I haven’t given an update recently on how things are going with my new army of carers. Much to my surprise, I have to admit that it’s not working out badly. It’s six weeks now that I have had my army of ladies here to wash me, and I have to admit, that I am really enjoying being clean. You don’t realise until someone else helps you, just how much of your body hasn’t had a really good scrub for far too long. It’s all very well letting the water pass over you, but the sensation of a someone giving your back a real good scrub can be totally sublime. I am finding it far easier to be around others as the days have clocked up. I have to admit that the first couple of days, there was a huge amount of bravado. I was flinging my clothes off and acting as though it was perfectly normal to find myself totally naked in front of a stranger. The truth was that I was far from comfortable and quite honestly, I wanted them to just get out of my home. This week, with the temperatures soaring, has meant that I was actually looking forward to the bell ringing and the promise of getting rid of that feeling, that my clothes were stuck to me. Which even I admit is quite a turnaround.
One of the problems of being housebound is that you slowly forget how to act around people. You become set in your ways and a having to allow others to intrude into your world is hard. There is very much a feeling that they are here to upset you, not help you. I guess that is why, for the first six weeks they send in the rehab carers. They normally go out to help those who have just come out of the hospital after a long stay, settle back into normal life. They spend their time trying to make them care for themselves, with all the daily things that people have to do. That can go from cooking to bathing and onwards, just to be sure that they can manage on their own. I too had the rehab carers and I have to admit that I needed them. They coaxed me out of that shell I had built around myself, as I taught them, just what help I needed. On both sides, it is clear that I can’t manage on my own, they aren’t going to be able to teach me any tricks so I could shower alone, as there aren’t any, but they have taught me how to be a human again, and to be not so precious, about what is mine and how I do things. I thought that having strangers around me, was going to be the biggest hurdle, now, well I don’t really mind which one turns up so much, as how much I need to teach them. I still find having to tell people the same thing as I told the one before, really irritating, but I’m learning not to bite.
I have to admit that I found I went through pretty much the same with the district nurses. They have only been here for about three weeks, and yes, they are here for a very different reason, more to help my body, than to help me. I doubt that I will even find it easy to lie down on my bed naked and let them pump in an enema, it’s not exactly the most elegant process and never will be. The fact that they don’t just do the work and leave me lying there, does make it far more bearable. I’m not sure why, but them taking me to the toilet before they go, makes it feel more normal, but it does, as does the fact that they all take their time to chat with me, from when they arrive, until they go. As for the actual results, well that’s not going so well. I did have high hopes at first as each one worked, sometimes not in the way I expected, but my bowels being emptied was always achieved. That was until last week, the last two of them have failed totally. They are due here again tomorrow, which I have to say, I’m quite pleased about.
Just having people here has really changed the way that I feel, and that I act. Simple things like making sure that I am dressed better than I was a few weeks ago, that I have my day organised around their being here, rather than around what I want to do. It changes the way that you think and the way that you feel in ways I wouldn’t have expected. There have been so many changes, most subtle and most that I doubt even Adam has noticed, but I do feel really different about my daily life. One of the things that I have noticed is that I am now eating more. Food has suddenly become something I am actually interested in again. To the point, that last week, Adam and I actually had a meal together, something that we haven’t done for years, others than on special occasions. It doesn’t take a genius to work that one out. With my body no longer blocked up all the time, I actually have somewhere I can put food, rather than it just causing me more and more pain with every mouthful. I hadn’t really made the connection at first, then this weekend, I suddenly found that the food I was preparing, I wasn’t so keen again to eat. Then this morning, I woke again to the feeling I know all too well, there was the pressure right across the top of my abdomen and the pain was building. As I said the connection is clear.
On the whole, I have to say that I am now glad that I asked for help. Sometimes it may take a lot for us to reach out, and I guess what I have learned is that maybe, just maybe we should do so far sooner, rather than putting on the act of “I can deal with anything”, when the truth is, we can’t. It’s all well and good being strong and wanting to hold on tightly to our dignity and our independence, but when the time comes that you know in your heart you need help, you just have to ask, as it is there and they’re not all monsters and demons.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 25/07/2014 – The learning path
My entire body seems to be on fire today, something has triggered a mass eruption of nerve signals. I noticed it within a few minutes of waking up, I had gone through my normal half awake wonder around, going to the loo, fetching a glass of coke and lighting my first cigarette of the day, when bang, the upper third…..