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Agnes O'D

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Bank Holiday care [May. 4th, 2010|01:13 am]
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I oversleep. I now have a tin bath affair for the wetroom. Last night I filled, filled filled and soaked, soaked. The bath has been the main regret for me here. A small regret of course. Every day we press on despite all the huge regrets about loss of walking and literacy skills for my agile, highly literate, graduate mother. We focus on the small regrets; for her not being able to hang the washing in the garden, and for me the bath. Small regrets are safe, because they do not bring you to visceral grief about ageing processes and the random injustice of strokes.

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Just a carer? [Apr. 29th, 2010|11:38 am]
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The hardest thing about being a carer is that people dismiss you as just a carer. They see the carer and have no respect for what you are or may have been. Health visitors and politicians on the doorbell are surprised that I work part-time; that I have a remnant of career and that I am actually a person in my own right. One visiting campaigner told me, ‘very good. We need people like you.’

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Clegg’s week for carers [Apr. 18th, 2010|04:07 pm]
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Nice Mr Clegg says we carers deserve a week off each year. He did not say who would pay for it or where we should go, but I know he is a potential leader of carers because he says I can have a week’s holiday. I am a carer and carers deserve time off. Dave (Cam) agreed that all the carers he knows say they only need some time off and they can carry on doing what they do. He mentioned caring for the disabled and his son. Mr Brown, PM, said they are looking into respite; they have already put it in place.

This was the great televised debate ending on ideas about care and carers. Read more...Collapse )
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Standing and staring at a world full of care [Jan. 18th, 2010|08:20 pm]
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Rehab times are quite tough but essential. Here is a chance for mother to have some intensive neurophysiotherapy and OT. It is a great opportunity. But we are apprehensive and, as luck would have it, younger brother mine is free of his Day Centre this very same week. She is worried about leaving him, though I promise to keep an eye open and make regular visits.

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A Carer’s New Year Resolutions [Jan. 4th, 2010|10:20 pm]
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We bring in the new year with Paolo Nutini, and I have not been so impressed for decades. He is incredible - that wonderful fusion of mature judgment in a joyful young man. I smile and smile. It snows against a round pale moon, and my partner arrives with coal and whisky, bread and money to honour the tradition my father loved. Mother smiles into a new year. I look at my partner, who once looked thin, bendy, long-haired and part other as young Nutini does, and I am grateful for the past and the present.

Of course, the future is what resounds at this time of year. Predictions? Resolutions? I have both in my head. I like the sound of 2010: twenty-ten, like a child counting, or when mother says it will be five and twenty to the hour.

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Between two worlds [Nov. 21st, 2009|10:54 pm]
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I am failing as a carer because I wanted to sustain part-time work. It is not possible to work and care. That is the message I get from official carers and occasional visitors. The two aspects care and work rub against each other like nylon fabric to a shingles rash. Every time I open a paper or turn on the radio there is somebody out there talking about care – talking about David Cameron’s promises, or Joan Bakewell’s theories on career carers,
or the care women who attacked the elderly, or dementia.

I listen as I care. The official carers come a little late, a little relaxed, wanting conversation and asking questions about the weather? Their NVQs? New towels when they are already in the bathroom? If we are going out today ?–because then they will not have to return though they will still get paid.

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Unquiet care (1) [Sep. 29th, 2009|11:49 pm]
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Mother’s regular carers are on holiday, so for 10 days we have had other pairs of carers working: one fixed male and a series of available female carers pass through mum’s home like a speed dating system. The females have their own rounds of clients, so they are not constant, although they are the ones providing the euphemistic “personal care”, and some of them do chat to me.

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Quiet care [Aug. 27th, 2009|10:24 pm]
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Everyone seems to be on holiday. The phone and door bells are quiet. I hear the trees rustle and whisper. I feel calm and quiet. Mother and I are like a doting mother and child in reversed roles. She coughs in the night and I go through to adjust her pillows, smile on a sleepy face and feel sad as she awakes sufficiently to recall that her right hand will not reach for the cool drink she needs. I return to an instant deep sleep in which the hand haunts like a sad motif.

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Care agencies and real life – or what passes for care and life [Aug. 5th, 2009|11:15 pm]
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It is time for the carers. Will they or won’t they come at the set time? These are people who come to get you up from the profile bed (if you are lucky, because not everybody is entitled to one) they placed you in 13 hours ago. That is the only time they can come to you in the evenings. It may be better for you to sleep at 9.30 or even 10.00pm, but 7.30  is the only available slot so you go to bed at 7.30 on a full stomach of the microwave meal they can make for you, cleverly and unsubtly complaining as they do so; the microwave is slow and it is difficult to do everything in the 30 minutes they are allowed.

 

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Who cares? [Jul. 25th, 2009|01:12 am]
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Head bursting with thoughts but no time for longhand writing. Not Mum. Care duties increased by closure of care place for manic brother. Latter day-care in the community means brother now in my care as well. Spend days and nights between their conflicting needs and circuit has been bumpy. He wants his mother. She is unable to walk. He hates sister who tells him mother cannot find his keys/cigarettes/crossword book/laptop/shirt/socks/gardening tools/lighter for him.

Sister also sends him back to own flat and refuses to allow frying of sausages and bacon on mother’s cooker. Mother on low-fat anti-cholesterol diet. Sister objects to disgusting fatty pans, smoke and splashed paintwork she cleans every other day. Sister hates stain on best skirt, which inadvertently cleaned leg of kitchen table dripping Cumberland fat. Mother recalls butcher of Culloden. Sister wonders if she should start taking sedative repeatedly prescribed for mother despite instant refusal to imbibe even for one week. Now have sufficient stock to sell at local festival during summer projects gap and financial crisis. Will, of course, return them to the pharmacy. I think.

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