Jane Reynolds's Weekly Blog – 24th February 2013

“Two steps forward and one step back”.


That’s what it’s felt like over the last week as my father’s condition’s worsened, but each time we think he’s probably about to die he suddenly perks up a little. That’s the ‘One step back’ bit.

The ‘Two steps forward’ bit is two steps nearer to dying he gets with each passing day. He’s gone downhill significantly since last week and can barely talk now. He’s no longer eating, and the District Nurse had to give him an injection yesterday (Sunday) to dry the mucus up that was collecting in his throat and causing him a lot of distress.

He’s confused, and can barely even lift his (baby’s) drinking cup to his mouth without assistance any more, but the worst thing of all – for him – is that he’s in danger of developing a large pressure sore on his back so the nurse has said that he’s got to be kept on his side (and for the carers to turn him over every four hours) from now on.

We’ve had to wedge him in place with rolled up blankets and cushions – as he keeps trying to roll onto his back (understandably). As if that’s not bad enough; when he’s on his left side his hearing aid starts squealing and he can’t get his hand up to adjust it, but he won’t let us do it for him. He’s even forgotten how to adjust his hearing aid, and keeps flicking the switch to the wrong setting so that he loses the tiny bit of hearing he still has.

He also had a little ‘accident’ on Saturday lunchtime. I’d popped out and one of my brothers was ‘on duty’ *daddysitting* when it happened so rang the carers (who’d already been for the lunchtime visit) to see if someone could come and clean him up.

I arrived back just before the carer arrived and (needless to say!) it was me who ended up assisting her (it needs two people and they were only able to spare one to come back to us) in cleaning my dad up, and it’s something I’m very sorry I had to do, as it’s left me with memories I’d never want to have had of my father.

The look on his face (as he lay there naked and soiled) at having his daughter see him like that was extremely upsetting for me, but someone had to do it …

And since then:

So. As I sit down to start writing this at 11.00 on Monday morning, he’s sound asleep downstairs. My shift starts at 2.00 today. He’s on high-dose pain relieving patches now, and we ‘top him up’ with extra liquid medication as and when he needs it.

I thought he looked gaunt last week, but his cheeks and eyes are now so sunken that it’s hard to even recognise him as our father any more. With no food in his system he’s getting weaker by the hour, and we’re bracing ourselves for the end now.

I’d never have believed it would be so time-consuming though. The constant stream of carers, nurses and callers to the house (combined with the washing, cleaning and generally keeping on top of the detritus caused by a house full of people) takes almost every moment of my time when I’m not doing my ‘shifts’, so even checking Twitter or answering my emails etc is proving tough!

My ‘to do’ list is getting longer by the day (or it would be if I had time to write one), and I’m still more than a week behind on EastEnders, but that’s probably just because I find it so hard to have to sit through without either Tanya, Zainab or Janine in it and am just psychologically ‘putting it off’!

EricEmmerdale and Coronation Street’s brilliant comedy writing and one-liners continue to keep me smiling (and even laughing out loud), but EastEnders is just so dire it’s hard to endure when you’re already feeling pretty down. Hats off to Patsy Palmer though. She’s so convincing as Bianca, but her currrent struggles are hardly a barrel of laughs, are they?

I can’t not mention Corrie’s Gloria’s new beau Eric, though. Roy Cropper’s dad, or WHAT? (If I had the time I’d have put a photo of Roy up too, but you can hopefully see the resemblance without it!)

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away …

After having to unexpectedly help clean my dad up on Saturday lunchtime I was so overwhelmed that I knew I just had to get out of the house for a bit, so made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go and watch Swindon Town’s home game against Preston North End.

It was 2.15 pm by that time and I was going to walk there, but the carer’s next call was near to the County Ground so she offered to give me a lift so I quickly put a pair of thermal tights under my trousers, grabbed my woolly hat and gloves and before I had time to change my mind I was there!

I’d stuffed a Twenty and a Five Pound note plus a couple of pound coins into my pocket as I left, and quickly popped into the little newsagent across the road from the ground to treat myself to a little bar of chocolate for half time. It was all going swimmingly, and as I queued for a ticket I felt so proud of myself for doing something so spontaneous and ‘out of the box’.

As I came to pay I realised that my Twenty Pound note was missing from my pocket. I’d never just shove notes into the outside pocket of a coat normally, and guessed that as I’d put my hand in to get a coin out to pay for my chocolate it must have fallen out.

I raced back to the shop and asked if it had been handed in (knowing full-well that there wasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of that), and when they said that it hadn’t I retraced my steps again – desperately searching for the money – but to no avail.

By this time I was feeling overwhelmed as the emotion of what I’d just had to do for my dad and the stress of it all just hit me. Tears started to well up in my eyes, and after asking a Policeman (and the various programme sellers etc that were milling around) I realised sadly that I’d just have to go home.

As I stood there in despair – considering my options – my eyes rested on a bit of paper on the floor by an overflowing bin. It was about an inch square, and as I looked I realised it was MONEY! As I picked it up and unfolded it, it turned out to be a Ten Pound note with a Five Pound note inside.

I immediately felt torn between guilt and sympathy for the poor person who’d (like me) at some point realise they’d dropped it, and astonishment at my incredible good fortune to have found exactly the right amount I needed to get in to see the game. It felt like The Universe’s way of letting me know how important it was for me to get totally away from everything for a couple of hours, and so I handed over my Twenty Pounds in a sort-of daze.

Although I’d missed the start by that point, I watched the match and it was SO good to be able to jump up and down a bit and have a little cheer when we scored. It was absolutely FREEZING though (and I was like a block of ice by half time), but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and will definitely go again now. It’s a shame we only drew, but you can’t have it all, can you?!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a bird – well, birds!

IMG_1594I’d told you about the birds at Mr and Mrs S’s last week (scroll down if you want to know more). Well, when I went to do my office cleaning there at 6.00 this morning, as I went to take the rubbish over to the bins they were all right there at the side of me!

It was amazing to see them there, and they didn’t even run off when they saw me so I rushed back into the office to get my phone so that I could take a photo of them. I still don’t know what they are though!

No Soapy Corners again this week I’m afraid, but I’m ‘champing at the bit’ and will be tapping away again just as soon as I’m able.

I won’t be doing my ‘Soapy Spot’ on Alastair Greener’s Big Mid-morning show on Thursday again this week either, or my live Wednesday night Soapy Show on Tellyspy (it’s a bit hard to talk about Soaps when you haven’t actually watched them!) but I’ll hopefully be doing my TGI Friday show with Paul Dawkins from 4.00-5.00 pm on Friday on Swindon 1055.com.

PS ‘Jane’s Soapy Corners’ have gone digital. Simply download the Podcasts App onto your iPhone or iPad then search for Tellyspy and all the previous editions are on there.

Thanks for reading. Have a good week everyone.

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