Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 2 November 2011

The last five days have felt like I've been wearing misty goggles in a wind tunnel, with a too tight boiler suit on and not a lot of light at the end of it, thats the tunnel not my back end.....

My mother has been backwards and forwards to the hospital.

The admissions couldn't find her on Monday.

When they did track her down she was in the observation wing of A&E.

The Occupational Therapist said she was fit to go.

The Social Worker said she wasn't.

The Doctor who saw her, knew as much about her history as I do of the lineage of Reginald Bosanquet. The extremely young, junior doctor said she was fit to go.

My brother and I said she wasn't.

The doctors reviewed the situation.

We were then told that if she lived in Barnet she would have been placed by now but Hertsmere are slow and have clearly got no resources.

So we are in the middle of a post-code lottery.

I have had it suggested to me that because I work on the radio and telly I should have enough money to place her somewhere.

If only....

My 89 year old mother is being sent home this afternoon with nothing but her pride in tact.

I'm trying to remain calm and controlled but I know I am losing it minute by minute.

Yesterday I was taken to Witherdens Hall, in Wingham, Canterbury.

I drove and Allie from the farm shop rode shot-gun.

We left as the sun shone on the pink, red, golden-brown trees. Felt like we were in Vermont without the maple syrup.

Allie guided us through Maidstone, onto the M20 round the M2 and off into the Kenty countryside.

It was beautiful. I felt like I was on vacation. We haven't managed any kind of break this year, yesterday fed my soul.

It occurred to me that this time last year we were in Costa Rica doing our thing with the howler monkeys.

Anyway old shot-gun Al got us to Popsal Lane. My littler red Nellie did her thing, we parked up on the grass and knocked on the heavy wooden door.

Let me tell you that Witherdens Hall is cool, deliciously quiet, clean, wholesome, with a spa, a sauna, a fabulous reputation, homemade bread, a double bed with a 5,000 magnet that works on you in your sleep and two gentle dogs that wander round, not to mention bushy grey feathered chickens.

I didn't ask whether one needed to remove ones earrings in the magnetic bed. I had a feint image of me being attached to the bed head in perpetutity.

Louise Chester and her husband Craig, have made the spa so deliciously peaceful that just sitting in her kitchen drinking perfect coffee and eating lettuces pulled straight out of the ground, that has been composted by their very healthy pigs, felt like I was being given a recharge. I was only there for two hours.

Check em out on their website. Very interesting ethos.

I will get Louise on the show and she can speak for herself.

Anyway me and Allie Get Your Gun left at 2.30 and drove into the sunset.

I was blinded by the huge ball of light which tricked us from behind the conifers, over the rooves and round the houses.

We got back in time for me to speed to the doctors and the diabetic clinic for my review.

I was bare-foot as I had stepped in the euphemism of Louise's dog. She yanked off my running shoe, ran it under the tap, and gave it back to me, clean but too wet to drive in.

Got to the surgery and tip-toed over the tarmac.

Programmed myself into the ticket machine.

Gender, birth day, birth month and birth year. Up came 156 for room 20.

Let me tell you that as I watched the BBC's rolling news, in the waiting room, I knew what my news was going to be. Sue, the most compassionate of nurses, looked me in the eye and told me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I was cornered.

My blood sugar was so high, the doctor would want to give me medication, because at my age it was dangerous, because at my age my organs would be less than happy.

Yes I felt old, ravaged and beaten.

Nothing that I have been doing is helping. Not my walking in the Ashdown Forest, not my greens, not my sleeping, not my choice of food, not my meditation. The fact is that my body is in revolt.

I am under too much stress. So much stress that the cortisol levels in my body are contributing to my high blood sugar.

My blood pressure was up - never been known - tears trickled down my mournful face.

I sat knowing that I had failed in my attempt to deal with my mother, my moving, my sacking, my way, that I had failed to deal with it with any degree of calm. I had lost my battle with my body.

I called Sybil in Hollywierd.

'Listen' he shouted all the way from LA, 'If you had broken your leg would you refuse a stick?'

He had a point.

I called my homeopath, 'You have no choice' she said. 'When your mother is sorted and you calm down then we can work at it with remedies.' she said gently.

I felt a little better.

I called my acupuncturist who said that it was only a temporary state and that I was not to see it as a failure.

'Moving is a very stressful business.' She opined. 'It's not the events in our life that are stressful.' she continued 'But how we deal with them.'

Clearly I haven't dealt with events as a wise old bird more like an intefering old biddy. Trying to control the situation, trying to speed up the process, trying to end the nightmare. But finally I have had to give in.,

I have had to let go.

I have had to hand it over

I talked to my massoose, who I walk with in the mornings, she said that ailing eyesight, tired muscles and pancreatic disturbances were part of getting old.

As I write this I feel frigging ancient.

I took my first tablet this morning with breakfast. Will continue to do so for a fortnight then add another in the evening and continue to take them for 6 months.

6 months......

I feel ....well I feel angry with Hertsmere, I feel let down by the Government, I feel deflated and broken. I feel that after years and years of being one kind of person I have morphed into a victim of my very own welfare state.

I walked this morning, hard and furious.

Its now 14.38, Joni Mitchell is singing to me, Gods Gift is putting up the last of the pictures in my studio. I take comfort that nobody is criticising me for resorting to drugs, the only critic is my internal one.

I don't like it, I'm frightened by them, I hate that the system has driven me to such a point that I can't cope.

I had a text from a dear young, brilliant broadcaster, who has not had his contract renewed.

'The nature of the business' he says.

I wish I could be as philosophical as him.

Right now I feel that all of us have our backs against the wall, Michael Jackson is screaming its BAD....he ain't wrong there....

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At November 2, 2011 5:01 PM Fee wrote:

Thinking of you Jeni, I've been through my elderly mother being ill in hospital and out and in again, you have my sympathy as does your old Ma. I hope things improve for your family very soon.

Just give in to taking the tablets and don't torture yourself about it, you have enough to worry about xxxx Fee xoxoxo

2. At November 2, 2011 5:37 PM Maxine wrote:

My heart goes out to you, Jenny; I'm so sorry you are having a rough time. When you have a minute to yourself can I suggest you tune in to Hay House Radio....each time I do so there's a show that's pertinent to something going on in my life. (That's how it works). Can't recommend it highly enough. Listened to Denise Linn's Soul Coaching - How to Listen to Trees to Hear Profound Messages and thought instantly of you. Repeated a few times and available to listen again in the archive after a while. Take a deep'll be fine. xxx

3. At November 3, 2011 10:12 PM Dorothy wrote:

Dear Jeni,

Please stop beating your self up. Just the way things are just now. Your not alone as many of us are in very similar situations.

The letting go will help. Keep on keeping on.


Dorothy x

4. At November 4, 2011 11:10 AM allie stewart wrote:

Hey Jeni,
Shotgun Al here! Remember the task of living is to lose the old 'you' - the new you already rises from the ashes!!


5. At November 17, 2011 12:15 PM Naomi Bonney-Turner wrote:

Hi Jeni, I met your mother yesterday at Barnet hospital. I volunteer every Wednesday for Barnet Hospital radio. I visit patients around the wards to gather song requests. I had a nice chat with your mother she is a very interesting woman! All the elderly I meet in the hopsital are! They have such wonderful stories to tell. As a country we need to treat the elderly with so much more respect. I pray to God that your mother's health improves and your too!

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