Friday, February 15, 2008

Mindless Thoughtless

I didn’t tell you about going to Kent two weekends ago did I? I took Mr B to see my Great Uncle Derek and Great Aunty Pat in Maidstone. When you go and visit them its not like your normal trip to see family with a lovely catch up and lovely Sunday roast. We had a lovely Sunday roast and catch up but Derek wasn’t there, he is in a home, he has Alzheimer’s.

Great Uncle Derek is like a second Granddad to me. He is eleven years older than my Gran yet they had the closest bond, like me and my ten year old sister I guess. He spent so much time with us in my childhood and also made me unable to drink Whiskey but that is a very long story. We would go on walking holidays in the summer, him memorising Sherlock Homes tales to keep me entertained on the ten mile days of Offa’s Dyke or the Dales Way. He even carried on walking after he slipped and broke his wrist so he could tell me tales.

Now he sits in a chair chewing on plates, putting his cardigan on his head like a scarf, looking at you with unseeing eyes and saying ‘I miss my mummy’, a Mum that he doesn’t even know has passed away. He doesn’t even know that Bong has died. He is in his own little world and it’s heartbreaking, not for him, but for all of us that see him like that, all of those with the memories we ant share with him. There are some lovely people in the home, characters you would like to write about, yes the book is on the way. Gladys who thinks she is the Queen. Jean 1 who sings nursery rhymes and wants a cuddle, Jean 2 who likes crayons and yet wants to be sent to bed – she has to wear a crash helmet as she has tantrums and hits her head on doors. There’s Doris who screams ‘are you going to kill me?’, Bob who tells all the nurses they are sluts one moment and that he loves them the next. Several who just sit and stare. There’s two women who I really feel for. One has just got depression but cant live on her own for the danger that she does to herself and her guests, nothing wrong with her other than that and she sits in what is like a film set of madness. The other who has very early dementia and whose family flew off to New Zealand leaving her to sit read her newspapers and every so often glance at her future, what is to come.

The nurses are wonderful and they don’t get paid enough believe you me. They comfort, they cook, feed, and they clean. The thing is they don’t ‘know’ these people. Aunty Pat and I were discussing this, the families should do biographies on their relatives lives so that the nurses have more insight into who they were or what some of their ramblings might be. For example Uncle Derek says ‘bang, bang, bang and you drop them there’ he used to navigate where bombs were dropped in the war. To someone else that would mean nothing.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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