Double edged sword has always struck me as an odd expression. I am not a knight; King Charles take note. If I were, I guess sword fighting is no longer common. Mind you, at school I did do fencing. The amount of gardens I could enclose in an afternoon was outstanding… of course I don’t mean that kind of fencing. En Garde! Parry, lunge, riposte, feint, it was all second nature to me. After all, I did get my bronze certificate in fencing. They don’t give that out for nothing… oh they do. Swimming, fencing and English were the only subjects I enjoyed at school.
Where was I? A double edged sword. Care, what on earth has that got to do with fencing? My mind would make a fascinating study for someone doing psychology, so if you are studying…
Back to the subject at hand, Care, it is a ‘double edged sword.’ That’s what I was thinking. Then I thought, ‘aren’t all swords double edged?’ What do I know about swords and then I remembered I used to fence. You see, there is logic in there.
Right, care is a double edged sword. Are we all agreed? I haven’t even explained myself yet. How can you agree? OK, here we go, hang onto your seats. Buckle up, we are off on an adventure, or at least an idea or two.
When you need care and it is supplied. That is if you are able to find carers in these days of an underfunded and under paid care sector. When carers are as rare as hens teeth. But that’s another blog subject. When you do get carers you have a whole new… I was about to start singing ‘a whole new world,’ but I resisted, I bet you’re relieved. You have a whole new problem. I am not suggesting that the carers are a problem. Mind you, in the 9 years I have had care, they have not all been perfect. That’s me being kind. There have been a few issues. Let’s ignore that for now and look at the majority of carers who are brilliant. We will forget about the lady who turned up to do my care on a mobility buggy, then hobbled in with crutches! She stood there, both hands holding her up with crutches and asked, ‘what do you want me to do first?’ Answers on a postcard. Best to forget that. I obviously have no issue with disability, but we are slightly limited in the physical things we can do. So those of us severely limited ourselves, don’t make the best carers. Back to the subject at hand.
So, the good carers, walk in the door, unhindered. Having parked a car, not a mobility buggy, outside. Then it starts, or rather, it ends. You see, before you have care everything is different. If, like me, you have a partner, they may well be doing a lot, or all your care. That is really hard work for them. One of the main reasons for outside care, if you have complex needs, is to give your partner a break. As a couple, you get settled into a routine. You can get ready as and when you want. No one disrupts that routine. Whereas a carer has a set time to arrive and go. They come in, get you ready and leave. Things are worse if they arrive early or late.
The routine, or lack of it, that you have had, ends when care starts. Things change, which they probably need to. But that’s why it’s a double edged sword. Help and support is needed. Disruption to a routine is hard to adapt to. A new person in your house is difficult to get used to. Routines change and everything is turned on its head.
A new person in your home can feel like an invasion. Much as they are there to support and help, they are also unknown at first. Imagine a complete stranger coming into your house and starting to help you with intimate and personal things. Within a very short space of time they are doing things that most people would struggle to cope with. Who was the last person that wiped your bottom? Have you ever had anyone help you with washing and dressing?
OK, I have given you a glimpse at one side of the sword, the negative. Now the other, the positive. Having a good regular carer, that you get to know, is life changing. They can be so helpful, caring and supportive. In the past, down in Somerset, we had a group of carers who were brilliant. Now that we are in Hartlepool, we are setting things back up again. It can work really well with the right people.
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