Spectrum of Emotions

Well, my little buddy Coco appeared to enjoy a splendid birthday on Thursday. Sure, it wasn’t an occasion playing out with any great pomp and circumstance – The beautiful Labrador/retriever cross’s official arrival into middle age not celebrated with a marching band, elaborate firework display or quaffing of champers.

However, my poochy pal still managed to observe her 8th birthday (56 in dog years) with presents from her mum (who was absent due to work commitments) and yours truly. GJ Strachan, when afforded the opportunity to dog sit Cokes during her birthday week, grasping the request with both hands.

Miss Yates (the pooch, not her mum) also unceremoniously troughed her way through a decorated birthday bun, or iced woofin, as the manufacturer quirkily named this treat. Subsequently, although an understated occasion, the diva’s (still Coco, not her mum) special day wasn’t bereft of a treat or two.

As well as a birthday bun, Cokes’ anniversary of arrival on this dysfunctional planet saw her dine well on roast beef and dry food mix drizzled with joue de boeuf.

The little lady’s 7am walk in the morning saw a celebratory roll in a local park’s mud patch. Overnight rain ensuring old porky returned back into Chaz Strachan resembling more a lab/hippo cross than her actual breeding.

As I commence this paragraph it’s over 24 hours since I wrote the first 200 words of this blog. A variety of distractions, chores and lack of motivation a heady brew delaying the pieces conclusion. Among these lifestyle interruptions was chauffeuring my mum to the memory clinic. A consultation which ironically was a reschedule of a previous appointment which yours truly laxly forgot about.

After the hour long meeting with the doctor my mum received an official diagnosis she’s suffering from the onset of vascular dementia. An announcement which was greeted with the usual stoicism Maggie (my mother) shows during stark episodes.

Her responses including the noble, but somewhat predictably rose tinted, disclosure to the doctor that everyone had been very nice and “These things are sent to try us.” Honourable sentiments which’ll help on her degenerative odyssey, regardless of their futility.

If nothing else, mum’s penchant for judging events/episodes from a baseline of positivity will ease her journey after her dreadful diagnosis. This confirmation also driving home to me how, even if she attains near normal mobility post-stroke, I’ll have to remain the old lady’s full-time carer for the rest of Maggie’s life. Dementia only goes one way; and it isn’t a positive path her existential Sat Nav has guided her along.

Living with a parent(s) is tough anyhow, regardless if they’re in decent health – However, being their full-time carer takes stress and frustration levels into another orbit. And if truth be told, with my mum and me oft clashing verbally, full-time care work and GJ Strachan isn’t a marriage made in heaven.

That being said, I do realise my intolerance to Mrs S seniors overly saccharin approach to existence has got to stop immediately. Cutting her slack for her words/actions which ‘press my buttons’. After all, if I’m struggling now, god knows what my mental state’ll be like when she degenerates further….. Episodes which, if truth be told, I’m dreading.

With having no experience of living with this terrible degenerative illness, the family matriarch and her supporting brood are entering unchartered waters. None of us know what to expect. We do know, though, it won’t be pretty.

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