Halfway through the first week mum was told by Social Services that as she'd put dad into a care home privately there would be no financial help and to come back 'when she wanted to put him in again'.
At £900 per week mum could not sustain that so she brought him home after 2 weeks, when finally, the Memory Clinic told the GP to stop prevaricating and prescribe the stronger sleeping tablets. Dad started them towards the end of his stay so that he was used to them by the time he came home.
Mum was glad to have him home and said that the effect of him being there had been detrimental, but I was worried she was viewing the sleeping tablets as a magic cure. As the violent episodes happened mainly at night when he got frustrated about going to the toilet she thought him sleeping all night would mean he wouldn't have them.
Mum went to look at the two homes that Social Services would fund/part fund, including the one where dad goes to his day care (albeit different staff and area of the home). She was happy with the latter but was told that there was a waiting list and they could only take referrals through Social Services.
In the meantime the social worker and the staff at the care home told her they didn't think he was ready for full time care yet, that he was still too lucid and as he still recognised her it was not fair to him or her as it would speed up the process of anonymity. This has sadly added to mum's ammunition now when I am pushing her to get him a new place.
The sleeping tablets seem to have worked in that dad now only wakes to go to the loo and then goes back to bed most nights, although sometimes the information I get from mum is confused and if I try and question her I think she thinks I'm accusing her of not looking after him properly.
However the agitation and the angry explosions haven't stopped entirely. He is now obsessed with two filofaxes, which he carries everywhere with him, the contents of which he rearranges constantly. He also rips buttons off things on a regular basis - mum found him wearing his old cashmere navy coat this week and told him he looked very smart. When she went back to see what he was doing shortly after, she found the coat with all the buttons ripped off, so now she has to lock cupboards to stop him ripping them off everything - he now must wear jersey PJs becuase he kept ripping the buttons off his traditional ones.
He regularly refuses to take his medication, something mum usually manages eventually to achieve through patience and persuasion, however for the past two nights he has refused point blank and mum has had to resort to hiding it in food and coffee (last night in some trifle!)
This week after mum had cooked his favourite roast chicken, he ate half of it and then shoved the plate away saying "why have you made this? It's f**king horrible, I hate it".
So they're having good days and bad.
When we visited last weekend we only ended up staying 90 minutes, dad only spent approximately 10 of those with us. Usually he will sit with us for while before getting fed up but he was already walking round with his gloves on and carrying his filofax when we got there. We thought the dog might appeal to him, but when she barked it seemed to upset him, and that was when he left the room.
I find these visits so hard. I feel very guilty that I am not there more often. Before Christmas we even went to Norwich for a weekend without telling mum we were there, simply becuase these weekends just end up revolving round my parents and they end up defeating the original objective of us going (ie downloading from life in London and seeing my sons).
We usually end up sitting indoors because it's an effort to get dad to go anywhere, and if we did mum would just spend her entire time worrying about him. If mum leaves the room dad starts asking almost immediately where she is. Mum usually has a list of stuff for me to do: fix the iPad, sort out her insurance. I tend not to tell her what we've been up to as she always seems so distracted and as I've mentioned before, almost disinterested. And plus I then feel guilty for doing all the things we do while she's at home looking after dad. There are regularly occasions where I phone to talk to her and by the time she's finished telling me what has gone wrong that day I don't feel like saying "oh hey mum, we booked to go on holiday today".
I need to regularly tell myself that I'm not responsible for how things are.