Author Topic: All in a confusing day  (Read 1586 times)

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Doc

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All in a confusing day
« on: March 21, 2007, 12:09:02 PM »


I wrote this one night at work, and it has since been published and used in a Health conference seminar and a few other places.
After looking after these people for 7 years, you tend to understand them.



                          
ALL IN A CONFUSING DAY

by Glen Roberts



It's around 6 am, and I wake in a room which seems familiar, but doesn’t look like my bedroom.

 I can't see Daisy and I can't hear my kids, so I am not sure where I am. I try to get out of bed, but I can’t seem to muster up the strength to be able to do it, these old legs aren't what they used to be.          I can remember they took me through the war in foreign countries, not letting me down whenever I called on them and long strolls with Daisy down at Williamstown Beach.

 Someone's coming. It must be Daisy- she will give me a hand.     As the door opens, it's not Daisy.

 “Who are you ?”  They reply: “Good morning love, it's time to get up for your shower”.

"Shower ? What shower ?  And what's that silly looking chair with a hole in it for ?"

 “We haven’t got time to muck around - I have plenty to do.”

The sheets go back, and there's a cold draught which chills my bones and on come a cold and rushed set of hands and next thing I know I am standing, but I will shower myself. I don’t need your help, all I needed was a kick start - by the way, where's Daisy?

I feel like I am falling now as my bottom hits the cold chair and makes a funny sound, and when I look down I am all wet and I have a bloody nappy on. What is going on? . I am still looking at this nappy as I am whizzed out of the room and into the shower and placed in front of a bar next to the dunny.

“Stand up" I hear, "come on, pull yourself up” and as I get these weary legs into place and do, an even colder draught runs up my body as the nappy is yanked off at a hundred miles an hour and I am sat on the toilet.

“I will be back in ten minutes, so use your bowels”

 Bowls - I don’t like bowls.    It’s a wimp's sport.

Quiet again, except for some noise outside which is muffled through the door and I can't exactly hear what they are saying, but it sounds like people complaining about how someone wet their bed - poor bugger, it must be so embarrassing.     Well, I think I can fix this toilet roll holder while I am sitting here, and maybe I might use this bar to pull myself up and go look for Daisy. Five minutes of struggling, puffing and panting and I am up.

Well, where’s the door ?  It's here somewhere.  Here it is.

 As it opens I hear someone yell: “Where do you think you're going ?"
 " To look for Daisy of course, you silly woman" and in a flash I am sitting again on that bloody funny
chair. As I hear the toilet flush I think to myself "All that time and effort to get up all for nothing."

" JESUS!!" I yelled as the cold water hit my back before I heard: “Sorry - I'll add a bit more hot water”.

"I bloody hope so. What are you trying to do -  freeze me to death ? Anyway, I can do this myself - so stop scrubbing and give that jigger to me, and you can go  your own way, Missy."
 
She talks to me like she knows me and we are close friends, but I wouldn’t have a clue who she is or what she is doing, but my memory is fading. I’ve got it that she is one of those home nurses or a district nurse who used to come and do those dressings on my leg after I had that fall a few days ago.

 But that can't be right as I have only a scar and no sore, I must be a quick healer.

Shampoo in my eyes, rubbed raw with a towel all at a million miles an hour.
I am dressed in my clothes and we're off for a walk.  This nice young lass holds my arm saying: “Careful on the wet floor”.

We enter a large room and it isn’t my house - and who are all these people here ?

 The young girl sits me at the table and  in seconds a bowl of grub arrives. Weetbix with black stuff on top, and a cup of coffee.   I taste the black stuff and spit it out.   It's bloody prunes.    I hate prunes. "What the hell is the idea of putting this crap on my breakfast ?"

 “Eat up”, I hear,“ It's to keep you regular, so don’t you spit them out today, they're good for
you”.

 “Well you eat them -  I hate prunes, so stop putting them on my plate."

 At least my old faithful coffee is here, and tastes like nectar from the gods. And that lady who works behind the counter who made my coffee has a lovely smile.

 There's a lot of hustle and bustle and people walking around and noise, people calling out and a lady reading papers on a big trolley. I wonder if that’s today’s paper. The lady next to me is rude she won’t talk to me or didn’t even respond when I said “hello” - must be having a bad day.

Some people have no manners.

Here comes that lady from the trolley.

 “I have some tablets for you, love” and produces a spoon of white stuff with powder on it.   Well, I’ve been on tablets all my life, so I may as  well take them.
 Daisy must have given them to her for me. It's yogurt, and it ain’t half-bad.

" How about putting that on my Weetbix instead of those ruddy prunes?"

 As I sip my coffee I look around - and the place, it looks familiar but it's not home, it's not my kids' homes, but I can’t put a finger on it.

 Everything feels like new but old at the same time.

I haven’t seen Daisy, and that lady over there isn’t going to cough up the newspaper she’s reading on the trolley, so I will go for a stroll to look for my beloved Daisy.

I eventually get up with the help from the smiling lady who makes great coffee, and with a couple of shaky steps I am on my way. Every door I try is locked, and everywhere I go seems to be in circles -   -but still no Daisy.

