Mr G’s Salon


My wife Claire has started her own Blog at Speaking up for those that have unpaid Carers but when I read her latest post I  managed to get her to let me post on here as I find it quite amusing and hope you will too.

My husband has learnt to do so many new things since my illness began, he is now, of course perfected the art of laundry, got fed up of my love of washing dishes, so we acquired a dishwasher. The art of folding and hanging his laundry to such a perfect degree, that my second love, ironing, is hardly ever required.

Mr G’s cooking in all reality beats mine hands down so damn much. His soup making, stews, roasts, bread making and to top it off his bloody jam making skills, make me so damn jealous.

His hunting down bargains while shopping also beat mine I am ashamed to admit. Unless he shops with our eldest daughter, his weekly shopping means I can actually save money!!

Now he has yet again excelled at another new talent, Mr G to my utter and total amazement, not only cut my hair, he managed to thin it quite a bit also.

Although he has amassed all the above new talents, his biggest and best new talent his being an unpaid carer. He finds this a shock that he is able to care for me. I however never ever doubted he could do this, as I have always trusted in him and please believe me that I have total respect in every unpaid carer.

Take care.

Mrs G.

What I have learned from being a carer ….


We are all learning every day and as a carer you are always learning as your life adapts day-to-day.

You have to adapt to changes in the NHS, Changes to the health of the person you care for and changes to legislation in benefits and Social Care.

If you’re not used to it you have to learn to be a cook. I really enjoy cooking meals from scratch and we have all benefited from fresh food rather than the Iceland and Farmfoods frozen food. Apart from the health benefits you enjoying food more and getting Claire to eat more and have a healthy and varied diet. I enjoy both the fact that I have created a meal and the fact that other people are enjoying it. I have developed a bit of a keen eye for cooking and find it quite relaxing other than the cleaning up afterwords. I Might post even some of my own recipes at some point.

You have to learn patience now those of you who know me will know I have a long way to go to master this art. I have never been a very patient person but over the years it has improved. I find meditation has improved my patience I am far from reaching Nirvana but I do believe the Zen state exists.

Along with patience you have to learn how to be assertive without being aggressive something else I have still to master completely. There is a fine line between aggression and assertiveness. That’s the part I still have to learn.

I have always been political and Joining the political party at 15 helped me develop into who I am now the encouragement of older people who were not relatives inspired me no end. I Would hate to be a carer and not able to speak up not only for myself but for the person I care for. Fortunately this is something that is not something I have a problem with.

So carers are always having to learn, having to remain calm and not be seen as aggressive. Ah I have a long way to go and the road may be long with many a winding turn but who knows where oops no sorry that he aint heavy he’s my brother. I will keep you posted on my development and please feel free to comment with yours.

Carers and Stress and Depression


We are told that the CEO s of the Big Banks get paid the big money as they have to make the big decisions. We we know from experience that they didn’t always get them right.

This isn’t a rant about the bankers it’s about the tough decisions we as carers make every day.  The stress of looking after someone 24/7 figures show that Carers are twice as likely to suffer from Depression. I myself suffer from Clinical  Depression I have to take Anti Depressants and still have days when I am very down. I find these days are more likely to happen when I feel I am getting nowhere particularly in relation to  Claire s health and battling the powers that be to get help, where is am labelled a bully for speaking up for my wife or indeed on days where I know that Claire’s pain is bad and I feel powerless to help. This is when I must fight the most I must not turn to the “Dark Side” but it is hard the Anti Depressants help with the chemical in balance but the mood trigger can still be there which is like being kicked in the teeth emotionally.

Now I know I am not the only carer going through this but these are the times you need friends and help from Carers organisations the most. You have to know when you need help there is no stigma to Depression and Stress. I try to do what I can for the See Me charity which campaigns against the stigma of Mental Health. It only amounts to getting posters and leaflets for the Schools and GP Surgeries but if that points at least one person in the right direction of help then I have done something.  Remember there are people to help.

A Message to end Carers Week


This is a Message from my Wife Claire she wanted to share to end Carers Week

“You May Not Believe This But I Count Myself Lucky !

Yes I suffer massive pain, take countless medications, am a prisoner in my own home but I still count myself lucky. I look around at everything that is happening around the world and I could be in many situations that are worse than the situation I am in.

