I got back Friday from my exhausting but most enjoyable trip to France with Respite Parker (who shall now be known as RP). PMR has resurfaced but not so much as I cant cope as I am now able to rest when required and switch off if I need to. I am learning slowly to listen to my body not my brain. RP did a lot of driving and the experiences we shared were quite emotional. Even though I was only in the passenger seat all the accommodation, food and route planning was up to me. It was a bit like being back at work but no where near as stressful.
RP and I managed not to batter each other, as siblings do, over minor details like navigating, driving up deadly ice roads, food choices, booked hotels or the fact that neither of us could speak any French at all.
RP thought I could speak good French as my son, his wife and their kids all speak it fluently. I explained it was not like having the same genes, you actually have to care enough to learn it. When you have someone who does why bother? Its the only reason the grandchildren are allowed to come on holiday with us. Why would we speak to them otherwise?
RP soon learned that I would nod in agreement and say "OUI" at intervals during conversations with the French people we met along the way. When the realisation dawned on her into the third day, that this by no means meant I understood what was being said, she was a bit disturbed as to the impact this may have on the rest of the journey. If I said I didn't know what they were saying our conversation might escalate in to an argument and we didn't want that too early in to the trip so I'd make thing up! I only did it to look like I was listening to them and to shut her up repeatedly asking "What did they say?". I also believed myself some of the time.
Parker would have known this as his French is passable and he also understands that I make things up if I am unsure of the real answer. If its in my head as plausible then I say it out loud. He often has to explain, delicately, that if real people heard me saying the things I come out with when its only me and him, I wouldn't get the same response. In fact how I have lasted this long without being ridiculed, assaulted or forcibly removed from places is truly amazing.
Parker would have known how to handle many of the situations we encountered. I soon realised RP needed a good 12 months training and to complete a portfolio of competence in How To Handle An Idiot before we embark on another such adventure.
I was pleasingly surprised to find Parker had not been moved the Pigeons in to the house and that he had managed to get the industrial cleaners out before I got back. As wonderful as Parker is under supervision, working alone and using his initiative is not one of his strong points. I found his initiative in the cupboard where he stores it for emergencies. Parker knew I would be back in no time at all to provide all the support and guidance he really enjoys. He is glad to have me back whinging and getting him to do stuff that I am quite capable of (RP grassed on me). It gives him purpose and a focus on life. He isn't quite ready to give up the role of pandering to my every need but he is encouraging me to be a bit more active. I have to make my own hot drinks now and cook Toast. I had a go at driving but he was a bit green when we got back after a few near missed and an emergency stop. Wasn't my fault there was a bunny in the field over the fence behind the hedge. He can be a bit picky when his life is at risk. No pleasing some people when you offer to do stuff for yourself. I am worth more alive at present as I have a steady income of benefits for now so its in his best interests to look after my wellbeing.
I do have the interrogation squad lined up for January at DWP. They are going to assess my disabilities and illness to see if I qualify to stay on benefits or not. I hope that Universal Credit is embedded by this time and we are all singing from the same Hymn Sheet. I am on a fitness programme now I can move about independently and find swimming so relaxing. I will progress to the Gym in January once I get through this small flare up.
I will share some of my Travel Across France with you all later on and the effects this had on my health.
Merry Christmas to one and all and I hope everyone's health improves for the New Year.