Tuesday, 12th March, 2024

[Day 1457]

Today was one of those days with more than its fair share of frustrations but days like this come along every so often. The two car workers turned up almost on cue although one was a little delayed but when she arrived helped me with some bed making. We knew that after breakfast a couple of OTs (Occupational Therapists) were due to show up at about 10.30 and for this reason, we had forewarned our Waitrose friends that we would not be able to see them for coffee this morning. Of the two OTs who came long this morning, one was a 'Falls' specialist nurse and the other an occupational therapist. As always, they tried to be super helpful and brought along a piece of kit which may prove its worth in the days and weeks ahead. This was called a 'handling belt' and you put it on the patient much as weight-lifters put on special belts to ensure that the vertebrae in their backs do not 'pop out'. This belt has some special handles around the sides and the concept is that you have more points of contact if assisting a very frail person (which is what Meg is these days) The two OTs and myself made a trip into the bedroom so that we could discuss how Meg is to be handled getting her out of bed and into the en-suite shower room and then back again once washed and dressed. They also brought along a special little sheet which may help to get Meg into the right position once she is finally settled into bed. Coming downstairs we hd some discussion as whether the armchair that Meg sits in is suitable - on the one hand it is superbly comfortable but tends to slope backwards and is a little difficult to get out of. From my point of view, this is fine as if Meg gets out of a chair on her own, she tends to stagger and then fall and I am left to pick up the pieces, as it were. So I was just saying to them that whereas Meg tended to fall about once a day, this frequency had ben reduced recently so Meg's lack of mobility has a type of bonus. Needless to say, I spoke too soon because Meg has had three falls today and we are not near the end of the day yet. After the OTs had left, I received a telephone call from the representative of a stairlift company who had been scheduled to come along some time in the late afternoon but had had a cancellation and wondered if he could squeeze me in some time just after 12.00pm. So this visit came and went and the representative was a non-nonsense ex-footballer with whom I struck up a rapport. He assured me there would be no hard selling as that is the last thing in the world that I wanted or needed so I am left with a quote wondering whether the somewhat higher price than competitors might be worth it in the long run for the extra quality. I have another two options still to be explored. One of the OTs mentioned to me a family firm in Droitwich which I contacted and got a good response from one of the owners. He is going to fit me in on Thursday morning on his way to a much bigger installation job in this part of the world so that will give me another option to consider. Finally, there is a firm located on a trading estate in Bromsgrove which I located to more sure it was 'findable' when Meg and I were coming back from Droitwich yesterday so that provides me with a third supplier whose quotes I can then assess. I have been told by two sources that if you were to wait for the local authority to perhaps install a stair lift there would be a wait of 18 months and given that the need is immediate then perhaps I will not even bother to explore this. However, I did have a contact at Age Concern that I am trying to contact (although she is process of handing over her role to another volunteer) which might be able to access some funds to help defray the cost. I am coming to the view, also, that social services have been completely hollowed out by the present government who have totally denuded the social services budgets at a time when demand is going through the roof. Today, I tried to contact social services through their Worcestershire hub and was in a queue of 10 and told that if I did not get a reply within 45 minutes, I should try again tomorrow (when the result will be the same) I then managed to locate the area team responsible for Bromsgrove but after waiting for about 15 minutes received a curt message to say that no-one was available to take my call and the call was terminated. I got the same result when I tried again about an hour later. I mentioned this to the OTs who said they even though they sent through urgent requests to social services via email, this too failed to elicit a response.

Tomorrow, Meg and I have an event to which we can both look forward. Age Concern runs a special cafe for people in the same category as Meg and we meet on the second Wednesday of every month. Tomorrow we are going to be treated to the 'Midlands Sinfonia' which is probably a group of musicians of quartet or quintet size who will probably play us some well known classical favourites. But it is is always good to listen to a live performance so I am sure that whatever is played, Meg and I will derive some enjoyment from it tomorrow morning.