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Going bonkers

Monday, June 24th, 2013

For some reason best known to herself, my mother has a thing about phoning me. She doesn’t. Not ever. Even though she lives in a different country and we have no relatives there, she will never, ever pick up the phone and call me. She seems to think she would be intruding…

(at this point you have to excuse me when I say: ‘she’s my mother for heaven’s sake! Do cold callers care when they ‘disturb’ me? Do they heck. Is it conceivable that if she did call at an inconvenient moment I would tell her and call her back? I don’t get it. Is this an old lady thing (she’s 86)?’)

Anyway I ring very regularly to check that everything is Ok. I tried last night…for hours…and hours….she wasn’t picking up, which was odd, because she’s always home on Sunday evenings.

So I had a bit of a disturbed night and a couple of hours between 3 and 5am of worrying about my mother having fallen down the stairs … you do…you’ve probably been there. You know what I’m getting at.

Today when I got in from work I tried again…off and on for a good two hours…ring, ring….no answer.

By this stage I was starting to get really concerned, so around 8pm I called up a neighbour of mum’s and asked her to go round and check. I waited very very nervously for the 15 minutes until I was due to call her back. Very, very nervously, going through various too awful to contemplate scenarios in my head.

When I finally called back it turned out that my mother was as right as rain. The phone was broken…actually it had been broken for a month, bits fall off and she shoves them back in again, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Right now it clearly doesn’t ring and she is dependent on a phone in the bedroom which has a ringtone that is so quiet you have trouble hearing it when you are in the same room.

(I should add that I had to ring her to find this out – she was waiting by the phone in the bedroom, but still wouldn’t pick it up and call me to say she was OK).

I very politely asked my mother to please go and get a new phone tomorrow. Will she? No, because she thinks you can get by by shoving bits in again and you see…and this is the crux of the matter…she’s absolutely fine, so there’s no need to worry.

And I’m supposed to know this how exactly?

Unfortunately my psychic powers are a bit on the weak side.

My mother really truly cannot see why I am upset about this situation.

I’m rather a a loss…and my blood pressure has just hit the stratosphere.

Now where’s that knitting??



16 Responses to “Going bonkers”

  1. Diane Neale Says:

    Were you a really unruly teenager that stopped out till all hours, not telling your mum where you were? If so, maybe this is payback time! If not, maybe she is going bonkers (or was that you?)

  2. Gertie Says:

    If it’s not the kids making us sick with worry, it’s the olds! After years of struggling with my parents’ idiosyncracies, I have resigned myself to the fact that they will never change and that they are happy with their odd decisions, even if they make no sense to me and occasionally cause disruption and chaos to all involved. The hardest part is that they think they are being entirely reasonable. I think a bit of crafting might be exactly the right tonic Helen.

  3. FlyingBlind Says:

    Send her one via Tesco, and anything else you think she needs, le a rocket up the provebial!

  4. Edith Says:

    I totally hear you. Glad she is ok. Hope she gets a new phone soon.

  5. Leanne Says:

    I think that it is not an old lady thing, but something else, I am with Hadley here. Fed Ex her a phone, and I like the rocket idea too. I keep wanting to write something grumpy about how one ought to grow up when one is over 80 but then I feel impolite about it. Hang in there, you are fine.

  6. [email protected] Says:

    What hadley said! I can feel my blood pressure rising just reading that, honestly, it’s ridiculous. My other halfs Mum is a bit the same, we got a phone call (eventually) the other month, with the accusation “have we done something to upset you, you haven’t phoned us?!?! ” Er no, the phone works both ways, if you want/need to speak to us then call and we’ll talk to you. He had been out of the country for work all the time barring the weekends for about 3 weeks, he’d been too knackered to talk when he was home! Maddening!

  7. MelD Says:

    Part generational, part character?! I know just how you feel – we had a similar episode “non-answer-is-she-dead-somewhere?” a couple of years ago. Granny didn’t hear either phone and had taken her hearing aids out. And when everyone was clobbering on (chained) doors and windows, she said she thought there might be a burglar so she went back to bed… (logic?!)!! Next morning she heard the phone and wondered what all the fuss was about!
    However, Granny is very chipper and still enjoys making phone calls – at some point she did get over the idea that phone calls are very expensive and only for absolute emergencies! And now, at 97, she will occasionally buy something new that she thought was going to “see her out”… ;o
    I wish I knew a solution – they do seem to get more and more stubborn and there is sadly probably no easy way out of this. How would you force them, anyway??!

  8. Elisabeth Says:

    It must be so worrying to have a mother abroad who doesn’t contact you at all. I remember my grandmother was the same. I was with her for two months and she told me she was fine, the day after I left to go back to Switzerland she was admitted to hospital. She didn’t want to worry me!
    I agree you should get her a phone and get a neighbour or friend to actually plug it in or it will sit in the box for the next couple of years because the other one “is still good enough”.
    Vanilla knitting!

  9. diane stanley Says:

    Ugh, old people. Makes you not want to be one, right? My mom (87 years old) is driving me nuts lately, but at least the worry is over because she is living in senior living.

  10. Julie Says:

    I would have been very uptight too, Helen. Hysterical picture of the phone losing bits that she keeps pressing back on, though….hahaha! You are a good daughter. xoxo

  11. Felice Says:

    Perhaps you could order a new phone online for your Mum. I am certain you could find a store which is local to her.

    As for the long distance calls…my Grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. After surviving wars and desparate times folks are often very concerned about spending on things not seen as necessities. A functional phone would seem to be one of those to me…but …I think the short answer is that getting old is very difficult.

  12. Sarah Says:

    Oh how frustrating! They can be so stubborn. I think maybe it’s an age thing. My Grandpa didn’t like to ring me when I had my kids coz he worried he’d be interrupting and it would be a bad time. I wish my mother in law was so considerate. She rings during a meal every time!! I don’t know what you do about yourMum. Maybe order her a new phone online and have it delivered to her. When you go over to visit her next throw out the old phone and plug in the new one. Or send one of your no nonsense friends from the UK to her house to do it!

  13. Susan Says:

    Yup, Hadley has it spot on. Then have a nice neighbour go over and make sure she has plugged the new one in properly.

  14. Kathryn Says:

    Oh how I identify! My 85 year old mother is only round the corner but still manages to pull off epic stress-inducing communication failures.

  15. Lush Says:

    My 83 year old mother is refusing to use the heater. Claims it dries her skin!
    Even though she has bronchitis.
    Even though she tells me it was only 4 degrees in her house the other day.
    I refuse to engage in the attention seeking game playing, which is what it is in this case.
    My sisters are playing. One of them from her hospital bed!! This is why my mother is trying to turn the attention back to her. It’s a very old game.
    Are you coming to FQR this year??
    Lush x

  16. Katy Says:

    My gran won’t phone me in case she interrupts my dinner or something else (although on rare occasions she will concede). My granny, before she died, never, ever phoned anyone. It cost money you see. She would also get miffed if her children didn’t call her regularly (you know, and run up their bill 😉 )

    We had one of those worrying hours of waiting recently while my gran’s neighbours were contacted to see where she was – turned out she’d gone to a concert, had told my mum, but she’d forgotten about it, and then my mum had us all running around trying to work out what to do!