Wednesday, 15th May, 2024

[Day 1521]

I try to keep optimistic but the day has not got off to the best of starts this morning and things are certainly not looking any better. The first thing I discovered by reading my emails in the middle of the night is that the planned visit of the social worker is not now going to take place. The social worker’s email indicated that Meg was still under the aegis of the NHS ReAblement team and therefore not the responsibility of Worcs. County Council. Although I thought they had handed Meg back to the care agency, this might only have been on an agency basis and Meg had not been formerly handed back to Worcs CC. So the planned review visit for today has been cancelled to be at some unscheduled time in the future. The next misfortune was that the oedema in Meg’s leg had now spread up all the way up one leg as far as her groin which meant that one leg was all puffy and swollen. This led to a phone call to the doctor which is evidently these days only a request for a telephone consultation. Her information to me was that this is not an uncommon syndrome but when it occurred, the course of actions was blood thinners on the one hand (which Meg is now on, in case of a clot) followed by an UltraSound scan which is due to take place in one of the local hospitals tomorrow. If the Doppler scan reveals a clot then the blood thinners continue but otherwise other strategies are adopted to cope with the oedema. The carers had a real struggle with Meg this morning and we have to attempt to wash, toilet and dress Meg ‘in situ’ on the bed and then transfer her somehow onto her transit chair to get her downstairs. The carers had evidently submitted adverse reports back to their manager who was urgently trying to push OT for a hoist to protect the health of his own workers. I am not sure but I believe that an instruction might have been issued that Meg has to be ‘card for’ in bed tomorrow and, perhaps, might have to remain there until a hoist is procured – which could possibly take weeks. Taking the three of us, we somehow got Meg downstairs and into her favourite armchair but it is taking three carers altogether to do this as Meg is such a dead weight and cannot even stand, even if supported by a frame. I am trying to think of imaginative solutions to this problem of getting Meg out of bed but if there were a simple solution, I would have thought of it by now. This morning, there was no question of taking Meg anywhere but we had a call from the Eucharistic minister which was a bit of welcome relief (and to be honest I had forgotten about with the traumas of the morning) Then the District Nurse called around and assessed Meg’s leg and came with some helpful creams but her hands are a little tied until we get the results of the investigation in the hospital tomorrow (and I am hopeful that they are able to tell us on the spot) Then the carers called around in the late morning and the struggles that we had to get onto the Sara Stedy had to be seen to be believed. One carer and myself were trying to hold Meg upright even though she kept dropping whilst the third was attending to Meg’s tilting. At the end of our session, all three of us (but not Meg) were absolutely exhausted and I shudder to think what reports are being fed back to the office. At one stage, one of the carers was going to phone the office to say that with Meg being unable to stand, any care was impossible but after a rest and Meg collaborating a little more, we managed to get the Sara Stedy into operation and Meg just about seen to but it was a massive struggle. In the late morning, I get a call from an OT person evidently responding to urgent calls from the care agency who feel they cannot cope. The OT was trying to elicit information on the phone when what is needed is an actual visit and an assessment on the spot and then a range of options discussed. One thing that may have happen is that part of our lounge to be cleared and formed into a sort of hospital area with a bed and a hoist. What I am unclear about at the moment is whether the assumption is that I get a bed downstairs and set it up (which is going to be a massive struggle) or whether the OT service will extend as far as a hospital bed and in which case, who is responsible for the payment for this? So the next few days are going to be incredibly uncertain. I am rather dreading the two carers calling around late this afternoon as I do not look forward to a repeat of this morning’s experience. Of course, Sod’s Law is in operation today and Meg seems quite perky and totally disinclined to sleep which I am sure that she needs but there we are. I managed to get a miniscule amount of food into her but her appetite is so suppressed that I doubt that I got more than ten fork bulls of dinner inside her. But she claims not to be hungry or indeed thirsty.

There are not many Brexit related stories around these days but we are still impacted by it. Sky News reports that an IT systems failures at the UK border have caused major delays to fresh food shipments from the EU, with importers complaining of chaos at the busiest border post as lorries were delayed by more than 24 hours. A key software system crashed at the weekend, leaving shipments of meat, cheese, fresh food and flowers being held for long periods as paperwork was processed by hand.The system failure comes just two weeks after the introduction of new processes the government promised would be ‘world-leading’. It also looks as though the Northern Ireland agreement (‘The Windsor Agreement’) may threaten the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda – those who are smart, may now try to get themselves to Northern Ireland where attempts to deport them will fall foul of the Courts there. On a more personal level, it looks as though some of the pharmaceutical supplies that were prescribed for Meg (a standard penicillin) were out of stock because of Brexit related disruptions to European supply chains.