I could live in Syria and be surrounded by civil war; never knowing what is happening day-to-day.

I could be one of our many soldiers or civilian workers in Afghanistan.

I could be living in Iraq, amidst countless car bombings and suicide bombers.

I could be a homeless person anywhere around the world, never knowing when or if I would eat that day or get lucky and get a place overnight in a shelter.

But I am none of those things, I am a person who needs twenty-four hour care and am lucky that my husband gave up his job to become my full-time carer and am lucky that all my children at one point have been young carers for me, at this moment our youngest daughter is filling this post.

I never ever wanted to be this ill and requiring care but I am, and I am extremely lucky.

As Carer’s Week draws to a close, I would like to thank my husband and children but also every unpaid carer whether they are young carers or a full-time carer. We are all lucky and extremely grateful to have you and the outstanding care you give.”

My Presentation to the Carers Cross Party Group last Night in Scottish Parliament on being Prepared to Care?


Good Evening, firstly I would like to thank Heather from Princess Royal Trust for Carers For asking me along to speak today. My name is Clare Lally and I am here tonight with my partner Derek and friend Michelle.  I am full time  mum/carer to my twin daughters Holly and Katie, the Twincesses. The girls are now 6 and a half and were born 12weeks premature, as a result of the birth Katie suffered brain damage and was left unable to walk, talk and swallow – she is fed via a button in her tummy and she is also a silent aspirator which means she can choke and you can’t hear it so we have to watch her 24hours a day to prevent this! She is such a clever girl she can also use this to manipulate a situation as well.. Holly our other daughter has no health issues, she is a beautiful girl with patients of a saint however I do feel I let her down a lot. So the theme of this weeks Carer’s Week is prepared to care? Was I prepared …to care? No i wasn’t, I was preparing to be a mum for the first time.
* – I wasn’t prepared for the continuous bad news we were getting for Katie, every day/week there was always something else wrong.
* – I wasn’t prepared to bring my children into the world and then spend every day thinking is this the last day we have with her.
* – I wasn’t prepared to have to learn all the various pieces of medical equipment we have to use on a daily basis.
* – I wasn’t prepared to feel I was letting down my other daughter because so much time focuses on Katie who isn’t well.
* – I wasn’t prepared for friends and close family to Abandon us at a time we needed them the most!
* – I wasn’t prepared for other Carers to be so horrible and nasty because I was campaigning and speaking out!
* – I wasn’t prepared to have to constantly fight and battle with services for services!

These are just some of the things I was not prepared for! But, Now these are the things I am not prepared to let other Carers Go through – we have to be prepared for things and we can do this by preparing together.  If we had been told before we came home from hospital with the girls all the things we would have to go through, all the fights and battles we would have to deal with I really don’t know if we could have done it!  There is no amount of preparation could prepare you for what lies ahead.  For me the 24hour care of Katie is the easiest part of life, the hardest part is all the fights and challenges!  I was on Call Kaye phone in the other morning on BBC Good Morning Scotland, and one of the things I said was we need a huge needle and thread to start sewing up all the loopholes and nets we all fall through! Well, we are that needle and thread, we can start sewing them up because we know what they are because we are the ones who have fell through them! We have to make changes not just for us but for the Carers who will be coming behind us so they do not have to go through the same hurdles and challenges that we have all had to.
And on that note I will thank you for listening and giving me the time to speak

My presentation on “Prepared to Care” To Cross Party Group on Carers at Scottish Parliament


I realize that a number of MSPs and Carers were not able to attend the Cross Party Group on Carers Last Night in the Scottish Parliament So here is the Text of what I said in my presentation.

“Good Evening my name is Michael Grieve and I am going to speak to you about being Prepared to care.  

I have been a carer for my wife Claire for about 8 years. It is quite hard to say when I really started being a carer, as my wife’s illness has deteriorated over time.  She suffers from Chronic Pain but it was eight years ago I gave up work as a Programmer Analyst with the Edinburgh Woollen Mill to become a full-time carer. The Chronic Pain she suffers from has become more debilitating and now her loss of Mobility has reached the stage that she currently is stuck in her bed 24/7 so she is only out of bed to go to the toilet. At the moment this is a real struggle for her to achieve but she struggles and fights everyday to do things that you and I take for granted.