The noise gets louder as the day goes on, and there doesn’t seem to be a way out of here until I see a garden in the far corner.  I will try that door, it must be the entrance.

 Outside at last, now where am I, how do I get back to Reservoir ?  Where’s the bus stop ? Or my car ?

 What kind of motel is this ?

Hundreds of questions race through my mind. The fences are all around and I can see down the road, but I can’t get down the road.    For hours it seems like I try to break through this impenetrable barrier with no success.

Whoops -  need a slash and need it fast.     I'll nick into the trees over here, no one will see me - too late.    that's strange - I don’t feel wet but I think I had a pee. Ah well, it doesn’t matter -  everything seems to be fine, so lets crack this fence.

 After more hours or what seemed to be, a young lass starts approaching. I’ll ask her where the exit is. But before I could get out a word she says:”I’ve been looking for you everywhere - it's time for the toilet and a cuppa”.

Well, I don’t know about going to the toilet because I have been, but I sure will have the cuppa and with that she grabbed me by the arm and we were back inside in that same bloody chair I started at this morning. More tablets, more coffee and more food but still no Daisy and still no exit.

Weariness is starting to creep up on me after my morning expedition so I might sit and watch the idiot box for a while. I take a seat on a nice couch and I can hear it but not see without my glasses.  By the
sound of it, I wouldn’t want to watch this tripe anyway.   Jerry Dinger or something full of beeps - rude and no manners, that’s all it is.

I seem to doze off amongst all the noise, chaos and havoc that appears to be going on around me and dream of those days of me and Daisy courting, long walks together, having three beautiful children and watching them grow up through the good times and the bad. I haven’t a worry in the world and I feel so young again, and everything feels so real -  the smell, the touch, the laughter, then bang - all gone.

I am rudely awoken by some one calling: “Dad. Dad, are you awake ?”         Well I am now.

 I recognize this face.    It's one of my children and his wife and kids, I think.

 “How’s the easy life going, Dad ?” he says, and I stop for a minute and ask: “where’s your mother ? I cant find her anywhere.”  He replies: " Mum passed on long ago, Dad, and you're now living here at this nursing home because you couldn’t look after yourself and I couldn’t do it, so we got you a place here after you had your fall."

 The scar.  That’s right.  “How long have I been here” I asked.    “Oh about 6 months, Dad. Come for a walk and I will explain it to you”.      And he did,  but I had the feeling this was the first time he had told me all of this, but he said that he explains it to me each time he comes in, and I seem to forget.

I know my memory's not that good, but surely it can’t be that bad for a man in his late forties like myself.  Well, time seems to fly and they’re about  to leave and my son says: " I've left your smokes at the nurse’s station so you don’t run out."     I didn’t even know I smoked, but I must if he is leaving them for me. I get lots of hugs and kisses from the kids who must be my grandchildren, as they call me “Pa Pa”.
And a kiss from his wife (not a bad sort either).     We walk to the door and he leaves me there and I watch them drive off.    I have finally made it to the front bloody door and I can’t get out - it's locked or something.

 A lovely young thing comes down and grabs me by the arm and says:”Let's go back to the module, honey - it was nice to see your son and the grandkids. You're lucky they come and see you all the time, some people don’t get any visitors at all”.    I feel good hearing this, and next thing I know I am
back at this bloody chair again, but all the girls walking around and making the coffee are different, so I look around to check if I am in the right place, and I am.

 There is that grumpy old lady who won’t speak to me and that confounded woman who won’t shut up yelling. I know it's getting on in the day as things are getting quieter, and there are shadows appearing outside and another young lass  appears.  “I’ve got your tablets”.   But this time I don’t feel like taking them. With a few sweet words, a cup of coffee and a bit of TLC I find myself swallowing these bloody great horse tablets. “Where’s my yogurt ? And what happened to today’s paper, I haven’t read it yet”.
 I just get a strange look, as if they don’t know what I am talking about, and off back to work they go - - well, that’s where I think they go.     More food is served up and it looks OK but the rude lady’s meal looks like crap - green, brown, and orange mush. Glad I'm not eating that.

In the background, I hear the news and I look for my trusty friend Eric Pierce reading it, but it's not him. It's some other character. Must be another channel.

Before long, I see people starting to disappear from the room and I think it's either one of two things:
   1.     Every one's checking out,     or
 
   2.     It’s a conspiracy and neither are probably correct but I can’t help it.

Soon there are only 2 of us left when a young bloke comes up and says:" Come on, old timer. It's time for bed."   As he escorts me to my room and then starts undressing me, I think to myself:"Where are those lovely lasses ? They should be in here helping me do this, not him."

 So amidst all the confusion, and within what seemed like seconds I am on my back where I started out
this morning in that funny but familiar room, and I try to remember what I have done today, but I can’t remember a thing - except for the hurting feeling of not knowing where my beloved Daisy is.







« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 03:42:12 PM by blackf1ng3r »

Offline Dajobo

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2007, 01:14:34 PM »
Nice work Doc.
Should be compulsory reading for everyone with grandparents.

Offline Rybags

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 01:35:49 PM »
Yeah, good story mate.

I've been working doing elderly care type stuff for 2.5 years now, and can relate to some of that also.


Offline Cowgirl

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 07:44:09 PM »
Brilliant story Doc, my Grandmother (who was like my mother) died recently and had been in a nursing home about two years.   She was told that she had dementia and "dropped" off at the home without a clue as to why she was there.  She tried for months to get home, wondered how her pets were, how her lawn was being looked after, how her car was.  I was the only one in two years that took her out of the home to her favourite thing the local show, when we came to go back to the home she wouldnt get out of my car, she said this is not my house, where is my house.  Dear Jesus, I had to explain to a woman who was independant after my grandad died for over 40 years then was told no, no more, you can't do anything yourself and we aren't willing to help you or pay for someone to help you.

I miss that woman every day of my life.

*sorry my soap box*
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 07:45:01 PM by Cowgirl »

Offline Daz

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 09:12:20 PM »
Dont be sorry for those kind of feelings Cowgirl

Good read Doc

Offline Travesty

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 09:36:35 PM »
Very, very nice read Doc.

Cheers for sharing it.

Doc

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 10:13:36 PM »
Quote
Brilliant story Doc, my Grandmother (who was like my mother) died recently and had been in a nursing home about two years.   She was told that she had dementia and "dropped" off at the home without a clue as to why she was there.  She tried for months to get home, wondered how her pets were, how her lawn was being looked after, how her car was.  I was the only one in two years that took her out of the home to her favourite thing the local show, when we came to go back to the home she wouldnt get out of my car, she said this is not my house, where is my house.  Dear Jesus, I had to explain to a woman who was independant after my grandad died for over 40 years then was told no, no more, you can't do anything yourself and we aren't willing to help you or pay for someone to help you.

I miss that woman every day of my life.

*sorry my soap box*
cowgirl
when parent, family or loved ones get to the stage that they require constant care or supervision they need to do whats best for the person and it is puting them into care.
as creul as it sounds , if you have to look after a demented person it is a full time job , the stress breaks familys , causes all kinds of problems for the people careing for them .
But the biggest factor is that they cant provide the care (speciality care ) that is needed and its not there fault , they try.
If you love them you want them to have the best care available , placing them into a nursing home / hostel etc does that and allows you to resume a normal life.
also when the time comes that they are about to leave , nursing homes are well drilled on providing pallative care and make there last days pain free and comfortable.

in summary , if you love them , give them the care they need.

Offline Cowgirl

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 10:45:53 PM »
I'll agree with you on alot of points doc, but alot of our family offered to take grandma (her dementia only got bad, not remembering people etc in the last 6 months) to have her and look after her.  She was her same old self until about 6 months ago.  Yep I agree sometimes it is the best place for them, good people looking after them, but does it replace a family?

I guess this hit me hard and I may just never get over/around it but I really think that those who put their hand up to try should have been give the option to try and win or try and fail FOR HER not for us.

This is my thing, my part in this and sorry to get up on my soap box in your great story which by the way had me in tears.


Doc

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 11:29:44 PM »
thats cool
i work in the industry and i see it everday.
we would all love to be able to take care of our parents, i have seen cases where the person got up during the night and put the electric kettle on the stove and burnt down the house , nearly killing everone.
I have seen familys doing rosters so they have someone awake to supervise them 24 hours a day.
in the start they forget names and faces but it steadily declines from there.
memorys cant be taken away , remember how they were when you were a kid, sitting on there laps , visiting them etc
not the circumstances around there final years, i know its hard but you honour the person and what they mean to your when you do.

pleasant memorys

Doc

Offline MrFriendly

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2007, 01:06:32 PM »
That's some nice writing there Doc.

Reminds me of my grandmother who had very bad dementia. She died when I was 13, but I remember visiting at her nursing home in Bilowela, QLD, and she didn't want to leave the room because she thought the Germans would be outside waiting to shoot. She tried to raise a family and survive in Nazi occupied Holland you see. Although, there was one thing that both my parents and she used to say to me before she had dementia, "You know your Opa (granddad) died a month before you were born, I think he came back as you"

Any way I'm waffling on a bit.

Good work Doc :-)
"I write messages on money its my own form of social protest. A letter printed on paper that no one will destroy. Passed indiscriminately across race, class, and gender lines, and written in the blood that keeps the beast alive. A quiet little hijack

Offline LordDread

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2007, 06:11:11 PM »
That makes for a great read, and an insite im sure :)

Offline spanks

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2007, 04:01:24 PM »
nice read .. i guess the thing to also remember is while dementia is generally a thing of old age, it can affect the younger ppl too :(
mums and stuff


Offline Richo

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Re: All in a confusing day
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2007, 06:17:17 PM »



I enjoyed that read Doc.


It puts a light on dementia I've never seen and its obvious that you have a deep understanding of what it means to poor old people who are struck down by it.


Very sobering, man...

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