02 April 2008

Role reversal - depressing post, you have been warned

I heard yesterday that my grandad might have another cancer. He's had it before, I think somewhere else in his body, and was treated and got better, but it's possible he's got another one now which is not good news for man in his 80s.

Luckily, during this week when he has to go to hospital appointments and things (he's always hated hospitals), my aunt from Canada happens to be over and staying with him, so he's got someone to go with him and look after him a bit. Mum's disabled and can't do very much, and she lives an hour from my grandad, so wouldn't be able to do that for him.

But my aunt goes back on Saturday, and has started putting pressure on my Mum that he needs to be 'looked after', especially if he needs proper treatment and not just quick op of some sort. But she can't do it (or feels she can't do it, I make no comment on which as it doesn't actually make any difference to the situation).

So yesterday I had her on the phone to me saying "he needs looking after, I can't look after him, he wouldn't want a home help even if I had the energy to arrange one, Helen's making me feel awful for not taking care of him myself, etc etc", and I was just left thinking what can I possibly do about this? I can't fix this for her. I've given her loads of support since she got ill, I'm always the one she talks to about stuff (no-one else understands apparently, lucky me), and she really looks to me for answers now. But I'm 26 and I haven't got a clue what you do about an elderly relative who's fiercely independent and may or may not have cancer. I can't give up my job and go and look after him, he wouldn't want me even if I offered, but I almost felt like that's what she wanted me to say because then she'd be absolved of responsibility and guilt. I really feel like I'm the parent sometimes and she expects me to tell her what to do and fix everything.

ARRGH and now I've just had her on the phone to me at work too! She's waiting to hear what happened at his hospital appointment this morning, and fidgeting and getting anxious by the phone. So just like last night I'm plunged into depression as I worry about my grandad the same as everyone else but also have to worry about sorting out my Mum. I don't know what to do. I'm sure a great big vodka and tonic would be a good place to start, even if it is only 10.20am.
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