Today was a good day.
Today there were only a few tears and then so much laughing I left Mum and Dad’s house wheezing…
Because today an Occupational Therapist visited to help Mum bake a cake. Mum told me last week she was ‘perfectly capable of doing it on my own’, but sometimes I guess we have to stare truth in the eyes to understand it for ourselves. My role was observer, to learn the best way to support Mum in these sorts of things. The OTs role was to help mum learn to problem solve for herself.
It is SO bloody difficult to watch your mum struggle to work out how much butter she needs, find the butter, forget what she’s doing, realise she needs something to weigh it out, forget where the butter is, forget how much she needs and get told not to step in to tell her she needs a bowl, because that’s how she will learn to problem solve. And of course, by the time she’s realised she needs a ‘thing’ and that ‘thing’ is actually called a bowl and remember where the bowls are kept in the kitchen and gets it out, she’d forgotten what she’s weighing out and how much she needs. And that’s just the first bloody ingredient. The OT had the patience of a saint.
I find it hard at time like those to focus on how well Mum has done since her stroke and not to mourn the fact that Mum who could whip up a fruit cake without thinking about it between pruning the roses and cleaning the bathroom has gone.
When the OT left and we got the finished product out of the oven I think it hit mum too and while I told her how proud I was of her and how proud she should feel of herself, she cried. Then she got proud :o)
One of the things that had been a real struggle with the baking was reading and understanding numbers (to weigh out the ingredients etc), so we decided to look at some cook books to plan what the next cook off would be and practice the numbers on that. And then because it seemed a bit easier I wrote numbers on a piece of paper with no words and after about 30 minutes….Mum could do quite a lot (and proclaimed that I am ‘quite fun’ and ‘quite a good teacher’. These may be the biggest compliments she has ever given me). I mean, we had a few issues; 4 and 7 are often the same in Mums head, 3 frankly doesn’t exist, and when we got more adventurous, Mum renamed the number 40 ‘apple’…. I don’t know if the cake excitement had exhausted us, but we found it all hilarious and sat in the kitchen shouting random numbers (and fruits), doubled over laughing.
When number three disappeared from Mums vocabulary again she said through her giggles ‘Don’t tell him I can’t do the numbers, will you?’
‘Tell who, Mum?’
‘You know…him! Your…him!’
‘Do you mean that man I am going to marry, Mum?’
‘What’s his name, Mum?’
‘I can’t remember!’
(we’re both practically crying with laughter at this point)
‘Try… what’s his name?’
We both nearly collapsed. His name is not Barry. As Mum said ‘he doesn’t even look like a Barry’. In fact, I’m not sure either of us know anyone called Barry. We couldn’t remember the OTs name though, so we’re calling her Barry now, so the name goes to good use…
Anyway, the day wasn’t over. It probably should have been. We probably both needed a nap at this point. But no…the OT lady had said she wants mum to make something simple for lunch every day so we decided it was time for cheese on toast for us and Dad. I wont take you though it in detail, but let’s just say that Mum is clearly part mouse as she opted to cut one slice, eat one slice. Three slices of cheese on toast and she used half a block of cheese (no joke). It also turned out the OT was right when she said instructions need to be very clear as I reminded Mum that she need to use the butter and turned to chat to Dad. Mum had buttered the cheese.
Cue more laughing and a slightly bemused Dad. But she did it. Mum made us all lunch:
I don’t remember the last time I laughed that much. Or was quite that proud.
Yes, today was a good day. :o)