I was not prepared for the financial implications of me being a full-time carer having been used to a reasonable income from working full-time.

I was not prepared for having to fight for my wife to get the Benefits that she is entitled to.

I was not prepared for having to see my wife in pain and not be able to do anything about it.

I was not prepared for being called a bully when I stand up for the person I care for.

I was not prepared for the heartache our Children would go through when they see their Mother in Pain.

I was not prepared for the lack of support from friends and family. My Family don’t live near enough to give physical support but the emotional support they give helps immensely.

I was not prepared for having to fight every step of the way.

I was not prepared for how it would affect our relationship however that has not been a negative thing we are closer now than we have ever been. We laugh we joke we get through the day.

I was not prepared for the fact that I would experience that which few fathers have and   be at home and help and guide my children’s growth I am proud of all three of my children they are all doing the most with their education Our youngest Daughter is just starting 5th Year and our Eldest Daughter is in 6th Year. However it is our son who has gone to Abertay University and is a Student Nurse.  His time spent with his mum after leaving School and before going to University had an impact on him which is why he chose nursing.

I have campaigned for or against one thing or another all my life and it was I suppose inevitable that I would become a campaigner for carers.  The profile of Unpaid Carers has been increased over the past couple of years but it still has a long way to go a lot of people and yes politicians among them still don’t get the work that the Millions of unpaid carers do every day.  

There are still people out there who don’t identify themselves as carers we have to reach them and get them over the stigma that being called a carer means that you are an “unpaid skivvy” as one person described how they felt about the term to me.     

I would like to see Carers getting the respect and recognition they deserve not hidden away as a cheap solution to the cuts in health and social care.    

Without organizations like the local carers centers, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Carers (Scotland) I don’t know where the campaign for carers would be. I am privileged to do work with all these organizations and I have not met a group of People more committed to fight for the organizations they represent.

Organizations like the Royal College of GPs are now developing policies on carers and ensuring a greater understanding of the role of carers among GPs.

The Co-op Retail stores have adopted The Carers Trust as their charity of the year and hope to raise £5 Million pound I am proud to be one of Scotland’s Carers Ambassadors and as such go to stores and help them understand what carers do and provide a local contact for events and support.

However the fight continues there are new carers every day and I will continue to fight for them not to go through what I and many others have.  Clare Lally and I have developed and online presence in the form of a Blog and are both shocked and pleased at the great response it has received.  Posts may be in fits and burst but we hope to have “Guest Bloggers” to speak of their experiences.    

My whole outlook on life has changed since becoming a carer I believe for the better when you have to spend your time thinking of someone else and putting their needs before your own it makes you realize that some of the small things in life don’t really matter.

I believe that yes there are negative impacts on your life at the moment when you become a carer but the benefits you can get can far out weight them.

 

Thanks for listening.”

Do you enjoy your Job ?


I do that may surprise you but I enjoy being the person that cares for my wife. I get to spend time with my wife time that I would not have if I was doing what I used to do. every job I have had I have worked hard and worked long hours. Before I became a carer I was a Programmer Analyst which in may ways was the job I really wanted to do for a long time.

So do you enjoy the job you do ? how many of you dread getting up ? how many of you have the odd Sickie ? Well as a carer you can’t do any of these things. I am my wife’s main carer. That is my “Job”  and the Government pays me £55.55 a week. That works out at £7.94 a day or given the fact that carers provide 24/7 care  £0.33 an hour. I have long past the stage where money was all that mattered to me. Family matters to me my wife and my children are what matters to me. I am a Husband a Father and a Carer. I would want no other Job as I am the best person to care for my wife. There is sometimes a thin line as Claire puts it between carer and husband where she feels it is sometimes blurred. I understand why she feels that but I don’t feel that. I married Claire for Better or Worse for Richer or Poorer and In Sickness and Health. Would I wish she was well “Damn Right I would” I would give anything for her to be well.

So I enjoy what I do because I care for the woman I love. The Scottish Government and the Conservatives have it wrong offering paid for respite breaks as far as I am concerned I don’t want to be away from my Soul Mate.