Tuesday, 4th June, 2024

[Day 1541]

Today started off as quite an overcast day so it was no surprise to us when the rain hit us a little later in the day. The carers were scheduled for three quarters of an hour after their normal start time and were themselves late so we had to have a quick breakfast before it was time for our trip down the hill to Waitrose. We got there at just about the appointed time to discover that their coffee machines had failed again so all they could offer was tea and cold drinks. Nonetheless, the normal five of us were there to chat and gossip with each other and I think it is true that we all make the effort each Tuesday morning unless the weather is absolutely dire. I consulted with our friends as some of the partners in the store and so I bought a collection of little titbits ready for Thursday afternoon when we anticipate that some of our ex-University of Winchester colleagues will be breaking their journey to the North of England and are popping in to see us. On the journey back we had to cope with some drizzle rather than an absolute downpour but it made the journey not particularly pleasant for the pair of us. As soon as we got in, I prepared a mug of packet chicken soup for the two of us and this helped us to come round a little. I think the worst thing about these rainy conditions is evidently that the wheelchair wheels seem to pick up more grit and kerbside debris and consequently the cleaning process takes so much longer as soon as we get into the house. Meg stays still in the wheelchair and I clean up the wheels with a combination of paper and cloths to try to ensure that our carpets are not dirtied by the transit of the wheelchair wheels. But my contretemps with our GP practice resumed this morning. I had received a text from them suggesting that I contact them. Of course I was No. 9 in the queue when I first telephoned and so it took about a quarter of an hour only to be offered a telephone appointment with a Physician Associate and that not today but tomorrow. I protested about this and asked that a fully qualified GP with the relevant degree of experience of working with patients with advancing dementia be more appropriate. I got the feeling that this request was eventually granted but I felt that I was being ‘punished’ a little and now had to wait for two days to have a telephone consultation with a doctor who has treated Meg in the past. So I have a couple of urgent questions to put to the doctor when I eventually get into contact in two days time, the first of these being the progression and treatment of the DVT and oedema in Meg’s left leg and the second the ongoing saga of the reference to the Wheelchair service where I suspect that we are not already at first base. Today is the day when I receive a sitting service for Meg so that, in theory, I can off and do my Pilates. However today, when the carers came mid morning we had quite a complicated scenario with which we had to face and to cut a long story short, we had to make extensive use of the washing machine and I suspect that the two carers had not managed to handle things very well. But the carer who came along for the sitting session was, as the Spanish say ‘muy simpatica’ and she actually had to be called in to help the other two carers. Eventually, we got some lunch cooked and the sympathetic carer helped to give some food and drink to Meg whilst I ate my own dinner which relieved the strain somewhat. I am always desperately anxious that Meg gets some daytime rest, particularly after we have had some lunch. Meg appeared a little sleepy just before lunch but my efforts to induce post-prandial naps (closing the curtains, playing gentle music whilst I attempt to sit quietly and read the newspaper) all seem doomed to failure these days. But I regard it as a relative success if Meg is not having an anxiety attack and is constantly calling out for attention in these after lunch periods even if actual sleep does elude her.

There is news this afternoon of a massive cyber attack affecting the IT systems of several London major hospitals., It seems that pathology results as well as blood transfusions are the services worst affected. This has led to several major operations being cancelled at almost the last moment and the results of the disruption to pathology services means that certain results may take ‘weeks rather than days’ to resolve. Given the interdependence of multiple hospital IT systems, the severity and impact of these cyber attacks is not to be underestimated. Whilst we are often informed that a cyber attack has taken place, we are not really informed whether this is just the result of individual cyber criminals hoping (but never receiving) any ransom monies or whether there is a more sinister and concerted state action which lies behind these attacks on our infrastructure. Of course the two are not mutually exclusive and it remains that the possibility that rogue states can use ‘freelance’ cyber criminals to do their dirty work for them.

The results of the large and complex opinion YouGov poll giving the Labour Party a bigger majority than even that enjoyed by Tony Blair is sending shock waves through the Tories at the moment. What is particular interest, or concern, is the number of prominent cabinet members (perhaps up to a dozen) who are projected to lose their seats. Even Rishi Sunak himself may have a hard fight on his hands in Richmond, North Yorkshire. Normally Cabinet members are sitting on quite large and safe majorities and if they are having to fight hard to save their own seats, then this makes them less available to lend their support to other MP’s who have a bigger fight on their hands. Also, there is now talk which is probably premature of a Tory ‘wipeout’ and if the scale of defeat is what is being predicted, then some of the political heavyweights of the party are being cut off in their prime. Normally, even if opposition parties are in the ascendancy, then the polls start to narrow somewhat as polling day approaches. But July 4th is still some way off and, if anything, the Tories are losing rather than gaining support at the moment.