Wednesday, 17 December 2008
I like my blog to be inspirational but I feel that the content of today's blog will actually be quite depressing, I wasn't feeling great when I woke up today due to events that I will come to later but my mood worsened when I picked up yesterday's Herald to read over breakfast. The first few pages were full of stories of horribly anti-social behaviour and it made me wonder quite where our society is at, A blind lady had her white stick robbed from her in Central park resulting in cuts to her face, yet another Plymouth soldier has died in Afghanistan, a local police woman has been found guilty of abusing her position but was only sacked after being suspended for a year on full pay! I could go on but I will get to the main point of today's blog.
Of course the real cause of my sadness is nothing to do with the local news but due to incidents surrounding my grandfather over the last few months. My Grandad is a great man: Flight lieutenant Commander Rowles was an inspiration to me as a child, he was caring yet stern, dignified yet loving and he absolutely worshipped my Nan. A few years ago the family had noticed a deterioration in my Grandads memory which was later guessed to be Alzheimer's. In the last few months the condition has worsened and he has also been diagnosed with prostate and bone cancer. At the age of 85 the last thing I want to see is My lovely Grandad suffering, he has given so much of his life to others, he fought in WW2, brought up a family of 4 and now he can barely cope with eating, walking and talking.
On Sunday, after 4 visits from the paramedics in the same number of days, the decision was made to take him into nursing care for a 3 day assessment to see what could be done. I visited him last night but he barely recognised me. He was sat in small room, alone, there seemed to be very few staff around, a half dressed elderly Lady sat abandoned in the corridor and another elderly gentleman shouted repeatedly from his room seeming just to want to talk to someone. I have many years of experience with elderly care but it is very different when you are visiting a relative and very different when, from my experience, the standards of care have fallen way below what they should be. My Grandad kept asking if he could go to sleep, I went to find a member of staff to see if it was ok for me to put him to bed, I found one nurse who said it was fine so I set about helping him into bed, it felt strange helping my Grandad into his pyjamas in this starnge room that was alien to both him and myself, he seemed confused and upset, he didn't really understand where he was but he was aware that his wife was not with him and that seemed to cause him great distress.
I kissed him good bye but he didn't respond, I left the ward feeling very upset and tearful and wishing that the end of my Grandad's life could be more dignified as he deserves so much more than the condition he is in presently. Elderly care in this country seems to be dying out, I feel appalled by the way we treat the people who have bought us up and looked after us, surely we owe them the same in return. I know that when budgets are cut the elderly and the mental health budgets are always cut first but the standard in place today are simply unacceptable. I am now back off to visit my grandad.