Maureen never ceases to amaze me with her resilience in the face of adversity.
She awoke at 2.30am completely lost: terrified that she couldn’t remember anything.
Two hours later, with a cup of tea in hand, she is singing this one:
She is currently getting ready to travel to Coventry as she wants to cheer my mum up.
That wife of mine is simply AMAZING!
Mum was sitting in her chair In the Residents Lounge of her Home when I arrived yesterday morning. She smiled when she saw me so I knelt on the floor and held her and stroked her hand. As always the TV was on in the foreground: a cookery programme which some suggest wets the appetite of the viewers. It must be doing it subliminally in mum’s place as her most of her mates had their eyes closed apart from one lady who was knitting.
When Football Focus came on Gary Lineker told us that Big Cyrille would be featured throughout the hour. I’m not sure mum even watched his finest hour as far as we Sky Blue supporters were concerned, so I decided to intervene.
When I asked the owner of the Care Home for assistance to move mum to a quieter spot so that I could play her some of her favourite music she summoned assistance and said: ‘whatever floats your boat’.
Mum was at her best to this one:
She sang, tapped her feet and fluttered her eyelids as we ‘floated our boat’. As carers passed by they said: ‘she loves her music’.
My brother was ready for his lunch when I arrived at his Nursing Home. He scoffed the lot; eagerly taking his lunch from the proffered spoon and would have taken the additional sweet on offer if I had accepted the offer. He smiled occasionally as I gently fed him his meal.
I’m always struck by the contrast between my mum’s Residential Home and my brother’s Nursing Home. There are visiting times where my mum is a ‘no-go areas’: you are not allowed to be around at meal times. Several residents were being fed by their relatives at my brother’s place yesterday and staff were clearly very grateful for their help. I am not aware of any no-go areas in my brother’s Nursing Home!
I wonder if the stark difference between my mum’s and brother’s environment is down to size or the nature of Homes they are in? Mum is in a very small place exclusively for ladies. My brother enjoys the company of men and women residents who live in a much larger Home. It is possible that economies of scale mean that my brother enjoys far more favourable living conditions that my mum. However, from what I have seen person-centred care extends far beyond the welcoming notice boards in our kid’s abode. Visiting times along with rules and regulations are predominant in mum’s place!
Out Little Diamond always plays it cool when she arrives for her carer sit. She is not of the ‘wham bam thank you mam school’: telling Maureen what she is going to do to her as soon as she walks in the door.
I watched her again yesterday as she eased Maureen off the sofa to join her in household duties. If I’d been able to video her in action it would have had an excellent training video for her colleagues to watch.
Yesterday Maureen was eased into:
- A short car journey into Grimsby.
- Changing unsuitable clothing in Tesco.
- Drying up the pots and pans.
- Changing our bedding.
- Preparing vegetables for lunch.
- Volunteering for dusting duties.
On my return from some time out, OLD and Maureen were singing along to YouTube. She’s back again today and I know Maureen is in for another busy few hours.
I’m hoping she can help resolve an early morning underwear crisis: once again nothing fits. As OLD is here for four hours today we might even be able to fit in a trip to Marks and Sparks so Maureen can choose some new undies. Her current method of getting the necessary support up top; with a belt, or trousers almost pulled up to her neck, must be so uncomfortable. This is a no-go area for me when Maureen doesn’t know who I am – particularly if she thinks I’m the guy who troubled her so much in her past!
I have no doubt that there will be some casualties from the Local Authority’s DOLs Application. It was an appalling document: calling my wife ‘Mary’ on one occasion and also stating that she was my ‘father’. When you see the level of seniority that has approved the document it becomes a real concern.
The Application was an inappropriate legal remedy. I don’t need the Mental Capacity Act to tell me to keep my wife safe. I’m quite capable of ensuring that her welfare is protected at all times without an order under the MCA. This law is an ass and words fail me to describe those who processed the Court Application!
I have been assured I will get a written apology for this mess: an explanation would also be a reasonable expectation.
N.B. I have posted the above at 8pm as sometimes it is important to get a bad taste out of your mouth. Some really good things have happened this week and I will share these in the morning
I’ll find out this morning if I have got my knickers in a twist based on a misunderstanding. The Local Authority has applied to allow me to deprive Maureen of her liberty. It is perhaps fortunate that their application- despite being accepted by a District Judge – requires revision as it contains several inaccuracies and misleading statements. Consequently, I have been unable to complete my statement and have a meeting this morning to discuss my concerns
What I hope to clarify this morning is that I can exercise discretion. If they really want me to become Maureen’s goaler I may walk away from being her Care Partner!
