Everyone is saying be kind lately – easy to say but how many actually follow through?
Well we’ve seen it a lot. Three of our carers have brought us presents for our new garden and one carer, on learning that Sue is having some skin problems, brought her some cream and shower gel that had helped her. Another picked up a treatment from the pharmacy for me and refused to take any payment for it. A neighbour gave us a picture of Benji and Blossom on Newgale beach and a friend of Sue’s left a bag of lovely gifts on our doorstep to cheer us up. Even our cleaner brought us a present – a door mat with welcoming Welsh words on it. So kind.
One carer told us how upset she was after visiting me for the first time, struck by our similarity in age and the cruelty of it all. Apparently she left in tears. And when I got tearful one morning as she and another carer were washing me, she did too – in fact it upset them both.
I don’t know why but I always imagine that new carers in particular see me as just a complicated, hard work call. It seems every day lately we’ve had one brand new carer turn up and as I’ve mentioned before it stresses me out. Not just because of the risk of things going wrong, but also because, deep down, I feel ashamed.
What do they see? This woman who can only talk via a phone and who, for the majority of time, can only grunt responses or use basic hand signals. Whose heads is dropped forward whilst in transit, causing her to grunt and dribble involuntarily. And who then has to be rolled from side to side on the bed to be undressed, washed, and dressed again. I cringe inwardly at how I must seem. I hate this version of me.
I mentioned last time that I’ve been feeling low and I honestly think this has contributed to it. I’ve lost sight of the person I once was. Who held down a job, chatted easily with friends and colleagues, loved walking the dogs, could cook dinner in the evenings and snuggle up to her wife at night, planning the next day’s activities. How I miss that person. That life. I’ve been missing it a lot lately.
It’s a person these carers will never see. But the regulars see glimpses I think. They see me as me, whereas those that only visit once or twice can’t.
It’s made me quite insular again. Which isn’t fair on Sue so I need to sort myself out. She tearfully told me this morning that she’s going to have too long without me as it is, but she feels I’m already not fully here sometimes. That pulled me up.
So I need to find a project to keep me occupied and to prove to myself that still am that bright, able person. And I need to appreciate the little, kind things that people do and say. Not to mention the kind things Sue does for me every day.
Benji thought we were really kind last week. Sue set my feed off at night as usual – I was already fast asleep – and when she went to unplug me in the morning we discovered that she hadn’t actually connected me, so the feed had all gone on the carpet, which Benji found and helpfully lapped up! 🐶 😬🤣
This lockdown is causing all of us to take stock and rethink things. Maybe I should use the time to learn to be a bit kinder to the new me.