day I was back. She had fallen and broken her hip and thigh bones. I was immediately struck with shock and worry. I knew that if she had to undergo an operation she might not survive it. My Nanna is 81 in April, and she has never before had an operation (nor general aesthetic).
Yet, regardless of this my Nanna came through a lengthy op to wake and discover she had titanium extras in place of her broken bones. Relief, well, yes, I felt over the moon all was well. My Nanna and I are very close, and I love her dearly.
However, I am left wondering how well the after-care will be now. I am not there to witness this. I told her before I left her on Sunday that if I hear of any problems I will not hesitate to return back to the UK, and ensure any wrong doing is rectified, and any mistreatment is punished. After writing previously about the shocking NHS standards, I am under no illusion that they are perfect. How these people are able to treat or mistreat older people in their care is grotesque.
I also wonder if now my Nanna will actually receive more ‘professional’ help about the house, or even be entitled to some welfare benefits. Currently she gets nothing at all, she survives on her pension, which after scrimping and saving towards for over 40 years, has become a meagre amount. My Nanna still pays her way and even is taxed on her pension, after working all her life, she still has nothing for free. It infuriates me, when there are others who receive more in benefits than she does in pension, and they do have plenty for nothing.
This idea that the elderly are rolling around in money they all stuff under their mattresses is ridiculous. Yet, even if they are ‘well off’ at least they have worked for it – a generation of people who had to work for it, otherwise they’d receive nothing. They didn’t expect anything to be handed to them on a platter, and the world didn’t owe them a living like most of today’s generation believes. These people strived and struggled to have security in their later years (a good pension), and yet many of these people aren’t even receiving that little luxury.
The other thing I had been questioning was myself.
A friend of mine was happy enough to lay the guilt trip on me, during these initial few days of extreme worry. She believes herself to be ‘Mother Teresa’. Her Father was dying and she felt compelled to ‘care’ for him, though she has children and a husband. I say ‘care’, but in theory he passed away, which they knew he would, before any real care could transpire. The care that involves 24/7 support didn’t come to fruition; the washing, dressing, lifting the person, toileting the person, housework, shopping, preparation of meals, feeding them, dealing with he household bills and so on and so on.
My friends ‘care’ of her Father consisted of taking her Dad out for day trips, sitting and talking to him, reminiscing and offering comfort, having a drink with him, putting his affairs in order and that was that.
I wonder how she would have felt in an alternate situation whereby she had to suspended her life with her family to really care for her Dad?
I know I am no martyr to the cause; I am inherently selfish. I knew when it all came down I couldn’t say I would sacrifice myself and life to care for my Nanna. Am I brave or stupid to even acknowledge such limitations; who can tell.
I have always thought professional care would be the better option, as they are supposed to know what they are doing. I don’t mean I would abandon anyone to their fate in the hands of strangers, but I couldn’t be as proficient as trained carers would be. I wouldn’t know where to begin.
My life too is no longer in the UK, so that alone poses a major barrier. I couldn’t say goodbye to my ties here, and return to care for my Nanna. Not that she expects that of me; she wants me to live my life and is happy for me. Yet, see what doubts are implanted from a few unthoughtful words from a friend.
I doubted myself, and still do – what am I worth if I can’t give back to a person I love? I feel like a shitty human being, but this isn’t helping. I mean having these thoughts during a time when all I needed to think about was whether my Nanna would actually live through the operation and trauma, it just added distress.
Why did my friend think it was OK to upset the apple cart even more, with her few words of ‘wisdom’ on the matter of caring for a relative?
What was she thinking?
A friend who thought I shouldn’t return to my life in Madrid. A friend willing to add insult to injury, and stress to an already stressful situation. A friend who judged me when I needed her, who threw back in my face all my impartial support of her through her Father’s illness and ensuing death.
All because I wouldn’t bow to her ‘ideal’ of what a person, a relative should do.
So now I am back in Madrid with threads left in the UK, which aren’t tied up into neat pretty bows.
I suppose I shall have to find a way to square all this, or face feeling a juxtaposition with everything I have here.