Saturday, 4th May, 2024

[Day 1510]

Today has been a day of mixed fortunes, as we shall see. After our carers had turned up this morning and we had got Meg up, washed, dressed and safely downstairs but it was evident that Meg was exceptionally wobbly this morning and certainly could not stand unaided. It was quite a nice, bright day today and I contemplated whether it would be possible to get down to Waitrose to meet up with our friends, as we typically do on Saturday mornings. I had decided on a ‘Plan A’ to see if it was at all possible to get Meg into the car unaided but if proved not to be possible, I also thought of a ‘Plan B’ which was to forget about the car altogether and just walk Meg down the hill (and evidently back again) in her normal transit wheelchair that we keep permanently in the boot of the car. But I just about managed to get Meg into the car this morning, half an hour earlier than would have been normal to give me time to walk Meg down the hill if necessary. When I last went shopping, I had called in at one of our local supermarkets to access their ATMs and discovered, to my disappointment, that both of the ATMs were empty of cash. I suspect that the imminence of the Bank Holiday next Monday meant that must have been a sudden surge of people accessing the ATMs to get cash out before the holiday weekend and hence there being empty. So this morning, I called in on the Asda carpark in sight of their ATM and hoped that they still had some cash left which it had and so I was relieved to get out my weekly cash. I then called in at a nearby garage to make sure that I was well and truly topped up, also picking up a copy of ‘The Times’ and so I progressed onto Waitrose where my efforts to get Meg out of the car were only partially successful. My attempt to get Meg out of the car resulted in Meg slithering down so that she was half seated upon the sill of the car. In some desperation, I called for the help of passing strangers and a very obliging young (and strong) young man came to my assistance and helped me to get Meg onto her chair. When we got into the cafeteria, the place was absolutely teeming but I managed to secure the one remaining table. By the time I had purchased our coffees, the space had cleared somewhat and so I pushed two tables together (as is my wont) and then there was space not only for Meg and myself but our three friends who had just shown up. One of them had observed my efforts to get into her wheelchair so to some extent was informed about how things were but, as is usual on a Saturday, we enjoyed each other’s company for at least three quarters of an hour. Now it was time for us to leave and I had to contemplate the journey back home. When I got to the vicinity of the car, it was pretty evident to me that Meg could not stand unaided so I just stood and waited until a relatively fit middle aged couple were passing by and I called upon them for assistance. So between us we got Meg into the car and now all I had to do was to get Meg home. I called in to see if our friends down the road happened to be in but they were not so I progressed home wondering how I was going to cope at the other end. I called on our next door neighbour who happened to be in and, between us, we got Meg into her transit chair and thence inside the house and so into her usual armchair. Reflecting upon these experiences (i.e.only one of the four transfers had been possible without any assistance either from complete strangers or from neighbour) I have to come to the view that I cannot repeat the experiences of this morning. So I either resort to my ‘Plan B’ which is to push Meg all the way in her without using the car (which I might do tomorrow if the weather continues to be fine) or to only use the car if I can be assured that I have assistance at each end of the journey.

When I got home, I started to think about lunch for today and I had previously got some mackerel fillets ready to be prepared into a salad. This I did and shortly after 1.00pm, it was ready for lunch and I tried to transfer Meg from her armchair to her transit chair. But despite three attempts, Meg could not straighten her legs or stand up even with more assistance and so my attempts to get onto a chair failed and she finished up slithering to the floor. I had to call the ‘Falls Response’ team but they were already out on another job. So I suspected that meg would have a wait of over an hour on the floor and it turned out to be a wait of an hour and a half. At the scheduled term, a care worker turned up only to find Meg on the floor but fortunately the Falls Response turned up shortly afterwards. They used their technology (an inflatable device) to get Meg upright and then left, leaving Meg and I to the care worker. We made Meg comfortable and then the carer left, leaving me to console Meg with some tea and chocolate biscuits. Later on in the day Meg spent another hour and a half on the floor but after the Falls Response team had left, the carer and myself got Meg straight to bed.

Whilst all of this has been going on, we have the results of the mayoral elections trickling through. The London boroughs were being announced section by section and although the London electorate has been described as a doughnut (whiter, more affluent and Tory voting suburbs but ethnic minority,Labour supporting areas in the inner city) But as the afternoon progresses it transpired that there was a fairly consistent swing of over 3% from Conservative to Labour and therefore it was quite evident that Sadiq Kahn was going to win a third term as London Mayor by a fair but not overwhelming margin. The really critical result is going to be Andy Street and the West Midlands result which is about as knife edge as it is possible to be. Most of the opinion polls have given Andy Street a lead of about 1% but the result may be so tight that we might be getting into recount territory.