….. since I last posted. And how life has changed, yet again!
The beginning of this year was extremely difficult. I was finding my role as a carer very hard and could feel myself slipping into depression.
I did change my behaviour and, instead of bottling it all up and pretending that as superwoman I can deal with everything, my usual tactic, I asked for help. I asked the GP and agreed that I now wanted counselling, not tablets, as I needed to be able to talk through all my feelings after 28 years of caring. She gave me a number to call to refer myself which I did.
I then had a telephone assessment where I made it clear that I needed 1:1 support as in a group I’d just try to solve everybody else’s problems and not address my own. The assessor agreed and said she’d refer me for 1:1 but recommended that, whilst I was waiting I should go to the 6 week CBT group sessions.
I did this, starting on the 11th February. I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person and this course showed me I was right!
I am extremely good at looking for the positives in any situation (let’s face it, I’ve had to be!!!) and this course did not help me in any way, although I know plenty of people that it would!
It is now June and I am still waiting to hear about any 1:1 help.
Ray’s been very depressed, his diabetes was out of control (I now know that his glucose meter can say Hi & Lo not just numbers!) The nurse at the surgery was great and referred Ray to the specialist diabetes nurse, the falls clinic, the service that provides aids and told me to contact Social Services.
The specialist nurse was fantastic. She could see I was struggling (I did have a bit of a melt down in her office0 and so was Ray. She wanted to get his blood levels measured throughout the day for a week and FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME IN 28 YEARS did not just assume that I would stay indoors to do lunch time readings every day, she arranged for the district nurses to come in to do them.
I cannot begin to explain how much that meant to me. Finally somebody was giving me some practical support and encouraging me to have my own life, not just to be an unpaid carer. We got Ray to admit to being depressed and he agreed a course of anti depressants may help, she said she would contact our GP. His insulin doses were adjusted a bit which helped the diabetes but his moods remained the same and life was very difficult.
Somebody came from the falls clinic, took lots of notes and tried to get Ray to do a few exercises to help strengthen his muscles and improve his walking. Ray found it difficult to understand what was wanted and some of the exercises were completely beyond his ability. When I told the man that I did not think Ray would do the seated exercises regularly on his own he said he was going to discharge him, well that was a lot of help! He also said something about referring him for a support shoe but, to be honest, by this point I was so pissed off again I honestly don’t know if he was going to do it or if I was supposed to. Still, we haven’t heard any more about that either! No practical help was offered on how to stop the falls or how I should get him up!!!
We never heard anything from the aids people and, although Social Services said I would get a Carer’s Assessment nothing has happened.
Eventually I blew!
I had had enough. I’d been warning Ray for some time that I could not take this any more, that I had done my bit and that I was sick of it. I even told him to decide which of his two sisters or his mother he wanted to go and live with!
Eventually I blew, I told him that this was MY home, that I had paid for everything in it and provided everything for him and I needed to do stuff for me. He had an ultimatum, either:
- We got a dog, or
- He went in a home and I got a dog
On the very first day of looking I found Donut, an RSPCA staffy cross, and three days later he arrived, complete with the cone of shame!
This dog has changed our lives. Ray was adamantly against having a dog, and now he adores him! His depression has lifted, he’s started laughing again and his health and mobility have improved. He finally has an interest in something!
And me? Wow, what a difference! I don’t even mind being at home now!
Well that covers the most important aspects of the last five months but there are other things too 🙂
Looking back at the targets I set myself, there will be no problem covering 2016 km in 2016 although training has suffered and I’m nowhere near 3 sessions a week but that’s for positive reasons 🙂 I aimed to be leaner and I have lost a stone, feel better for it and plan to continue!
I qualified as a Lowland Search and Rescue technician and I’ve been out on a number of searches. As our first aid requirement is the same as for First Responders I decided I might as well do that too so now if you put in a 999 call in Wickford there is a possibility you may get me as well as an ambulance etc!
Voluntary work can be so much fun!!!!!!