Thursday, 9th May, 2024

[Day 1515]

What a very strange day it has turned out to be today and several more hours to go as well. The carers were detailed to show up at 8.00am but by 9.00am nobody had turned up, so an urgent call was made to the care agency to ascertain what might have happened. The care team when they arrived had experienced an emergency in their previous call when they discovered the old lady for whom they were caring on the floor. An ambulance was called for but it took an hour to arrive and hence the massive delay in getting to us. In theory, the care workers should inform their management about delays who should then inform the clients down the line of any delays but the care workers tell us that this communication process never occurs. One would have thought that this was totally unproductive time waiting for the carers but we made the best of a bad job. Meg was pretty sleepy this morning and so slept on quite soundly until the carers themselves actually did arrive. For my part, I busied myself with a much needed cleaning job. We have a fan controlled ventilator in our en-suite bathroom and although my domestic help and I give it a good vacuuming every so often, it appears that spiders like to live in the grooves and eventually self-immolate leaving little black blobs on our en-suite bathroom carpet. So whilst I was waiting, I attacked these with some wet wipes with some hand gel inexplicably providing a good little bit of detergent and with an old toothbrush at hand, ready to be utilised if necessary. I then turned my attention to my (two sets of) black leather slippers I gave a good clean up followed by one of those polishes where you use it with its own built applicator to dispense a thin layer of liquid wax. By the times the carers did arrive, though, I had something to show for my wait, frustrating though it was in other ways. As soon as the carers were arriving, I got a phone call from one of the doctors at the surgery. I think that with the plethora of reports arriving from OTs and physios, the practice might be waking up to the fact that they really did need to be a bit more proactive in looking after Meg. They really needed the results of the blood tests from the samples that Meg gave yesterday. The doctor was somewhat appalled that the antibiotics that had been prescribed were ‘out of stock’ and were going to do some investigating and chasing to see what happened to our drugs. I mentioned this to the carers who knew of several instances of other conditions where much needed drugs seemed to be in very short supply. I suspect that the main culprit here is Brexit because supply chains have been so badly affected. But there seems to be a conspiracy of silence about all of this. But a quick search of the web confirmed my fears. I discovered that drug shortages are a ‘new normal’ in the UK and are being exacerbated by Brexit, a report by the Nuffield Trust health thinktank has warned. A dramatic recent spike in the number of drugs that are unavailable has created serious problems for doctors, pharmacists, the NHS and patients, it found. Mark Dayan, the report’s lead author and the Nuffield Trust’s Brexit programme lead, said: ‘The rise in shortages of vital medicines from rare to commonplace has been a shocking development that few would have expected a decade ago.’The UK has been struggling since last year with major shortages of drugs to treat ADHD, type 2 diabetes and epilepsy. Three ADHD drugs that were in short supply were meant to be back in normal circulation by the end of 2023 but remain hard to obtain. So the doctor concluded his call to me, fuming that Meg had been left without antibiotics for a week (where any condition could have dramatically worsened) and I shall just have to sit tight and see what happens.

We had only just about had our breakfast when he Eucharistic minister called around from our local church. Today was the day when, in theory, we should have been going off to the funeral of Meg’s cousin in Derby. We had already come to the view that our attendance at the funeral would have been impossible but if, by any chance, we would have wanted to attend the funeral this would not now have been possible owing to the delays of the morning. But the Eucharistic minister arrived at just the same time as the funeral service was due to commence in Derby so we managed to incorporate a few elements and reminiscencies of Meg’s cousin in our little service and so that we felt, in our own way, we had done our little bit to give Meg’s cousin some of the send off which she deserved. We had a busy morning because the minister had not long departed before a couple of physios turned up from the community branch. I had previously sent an email asking them to delay their visit to me because i thought they might collide with the other set of physios from the NHS ReAblement team and I did not want to be in a situation where one set of professionals thought they were being short circuited by the other set. But it was not too long before one pair of physios had departed and the second pair arrived to give us some instruction and advice on the Sara Stedy which was delivered yesterday. I must say that this new model looks bulkier but probably better built than the models of which we had experience in the local hospitals and the physios thought so as well. Instruction in the use of the Sara Stedy proved illuminating. The lead physio thought that it would take two care assistants to help Meg use the equipment (wanting to preserve my health but not aways be called upon to help) It took Meg a bit of a struggle the first time but on the second occasion Meg used it, it seemed a tad easier. When the care assistant arrived in the mid afternoon, we managed to use the technology to even better effect so I think we are in a situation where Meg’s brain, muscles and coordination are entering a learning process and she will get better and better at using the equipment as the days go by. I was relieved that Meg had a good sleep this afternoon whilst I managed to get the back lawn cut in a day of beautiful sunshine.