Monday, 8 May 2017

9 more reasons why I am SO Grumpy - the driving edition

I haven't blogged since January. Sorry about that...life and stuff, getting in the way, but I am always composing a blog in my head about something or other, so expect more, much sooner next time.

The blog that has pushed itself forward, however, is this one about driving and my grumpiness.

Grumpiness is a common theme on my blog, I have blogged about it here and here
and lots of other places if you have a scoot about.

I can't help it, I am a few months off fifty, I have issues.

So the driving grumpiness, isn't road rage because I am not like that, I don't shout and scream, but I do have a running dialogue with the cars around me...and these are the things I talk to them about.

  1. If you indicate, this doesn't give you the right to pull in, you are just indicating your intention that you would like to pull in. So pulling in without looking, just because you are indicating is not OK. it's like pushing into a queue and saying 'hey, I like the look of that spot, I think I will take it'. Annoying.
  2. I live in Birmingham, so travel regularly on the M6 and the M42, both motorways have variable speed limits. I am used to this and having been caught once not adhering to the speed limit, I don't want to be caught again. I have cruise control on my car, so now I just set my cruise control on the speed that is indicated and get into the appropriate lane.  Lorry drivers don't like this, so even when I am in the slow lane they will tailgate me, flash their lights and beep their horn. I am in a Fiesta. This is extremely intimidating, scary and illegal but I have never had assistance from the traffic police when this happens and there are plenty of them on both motorways. The only pleasure I have is when the speed limit goes back to normal and I can whizz past them.
  3. Sitting in the middle lane on the motorway. This is both annoying and rubbish, lazy driving. Often when you drive on the motorway, if you look at the slow lane, it is empty. Why? Because of idiots like this, who can't be arsed to signal, mirror and maneuver. The fast lane should only be used infrequently, the first lane being the normal lane and the middle lane being the over taking lane (the clue is in the name). Grrrrrr
  4. Tentative or nervous drivers. What ever I say here is going to sound insensitive and horrible as there is probably a very good reason they drive like that but, in my view they are a danger to themselves and all the other drivers. When you drive you need to be confident and make decisions in a split second being tentative is too much of a risk. 
  5. People who completely forget they have indicators. What are you doing? Where are you going? nobody knows. It's not mysterious, it is stupid. Please use your indicators. 
  6. People who leave their fog lights on long after there has been any fog, and if they live by me in the city there is rarely any need for fog lights. Stop it, you are making me blind.
  7. People who, on small suburban streets, don't understand who has right of way. I am talking to you Mr/Mrs White Van man/woman, yes you, and you Mr/Mrs larger than necessary car driver...speaking of which...
  8. People who have cars that are too big. Why do you need a four wheel drive in the city? Why do you need a people carrier for your 4 person family? I am not talking about the people who genuinely have a large family or those who go off with a caravan at the weekend and go off road driving, that's fine. I am talking to the people who have these ridiculously large cars and have never driven out of the city in it, who park it across two spaces in the car park (double the price surely), who have no manners and never let you out at a busy junction, who, if you are overtaking them, and they see you in a mere Fiesta, will start to speed up because being overtaken by a small car just wouldn't do....them, that's who I am talking about. Gah!
  9. The driving test, this has a number of sub-sections;
    •  Having no test for motorway driving - this should be taught and be tested appropriately, because if your first motorway experience is Spaghetti Junction you are in trouble.
    • People who passed and clearly shouldn't have, I followed some one with a P plate the other day, so it is good that I knew they were a provisional driver and I gave them space, good thing really as we were on a dual carriage way and they had no lane control and were driving over the centre line regularly at 25 miles an hour in a 40 miles an hour zone ...*Head Slap*
    • More stringent testing of the highway code - people seem confused out on the roads and I have often considered having a number of copies in my car to hand out to people who clearly lack understanding
    • Re-Testing of people when they reach 70(ish) - This is largely, because of what I saw my Mum do, she drove with Macular Degeneration and could only tell who a person was by their 'gait', but she continued to drive, I refused to go in a car with her and wouldn't let my children in the car with her, but she continued to drive. Fortunately, she never had a serious accident but the car got more damage as she got older. Similarly, my parents neighbours used to go out together as one couldn't turn their head left so the other one had to look for them. Terrifying.
I am not a perfect driver, nor is anyone, we are all human, I get that, but a little mindfulness for the other people on the road wouldn't go amiss.

Grumpiness over, for today anyway.



Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A Broken Promise

Have you ever made someone a promise? A promise you swear you won't break?

I did.


But now I have broken my promise.

I feel terrible, I know I have actually done the right thing in my head, but my heart ...well my heart is a little bit broken.

I promised my Dad that I would not put him into a home. He wanted to stay in the home he had lived in for the last 60 years.

But, my Dad's general health has deteriorated since my Mum died in 2012, nothing specific, he has been just less interested in life. 

He has become increasingly frail, developed a hump on his back, lost mobility and had incontinence issues. He started having falls, so I got him a carer.

Initially, the carer was just intermittent throughout the day, but as time went on his condition worsened so 24 hour care was required. So that's what I got him.

I complained that he hated growing old and got frustrated with his forgetfulness and loss of physicality. 

Other family members talked about putting him into a home, I refused, I explained my promise. He was genuinely concerned that he would end up in a home and he had seen what it had done to his sister and he really didn't want to go. I stuck by my guns, for 3 and 1/2 years.

Then he was hospitalised with Gastro-Enteritis.

He was sent home too soon and sent back to hospital, at which point the carer said he needed more specific care, including nursing care and she couldn't cope.

The hospital diagnosed him with Vascular Dementia.

He wasn't safe at home anymore, even with all the additional assistance I had added with the help from the occupational health people.

I made the arrangements and he has been in a care home since October. It's the best home I could find in the area and the people are lovely there. 

Since arriving he has lost all mobility and now spends all day in a chair watching telly. He doesn't want to eat with the other residents or go anywhere.

So he sits in his chair alone the majority of every day. 

I try to visit Dad once a week (He is about a 130 miles round trip, away from where I live with my family), he knows who I am, who my kids and husband are, but his imagination runs on over drive, and he is losing his words. 

He thinks he is at home. Which is a relief. 

But, I can't stop thinking what sort of life is this for a person, a person who worked in an office for 30+ years, wrote plays, poems and a book.

For a person who was so bright, and creative and a great parent, this is no life.


How I remember Dad, Big, smart, creative and capable.












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