Sunday, 21 September 2014

Summer Break!

We continue to have beautiful weather and it looks like we are experiencing what we call an Indian Summer. Our weather seems mixed up, probably due to climate change, as August was not a good month at all. We are continually being surprised.

Harry and I are settling into a good routine and we seem to be growing accustomed to each other's needs.
Obviously there are good days and there are bad ones but to keep on an even keel like we are at present, seems good.
I just went into the garden to drink a mug of tea while I sat in the sun. I heard a bit of a crack..... fortunately I noticed the metal seat was giving way on one side before I reached the ground. I know I'm a bit overweight but didn't think enough for a metal seat to break. I noticed it had corroded with rust underneath on one side so I'm let off rapid dieting.
Now I have to think whatever to do with the cumbersome thing, as it's wrecked beyond repair!

I'm quite enjoying having the upstairs all to myself and am getting the bedrooms in some kind of order.
My new cleaner comes in for the first time next week and I feel I have to get everything tidier.
I wasn't sure which room I actually did sleep in as I seemed to have things spread over in different rooms because Harry was needing a room to himself so I was moving about a bit while we were in a state of uncertainty.
Now I've decided, I'm back in the front and I'm slowly moving my things there.
In the meantime, Harry really loves his bedsit downstairs and we both seem to get a reasonable nights sleep.
So it seems we are both benefitting from the new arrangement.

Millie our youngest granddaughter still comes for breakfast most mornings before school. Amber, her older sister started secondary school this term so I don't see much of her now.
However, I was coming home from a shopping trip in town the other afternoon and I saw a person who was taking up a double seat because of a musical instrument and I asked if I could sit there. What a surprise when the person smiled and I saw I'd sat next to Amber. She looked so grown up in her school uniform and the instrument was a trombone that she is learning to play.
We had a lovely chat and she got out her music to show me. She is most fortunate to get into a very good school where music is predominant.
I wonder what the chances were, of me getting on that very bus in our busy city, at just the right time and attempting to sit on that very same seat next to Amber?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Home Sweet Home

Harry has been longing to come home for most of the days of the month that he's been in hospital. The first week that he was there, he really couldn't remember a thing about how he got there or why he was in hospital in the first place. In fact he can't remember any of it.
Maybe that was for the best as he gave all the family a really bad scare, being practically unconscious for the first week.
The following three weeks, he steadily improved for the better, though at the beginning I was very doubtful that I could look after him when he was discharged. Well, he has been home for two days now and we fixed him up in a bed downstairs as he isn't safe to walk up and down the stairs any more.
When he first saw the new arrangement, he was very pleased with his new *bedsit* with everything in it for his needs that would make him happy.

Although I was very nervous about having him home, as I wondered if I had it in me to provide for all his needs, the first two days have gone well. We make a good team. I didn't think that I would sleep at all for worrying about him being downstairs and wondered if I'd hear him if he needed me. He finds it peaceful after all the hustle and bustle, lights and noise, buzzers wailing and people calling out for help in the hospital ward.
I have managed to sleep for five to six hours per night, so I can manage on that.
In the end, I didn't have the offer of six weeks free help so I decided to look after Harry myself. 

For those who don't know about our *free* National Health Service (that seems to attract so many overseas people), I find the treatment is good, though you might have to wait to get it and queue for hours. We are used to it over here. I have a lot to thank them for.
To us, it isn't really free, as all our working lives, we've had money from wages stopped towards it and at one time that would have meant free treatment from the cradle to the grave. Not any more though.
I feel the thing that is really bad, is the aftercare of the elderly who need ongoing care from hospital.
If you have no money then the basics are free. If you've saved, then you have to pay, even if you aren't wealthy and have little income coming in.

I soon sussed out that it was a better deal for me to provide the personal care that Harry needs and to pay for a cleaner to come in to do the basics that I now haven't time for. I'm seriously thinking of having a monthly gardener too. That should free me up no end to give Harry the care he needs.

It is still lovely late summer weather and that makes everything seem better, somehow and of course, I don't have to visit the hospital every day and climb that huge hill!
Bristol is a lovely city in many ways, but it's impossible to go far without climbing a hill.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Last Surge of Summer.

I had hoped that if I waited long enough then I would have something different to report about Harry's predicament but I thought I'd better do an update as people are wondering what is happening. He's been in hospital for three weeks now and I've managed to visit him daily. Walking up the huge hill every day seems to be keeping me fit and my back and hip problems seem to be calming down a little.

He will be coming home soon and I'm going to have to try harder to cope with the fact that he's now less able than he was before.
I will have more free help for the first six weeks but I'm going to be left pretty much on my own with it after that. However, six weeks is a long time to me.

