Ok I know I have to get up, Mrs H is waiting for her breakfast to be taken up to her at exactly 7am
I have twenty minutes, stiffly I make my way downstairs, first stop to empty the now full bladder which, when its feeling a tad mischievous will wake me in the middle of the night, last night however it behaved and allowed me an uninterrupted seven and a half hours sleep.
Next stop the kitchen, today since the fan element is not working on the oven its matzo’s so no need for the wait for the oven to heat up to warm the croissant, it’s going to be Tuesday before the guy comes to fit the new heater element in the oven.
I get the small flowery tray and put it on the worktop, I slide open the tall narrow cupboard beside the oven and take out a blue and white mug for coffee and three glasses, only two glasses go on the tray, the third I will take up separately for water.
Moving towards the back door I go to the drawer and get a knife, a flat squarish one that is easier for spreading with and two teaspoons. The drawer under the cutlery drawer is where I find the plate to put the matzo on. This matzo will be spread with manuka honey and eaten without breaking it up (the matzo’s are about 5 inches square)
Next I go to the fridge and take out a small bottle of tonic water, this will be emptied into one of the glasses on the tray, a can of ensure goes into the other glass after it has been shaken well.
Also coming out of the fridge is the jar of manuka honey, a very expensive honey with fantastic healing properties being one of its benefits, and a prune fruit layer activia yoghurt.
The yoghurt……..a separate bowl is required and a small spoon as most of the yoghurt needs to be taken out of the pot and only a very small amount left on top of the prune layer at the bottom of the pot. This yoghurt is yours to eat as it would be a sin to throw it away.
So what’s left to put on the tray…………….ahh the matzo…its in the cupboard above the draining board in a tall rectangular tin, take the lid off and inside there is a plastic bag, inside which are the matzo’s . everything must go into a plastic bag , two reasons, 1/ it keeps the food fresher 2/ it keeps smells in so that they don’t contaminate other foods with their smells.
Coffee………there are two round tins where the number 5 strength coffee filters are kept, one is placed on top of the blue and white mug. The hot water is poured into the filter as soon as the kettle has boiled but only immediately prior to taking upstairs. Also the level of water must be about quarter of an inch below the line on the filter, Mrs H likes her coffee strong.
Ok we are ready to take the tray upstairs………..but 5 minutes ago I took up an empty glass and a fresh bottle of water and took away the ones from beside the bed, over to the pill trolley and breakfast time pills…..only 2 just now, they go in the margarine tub with the pill cutter , they will be cut and ready by the time I come back up with the tray.
Pills …these are a bit of a bugbear since Mrs H cannot swallow them, hence the pill cutter. The pills are then put into various foods at the different times,
Breakfast pills are mixed in with the prune fruit layer and little bit of yoghurt --
Lunchtime pills are mixed with the mashed banana--
Teatime pills are mixed with ice cream--
Hopefully the daily mail has arrived by the time I take the tray up, if not I do get the added benefit of an extra trip up the stairs to take it as soon as it arrives. It contains the most important part of the day…the crossword……
I go back downstairs and have my coffee while perusing over yesterdays paper…well I did till this morning when I decided to do something constructive and write about my day…..this is a tester ….I would love to write a book………..no not because if you are really, really good you can make loads of money but as a challenge….everyone needs a challenge in life….most days I make my challenge to beat other peoples high scores on games on face book…..the internet connection is not too good here and it can be so frustrating when you have just got a brilliant score and you lose the connection………end of game, score not recorded…..damn….
I need to learn how to make people read what I am writing the way it is going through my head…I do therefore need to brush up on my punctuations etc…see what I mean I sometimes just cant think of the word I need …its there …locked away in my head …I did know it once …honest.. But the etc doesn’t really work too well in a story does it…
I first got the idea of writing a semi true story about me when I was on holiday in Sri Lanka…what a holiday that was …it would have made a really good holiday read…problem was I would have to pretend it was fiction !!!! Especially if people read it that knew me.
Looking back I wish I had made notes, my memory has never been good, the tsunami struck three weeks after we left ….you know what ..one day I just might write that story (fiction of course!!)
A quick look at my watch tells me its 7.30 and I am getting carried away here …stop….get back to “work” I need to go and get the tray …..all the matzo eaten, yoghurt pot empty, coffee mug empty……and yes …brilliant ….I love it when she needs my brain to finish the crossword…I take the tray down and tidy up before going back to help with the crossword, ok its only three clues that are still missing but it is nice to be needed for ones intellect occasionally. First two clues I get straight away but the third is a bit annoying , it’s one of those clues that you know you should know but it wont appear at the front of the brain, its hiding somewhere…..I go down again and have a plate of special k cereal, two bowls a day for two weeks they claim and you should lose a dress size !! Well the proof is in the pudding and I have done it for almost a week now. I head for the shower…..ahh this has to be the best shower I have ever stood in …I miss it when I go other places….its like needles firing at you and massaging your skin …bliss….I could stand here for ages but unfortunately I can only have 5 or 10 minutes ….