When I returned from Cleethorpes Leisure Centre yesterday it soon became things were not good. Hostility was in the air and I made it worse by stupidly suggesting that I took our grandson to see a neighbour’s dog. This gave Maureen a further opportunity to vent: her husband wanted to leave her for a pet!
Fortunately, our daughter in law played a trump card by taking her two children out for a walk. This gave me and Maureen’s son an opportunity to cool things down. He told me how Maureen had spent the last hour convinced she was in the hospital awaiting treatment and their distraction techniques had not changed her reality.
The ‘Sound of Music’ in our sunroom set the tone for a change of presentation. I didn’t manage to get Maureen to move into her normal dance routines but following a hug from her son and a cup of tea we moved on to join the rest of his family at McDonald’s.
A Chocolate McFlurrie saved the day and two grandchildren saw moments of the Nana they know and love.
I had to resort to an early morning session of YouTube this morning when Maureen was beside herself with fear. I chose the music carefully and only put on our beloved Songbird Granddaughter once Maureen had downed copious amounts of tea. From what I have just heard the immediate fears of the morning are over: Maureen has found her way to the bathroom and can remember what to do again!
I’m going to be opportunistic this morning as I try to help Maureen rebuild her self-belief. I have asked her to accompany me to my physiotherapy appointment. This will give me an opportunity to coax her into her nurturing mode and nag me to do the prescribed exercises to regain flexibility in my legs and shoulders.
Maureen and I rarely see medication as the solution to our aging bodies and tired minds. Music continues to play an important part in our lives: if I could coax her into calling in to see our dancing friends at the Church Hall on our way home I would really be cooking on gas this morning!
Updaate at 7.20am: Taking Maureen to the Church Hall is far too risky. I often believe that others are overstimulating her and was about to stray down the same path. Why would anyone in their right mind take her into two situations that have the capacity to distress her in one morning?
Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to confront you with the shortcomings of your situation. When I told a nurse at Grimsby Hospital yesterday morning about the level of carer support that we receive she said: ‘you need more than that.’
Maureen had been taken to the hospital early yesterday morning because of pain in her abdomen. At first, she was cooperative as she remembered her discomfort. Once the pain receded she couldn’t understand why she was being examined. She concluded that it was my well-being that was under the spotlight and began to challenge staff as they attempted to diagnose the source of her pain. Things became really difficult when she was told that she was free to go home.
It took myself and two nurses almost half an hour to persuade Maureen to leave the hospital and get into our car, During that time she was physically aggressive and verbally hostile to anyone who tried to help her.
Next week provides an opportunity to explore how additional carer support goes down with Maureen. Carers will be here for 6 hours on Tuesday and Thursday as some unused hours from Christmas and Boxing Day are reallocated.
On the 15th of January Maureen will be going into Alderlea Care Home for two weeks. We have decided that a two-week Resite Break gives her a better chance to settle in new surroundings and me an opportunity to recover from four weeks of being on very long shifts.
Being a Care Partner is the most difficult job I have ever had in my life and I’ve had some tough ones. It is important that the level of carer support reflects the demands of the role and is increased as things become more challenging.
The nurse who had saw Maureen in action yesterday is right. Our current Support Package is inadequate. It has not kept pace with changes in Maureen’s diagnosis: one of my resolutions for 2018 is to put that right!
I am wondering what to expect next from Maureen after a very troubled night. Her early concerns were about missing babies, followed by fears of a dangerous intruder lurking in the house. I found it difficult to get back to sleep after being woken twice before midnight and foolishly decided to get out of bed and go downstairs – I soon paid for this error of judgment.
No sooner had I gone downstairs than Maureen joined me. She was preoccupied with her poor memory. She spent a couple of hours trying to make sense of things. Despite my attempts to shift her focus, she went over the same ground time after time. ‘How had we got here, where did all the furniture come from and why couldn’t she remember anything about buying our current house?’ Several cups of tea and the occasional number on YouTube eventually helped her to get back to sleep.
When I returned for my morning shower Maureen was in tears because ‘no one would tell her what to do or where to go’. Eventually, I discovered that she thought she needed to climb a mountain. Once I encouraged her to lie down on the sofa she was in fits of hysterical laughter about her dilemma. This went on for quite some time before she dropped off to sleep again.
Yesterday I regretted that I had cancelled our ‘Little Gem’. I naively thought that because it was Christmas we could do without carers for a couple of days: I’m now well aware that dementia never takes a day off!
Updated at 9.30 am: It’s a beautiful day in Cleethorpes and getting outside in the sunshine is an attractive proposition. My problem is how to get Maureen out of her Bat Woman attire before we venture out without causing distress. I know she has done her best to change her pants but there is no way I can let her wear them on top of her joggers in public!