Monday, 4th September, 2023

[Day 1267]

Today has been such a different day to yesterday, I am delighted to report. Whereas Meg was exceptionally ‘wobbly’ from the moment she woke up yesterday morning, today she felt a smidgeon better which is all to the good. During the night, I had sent a long-ish and heartfelt email to the Admiral Nursing team who I have to be an excellent source of support. Today, I received a phone call from the nurse who has been allocated to be our principal link with the team and who, in the fullness of time, will come to pay us a visit. Our contact was as supportive as ever and the thing she does which is particularly useful is that she somehow manages to get the email we have sent her detailing all of our woes actually into the hands of the GP. I suppose that this is what one might ‘wheels within wheels’ but I do mind how she does it as long as it is effective. This is followed up by a phone call to the GP surgery which does add a degree of prioritisation to the web-based request that we make for a GP appointment. We had particularly asked that a GP call round to the house and, lo and behold, we got a telephone call indicating that a GP would actually make a house visit between 1.00 and 2.00 other things being equal. We had been considerably heartened yesterday by a telephone call from our good Irish friends who live down the road and who had invited us for a coffee at 11.00. Whereas yesterday, I thought it would have been impossible to have got Meg into the car, today is what the Spanish call ‘otra cosa’ or another thing. Accordingly, after breakfast we bundled Meg into the car and went to collect our newspaper and then to see our neighbours, having a good chat with her French neighbour en route. We spent a wonderful hour and a half with our friends and Meg’s spirits were lifted considerably as a result. I must admit that I did have a lacrymose moment in the middle of the night, when one is not at one’s best, that if the doctor decided to hospitalise Meg and if she was not then judged to be well enough to be discharged back in to her own home, that that might be the last night we spent together after 56 years (practically) of marriage. Once we got home and had a refreshing drink, then one of the practice GPs turned up and did the range of tests you might consider such as blood pressure, heart amd lungs, palpating the abdomen etc. He then observed Meg getting up from a sedentary position and being very wobbly in the process. His judgement was that she was lacking in ‘inner core strength’ which is a judgement from which it was not possible to dissent and was going to make an onward referral to occupational therapy and perhaps also physiotherapy. This may well be treating symptoms rather than causes so who Meg fell so often yesterday may never be fully known.

As our friends had already given us some sandwiches as extended elevenses in the morning, Meg and I did not feel the need for a full scale lunch. So we treated ourselves to a bowl of icecream as it was quite a warm and sunny day. We FaceTimed my sister who had sent me a text message of support after she had read of our tribulations in last night’s blog and I was happy to update her with the news that the doctor had called and that Meg felt somewhat better than yesterday. We exchanged details of the experiences of packages of support that we had received (or rather not received) which differed markedly beween Yorkshire and Worcestershire. The principal difference seems to be that if have had a spell of hospitalisation, then upon discharge there is almost a ready-made package of support which follows once you are at home. But this is not the case for Meg and myself and we are starting to approach social services from a very different angle. My sister is very supportive of me and of course, our circumstances vary but we both struggle to discover why packages of support should be available in one county but not in another. Afer our long and supportive videocall, I tried to activate what I was thought was a live link with the so-called ‘Enablement’ team only to be told that our case was now regarded as ‘closed’ and we should apply to an area social services team. This we did, only to be told that Meg’s falls did not come within their perview so they would refer us on to a ‘Falls Prevention’ team from which we have heard nothing as the afternoon progressed. Eventually, I got back to Worcestershire Association of Carers who I think were a little horrified by all of this buck-passing and promised that they would make a reference for a social needs assessment on our behalf.

I had one thing that worked out well for us today. Now we are using the ‘Music Room’ much more, we have inherited my son’s ex-bedroom TV which works perfectly but is only 13″ across and 8m away. Yesterday, I bought an extension ariel cable of some 15 metres which means that we can view this little telly in a position much closer to our usual chairs and this worked like a dream. We may treat ourselves to a bigger and better TV in this room now that we have the aerial access issue sorted out for ourselves.