I go back upstairs and get dressed and dry my hair …omg I need to lose weight , my clothes are too tight , I have put on so much weight this year.
Its Friday so I need to wear something decent, Friday is Marks and Spencers day at the meadows in Camberley.
Mrs H goes through to her bathroom to wash and then gets dressed…..I go and tidy up in her bedroom and give the quilt a good shake.
Back downstairs I am cleaning round in the kitchen when Mrs H comes down to get her blueberries out of the freezer to have for dessert, the small white bowl is sitting waiting for her to put them in with a small white plate on top, a large spoon standing by to be assaulted with the bright red juices from the blueberries. She tells me she has got the answer to the last clue in the crossword, but I have to go upstairs to see the answer…..I know ….I need to go up and down the stairs as much as possible, I need the exercise! The answer was so obvious…who said they are only easy if you know the answer?
Its 9.25am and I need to go to the garage and get the wheelchair out, I take it round to the front door and leave it, being superstitious I have to go all the way back round the house to go back in the door I came out of! Silly , I know.
Mrs H is downstairs putting the ice blocks in the freezer bag, when putting frozen items in the freezer bag they must first go in a plastic bag, even the ice blocks!
Time to get Mrs H in her carriage, the minibus leaves at 9.45am, but its only a small push slightly uphill to where Mr S stops the bus, 100 metres if that. Positioning the wheelchair at right angles to the steps of the minibus I put the brakes on and lift the foot rests, Mrs H climbs aboard and greets her fellow passengers Mrs V, Mrs J and Mr B. A latecomer Mr R appears and jumps in the front, well okay he didn’t actually jump in the front , I should have said climbed. I love listening to the conversations between them all, I find them interesting, what with Mrs V and Mrs J both saying why they hadn’t had any children and Mr R talking to Mr S about the W’s! The fifteen minute journey flies by and we are at the meadows, everybody out except for Mr R who continues on to Camberley town centre. Mr R is a new resident and a lot younger than the average here and is very friendly to everyone, he seems to enjoy a joke and a laugh and always lifts the spirits of those on the minibus.
First stop a trolley that fits in front of the wheelchair, then its off into Marks and Spencers, my favourite shop. Mind you I have to walk past all the clothes because our mission is food. I remember the first time I went to Marks with Mrs H, it felt like the biggest M+S I had been in, I just wanted to spend time wandering through the aisles of Per Una and Portfolio, the classic ranges and the lingerie, I was in heaven! Naturally since that day I have been there many, many times and spent ..well to put it mildly …rather a lot! Right….back to the food…..today it was staple things like figs, watercress, bananas, blueberries and olives. No ready meals today, the freezer is full. The staff in M+S are very friendly and some of them make a point of talking to Mrs H, they remember her even if she doesn’t remember them.
So we get through the checkout and wander very slowly through the store to get to Tesco.
Today we have some money off coupons from the daily mail……so lets see how much we have to buy to save some money!!!!!!
Yes we can stock up with toilet roll and save a pound, toothpaste and tenna ladies all save money, over to the dairy section, yoghurt mmmmm I love yoghurt, we get enough to make sure we get a discount….ice cream, yes we get money off that as well…the trolley is getting overloaded, but never mind, we are saving money! Tonic water , used for the purpose of stopping cramps, it says on the label “quinine” eh “I don’t think I will have this one its got quinine in it” well… is that not why you are drinking it?
Well todays shopping was very uneventful and we are finished by 11.15am, we have half an hour to wait till Mr S is back with the minibus, lets head back towards M+S, outside they have lots of furniture reduced, lovely soft brown leather settee, reduced by a hundred pounds, now only £699, I sit in it and think I am nearly touching the ground, will I manage to get back up out of it? Now that is a question! Might look good but it was not very comfy, mind you I didn’t try lying on it to see if it was good for falling asleep on in the evening ( yes ok not just the evening!) having said that , anyone who knows me will say I can sleep anytime anywhere! it’s the snoring that is the giveaway sign!! Believe me if I am sleeping you will hear me!!! I tried another couple of settees but was not impressed with any of them so we made our way over to the seats where the bus stops. Mr S was early and we were the only ones waiting when he arrived, the others arrived very soon after. Mrs V had forgotten to buy her soup so had to go back which made her later but no one was worried as we were all on board by the 11.45am pick up time. We headed off to Camberley to pick up Mr R then home via the doctors for Mr S to collect prescriptions. Today though he was taking one back and not collecting any,
Back to Mytchett and first thing to do when we get in is get the ice cream into the freezer, chilled foods into the fridge and other items put away, I can then put the wheelchair back in the garage, there is of course a story about the wheelchair!
