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lateral flow test

so now I can visit my Husband!!!

only 30 minutes booked in advance, preceded by a lateral flow test a 30 minute wait for the result and completion of a long form on my phone giviing details of when ,where and why it was done, where I live how old I am etcetc…….when the test result shows negative I can visit.

Then I am asked to don ppe mask gloves and foot covers and am escorted to his room!

My dear Husband of 61 years doesn’t know who I am anymore………it is so long since he has seen me…He is cheerful and asks if I would like a cup of tea. We look at pictures of our family.

He smiles at some of them….thinks a picture of himself is his brother…doesn’t recognise his sons and daughter. I share videos on my phone of our great grandson…that makes him smile too.

I find some of his favourite songs or pieces of music on youtube. He tells me this is good.

We don’t really have a conversation…..it is good to be with him but very sad.

I have lost him.

snow birds

In 2004 my Husband retired and I whisked him off to New Zealand for 21 days We met some wonderful people who were generous friendly and very welcoming. We toured North and south island seeing many beautiful sights.

It was early in the year so we escaped the low temperatures and lowering grey skies that characterise January and February here.

The following few years we escaped again to Madeira and Tenerife and finally we went to Florida for a month either February or March. This is where we met up with some wonderful ‘Snow Birds’ and also linked up with some we already knew through educational exchanges.

We stayed in an Arty ‘Village’ called Gulfport a few miles from St Petersburg (Yes in Florida across from Tampa)One day whilst taking a bus ride we met up with a couple who turned out to be friendly Canadians from New Brunswick who travel south every Winter to escape the snow.

They invited us to join them for coffee and it turned out that they were musicians! One a fiddler the other a guitarist with a great interest in Irish Music which went down well with my Husband who was also a musician who played piano accordion!!

Throughout our stay they invited us to join several Social gatherings with lots of their friends who were also ‘Snowbirds’ There was plenty of music and lots of wonderful food all home made as everyone was staying in rented property ‘home from home’….something which they do year on year and generally for three or four months!!.

We also met up for a meal and walks with the couple I knew from my teaching days when we had a Canadian Headteacher on exchange in my school.

Our last visit to Florida was in 2013 and on reflection I recall aspects of my Husband’s behaviour which were signs of things not being quite right with him. Reluctance to join in activities with large groups of people was one and it is only with hindsight that I recognise the signs of what was to come.

Our last escape from the winter days was to Dubai in 2014 but we stayed with family and there were no problems evident!!

Ferries crossing Dubai Creek

2015 sadly saw my Husband diagnosed with Alzheimers. No more long haul trips and only short breaks became the order of the day.

Heart matters

being aware that i need to exercise and watch my weight I am trying to be disciplined and do a you tube Walk a mile for Heart health.

My iphone has an app on it for Health but I have no idea how it works. It is not glued to my person all day long…in fact sometimes I have problems finding it!! I put it down in one room then wander off to do a job and forget where I left it.

I remembered I had a step counter somewhere so that is now hooked onto my waistband.

It is a sunny morning here and I went out and did a bit of gardening, really just to have something in the gardening refuse bin to make it worth emptying next week!! then I decided to go to the greengrocer and the chemist, both of which are just a couple of hundred yards up the road. With a mask on I dodged folk coming towards me crossing the road to ‘stay safe’ and keeping my distance in the queue outside the greengrocer. I noticed that fruit I bought on New years Eve had jumped in price over the w/e!! 26pence up in fact!!!

I remarked that I might have to give up my life of luxury!!!

There is a very clear notice outside the shop….only Three customers at a time inside…..I wonder can everyone see it or read it as many fail to observe it!! Even though I have had my first dose of the Vaccine I am wary of being with other people!!

OOPS…I have just remembered I made my self a coffee..better go and get it before it is cold!!

Do these ramblings count in the Just jot it challenge?

Alone in lockdown

So it,s my great grandson’s first birthday tomorrow …I text his Mum asking what were her plans for the day…………………………………….NO REPLY

I thought that my grand children were probably glued to their mobiles and I would get a prompt reply.

I suppose it depends who is texting them as to what priority is given ……….I get the impression I am quite a long way down in the pecking order as this often happens with this particular grand daughter.

I tried again an hour or so later……still silence. Then I begin to worry..could something be wrong, is the Babe unwell?

I decide to call her Mum who I guess will probably be with her…Yes they are out for a walk together………………….They never think to ask if I would like to join them….I am minutes away in the car!!!

Finally I get a reply to my initial enquiry…………..They have plans to go out as Daddy has the day off to help celebrate this big landmark….Perhaps I could pop in before 9.30!!!!!

I agree and say I will be there at 9am but this is quickly followed with news that the venue they plan to visit has time slots between 9 and 11am so could I go later.

