Monday, 8 September 2008

Care givers

I can't believe it's so long since I posted anything! I haven't had a relapse or anything but I never know where the time goes to.

I think I mentioned before that as a result of my injury a care worker comes in each day. This is free for 6 weeks and the idea is that you decide at the outset where you would like to be in 6 weeks' time (not Barbados) and they help you try and achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. They will do as much or as little as you want them to do. You also get visits from Occupational Therapists (OT's) and Physiotherapists, from district nurses if you need such as blood tests or other nursing care, social workers in case there is any other help needed. It's wonderful, specially when I think what a fight we had to get care for my dad, a stroke victim, and that was only 5 years or so back. How things have changed.

This morning, chatting to Jean - today's lady - I got a little insight into some of the things they do. They are not trained nurses or social workers, though they do have training in many fields where nurses don't. As Jean said, they become involved with people from all walks of life, different nationalities, different religions, different cultures, different health conditions. There are deaf people, blind people, old people, those who can't walk, lonely people. All sorts of people and the Jeans of this world have to have an understanding of all their situations. Some carers know British Sign Language, some can speak other languages, there are men and women, some are young, others not so young.

They all have training in some of the situations their clients find themselves in. Jean asked me if I had ever had to be lifted from one place to another in a hoist.

"It's terrifying," she said, "There are lots of different types of hoist and we carers all have to experience what it's like to need one. Up there being hoisted is not a 'normal' sort of feeling. Imagine if you're blind or, worse still, deaf/blind. We have to learn to communicate to those people what is happening."

She told me "We have to experience being blindfold and making a cup of tea and sandwich without pouring boiling water on yourself. We are taught what it's like to be wheelchair bound and have to manage in a kitchen where the counters are too high; what it's like to be ignored in conversation as though your brain must have packed up along with your legs or your voice or your eyes, whatever. Basically, we are taught the meaning of human dignity in all its guises."

Wow! And I thought they were just ladies who come to help you get a wash or go to the loo!! I don't know exactly how much they earn but I do know it's not much and, to all those people I so often hear complaining about their local authority care services, I would say : You try it. They wouldn't last 5 minutes!
For my care ladies!

One or two little advances for me this week. I can walk a little bit using a frame. Not enough to be completely mobile round the house but - hey - I couldn't do it last week! I have at long last managed to get into the shower. Having a wash is grand but a shower is Something Else. All that lovely hot water running on your achey bits. I can't get in there alone but with Keith's help and a little ingenuity I can. Last weekend I achieved 2 feats of culinary genius! I made a steak and mushroom pie for Sunday lunch and a plain old Victoria sponge. Not much, you might think, but a triumph as far as I'm concerned! Who knows what I may achieve next week that I can't do this week?


Rhondi said...

Hi Angie
Wouldn't it be fun if we really could get together for afternoon tea? I could do a proper English one, or my favorite: a Devon cream tea.
Hugs, Rhondi

Grammy Staffy said...

I am glad that you are getting care from those sweet helpers.

I am happy about the progress you are step at a time... good for you.

Keep getting better. Best wishes, Lura

StitchinByTheLake said...

I love your positive attitude Angie. Wish I could be there to help. blessings, marlene

Marie said...

Oh Angie, it's so good to read your words and read that you are doing better. I so much wanted to call you last week, but with having had another all night packing session and Todd's birthday and all I just couldn't fit in the time to sit and have a good long gab! perhaps this week? I am so happy that you have a lovely set of care givers. I do think it is a wonderful calling for some people and they do a dab job at it, but then there are others . . . but we won't go there. You are blessed and that's all that counts for now! (((hugs))) love you my sweet friend! XXOO

Raquel said...

Angie: So glad to hear that you are up and around - even if it is only a bit! Just keep going, never quit! I bet the steak and mushroom pie was fab, as was the victoria sponge! Much love, Raquel XO