“Hope things are ok Mr Mans Wife, things are very quiet on here at the mo. Hope things are going good”Slurry, thank you for your concern for our welfare due to my lack of posts recently; I really appreciate it. Sorry for not updating my blog sooner.
Slurry from Surrey
I hope you don’t mind but I have decided to write my reply as a post in case others have been wondering why things have been so quiet on here recently as well.
Things have been ticking along quite nicely, thank you for asking. No major upsets (until last night, which I will come to shortly), but although Mr Mans concentration has improved greatly since changing the Risperdal to Abilify, his anxiety has worsened, so as usual it’s a balancing act, getting used to coping with a different set of problems. He was a great help to me while my own symptoms were bad though, and his confidence in cooking microwave dinners is growing!
I did start writing a post to follow on from where I last left off, just after Mr Mans first hospital admission, but I kind of got “stuck”. Obviously it’s not “writers block” in the traditional sense of the word as I don’t need a great deal of imagination to simply retell real life events, but I struggle in other ways. Although I have received the compliment of having my writing described as being “eloquent” I really feel that my amateur efforts don't always do our experiences justice, and I struggle to know how to even put my own feelings into words. I also struggle to know what to include and what to leave out, and to remember the order of events. Hopefully I’ll get back to finishing that post soon though.
In the mean time I telephoned Mr Mans respite home this weekend to book him in for a couple of nights in March…
Some time last year we received a letter explaining that due to cutbacks Mr Mans respite home may be closing. I’ve been expecting to receive another letter to confirm whether this is to be the case or not, but have heard nothing. Last week I bumped into a lady in town who I know uses the same respite home, and she told me that it is to stay open, although some services have changed. I was relieved. However, when I phoned this weekend to book Mr Man a bed for a couple of nights, it was only after I specifically asked how things would change for Mr Man that I was told that each person is now only allowed to have two respite breaks a year, instead of the previous three. (This is where I start to struggle with being eloquent)
Before Mr Mans first stay at the respite home he was assessed, and it was decided that he could only stay for a maximum of three nights in a row. He didn’t often stay for the maximum stay allowed, only perhaps in the summer, and the other two breaks he would stay for one or two nights while I got away for a couple of days. As I’ve said previously, I don’t actually need a break from Mr Man, but everyone needs a break away from home and the realities of life now and again. Mr Man wouldn’t be able to cope with coming with me on a holiday, so my only choice is to leave him in respite while I get away. We’re talking about maybe six nights in a whole year, broken up into three mini breaks. Now I can only have two mini breaks a year.
The thing is though, it’s not like I even ever have an actual holiday. I use those respite breaks to be able to go to religious conventions and assemblies three times a year, which are very important to me, so I spend each day concentrating on the program, and then by evening I’m exhausted. Still, it’s a change of scenery and I wouldn’t miss a convention just to go and picnic on a British beach somewhere (and lets face it, there’s no time for me to actually leave the country and come back again), but I do wish I could have a proper holiday sometimes. This particular time in March I was planning to visit some places of interest on one day, and go to the assembly the next, and that is the closest I was going to get to a holiday for the first time since 2003.
I cancelled the two nights I had just booked, and when I put the phone down I started to cry. Mr Man feels so guilty, but I tried to explain to him that it’s not his fault; he can’t help it.
As well as the obvious disappointment I’m angry that they didn’t write to me to let me know what was happening. I asked the brainless Jim about this (that dozy bloke who is supposed to be Mr Mans care worker in the respite home), and he said to me: “Well because [Mr Man] is doing so well, we thought it best not to phone because it’s not always a good thing to remind people that they’re in need of services”.
Oh really? Well don’t worry about that mate; we still have the memory of Mr Mans two month long relapse after being left alone for two nights* to remind us that he is still in need of services. And weren’t you the one who said that Mr Mans respite breaks are for my benefit, so that I can get a break? Didn't you think I needed to know that these services were being reduced? And when exactly was the last time I had a carers assessment to see if my needs are being met? And who exactly told you that Mr Man was doing “so well”? Mark, Mr Mans CPN, the eternal optimist who thinks everything is fine as long as Mr Man hasn’t chopped his own head off, and who hasn’t actually seen Mr Man since November? How the hell would he know how Mr Man is doing? Mr Man gave up telling him how he feels months ago.
Still, he really hasn’t chopped off his own head, has he? So I suppose things really are fine. Or maybe it's just because the government has his axe at the moment.
*Due to lack of beds in the respite home, Mr Man had to stay at home on his own for two nights while I went into hospital for an operation in August.