Its been over a week since I last posted and other than some reductions in the swelling in Claire’s legs there is really no change in Claire’s physical health. She is however so much happier to be in the living room as opposed to the bedroom up the stairs. We are still no further forward in getting a “Hospital Bed”. This would make life so much easier as the bed she is using is very low. So need to get one Not sure how to yet. The doctor has not been in touch either considering they referred Claire to the hospital I would have thought they might have wondered is she still had the symptoms which by the way she has.
I am enjoying Claire being down stairs its just a case of working out a routine sometimes takes us a while when there is a change. We are getting there though. Its great spending so much time with Claire as not only is she my wife she is my best friend and I didn’t realise how much I had missed just being able to sit and watch TV with her. Being able to do this again has helped us both so much.
I know I have not posted for a while as have been busy but this past week has just been worst for a while so had to post.
Just to update you. Last Tuesday Claire was still in a great deal of pain from her sinuses. I called the Doctors at O’Connell Street and a Doctor came out to see her. He was concerned that “Two Anti Biotic’s” had not cleared the Sinus Infection. He felt that the “Best option” was for Claire to go to the Borders General Hospital (BGH) and arranged an Ambulance he felt there may be an issue with swelling on her Brain.
I helped Claire get Dressed and Come down the Stairs which was a great struggle. An ambulance came and decided to take her out in her wheelchair from the bottom of the steps at the Front Door. It was at that point we realised that the tyres were flat on the wheelchair it was still however used and Claire was bumped down the steps at the bottom of the path in the wheelchair. They got her into the ambulance and to the BGH.
She was in A & E for Four Hours and saw 2 Doctors and had “OBS” done her Blood Pressure was low and her heart beat was high. The Doctor released her as they felt it was a Sinus infection but didn’t give her any Tablets. They have referred her to the ENT department.
I drove her home we had a bit of struggle getting her into the car at the BGH as she was very sore by this time. When I got her out of the Car we decided she would use her Zimmer which was the way she felt most confident to get in (it was after 6pm by this time). With a great deal of work I got her to the Steps at the bottom of the path and she made the first step she then fell I got her on her feet and she fell again. It was at that point Claire and I realised we were not going to get her in on our own and that Claire had hurt her knee and hip. I therefore dialled 999 and an Ambulance came, Claire at this point was sitting on the Steps in the cold. The Ambulance drivers talked about getting a special chair to get Claire into the house but after discovering that she had hurt her hip and knee they decided to take her back to the BGH. Claire felt she was able to get back to the Bottom of the Path and get on a Trolley bed she was very cold by then and had a number of Blankets over her but she was still on the cold surface. She managed this with help from me and the two ambulance men. They took her back to the BGH.
She was at the BGH for Four hours again and had X Rays which showed no breaks she has a bruised hip and sprained knee. The A & E staff arranged for an Ambulance to take her home and I returned before she did. Two Ambulance Crews came and with the help of a special Electric climbing chair got her into the house and into the living room.
She has not managed the Stairs and Monday Morning was still sleeping sitting up in the Living Room. That was a whole 6 days after the hospital visit.
I had contacted Claire s OT (Occupational Therapist) by email on the Sunday night advising her of all this as she had been on Holiday the previous week. I telephoned her on the Monday Morning and we discussed the possibility of Claire getting a Hospital Bed for the living room. I was advised that none were available and that she could not tell me when one would be available. Scottish Borders Council are looking into Clawing Back Beds from the Community where they are no longer needed. I was advised that she may not even qualify for a bed. I therefore decided that I would bring a bed down from upstairs.
We now have Claire in the living Room on a Single bed. We are seeing this as a positive step as she is able to be more involved in what is going on and has more room to move about. It is unfortunate that yet again it was us that had to solve the problem and that due to lack of funding at Scottish Borders Council the Social Work Department Could not help.
I know there are many stories like this out there at the moment as the Cuts in Local Authorities are hitting people like us the hardest. I am hopeful that Claire being in the living room will be a positive step and will keep you updated.
I am sometimes surprised at why people think I blog.
Recently I was told by a MSP “I have great Sympathy for what you do” This made me wonder if people thought that is why I blog to look for sympathy. Well to clear that up NO I DON’T.” I have never looked for Sympathy for what I do that’s not the type of person I am so anyone who thinks that has not been reading my blogs properly.
The whole point of this Blog is to speak up for carers and not seek sympathy for them but more Respect and Understanding. Some people don’t get it and when its an elected representative and a Member of the Scottish Government that in my humble opinion makes it worse. I am not going to Name the MSP as this is not about.
I am not seeking to stand as a candidate for Council, Holyrood or Westminster and have no plans to do so in the for see able future. I have my own political opinion and it is my own. I know that life is not Black and White Neither is it Red verses Blue there are other shades of politics and Football available. However we must also work together and so over the past few years I have spoke to people from all political parties to further the Understanding of Carers in Scotland.
So if you haven’t read this Blog before please read some and hopefully you will have a better understanding of carers and indeed the people they care for.
I have not posted for a while for a number of reasons none of these reasons is that I had nothing to say. Those of you who know me will know I never have nothing to say. I have however found it hard to be positive recently.
It is hard to be positive when not a lot of positive things are happening. I watch every day as Mrs G is in pain and I can do nothing about it. I say platitudes like “its going to be OK” Its hard to keep this up for a long time when Mrs G picks up one infection after another and does not get a break. Carers are not immune to these infections too and its hard to stay positive when you are not feeling well either. However I have to try as no matter how unwell I may feel Mrs G feels worse as she has her daily pain to deal with too and if she can’t use her distraction methods to deal with the pain its worse.
So how do you stay positive ? the simple answer is you don’t but you try.
When Mr G became my Unpaid Carer, there was, he felt, quite a stigma about it, especially a man giving up a well paid job which put “his family on benefits”. It took him some time to get used to his new role.
I had always been a stay at home Mum, cooking up to four different dinners a night, cleaning the house, making the beds, as you will all know the list goes on and on.
So not only did Mr G have to do some of these tasks, the children had to get used to Daddy cooking one meal for everyone and asking them to keep their rooms tidy and make their beds themselves. As Mr G also had to help me do things I could no longer do.
I don’t know if he remembers the day when he felt inside he was an Unpaid Carer but I remember it vividly. It was after an “heated discussion” with one of my consultants. He managed to change the way she spoke to me and ever since then Mr G has worked hard to bring the role of an Unpaid Carer to the fore and of course he also works tirelessly helping me both physically and emotionally and tries to raise awareness for the Caree.
I may be wrong, but I think Mr G works so hard to help raise awareness of Unpaid Carers, as it was so hard for him when he had the role thrust upon him. Mr G just wants other Unpaid Carers to know they are not alone.
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.
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.”