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

Friday, 18 July 2014

Wheelchair Madness

I've been looking after Harry for the last 6 weeks or so and before that was visiting him daily in hospital for nearly a month.
After he came home, I thought we'd got into a fairly good routine which started early in the morning and finished with me rolling into bed by 10.30 which by my usual standards seems very early.
However, I've been very tired and seem very ready for sleep by then.

Everything was ticking along in a fairly smooth way until I borrowed a wheelchair.
As Harry was getting fed up with being trapped indoors, I thought it would be good for him to be able to go to church again or even go for short walks.
Trouble is, Bristol is very hilly and there is no area that doesn't face a moderate to steep hill to get to it.

I thought I'd sussed out a really level way to get Harry to Church, but hadn't realised just how wheelchair unfriendly the local area is. We can see the church practically from our house and it would normally take less than five minutes to cross the busy road and walk up the flight of steps into the sanctuary. The wheelchair access is round the back and the roads to get there are rather rough.

There are sometimes cars who park half way onto the pavement right next to a lamp post. I'm sure the owners have no idea that they've left no space for a wheelchair to get through and I'm not strong enough to face the drop of the kerb to the road let alone get him back up again onto the pavement. Where some of the pavements have a lovely surface of tarmac, which is excellent for wheelchair users, everything is ruined by a private lane that crosses the pavement leaving very uneven slabs that are really jarring for the carer to push across and the wheelchair user is very shaken up. Not good for bad backs.

The local hairdresser that Harry has always used has a raised metal bar going across the bottom of the door that is also up a giant step.

Needless to say, my sciatica has come back with a vengeance and now I can hardly walk without excruciating pain let alone push Harry anywhere.

I'm ashamed to say that I've never really given wheelchair users much thought in the past. It is only when seeing it from another angle by necessity, that I've realised just how difficult things can be.
Maybe everyone should have to go around in a wheelchair for a month to make them wheelchair aware. This could be part of a youngsters education.
In the mean time I must just plod on and get on with life best I can.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Thistles versus Gravel

I expect you remember me telling about the waist high thistles in a neighbours enclosed garden and the beautiful Painted Lady butterflies that emerged from them a few weeks ago.

This morning I felt the whole house vibrating and went to investigate outside. We don't get earthquakes of significant magnitude to cause that kind of experience over here, so I was a bit mystified.
My *neighbour with the thistles* was having the workmen in and everything was being raised to the ground, dug up and the earth hammered flat and covered with a membrane. This was later covered over with a thick layer of shingle.
The whole garden is now gravel.
This is what happens when someone absolutely hates gardening.

I'm glad the butterflies had a chance to hatch out before this happened, though I guess there'll be none next year.
One good thing to come out of it is that the yellow thistle flowers didn't have time to develop into seed. Last year I had quite a job to pull out the baby thistles that sprung up all over my garden.

However, I guess the cats will now come over to use my garden for their toilet needs as unless they enjoy digging about in gravel mine might be more appealing. Come to think of it, they may look on the gravel as a giant cat tray. Eek!