In the mean time we are having a last surge of summer weather and it has been warm and sunny again which is a real bonus.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place

The very next day from the last post I wrote, Harry started to be very ill and although I'd called the doctor, by the next day on my Thursday afternoon out, his carer phoned me to say that Harry was in a state of collapse and he was getting the ambulance. Fortunately, I was only ten minutes away because I knew he wasn't well and had decided to stay in the local vicinity.
He was kept in a general hospital for a few days and then transferred to the Bristol Cancer Hospital, where he still is now.
Trouble is, each time he has one of these episodes, he is left more disabled than the last time. I have noticed that he is now unable to transfer from bed to any apparatus he needs without support. I see that in the hospital he has a notice over his bed stating that he needs 2 people to support his weight. I know in my heart I'm not physically capable of supporting or lifting him. I know my own health problems and weaknesses, though I love him and want to help him. He deserves that.

I now learn he doesn't have the criteria to go into a Nursing Home as he is too able bodied and I would have to fully fund it if I insisted. They can't tell me how long this situation is likely to go on.
I wonder what state of physical decline I would have to get into before I get listened to?
The NHS is in a tricky situation, I know, but there must be thousands of carers at their wit's end trying to cope with situations like this or even worse. The only thing we can do is empathise with each other as no one else can possibly know what its like until they get into this situation.

I really can't apologise enough to all the people who I normally visit and leave comments on their blog.
I don't seem to be able to get much time for blogging although I really want to keep things going.
Please bear with me for a while........

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Thursday Afternoons

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Thursday afternoons come round quite quickly. 
It is my time of respite when a carer comes in to sit with Harry and keep him company, maybe take him out or just see that he keeps safe while I'm gone.
I get 4hours to myself.
I sometimes manage to get into town and see some different shops and buy things that I can't normally get in my local high street.
Other times I get a bus to The Downs and sit in a shady place reading a good book or just sit and people watch.
Sometimes I meet up with a friend.
The Avon Gorge in the photo above is a picture I took looking down from one of my Thursday walks before my hip started to hurt. I hurt my back and hip while trying to push Harry along our awful pavements in a wheelchair about six weeks ago. I won't be doing that again and I'm still having a lot of pain from it.
I go to the Museum or walk round the Water Front, off the Centre of Bristol but seem to be running out of ideas. Many of these things need to be done in the better weather, which we now seem to be running out of.

I am really grateful for this time to myself.
However, what I'd really like to do is to hop on a bus to our local seaside or go to the Cinema but there isn't time. The hours that I've been allocated don't fit in with the right time for the Cinema and coincide with the rush hour late afternoon.
Unfortunately, because we haven't a car, it would take too long to get out of the city and then back in. Even with a car it might be difficult to get back across the City. It is too stressful to even think about in case I didn't get back in time after the carer left.

I've recently started going to a Carer's course run by our local Hospice. The course is only for a few weeks and I've met people with similar and also very different situations. It does help to share and we all have similar feelings. I realise that compared to some I am very lucky. It must be awful to look after a young person with *locked in* syndrome, as one in the group  has to do ....... maybe for years and years.
There is always someone in a very much worse position than myself.
I think the group does help me in that respect.
I am not alone with it.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Have I Gone Too Far?

As I still help with the local Brownie pack one night a week, I was really looking forward to a *hedgehog rescue lady* coming to talk about them and possibly bringing some along for us to see.
Well, she did bring one round for us to see, but not touch. It was one that couldn't be returned to the wild because it was *not too bright* and didn't have the instincts to keep away from humans or other animals. The one she brought would need to live in the sanctuary for the rest of its life for it's own safety.
I've always been quite fond of hedgehogs ...... not that they seem to be prolific round our way and they do get squashed on the roads in the country side and towns alike. Other than that, I don't really see any but they do seem to be lovely little beasts who keep the garden free from slugs and snails and need to be encouraged at all costs.
I was first introduced to them at an early age through Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle book.

I came away from the Brownie pack meeting a changed person.
From then on, I squashed my washed out tins of food before putting them into the collection bins as hedgehogs often get their heads stuck and end up being horribly injured or starved to death. The same with yoghurt containers that are now slashed down the sides and plastic bags that are tied in a knot before going into the waste. Netting is really horrible stuff that needs to be knotted so as not to entangle little creatures.
There were whole lists of things to do and not to do in order to keep the hedgehog population from extinction.
Human beings do seem to be sending these prickly creatures to an early grave as well as our pets who also maul them about.
So now I go for walks and notice other peoples' hedgehog hazards. Instead of looking at their lovely displays of plant life, I'm noticing things in their waste containers that need to be squashed and made safe.

I recently found myself watching an unfortunate spider that had fallen into a tray under my dish draining rack. The spider had got soap on its legs and was struggling to get out of the rack. I put a tissue from the water to the other side of the tray (as I don't like spiders so didn't want to touch it but felt sorry for its predicament.) 
After a while my plan worked. It recovered enough to climb up the paper and ran to safety, amongst my dish mops.
Have I taken this *saving creatures* lark too far?
The spider is still out there in my kitchen somewhere.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Glorious Purple

Photo copyright: Maggie May

We've been experiencing the hottest summer for years. It is really lovely to be able to dry all the washing so quickly and always be warm. Only occasionally has the atmosphere been oppressive with storms or the nights too hot to sleep. 
Everything in the garden has done really well this year including this clematis. I wish I knew it's name. There are hundreds of different varieties so will probably never be able to identify it.
Maybe some one else might know?

Photo copyright Maggie May