Friday, 10th May, 2024

[Day 1516]

At last, we are getting a taste of summer as the temperature gauge rises and I look forward to a day without visitors as such but nonetheless one of which I hope we can make the best. This morning as we were waiting for the carers, Meg seemed particularly sleepy as she was yesterday but whether this is transient or a sign of a deeper malaise I cannot say. We had two of our usual carers this morning who are always cheerful and pleasant to be with and they jollied Meg along and got her ready to face the day. I had the carers place Meg into the wheelchair we have been holding in reserve (although we did lend it out for a while) and I was happy that we would push Meg down to Waitrose in it, the mainly downhill journey being generally quite easy. Within Waitrose, we did not see any of our usual quite close friends but have a chat with a friend of a friend, as it were. There is also a very friendly young assistant (partner in the Waitrose terminology) who knows us well so between us we surveyed the range of cakes that they had in stock. Tomorrow is the store’s seventh birthday as well as being my own. I would like to claim that I am the store’s oldest customer but have to admit am only the second oldest customer as, on the opening day seven years ago, I got edged into second place by a rather pushy young woman. One of our acquaintances in the store today was also present on the opening day and she told us an amusing story. She had received particularly good service with her drinks and comestibles served to her by a very pleasant and obliging young man. She took him on one side and asked him if she could be introduced to the young man’s manager so that she commend his courteous attention throughout the morning. But she got a response that she was not expecting as the ‘young’ man informed her that he actually was the manager. A bunch of really lovely roses was pushed (gratis) into our hands by one of the long serving staff and then we made a few purchases before eventually starting the journey back home. On the way back, we espied one of our friends who we have not seen for a week or so busy in her garden and commiserated with her over the loss of a string of mature conifers that had been planted around the boundary. It transpired that the roots of these trees might have extended so far they threatened some subsidence in the house itself, so they had to go. I imagined that she would be heartbroken but she told me that she had never really like them from the day they moved into the property and was actually glad to see them go. Her husband was heartbroken, however, which I could well understand being a ‘tree’ man myself. Several minutes into our conversation we were joined by another neighbour who we both know well. This gentleman limped into our presence with a happy support above and below the knee on one leg and he really explained that his gammy knee needed immediate replacement but there was no way it was going to get done with the NHS in its present plight. So he had provided with some heavy strapping and, in effect, learn to live with it or undergo an operation privately where I think the figure of £15,000 might have been mentioned. We were also told another appalling story by the same gentleman who had experienced pains in his chest on night. He was taken to one of the local hospitals who then sent him on to another who then sent him onto a third. Eventually, though, the bed was needed by somebody else so a taxi was summoned to take him at 3.00am in the morning. All of these horror stories just add to the feeling that the whole of our social fabric is crumbling around us. To make matters worse, our two friends mentioned ‘the boat people’ and were quick to make a connection (encouraged by some politicians) between the arrival of economic migrants and/or asylum seekers and the hollowed out state of our public services. We made our excuses and started back up the hill not wanting to get involved in political arguments with friends.

We had only been home for about two minutes when one of the carers that we had in the morning came round for her scheduled, late morning visit. There should have been two carers but the agency had asked me if I could lend a hand as they having staffing/scheduling difficulties. As always I was happy to oblige but Sod’s law took over in that right on the middle of a manoeuvre getting Meg onto the Sara Stedy contraption, one of the doctors from the local practice phoned up (something tells me that something is being flagged up as requiring attention) Like the doctor yesterday, he was appalled that the prescribed antibiotic were ‘out of stock’ because it is quite possible that a slight infection of a few days ago might now be raging for absence of medication. So he was going to prescribe some much stronger antibiotics (about which I am privately a bit worried about the sequelae) and he was going to try to get them into the surgery and to bring them along himself later in the afternoon or early evening. He also started to review some of Meg’s blood results that are just getting onto the system and was evidently worried that some of the inflammation markers were high and was opining that Meg might need a hospital visit for some more detailed blood analysis and perhaps drip-feed antibiotics. I strongly resisted this suggestion that Meg visit hospital after our last visit when Meg was declared medically fit within the day and then it took eight days to get her out of the system ago. The doctor started to mention ‘Advance Directives’ and ‘DNR’ forms which has made me wonder whether the doctors in the practice have a lot of worries about Meg about which they are not being completely frank. At the moment, Meg is in a fairly deep post-prandial sleep which may, or may not, be a good thing and in a few minutes time we are expecting another of the scheduled visits that Meg is now receiving in the middle of the afternoon and a ‘double carer’ call at that as the physio had recommended that Meg’s body strength was such that it might take two carers to get her using the Sara Stedy rather than just one. I must admit I am trying to stay positive at the moment but some waves of pessimism are starting to sweep over me, I must be frank.