By now I am becoming weary and stressed……..with no one to chat with I mull it all over and begin to feel as if I am heading for the bottom of the pit.

Another matter raises it’s head…a light bulb has blown and needs replacing. I find a spare but wonder if I dare do the job myself. I am not in anyone’s bubble so can’t have anyone in the house!!!(LOCKDOWN rules)

Daughter says don’t climb a ladder……..she can’t come as her husband has had to self isolate so she has to be careful. Heigh ho!!!

I think I will retreat into something on Netflix and knit whilst doing so…………………….

I know I am not alone in lacking company but it is not easy….What’sapp, Facebook, Zoom and phone calls do’t cut it.

Tears

so today was Alzheimers Awareness day….in the morning post was a handwritten envelope with a local postmark. Curious ,I opened it carefully to discover a small blue heart with a blue ribbon and a label attached. On the label was a short poem

A heart for you with love I send How I wish this virus would end.

We’ll soon be through the other side With Clayburn Court as our guide

My fingerprint is in this heart to keep us close while we’re apart.

Well……..Tears welled up as I read these words.

After 4 months of lockdown, in Mid August we could go to visit our loved one albeit only in the garden but now we are back to square one as there has been a suspected case of the dreaded Virus.

Thanks to the internet I can see what is happening at Clayburn and I know they are doing wonderful things to keep the residents well and happy,but it is not the same as seeing them in person.

Whilst eating my meal this evening ,listening to the radio, what should be played but Fontine’s beautiful song ‘I dreamed a dream’..once again tears were in my eyes.The words were so telling and could be applied in part to our situation.

All those years of working and raising a family and looking forward to a time when we could enjoy retirement were gone and we only had 15 years when we could relax together when it all crumbled with the onset of Alzheimers. Now after 61 yers of being together we are separated

Launde Abbey

This Abbay was once an Augustinian Priory founded in the late 1100’s.

It is set in a beautiful valley in the Northants countryside, surrounded by wooded hills with a vast flock of sheep wandering at will all around the hills at the front of the building.

It became a renovated Tudor Mansion as it fell into the hands of Thomas Cromwell when he was engaged in the dissolution of Monasteries. He apparently was very taken at the sight if it as he approached from the top of the hill. Many people today are awed by the sight of the building from the same viewpoint.

However Cromwell never got to live there as he was executed in 1540 but his son Gareth inherited it and lived there with his wife for about 10 years.

It then changed hands several times until finally in the 1950’s it was given to the Diocese of Leicester and became a Retreat House. It was renovated at this time in order to be able to offer accommodation of a high standard.

Having spent months in Lockdown and sheilding due to my Heart Condition and separated from my Husband of 61 years as he now lives in Care with Dementia I have been in desperate need of a change of scenery so I booked myself a weekend at Launde, hoping I might meet like minded people with whom to chat about anything and everything.

In spite of the crippling rules due to Covid 19 they have managed to reopen to visitors and offer a calm and friendly atmosphere. There are quiet lounges comfortable bedrooms, a quiet Garden a woodland walk, excellent meals and a beautiful Chapel which is the only remaining part of the Priory.

Meal times were a chance to chat and we were all ‘socially distanced’ with table service. Several of the guests were regular visitors, others were enjoying Respite from Caring for a family member.

It was great to wander in the grounds and also to venture onto the surrounding countryside. There are some amazingly ancient trees and lovely flowers still in full bloom. The weather was really kind too.

They have Tea rooms which are open and during the weekend many family groups, walkers and cyclists came and went. The surrounding fields were dotted with picnickers enjoying the late Summer sun

On my return home I was eager to share my experience and drove to my daughter’s home on the way. My grand daughter, her partner and 10 month old son were there.

It was disappointing that no one was really interested in hearing about Launde hence my need to share here.

I enjoyed my stay there and feel refreshed after the quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the village.

Silence

Sometimes silence can be deafening!

Here I am in my 80th year, the eldest child in a family of six children. I like company I am gregarious I am not used to being alone. married for 61 years.Life was full of fun companionship and noise..love and laughter

3 years ago whilst caring for my Husband who was living with Dementia I was looking for tranquility!

Now I have it, as he is no longer in my care,  but thanks to Covid 19 I hate it. I cannot visit him. I cannot visit Family unless they are local to me. I miss my activities and friends I shared them with.

Books  (my local Library delivered a bagful ) and Tv are the only outlet and sadly the TV seems to have an awful lot of rubbish  and lots of repeats. The books have been a boon and I am almost finished a third one in 2 weeks!

. Browsing Netflix offers very little that I have not already seen or stuff full of violence or pornography……not entertainment in my view.

