Wednesday, 27th March, 2024

[Day 1472]

Whilst yesterday was a pretty good day as the first full day at home after discharge from the local hospital, last night did not run quite so smoothly. Meg was awake when I came to bed shortly before 10pm and then was more than a bit fidgety. But then I undertook some remedial measures after which Meg seemed to go to sleep quite soundly whilst I stayed in the far corner of the bedroom using my iPhone and iPad for various little tasks. This morning, I got Meg up, toileted, washed and dressed without much ado although I have to adjust some of my techniques somewhat. This morning is the day of the week when our domestic help calls round but we have not seen her for three whole weeks whilst she was coping with a bereavement within the family. Naturally, we both felt that we had put through an emotional wringer in the last few weeks so we were happy to swap stories and give each other some mutual support. As it is a Wednesday and we are creatures of habit, we decided to call as we usually do each Wednesday into the Methodist Centre. Normally this is very busy each Wednesday but today it was strangely deserted so Meg and I concluded that the normal 'Music and Movement' type of classes had been cancelled this week. We got into conversation with an old lady who herself had memory problems but who had a companion to accompany her who has in a meeting in another part of the premises. The lady who started chatting with us had been the wife of a minister (now sadly departed) and had herself spent some about ten years as a missionary in Lagos, Nigeria. We swapped stories about these types of ventures as Meg's cousin had at one time ministered to a community in Sierra Leone, and even survived a civil war in that part of the world. One thing that we learned today is that the centre is putting on a special afternoon on the third Friday of each month, rather similar to the club we attend on the second Wednesday of each month, so Meg and I will look forward to attending this when we attend the inaugural session towards the end of April.

After a good half hour of chat we get Meg back home and I did appreciate the assistance of our domestic help who helped with the transfer of Meg onto her transport chair and then onwards into our Music Lounge. We lunched on fishcakes and microwaved vegetables which was a quick and easy lunch to prepare. Afterwards, I set Meg down for a doze after lunch which is a habit which I am trying to encourage as I am sure her body probably needs it after a stay in hospital. When I come to think of it, I was hospitalised in the 1970's after I was involved in a bizarre type of road traffic accident in which the driver of a Hillman Imp had fainted at the wheel of his car whilst approaching a T-junction with the result that I and a couple of my students were hit and set flying (almost literally) through the air. When I returned home from an operation on the severed muscles in one leg, I seem to remember sleeping for about a week both during the day and all the way during the night as well. Hospitals, with the best will in the world, can be noisy places and even a sleep can be disturbed by a nursing or healthcare assistant coming round to the 'obs' i.e. blood pressure, temperature and oxygen saturation levels. So this afternoon is proving to be a quiet one and I am looking forward immensely to tomorrow when, all being well, we will be reassessed by the NHS ReAblement team and a care package can be put in place for Meg. So far, we are coping reasonably well with a judicious combination of transports upstairs and downstairs (in effect metal commode chairs on wheels not used as a commode but as a way of whizzing patients from one room to another) and the recently installed stairlift. I think I fully appreciated how necessary this was when the exceptionally good physio nurses based in the community and is classified as the 'Falls' nurse, came round to see Meg and I and to assess our needs. When she witnessed how I was actually hoicking Meg up our staircase at the end of each day she told me that she put her hand over her face with horror as she could not bear to witness us making progress beyond the first one or two steps in a normal flight of stairs.

As so often in times of crisis, one's family rallies around and have been magnificent. My son took upon the task of making me a meal to be stored in the fridge so that when I returned home from hospital every night last week, I had some instant food prepared for me. My daughter-in-law had raided her store of schoolbooks and brought into the hospital a series of books designed to divert Meg and to while away the long hours. Two of the most interesting of these turned out to be 'Scrapbooks' (not literally) but compilations of the foodstuffs, clothes and domestic items available first for the 1950's and then the 1960's. These are fascinating for anybody to look at - the Health Care Assistants in the hospital and our own domestic help loved glancing through the contents. What is amazing to behold is how many of the foodstuffs from even the 1050's are still in the same recognisable packaging, the design of which has not fundamentally altered over seventy years. I suppose the manufacturers must feel that is a product has been chugging along with regular sales over the years, there is instant brand recognition and they might not want to change it in case sales suddenly plummet.For example the design of the packaging for Scott's porage oats and the Heinz range of foodstuffs is practically unaltered.