Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

The beginning of the end…

Part of being post-menopausal, apart from dealing with the after-effects of depleted oestrogen, is dealing with failing parental health. Of course this is not exclusive to post-menopause, but is there nonetheless, a reminder of the natural cycle of life. My mum’s turn on this earth is coming to an end. I have good days and not so chipper days. All to be expected – I remind myself when I’m tempted to have a shouting match with God. Deep breaths and try to hold onto some semblance of normality.

Photo by Pixabay on

After all the horrific tension between Dad and we daughters over Mum’s continuing care, life has taken a new twist. Mum’s health has gone from stability to deterioration over the past few days. Her medical needs are now being looked after by a multidisciplinary team: Care of the Elderly, gynaecology and oncology. Here’s the dilemma – Mum needs blood thinners to prevent the secondary cancer in her lungs from throwing out clots, but she needs clotting agents to slow down the gynae bleeding. As the doctors told us, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. It comes down to trying to balance the risk of blood volume loss versus the possibility of creating lung clots. The blood volume loss won. The blood thinners are history. Fingers crossed the lung cancer behaves.

Poor Dad is not taking the severity of the situation on board. Fortunately the lead consultant recognised this and called my sister and I to give us the unabridged version. In short, Mum will have passed on before the end of this year. The doctors think she has weeks, maybe a three months at the most. Whilst this was not unexpected, the news still came as a shock.

Photo by EVG photos on

COVID continues to add difficulties to the situation. My Dad is now allowed in to see her in person, after over sixty days of separation. He has to be kitted out in full PPE. This is a challenge for Dad as it separates him from Mum, preventing her from recognising him behind the mask. My sister and I are not allowed to visit yet. The doctors have told us that when the time comes, and Mum has days/hours left, they will make preparations for us to visit to say goodbye. The chances of me making the 200 mile journey north in time are slim to none. I will find some other way to say farewell if that happens.

The one tiny silver lining in all of this is that the social welfare officer has had to back off from his incessant calls to ask about my mother’s finances. I’m guessing he is relatively new to his role. A more empathetic and experienced officer would have introduced themselves, empathised with our situation and Mum’s failing health first, before launching into asking about Mum’s savings.  As the medical team have put a stop to the process of moving Mum to a care home his services are no longer needed. I won’t miss his calls.

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 on

Speaking of calls. I’m now back on red alert for whenever our landline rings or my mobile rings. I used to think “Oh, I wonder who’s calling?” whenever one of them would ring. Now my default thought is “Shit! What’s happened?”, only to get annoyed at automated messages telling me HMRC (UK tax office) has a case against me and I need to ring this number to resolve the issue, or that my broadband is about to be cut off – please ring this number and hand over your bank details. Grrrr! Mind you, I’m getting quick at running from my office to the telephone!

Like all things in life, this situation is temporary. Some time, in the not too distant future, the Dean family will move into a new set of circumstances to deal with. We will come out the other side stronger and wiser (I hope).

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

And now for something different…

This week’s post is a little quirky. Don’t say you weren’t warned! I used an issue I need to address, in combination with drawing a tarot card each time I hit a writers block. It’s a little off-the-wall and a little rant, but as I’ve been told before, “better out than in!”. Here goes…

If I could turn  back time, I would take further steps to ensure my teenage diary was never found by Dad, then I might have remained Daddy’s girl for a bit longer. I always thought that Dad was the easier parent to be around compared to Mum – less judgemental and more easy going. In hindsight, he was actually a hands-off parent, a product of the upbringing of the time he was born in.

Communication has never been his strong point.  Well not within the family setting. All through my adult life he used to hand me off to Mum almost as soon as he answered the phone. The times we did speak were due to Mum being elsewhere. Mum was always a chatterbox in one way or an other. She would phone me at the most inopportune times… usually as I was about to go to bed. The phone ringing at that time of night used to send me into panic mode, wondering what had happened to prompt a late night call. Usually it was nothing that couldn’t wait till the following day! She’d chat away and I’d spend the next hour trying to get rid of a massive adrenalin dump in my system. Hello sleepless night! When she learned to text there was no stopping her random messages informing me of her latest coffee or shopping expedition.

How times have changed. Mum is so incapacitated that she cannot use a phone and can barely hold a conversation on a video conference. I had thought that Dad would need his daughters to talk to.  As it turns out he just doesn’t want to talk to anyone at all. Video calls, phone calls and text messages are reluctantly answered. Non-communication is not limited to my sister and me. He will not answer the phone/mobile to people he needs to talk to. This includes Mum’s social worker, who is trying to sort out her care package for the future. Any attempt to talk about this ends up with the messenger (me or my sis) being shot!

As a result I now feel sick as a dog before I have to call him about Mum’s care. I get the silent treatment and have to do all the running to get him to talk again. In the end, I feel drained. This can’t go on. There will be more horrible issues to deal with and I can’t take much more of this behaviour from him but what to do? I can’t just abandon him to his moods. If I do, I know he will make some dumbass decision that will dump a whole new heap of issues to deal with.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on

At this point I ran out of words so pulled a card,  the 2 of Swords… I feel I am at stalemate with Dad’s behaviour. I have often said I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

So what can I expect as things progress? Oh what fun. I drew The Tower! Really it’s not that much of a surprise. Mum was the foundation and bedrock of the family. Her failing health and resulting care issues have upset the applecart. Dad, my sister and I are the characters on the card, falling from the tower which is crumbling, following a catastrophic lightning strike.

 However, this state of affairs will not last forever. What will be the outcome? The  final card I drew was the Emperor. The calm that always follows a storm will see us empowered to deal with anything coming our way.