Maria’s Diary: Voting Day and Back Pain

No the two are not related.

The thought of voting is a bit of a pain but that didn’t cause the lower pain in my back.

The pain occurred when I bent down to pick something up and twack! There you go, one dog with a sore paw and one owner who is basically knackered. Needless to say Ellie is not in good form (lying around for a collie is like exercise to Bob) and I am not a good patient. I can give the advice but I don’t take it or follow it.

And there is loads of advice. The one I got but didn’t appreciate was from an older friend who suffers with his back big time. “Oh you may get it x rayed but I’d say meself you are knackered, just lie down and die.”

That line went in one ear, got translated as never ask Mr. C for advice again, and straight out the other ear into the bin.

The tips for back pain are (and bear in mind this is all Irish advice) :

1. Put ice on it.

2. Put heat on it.

3. Lie down.

4. Sit down.

5. Keep moving around every 30 minutes or so.

6. Walk but don’t tackle slopes hills or steps! (Cute this is Ireland no matter where you go there is a slope, a hill or a step.)

7. Seemingly I’m not to exercise it.

8. Take pain killers but not too many (?)

9. Find some poteen (best description is probably illegal Irish home made vodka which is as easy to get as  Leprechaun’s gold) and mix with olive oil, rub it in and don’t drink it.(Heck if I’ve managed to find it you can be sure I will taste it!)

I think I’ll go with a mix and match version of some of the above depending on the weather and my humour.

Regarding the local election, everyone I ‘ve talked to has a similar opinion to mine. It doesn’t matter who we elect. They start with great intentions but once they get inducted to the system their intentions (along with logic and common sense) get dry cleaned, pressed and starched somehow turning into the local Councils’ 200 year old policy.

But I have to agree I will need to vote, so anyone got any suggestions?





Minding Mum

Mum’s ten year struggle ended on 30th May 2013.

The turning point in her life was a freak accident. A horse box ramp fell back on her pinning her to the ground. Two operations later, she declared she was alright.

I noticed a change in her, she was still bossy, inquisitive and loving but no longer the driving force for family events. Gradually, she stopped doing the things she used to love, driving, going to the local historic society, watching her grand son run at athletic meetings, until her days were spent at home, reading the papers, cooking and watching tv.

Her decline continued,  she relinquished her cooking and cleaning duties to Dad, who was hopeless at both but did his best.  Questions like, “How do I cook a turkey?”, her answer, “Put it in the oven”, became the normal for him.

In late July 2012 she suffered numerous strokes. She was given the last rites and declared, “I don’t want to die.”

She didn’t.

Confined to bed by a body that was weak and wouldn’t work the way she wanted it to brought more change.  A liquid diet and constant attention meant that by October she was ready to be released.

She came home. My husband worked a miracle and transformed mum’s sitting room into her bedroom. Lizzie, my sister and me were dad’s support in his care of mum. Rolling up our sleeves we did so with great enthusiasm, and ignorance to the amount of work and vigilance that is needed. The house often shook with everyone’s laughter as we learnt to cope.

The decline of her health robbed us of time.  My parents were robbed of their daily banters, outings, visits to friends and  simple things like shopping. Most importantly she was robbed of her independence.

Dad’s life was stressful, watching for signs of infection, having carers arrive three times a day for  thirty minutes, nurses, doctors, travelling with her by ambulance to the hospital close to us  to be told she couldn’t be given the correct treatment but the hospital  ninety miles away could take her, sitting in a & e’s while teams of doctors discussed what could be done or travelling by taxi in one instance.

Mum’s wicked sense of humour helped.

Her stubborness frustrated.  I doubted everything I was doing.

My mental health was being thrashed. On impulse, I rang a lady who offers help, she claims to be neither a medium or clairvoyant. Her first words to me were, “Come see me now.” I didn’t hesitate.

She didn’t give me a magic formula or the winning lotto numbers, but the truth. She described relations who were surrounding me in her room and with  her first words, ” The old lady with the limp says your mum is the contrariest woman in Ireland and she wants to have a haircut.” I knew she would only tell me the truth, as she was talking about my grandmother who died when I was around six years old. And mum did need a haircut.

I left her house that day and sat in the car crying. Oddly it helped. I owe her a lot for giving me hope and strength.

Life didn’t get easier in the following eight weeks.

We are still dealing with the fall out of her ill health. I had many rough moments, my brother attempting to pick a fight with me,  and  an answer to the question, should we resusitate her if… being the toughest two moments I had to deal with in the past year.

Truthfully  your health is your wealth,  protect it and ..

Laugh frequently.