Community Hospitals Scottish Borders


I was interviewed by ITV Border regarding The review of Community Hospitals in the Scottish Borders by NHS Borders on Thursday here is the interview. The petition is here

We’ve reached a crucial point in our campaign – next Thursday,  19th February 2015 we’re going to be delivering our petition to the board of Borders NHS

Now is the time to put the pressure on and make sure we get the right outcome. There are two ways you can help:

  1. Share the petition one more time so we can get a final new signatures before the hand-in:

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/nhs-dont-close-community-hospitals-in-hawick-peebles-duns-and-kelso

  1. If you can make it, come along to the petition hand-in. The more of us that are there, the more impact we can have. Here’s what you need to know:

When: 19th Febuary 2015 @ 3:00pm
Where: NHS Borders
Rushbank
Newstead
Melrose
TD6 9DA
Extra info: It is not envisaged that this will last any longer than 30 minuets and  press will be invited so a big turnout would be great this petition is about People not buildings so please come along.

Some positive notes


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.

What a Week


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.

Why ???


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.

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.