Best buy ever

The battery ran out today and for the life of me I couldn’t get the screws out to recharge it!  Total panic and disaster!  What was this thing that I have become so dependent on?  – a video doorbell.  Honestly, it has transformed my life and I really can’t live without it.

In my stupidity I had thrown the box away which contained the screwdriver, thinking it was just any screwdriver – but of course it was not – it was a T6 torx screwdriver!!  What the fxxx was that?  I managed to contact the company that made the doorbell and to my relief and surprise they immediately offered to send me a replacement screwdriver from the USA free!!!  I never get anything free.  It is flying on its way to me now, but I couldn’t wait.  I really cannot survive without this bell.  Already I have missed two parcels because I couldn’t answer the door from work and mum was also ringing me at work, worrying that someone was knocking at the door and no one was in.

Honestly, everyone must get one of these.  It is truly amazing.  My husband was working in the front garden and having a very animated conversation with my son and daughter who were in Australia!! Imagine that!  I had sent them the link but didn’t imagine they could answer motion on the doorbell from the other side of the world.  I have been able to ask a delivery driver to wait, seen where parcels have been left and asked other callers to come back later.

The only downside is that it video’s you installing the thing.  I just hope the company do not keep this data to torment you with later!!  Apart from the practicality of the bell, you can have such a laugh with it too, believe me.  Some of the images it captures could earn someone a fortune on ‘You have been Framed’.

Reminiscing

Had a really nice evening with mum tonight, reminiscing about old times, childhood friends, past family members, family holidays, work and the life she used to live.  It was so nice sharing memories and just having a chat.

Over the past few years I have been so angry with her for growing old and for not making more of an effort to keep active.  I was forever complaining that if she sat in her chair all day she would lose her mobility, which of course she did.  So I considered myself lucky to have been given an opportunity to  restore our friendship.

Over the last few weeks I have actually had a serious shift in perspective.  Seeing mum so vulnerable and dependent after her stroke came as a huge shock.  No one should ever be in that position, being totally reliant on others, tube fed, suffering from frightening bouts of paranoia and confusion and worried about your future. Plus one of the worse things about getting old is that you lose most of your friends, so there are very few people left who remember the real you.

I wonder if my anger with her was all part of a grief process – knowing that I was losing the mum that I wanted her to be and fearing the role swap?

Fresh start

Well we finally have a new Agency and they have been fantastic.  The carers have all been much younger and enthusiastic.  They all say they love their job and they all turn up.  The office even answer the phone when you ring them.  All a bit too good to be true, you must be thinking – yes well you are right in a way.

The first few days were perfect, but then it all started falling apart.  One carer tried to clean my mother’s personal areas with a multi surface disinfectant wipe!!  No carer seems to come twice (though that should change) so I have to repeatedly tell them where things are.  Most don’t have the key safe number and now the timekeeping is deteriorating.  Twice this week they have arrived too late in the morning and I have had to do the strip wash etc, otherwise she would have missed her day centre.  Then one day we had 3 carers in 4.5 hours!

But on the positive side, they do at least turn up, they are all very sweet and caring and the office staff actually answer the phone, so we can’t have everything.  I have hope though that they will sort it out eventually but mum is not so confident.  She rang them 4 times yesterday to complain and I bet they were regretting ever giving her their number!

Broken promises

Well another day off work as I waited for mum to arrive.  The transport was booked for 11.00am, but instead she didn’t arrive home until just past 4.00pm!   By which time the driver couldn’t park and I had to collect her from down the road and push her in the wheelchair back to the house with her bag and a walking frame precariously balanced over the arms.  Not quite the welcome I had planned.

But just as well as the lunchtime carer didn’t turn up anyway.  In fact no carers turned up as they had all apparently been sent to the wrong door number!

In fact the whole week has been a disaster.  Despite ringing the Agency and making sure they had the correct details, we never once had the four visits a day which were promised.  At best we had two calls and mostly only one and no evening calls at all.  Thank goodness she didn’t go home on her own!

Eventually the Agency said they didn’t want to cover mum any more on the excuse that it was too for the carers to travel – yet my house was much closer to the transport links than my mum’s had been!  The carers said they were fine but blamed the management!  So the poor social worker was now left having to find a new Agency.  I did have to direct him away from one Agency in particular as they used to come, sign in, disappear to a private client or do their shopping and then return to sign out.

So it has been a nightmare having to do the caring myself alongside all the other stuff, like finding a new doctor, notifying everyone of change of address, arranging physio and OT appointments etc etc as well as being called out in the night and trying not to get the sack in the process. But I suppose at least she seems comfortable and is out of that care home.

Not enough time or space

I asked for time to get the room ready for mum but even I underestimated what was involved.  It has been a real panic trying to getting new non-slip flooring measured, ordered and laid in just one week (my carpet was moth ridden I am ashamed to say), furniture delivered and all the supplies ordered.  But the room is I hope more or less ready.

The hospital agreed to provide mum with an adjustable hospital bed.  I couldn’t believe it – this would be such a great help.  Strangely she was not entitled to one before, despite the fact that she was not able to turn over in bed or sit up.  I had tried a grab bar but it made no difference. Clearly having a stroke ticks the right boxes.  They even offered to provide a small over the bed table and a pressure cushion for the chair.  The only problem was they needed to deliver straight away.  I did manage to delay it but only until the day after I returned home from visiting my brother, so the flooring now became critical and the thoughts I had of redecorating had to go out of the window. Probably just as well as it was a bit ambitious.

I had to buy an arm chair which had to be a certain height and obviously need to get that in before mum came or she would have nothing to sit in, so that took lots of research and phone calls to get it delivered in time and also new single bedding and a baby monitor for the nights.   I acquired my son’s bathroom stand (from uni) for her pads and toiletries and splashed out on a video doorbell so she didn’t become anxious if anyone knocked as I could answer remotely.

I was unable to get a wardrobe and chest of drawers in time, so she still had to live out of a suitcase for a few days but now they are here but there is still nowhere to put everything!

I can’t believe she needs so much stuff and we haven’t even brought her personal things from home yet!  She needs towels, flannels, soap free toiletries, a bowl, telephone, waste bin, commode, frame, footstool, doorstop, extra bedding, waterproof things plus old towels, tissues, incontinence pads and sheets, toilet rolls, wipes, medication, pill cutter, creams. disinfectant, air freshener, television, non slip bed socks plus somewhere for visitors to sit.  The room is fairly big but I really need to be better organised as everything is all over the place!

 

Becoming invisible

To my great relief – they managed to find a temporary placement for mum to allow me to prepare for her to move in. She was given 2 weeks of intermediate care but I had to request an additional 2 days as one of those weeks I had to visit my brother abroad, who was suffering from cancer.  I looked at the website and it said the home invest in their staff and if their staff are happy so are the residents and their families.  It sounded great.

Well, the staff were happy, but I couldn’t say the same for the residents.

Continue reading “Becoming invisible”

A glimpse of the future

It occurred to me that we all know that we will go through various stages in our lives, but we never seem to be prepared for them!   At 7 years of age we feel grown up and by 14 years of age we clearly know it all.  But in a flash we are in our 20’s and we have to actually start being grown up.

Continue reading “A glimpse of the future”