The Dilemmas and Experiences of a Merton Carer

 “You need to see this.”  The carers for my husband called me over to see the four new pressure sores on my husband’s genital area.  He had acquired them while in respite care for two weeks.  To be fair, the one he went in with, on his buttock, was much improved under its patch.  More concerning was that no one had mentioned the additions to me as part of a discharge discussion or handover.

 It is the continual dilemma for primary carers in taking respite breaks.  Will there be more discomfort or work both for the cared for person and for the carer as a result of the break?  In this case it resulted in a week of phone consultations, writing reports, reading carers’ notes and annotating the concerns.  And all the time bearing in mind that my husband was content with the kindness and thoughtfulness of the staff, just concerned about their lack of training, in comparison to the carers we have at home.  Who needs a week of administrative tasks as a result of a holiday?

At the end of the week came another classic dilemma for carers.  I was injured on a bus.  Who looks after a primary carer when they have an injury?

In this case the osteopath I was on my way to see bandaged my arm and, at her own expense, put me in a taxi to take me home.  There is then the coping at home part, and with neither arm reaching above elbow level it was a tricky few days until my shoulder clicked back into place in a follow up osteopathic appointment.

Many of you, I am sure, are juggling far more complicated choices about keeping yourselves well in order to look after your cared for person – not a patient, but someone who needs you to do things for them.  Is it significant that we really don’t have a good word for that recipient?

What I find really reassuring when coping with it all is how caring and responsive the professionals are in every case. Even the bus garage customer services person was excellent, and explained that there have been 10 Coronavirus deaths of colleagues working in the Merton Bus garage.  They are all mourning colleagues who have worked together for a long time.  And did you know that the bus cabs have now to be sealed off completely so the drivers can not hear anything a passenger says?  I hope to get them to put up notices to that effect, which would help a lot.

May you all have a peaceful and happier week than I had.

Best wishes