Tribute to a Patient

As usual I will protect patient confidentiality with anonymity. I found out today that a former patient I used to care for in the community, Mrs M, has passed away. She spent most of her life in a wheelchair having developed Multiple Sclerosis early on, even swallowing became difficult and she required Gabapentin among her large list of prescriptions. On top of that she had another undisclosed terminal illness diagnosed the Spring before her death.

The only control she had left over her life was through directing others, the Carers (which was my former role). There was no two ways of doing things, she ensured things were done just so, and was frustrated when they weren’t. But this frustration was not really at us, it was at her condition, at the debilitation that prevented her from doing anything, and we all admired what a strong woman she was. She never complained about the hand she was dealt in life, she never broke down or shied away in sadness. Perhaps behind closed doors when the radio was her only company.

I remember the day room, we would Continue reading

Life as a Care Giver

Auguste Deter. Alois Alzheimer's patient in No...

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Firstly, I haven’t been doing this long. But I spent the past few months completing my training, with certificates in First Aid, Health & Safety, Movement & Handling etc. Then I began my mentoring, so I am still not “flying solo”, but I learn from watching/helping the people whom have been carers for much longer.

Today I felt choked up, it was my first time at Mrs Anonymous’s house (Patient confidentiality of course). She has Multiple Sclerosis, and paralysis on one side, meaning she is wheelchair bound and can only use one arm. Not to mention the fact she is 90-something years old, with severe arthritis that curls her toes and fingers into gnarled roots. The discomfort she is constantly in is little eased by medications and prescription creams.

She lives completely alone, with no pets. Pays for her own care, rather than accepting benefits, so perhaps she had a wealthy past. The radio is her friend once we serve her meal and say goodbye, leaving a cup of Earl Grey in the microwave for her like she instructs. She is meticulous, extremely specific in what she wants, even where you place her hairbrush, because this is the only control or power she has left. It’s heartbreaking. Reminds me of my grandmother somewhat, which was the main reason I wanted to do senior care, except my grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and this lady, Mrs Anonymous, seems mentally sharp despite the M.S. But isn’t that the worst part? To be mentally alert but trapped in a crippled body, like a butterfly with broken wings.

Why am I writing this post? I guess I just wanted to give you a glimpse into what caring is really about, and would ask anyone whose grandparents are still alive, to please visit them, take care of them. No one should have to be alone like Mrs Anonymous.