Worse things happen at sea
And yes, of course they do. We’ve all watched the news.
But here on dry land we’re struggling. Really struggling.
Nick has now been with us for a week. A week of sleeping on the pull-out bed, never really alone, constantly watched over because of the changes in level and the steps and the stairs, waited on hand and foot (literally – I have been washing his feet every day and rubbing cream into the dry, gnarly skin on his hands from the scuffing of his constant movements) enjoying our company I think but also having to accommodate to the rhythm of a different household where things just work differently.
I feel worn down by the constant demands of an extra presence in the house who generates so much more work but can do nothing to lend a hand, who can’t help knocking things over even when I think I’ve moved all the delicates, who has broken two chairs and a door handle in the space of a week, who through no fault of his own has displaced the orbit of an entire household.
I'm exhausted by the sheer amount of continual drudge and it's hard to keep doing it cheerfully when it never effing stops.
But more than anything I’m raging that I wanted Nick to be independent and to be able to get his own meals, get up and go to bed when he wants, watch TV or listen to the radio without having to ask for them (he can’t work our controls) go out when he wants, just have a bit more time. He has been such a fighter – and now he’s just sitting there having it all done for him, I worry that he’ll just give up.
Finally the thing we’d been dreading did happen today and he fell downstairs, tumbling headlong down six steps onto the hard floor below. He falls easily like a child, like a paratrooper, but has bashed his head and badly bruised his shoulder. I had done something I rarely do and taken the car to get to work so they didn’t go straight to A&E but Simon phoned 101 for help and had a lengthy conversation with a nurse who advised an ice pack and paracetomol.
He’s in pain though, and I’ve found an online appointment with the GP tomorrow.
This means rescheduling the social worker who suddenly materialised last thing on Friday afternoon saying that she’d just been allocated to Nick’s case – which felt like a miracle just when we need it.
However I’m not holding out any big hopes as when I said, Oh thank goodness, explaining the situation that Nick is currently sleeping on our settee in a house that’s just not safe, she seemed a bit non-plussed and said the agenda she’d been given was to discuss his care package and whether we could find something cheaper. She means the council carers. I know them because I’ve had so many run-ins with them in the course of my own work – the ones that throw their fag away as they walk through the door, not knocking but just striding in. The ones that ignore the washing up and the cat shit and the unflushed loo, who write in the notes that they have administered meds, “had a lovely chat” with Nick and nothing else was needed, and then I come in and find two of the tablets on the floor or rolled into his shirt pocket.
Anyway, the really scary thing is that he’s hurt himself and we don’t know how long he will have to be here in danger of having more accidents, and even when (if??) he does get back into his own flat how long will he be able to live like that….these are the things that keep me lying awake in the small hours, just worrying.