It went quiet on my blog, after the Baby Album in Progress post. There was a good reason... On December 9th, my mum fell down and broke her hip. She was obviously carted off to hospital, where she had an operation to repair the hip. She was in hospital for nine days, then sent home, with some support care in place, to help her recover. However, I spent the greater part of her hospital stay dashing around between my home, hers and the hospital, and also making telephone calls.
When Mum came home, she wasn't fit enough to manage on her own, especially overnight, so I basically moved in with her for a while. I stayed 18 days, after which we had some lovely ladies come in to sleep overnight, so that I could go home and sleep. You don't sleep well when you're caring for someone. Even if they are sleeping sweetly and have no problems, you still have one ear open for their call. My mum had several problems after she got home - one infection after another, needing antibiotics or other medication, problems related to her lack of mobility etc. It meant she needed support at night quite a bit, at least to begin with. I was also doing a lot to help her during the day time.
The local Rehabilitation Team have been coming in three times a day to help. They send in carers morning and evening, to assist with personal care and other tasks, to help my mum start the day and get back to bed at night. Their remit is to help her get back to how she was before her accident, so they encourage her to try to do things for herself and show her techniques for coping with things that she was able to do before, but can't manage well now, because she can't bend down, or twist etc. With rehab. in mind, they also send a helper during the morning, to help Mum do some exercises, to strengthen the damaged muscles in her leg. They don't alter existing arrangements, so I'm still making lunch and tea on four days of the week, with Sarah doing the same on her usual three days.
However, for the first couple of weeks, I was doing a great deal more than just lunch and tea. I was running the house, doing the laundry, some of the cleaning (a cleaner comes in once a week anyway), nursing, cooking, shopping, generally running about... It was very exhausting.
Mum has tried very hard and made good progress. She is able to get about quite well now, with a little walking frame to support her (though she doesn't lean on it very hard, which is good). She is doing small tasks for herself more now - making a drink or snack, making her breakfast etc - but there is still quite a way to go. The Rehabilitation Team will come for almost three more weeks, after which she will need a referral to Social Services, if she isn't able to cope.
I'm hoping that by the end of the three weeks remaining, Mum will be managing a lot more for herself. We're encouraging her and doing our best to help make it easier. For example, we rearranged some kitchen cupboards, so she can reach all the stuff she uses regularly. It's hard when you have a frame in the way, so you can't reach as far forward as usual and when you can't bend to reach in lower cupboards. Everything for her breakfasts, snacks, drinks etc is now within reach, so she can tackle these things herself.
I'm home now, but going in to see her every morning, to tidy up, help with jobs, do things for her that she still finds hard; then I'm still there to make meals on four days of the week and for any other occasions I'm needed. At least though, I have now been able to sleep in my own bed for the past six nights. That has been wonderful - I have been able to sleep all through the night. I'm still very, very tired, but I'm getting over it!
So, that is where I disappeared to for the past month. December and Christmas / New Year went by in a whirl. I ate lunch at home on Christmas Day, as by then my mum was managing alone for an hour or so; we then took a lunch with us and went to my mum's for the afternoon, taking her gifts along too. My mum-in-law stayed over New Year, but I hardly saw her. Luckily, Dave was off work all over the period I was at my mum's so he coped with the household chores etc, with help from James. And he was around to keep him mum company during her visit.
It is great to be living in my own little home again. I missed home - and the boys - so very much. It was really difficult to be at my mum's all that time. I felt very cut off and isolated. That was made harder by the difficulty in arranging the overnight care, as everyone was on holiday over the Christmas / New Year period and finding help was really tricky.
So, now I am back! Things are still difficult and my mum still needs much more help than before, but she's doing her best and I hope she will manage better every day (though she currently has a chest infection, so she's feeling a bit tired and is very bothered by her cough). Keep your fingers crossed for us, everyone!
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I did manage some "makes" during December. While my mum was in hospital, I did have some spells of free time - mostly in the evenings, so I managed to finish my Christmas Orders for my books and also a hand made Christmas gift (which I'll show you in a different post!).
This is the finished Baby Christmas Album, which I was in the process of making when I last posted:
Baby Christmas Photo Album
Concertina album, which ties at the left side with red ribbon.
A red felt star, with white felt owl, hides a little magnet, which fastens the book.
When the fastenings are untied, the book opens out into a concertina - with every page a different colour of the rainbow.
Each pair of pages is decorated like this, with stamped snowmen and trees, coloured to match the pages.
The first page has a star-shaped label, mounted on green felt and embroidered, to match the star that fastens the book. There's a rainbow snowman too, to follow the theme in the rest of the book.
There was a delay in finishing and sending the book, so it went out a week later than first planned, but it still arrived before Christmas and the customer said she liked it very much; so all my hard work was worthwhile!
I also sent out a number of notebooks and journals, some ready-made and others made-to-order. They were all well-received and, most importantly, I managed to get all orders out in plenty of time for Christmas!
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I'll post about the Other Thing I Made tomorrow. I'm so pleased with it, that I want it to have a post all to itself.
Anyway, if you've read all this, thanks (and congratulations). Come back tomorrow for the next installment!