I apologise for the negativity..this is my only outlet ……If I chat with neighbours I have to show a positive face..and it’s mostly current affairs. If I chat with family it is to enquire about them. I don’t feel I can open up to them.

I have lots of days when I feel very low…I know I shouldn’t for I am fairly fit and healthy and lack for nothing………………

Now I am doubting whether I should publish this at all…………………….

Alone isolated abandoned!

at various times on different days I feel all of the above  at other times I am ok.

Sometimes I just feel lonely, yearning for conversation and at other times I am ok with quietness.

Some days the phone does not ring at all, the postman does not come, even the milkman has let me down once or twice. Sitting down to my evening meal alone… That is when I feel isolated.

No one invites me to join them……..I invite myself…..this is when I feel abandoned.

I have never felt this way in my whole life up until now. this terrible pandemic is taking it’s toll on me.

When it comes to looking for distraction via the TV most evenings I draw a blank.

It seems there are only repeats, reruns or just absolute rubbish. Even looking at iplayer or Netflix offers very little in the way of good entertainment that I haven’t seen before.

Oh dear how negative this is!!!

But there is ZOOM!!  Table talk on Saturday morning, study group on Wednesday evening, Quiz nights with various groups Choir practice on Friday and the occasional Whatsapp!  However…..seeing folk on a computer screen is not the same as real Human contact…………….how long will it be before we can relax in the company of friends and family again?

 

Lockdown

March 23rd I went into ‘lockdown’!

No letter to tell me I needed to be sheilded yet BHF posted in one of their emails that anyone suffering with Angina and who had had an Angioplasty might be more at risk from the Corona  virus.

Having just got into a routine of visiting my Husband in Care the fact that I could no longer visit him was a blow.

Then began the constant worry of the care Home being a dangerous place as much of the news was focussing on the number of deaths occuring in them!

John ‘s behaviour began to be challenging for the staff….another source of worry.

And all the time I had to keep up the appearance of being fine..yes I have plenty to do..no I am ok…..and the days were longer and the lack of conversation and socialising with others were taking their toll.

Fortunately Staff at the Care home were pro-active and sought help for John and after consultation with other professionals a medication was prescribed. After being on it for three weeks he is a different person….Joining in activities, eating well, having conversations with staff and making jokes…it is wonderful to hear.

We tried skyping previously without much success but now he will engage, if only for a few minutes, and recognises me!!!

The Care home have a Facebook portal now so they post things regularly and it is good to see John looking so well.

Good news too was the fact that all residents and staff were tested for the Virus and proved negative. They were retested again this week with the same result

Meanwhile I am very lonely and missing family terribly. Especially as I am seeing them getting together and enjoying the new babies..I am beginning to feel rather left out.

OK there is Whatsapp and zoom but it is not the same. Now the restrictions are being lifted but I cannot join anyone’s ‘bubble’ nor has anyone asked me to join theirs!

All my activities were suspended from the outset and it looks as though it will be ages before they can be resumed as they involve large groups.I stand at my front room window and watch the world go by.I want for nothing but conversation and company!

When I ventured out after 10 weeks I was extremely nervous. I went to post a letter and called into the local greengrocer who has kindly been delivering to me up until now.

Luckily I have a garden to potter in and that was good when the weather was fine. I am not one for watching TV in the daytime and find it hard to find anything worth watching anyway.

I had to put these thoughts down……my head was bursting with them and I know I am not alone in this situation but that is not much comfort.It looks as though I must learn to be content with zoom gatherings and Facetime calls for a bit longer.

 

 

Being needed

I guess I have experienced being needed almost all my life.

As the eldest child in a growing family I was needed to help my Mother

I recall the jobs that were assigned to me and I never questioned being expected to do them.

in time I would accompany my brother and sister to school before making my way to my my own school….I honestly don’t remember going to collect them!!!

Later in life , married and bringing up my own family I knew the responsibility and knew that I was needed by my children in many ways. As the years went by and they grew and flew the nest felt empty but I suppose the fact that I was now working with other peoples children helped to compensate.

Grand children came along and in a small way I was needed again to help and advise and spend time with them. Now they too are grown and are having children of their own!

in later life came the shock of having to care full time for a loved one who was slowly drifting away due to Dementia. I was certainly needed almost 24/7 although he may not have realised that he needed me to be there.

Sadly now I feel I am not needed at all living alone as my loved one needed more care than I could continue to give and lives in Care. I know he is safe and well cared for but I still feel bad about him being there. These thoughts and the loneliness are a heavy burden to bear.

I have family and friends I know and plenty of activities but sometimes even among them I am lonely. My deepest thoughts and feelings cannot be laid bare.

How many people are there out there with the same feelings? We are social beings and not meant to be alone.