The Care System,
This can not be right.
This story that I am about to share with you is true. I am going to change some of the names to keep identities private.
"Come in Annette," the familiar voice called from the bedroom. "I am just about to get out of bed to prepare my tea".
I glanced through the kitchen door as I passed, dreading, but also knowing what I would see. I had hoped that it would not be so, but alas, the same sight met me from the door. The beloved dog had pe'ed all over the kitchen floor again, causing a free flowing sloppy mess of faeces and pee heading slowly, defiantly towards the washing machine. As usual I stifled a mouthful of vomit, and just walked on past resigned to the fact that I would clean it up later.
Audrey met me at the bedroom door. I noticed how frail she looked, so tiny and vulnerable in her pretty pink pyjamas. Her hair had not been brushed today, and she had her scarf wound snugly around her neck to keep out the cold. The bed would need changing, and I cringed at the sight of the over full commode. It contained two days of human motions, and it smelt like a skunk had been a calling. It was all I could do to hold my breath whilst taking the commode pan to the bathroom to empty.
I noticed Audrey's flushed little face, and couldn't help but think to myself how pretty she must have been in her younger days. He skin was like peaches and cream, smooth and fragrant from the creams that I had rubbed in to her on my last visit, Friday evening. She was so petite, and spoke quietly with a sincere tone as only she knew how.
Audrey made he way very carefully into the small kitchen, and I breathed a sigh of relief that she had decided against sitting in the large kitchen at the rear of the house. Watching her walk with so little strength tore at my heart.
Audrey had been a lady in her time. She had worked very hard to look after her siblings, and had made the sacrifice of her own life for them with such good faith. She married late in life after both her parents had passed away, and all the siblings had grown and married. Never thinking very much about her own welfare, just happy to care for those whom she loved.
I was her main carer, visiting her three times daily, but at weekend her younger siblings where supposed to care for her. I say with tongue in cheek, because no one had been to visit Audrey in my absence.
I woke up this morning feeling very uneasy, I didn't know why, but I knew that I had to pay Audrey a visit. Now I had been and done her shopping in my own time on Friday to make sure the fridge was full of nutritious food. Audrey is a vegetarian, like myself, and I had been sick of catching her eating bread and jam. A habit that she had got into when her husband had passed away.
Rambling around in her huge house, like a pea in a drum, Audrey was such a timid little figure that she was an easy target for the criminals in the area. Nula, the beloved German Shepherd, had the fiercest of barks, but was very old and slow, just like Audrey, and the two of them stuck together like glue.
I was so shocked to realise that Audrey had been left alone for the weekend. No one had called on her, no one had come to make her something to eat, but worse, she had run out of oil and the house was like a fridge. As usual Audrey gave me that pretty little smile that I had grown to love so much, she never complained, in fact her heart was so forgiving that she just commented "Oh they must have been busy".
What is a carer? Please tell me. What is family, for I do not understand that term either, especially when I spend so much time with lovely people who have been left out to dry. Is it so hard to ask for sympathy and understanding? Are we such a Nation of people who are self obsessed with our own lives, that we can not care for the elderly who influenced our own up- bringing so much?
I made Audrey her tea, potato croquettes and roasted root vegetables served with fresh apple juice and a lovely warming mug of tea. I tidied her kitchen, cleaned the bathroom and mopped the kitchen floor. I fed the dog and changed Audrey's bed, leaving the electric blanket on to warm her tiny tired body.I sat and chatted with her, and smiled at the warmth of my reception that she graciously allowed me. And I am the lucky one for being able to share my life with such inspiring people. Please, the next time you meet someone just like Audrey, try to remember that having a bus pass doesn't stop you from travelling.