Nick cracks me up.
We had a meeting with the social worker yesterday to review the current care provision and Nick’s increasing health needs. He’s getting a new chair, courtesy of the wonderful NHS, a big black sci-fi thing that will help position him better to sit, as he spends most of his waking time now sitting at his table to read, eat, listen to the radio or watch TV. He's still got the old-lady's high backed armchair I bought for £40 at a second-hand shop, and it's making some alarming creaks but is still miraculously holding up.
When he wants to move he shuffles the whole chair with what looks like a huge effort, using his elbows for leverage, not lifting his bottom or even trying to stand. I worry about pressure sores from sitting in the same position all day do the new chair should help. It will need someone to help him, though as it will require locking into position by another person. I'm not terribly happy about this but the physio from the enablement service assures us it's the best option for his needs.
Meanwhile, the speech and swallowing therapist has recommended that he gets a lot more help with preparing and serving the right food, and for carers to be with him at meal times where possible to avoid the risk of choking.
The carers? This lot? It still seems to be a struggle to get them to give him some cutlery to eat his dinner. Or to make sure they are not trying to microwave a frozen fish pie on the Defrost setting, which I found someone doing the other night. Or to put the hoover away instead of leaving the flex trailing right across the doorway where he could trip over it. Nick says he doesn’t think any of them can understand what he’s saying as they don’t seem to take any notice.
The social worker was on holiday when I rang to flag up my concerns. Now I told her some selected highlights of their misdemeanours and she understood my alarm. We discussed the possibility of finding someone more to our liking through Direct Payments, not that I’m expecting that to be easy from what other people have said. But really, they are the pits. I didn’t go into anything like as much detail as I could have but she got the idea.
“What do you think about the carers, Nick?” asked the social worker. Nick, true to form, says the exact opposite of everything I have been telling her, or that he has previously said to me.
“I think they’ve been very good.”
Really, he cracks me up.
Afterwards I felt a bit bad about having dissed them like that to the social worker, but then last night we popped round to see Nick and found the main entrance door to the flats wedged open with a stick, the keysafe code visible for all to see, and the door to Nick's flat wide open. This was eight o'clock on a Friday night in a not totally respectable part of town.
We walked in and Nick, deaf as a post, was sitting watching TV with his back to the room and the two carers were gossiping in the kitchen. They jumped a mile when they saw us.
For goodness sake! Are they nuts? Really stupid? Or just over worked and under paid with the bare minimum of training?
Whatever, I stopped feeling bad and started the search for another agency.