This is only used since Mrs H had her stroke back in march and she doesn’t feel confidant enough to walk outside the house with her frame, at first we borrowed the wheelchair belonging to the courtyard but it was needed by someone else as well, so instead of sharing the aforementioned chair she wanted her own ….mmm one little problem… she didn’t want to buy one….
Lunch …this happens normally at 12 noon…the exceptions being Wednesday if a trip to waitrose or Camberley is made and always on a Friday, therefore it is now 12.30pm and I am preparing the tray for lunch. It has been known that a certain other person always has the tray ready! But not me, so …this time it is the larger brown tray, we have in the top left the white bowl with the blueberries patiently waiting the addition of some lovely haagen dazs vanilla ice cream, below that in the bottom left corner a similar white bowl that will have a small fairtrade banana mashed up in it, if you remember this is for the lunchtime pills to be disguised in. Okay the cutlery is on the right hand side consisting of a large dessert spoon for the blueberries and ice cream, a small teaspoon for the mashed banana, a small teaspoon for stirring the dispersible aspirin and today since it is soup, a soupspoon. An empty glass at the top of the tray is going to accommodate the dispersible aspirin and a small plastic measure is for the lactulose. Again since it is soup today there is no bag of watercress, which bears the name of the grower and the country it was grown in, so the only other thing on the tray is the bowl for the soup, well it would be if it wasn’t sitting in the sink with hot water in it to heat it up a bit, I was told one day that the food was cold when she got it so now the plate or bowl sits in the sink with hot water to make sure the food stays warm longer. In the winter when the storage heaters are on, the plate can be placed on one to warm.
How to prepare a tin of mushroom and rice soup….open tin , empty into bowl, put in microwave, stir, sieve the contents into another bowl, pour the remains from the sieve into Mrs H’s bowl and add a couple of spoonfuls of the liquid, serve.
Five minutes before taking tray up, another trip upstairs must be made to put the relevant pills into the margarine tub with cutter, this ensures that the pills are ready to be put in the mashed banana when the tray is presented, otherwise the pills will be cut while the soup is getting cold! Did you understand that ? Ok good.
Right, now I can have my lunch……this is normally the same as Mrs H but obviously more of it and with some additions, I am after all twice her weight and hopefully that means I am allowed twice as much!!!
Half an hour later I go back upstairs and collect the remains of lunch… I say remains because there is normally some left on the plate but today all the soup has gone, all the banana has gone and all the blueberries and ice cream…gone.
From now till two o clock I either check my emails…play games on face book or read the paper…….but as you already know, today is different because I am writing this!
Two o’clock till four o’clock…..this is my official time off……I can now be either healthy and go for a walk or silly and go to the shops and spend money. When I have been here before with no car at my disposal I have been very good and gone for long walks along the Basingstoke canal, if you go right from here you end up at Frimley Green after about twenty five minutes walking at my fast pace. It would be a lovely walk if one could guarantee not meeting people with dogs off the lead, I am unfortunate in that I have a phobia about dogs and my heart starts pounding if I see one off the lead, pity I cant get my heart pounding any other time!! The fear of what I could come face to face with takes away the joy of walking along the picturesque canal bank. From Frimley Green I would walk back along the road which takes another twenty five to thirty minutes, so all in all it’s a good bit of exercise. The benefits can be wasted of course when one buys big bars of chocolate on the way back. In June there were lots of ducklings and signets, so there was always something to watch as one walked along.
My problem is that my favourite hobby beckons when I have a car here. Yes you guessed…shopping….retail therapy has always been a winner with me, I have just realised that I haven’t bought a pair of shoes this month, oops!! I have however bought a very large Buddha, a tent, a flat screen TV, ten wall sconces, a picnic basket, two picnic rugs, two throws, six plastic wine glasses, two garden loungers, a new mini laptop, bookcases , rugs , computer chairs, curtains and blinds…. ok I know you aren’t interested in everything I have bought so I wont tell you about all the clothes!!! That would fill another page and would be boring for you and maybe make me feel a tad guilty if I saw it all in black and white …I did buy a lot of the things for my grandchildren though, so it’s not all for me, me, me.
Lots of patience is required by the carer and the ability to respect the fact you are invading someone's space.
Could you be a carer? or are you a carer?