Last Sunday evening, my housemate asked me why I was being so nice to her recently following 3 or 4 days of us getting on really well. I said that she had been really nice towards me, and I didn't feel like I wanted to flee the room every 5 minutes, or that she was insulting me all the time, so being nice to her was easy.

She said that because I was being nice to her, she wasn't feeling afraid or anxious, and thus wasn't snapping at me.

We never did figure out who started being nice to the other person, but it was very refreshing. She did express her concern that she didn't know how long it was going to last for, and was worried about when we'd return to our adversarial selves.

Well..... 1 week is the answer.

We had not long finished doing a bed pan, and had just gotten her comfortable again, when her dog, Arwen, jumped up onto her hospital bed.

She loves Arwen easily as much as she loves her children. I think the pecking order is a close tie between her 2 children and Arwen, then her mum & dad, then her brother and his wife, then me. Although I may be slightly higher on the list than her sister-in-law, never quite sure.

As an animal lover myself, I understand this love, even if I don't quite share that level of love with animals. But I know how important Arwen is to her, and give her the best care I can.

Where were we? Oh yeah, just finished bed pan duty and Arwen has climbed up on my housemate's bed with her. We are chatting away when I notice something black hanging out of Arwen's mouth. I mention it to my housemate, and she replies with, 'it's a scab, leave it alone lest you hurt Arwen by removing it.' (or words to that effect).

I move around the bed for a closer look, and quickly realise (as I suspected) it wasn't a scab, but rather a bit of black s**t. Arwen has tried to stick her nose in my housemate's bed pan before, and this is what I suspected she did. I thought she'd snuck off to the bathroom while we were busy getting my housemate comfortable and had a lick. I had a cloth in my hand, so did what any person would do, and wiped it away. As it turned out, it was only dog s**t - another of Arwen's favourite snacks.

Regardless, I didn't want her licking my housemate's hand, or leg, or foot with that on her mouth. Or rubbing it on her blanket, bed, furniture... you get the idea. It was a contaminate we didn't need in the house.

Well, wiping it away was clearly the wrong thing to do.

I promptly received a 30 minute lecture on how I disrespected my friend by wiping s**t off her dog's mouth instead of listening to her and not touching it. Or, at the very least, telling her what it was and getting her permission first.

REALLY!? In what world is wiping s**t from a beloved dog's mouth the wrong thing to do? And how is looking after her dog, and ensuring s**t doesn't get rubbed onto her disrespecting her?

Things were going so well between us. We were, like, friends again.

A couple months ago things were really rough, and we were having a really bad day. Her brother and his wife were visiting, so when things got bad, I went for a walk. She had plenty of support, and I knew she'd be fine. I found a park bench near our house and sat for about a 1/2 hour and just thought things over. What I was actually doing, was working out an exit plan. I have a good friend who lives near Cambridge. And I know that if I needed a place to crash, he'd let me have one of his spare rooms. He spends about 1/2 the year in Texas anyway, which is where his partner lives (talk about long distance relationships!). So he'd welcome having someone living at the house while he's away. I texted him, and he said it would be fine if I needed to get away. Also, at the time, I was considering an IT Contract near Cambridge, and was thinking of staying at his during the week, and coming home on the weekends.

But that was a huge process for me, to even think about doing that. Nothing came of the job, and I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind. But each time a flare up happens between us, the thought of moving out comes forward faster and faster. This worries me a little. I know that one day I'll just start putting things in place, lining everything up to move out, without putting much thought into it. Then, there'll be a major argument, and I'll just leave. I don't want to do that, and I hope things never go that far. But I can see it playing out that way.

And then, my friend will be well and truly in a bad way. Her carers are good, but they are far short of providing the actually support she needs all the time. The double-ups that come in are effective about 60% of the time, the rest of the time when she needs a 2nd pair of hands, I fill in. If I weren't here, she'd be sitting in her own waste at least once a day until a double-up arrived. And to say nothing of picking up meds, interfacing with all the support agencies, etc.

Guess I need to figure out how to make life here work.

Thanks for listening. Had to get that off my chest.

Pen