Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The last of last year

Its funny, now its gone, I want it to be completely as if it never was.

I found 2012 was a year that started full of promise, went quickly downhill, and then became very very strenuous.  It ended very badly - with upsets for both Stanley (at work) and my mother (a very bad car crash).  Little Fluffhead spent fully a quarter of the year being solidly unwell - first a patch in February-April, then October through to late December.  I don't think of him as sickly, AT ALL - he bounds with energy, curiosity and general sturdiness (he bounces back quickly from all his many bumps and falls from ricocheting around the place at speed).  Yet he took ill with one virus after another for those periods last year.  In some cases he took us with him; in some cases it was our giving them to him.  But either way, the small Fluffhead was a poorly bean for more of the year than was comfortable for anyone.

For those of you who want to know, mum was coming down to see me for Xmas.  This was partially to get me out of going to the in-laws for Xmas.  I find Xmas - increasingly - a horrendously stressful time.  Add to that travelling, being in a place not your own for a few vaguely defined days without end, and being forced to be with people for 24 hours a day and SMILE ALOT, and I was determined to stay put.  Fluffhead was still unwell, this I stressed.  I also stressed that I had discovered Saint Mum was going to be alone for Xmas.  This was quite true - due to a scheduling mistake I had thought she was off to my exhub's for the duration.  Not so.  I asked her to come here.  So I feel like what happened next was my fault, however incorrect that may be.

She was driving in the deep wet and deep dark (2 conditions under which she hates to drive), and got as far as Sevenoaks before she had a sudden brake problem.  This car, I emphasize, she had had for less than 2 weeks.  She had just part exhanged her last one as now too big for requirements; too expensive to insure etc.  She had taken out a bank loan she could ill afford without payment protection (because they won't give it the over 70's - she's 71) to cover the rest of the cash needed.  But the brakes failed, or water got in the pads (this is likely, I am informed by drivers - I'm not one).  She ended up sailing into oncoming traffic going in the opposite direction, trying to steer out of a skid, and hit another car headlong.

Back at home, I was experiencing a cautious feeling of relaxing into Christmas.  I was in the kitchen - just like you left me, after my last post - trying to sort out the dry stores in the kitchen cabinets.  I actually put on Christmas carols on the CD player.  I had been having a feeling of doom and wrongness about Christmas.  But I had been trying to ignore this as my own delectable brand of paranoia and anxiety; the inability to let myself think anything good will happen.  Especially as so many bad things had happened that year.  I was cleaning, washing up, listening to 'Good King Wenceslas...' when Stanley popped his head around the door to tell me a private number kept ringing my phone.

I have never been able to get my phone off the factory settings of only ringing twice before going to voicemail.  So I never would have got to the phone, it being in another room.  Anyway, it rang again as he gave it to me.  And I had that call people dread.  'This is the police.  The Kent Police.  I'm calling as your mother has asked me to.  Now, don't worry, theres nothing to worry about...' - before telling me the car was a right off, my mother couldn't breathe properly and had chest pains, hence him calling, not her.

I descended into panicky tears before the call had even ended, just thinking of the car (I knew that she would be thinking the same thing once her mind came back to her).  People have said to me that I am odd:  I am spending alot of time worrying about her car, when she was lucky to be alive.  (She told me a few days later, that the car smoked and she had to be pulled out from the airbag squash by passers by; it was almost filmic.)  These people think I am strange to worry for her car, her finances.  I should just be happy she is alive.

Put it this way.  Of course I am happy she is alive.  If she were dead, I would have lost one of my bestest friends - one of my most annoying, dearly loved, kind friends.  But she is NOT dead.  I immediately moved on from that, and realized, that like Fry earlier this year, the loss of the car will severely affect her life, her resources, her employment (she needs the money, so she still works).  I'm not going into it all - the conversations have already been had.  But the impact on her life would be enough that I worried and felt for her.  And that was where my mind straightaway went.

But speaking of feeling...she was in very bad pain, sitting wanly on my sofa for the next few days, unable to lie down.  (Christmas was a damb squib, and I am not going to say it was marvellous to anyone that asks: it wasn't, it was dreadful, the worst I ever remember, worse than when dad died, because I was watching someone I love SUFFER and couldn't help them, really.  My Aunt Pat asked me after Christmas if my Xmas went well - she had been the one who brought mum back from the hospital she eventually got taken to, Farnborough, so I was amazed at the question.  She herself survived a brain tumour this year, so obviously SHE will have a wonderful Christmas - and she seems more healthy than ever; and is a naturally wondrous and cheerful person.  But the LOOK she gave me when I said Christmas had been utter shite.  I found it quite funny.)

So it turns out the reason for this excess pain was that Farnborough Hospital did not notice mum had a badly broken collarbone.  I will be having words with them.  She now has a sling, is in less pain (though bloody hell; it MUST be awful, nonetheless?), and sleeps a bit.  Apparently in 6 weeks she should be healed.  She will always have an uneven lumpy collarbone on that side now, but she doesn't care (she has always hated her collarbone for some reason and always dresses to cover it - so no change there, then).

I tell this story so I won't tell it again.  I love mum SO much, and it was all beyond stressful.  Obviously, for her, more than anyone else!  But I hope she will mend, she will heal, and be her vigorous and amazingly fit self again soon.

One good thing: she has resigned her HORRIBLE job working for a mental health part of the NHS as a result of this.  A more toxic working environment is only suffered by Stanley - and we hope to be able to rescue him this year.  By less drastic means than bone breakage and wreckage, obviously.

So that is that.  Bye bye 2012 - I hated you increasingly, and you will never come again, to hurt people I love and upset me.

Long live 2013 - which doesn't sound best lucky, does it?!  But an improvement would be a good thing :-)
I'll post up all those Dr Who book reviews soon.  Get 2013 properly going - my posts will be small for some while - I have no good Saint Mum to babysit anymore; and Fluffhead does not begin nursery till the last quarter of this year.  Who knows how much you may or may not see of me.  But lets hope its a good seeing of me, however often or not it turns out to be.


  1. Gosh my lovely, I don't know if I would have found the strength to write those words after the utterly shit fortnight that you've all had.
    It doesn't concern anyone else how you deal with it, or how you prioritise. It's for you to decide how to deal with this all; not other people to decide whether you should worry over certain aspects rather than the car, or the money implications!
    All I can do is wish your mother a swift & smooth recovery. Fluffhead will get immune to the many bugs about. This years crop has probably been due to the unsettled weather ;)
    I wish you all a far more fantastic 2013! Emilie xxx

  2. What a nasty time, makes me angry for you, it will all return to normal soon and 2013 will be a year you remember as the happy recovery.

  3. Dunno why it's weird that you'd be obsessed about the consquences of an accident as apposed to a hypothetically worse consquence that was avoided? When people respond like that it's a little bit like obligatory manners, unless they show actual intent behind the words you wonder whether there's genuine sentiments of relief there, or just an uncomfortable person tryna be seen to react the 'correct' way when they actually feel nothing. This is way i differ slightly with your dislike of the phrase, 'i dunno what to say' which i see as perfectly reasonable.

    And about the loss of her car, you'll be pleased to know she's adopting a similar attitude to me rapidly. Not quite the financial saving i experience without having to fork out those insurance payments, but enough to make her seriously consider whether owning another car is even worth her while when she's able to drive again. And having observed her benefits from being fully com, value of car, mild increase in premiums due to age, etc... she's likely to have the choice of pursuing another car should she wish without financially crippling herself, so the dramatic life shift consequence has been taken off the heat abit.