I knew it would happen and now it has. We have started having evening care. So far it's only for two evenings a week, Mondays and Fridays. The whole 'going to bed' process is taking longer and longer and we both agreed that Polly needed at least a couple of nights off a week. (Polly has just looked over my shoulder as I write this and said that I make it sound as if she's going out clubbing on those nights. She doesn't of course, she goes out binge drinking.) (Oh, all right then – it's because she now has to help me go to the loo and adjust my feet on the wheelchair footplates umpteen times a day, gets woken two or three times a night to move my head, legs or shoulder, and make cups of very strong coffee on demand.)
I have resisted evening care up until now, not because I don't appreciate the help, but because the carers can arrive at any time and I don't want to go to bed at half past seven. After some negotiation the care providers have agreed to let me stay up like a big boy until at least nine o'clock so long as I don't want a bedtime story.
Last night two carers duly arrived post nine o'clock eager to help. We all agreed that rather than wait for me to make the laborious and time consuming transfer to the lavatory by myself they would use the hoist. Now it may come as a surprise but I have never been hoisted on to the loo before. So after some moaning about the type of sling that was used, we were under way. As my trousers were removed and I was lifted, semi-naked, by two strange women I muttered my mantra “Dignity, at all times dignity.” Unfortunately when you are aiming to be hoisted on to a toilet accuracy is important. It took several attempts and I began to feel as if I were partaking in a truly bizarre version of The Golden Shot. Bernie, the bolt, please.
Getting in to bed proved every bit as difficult. Some how the sling wasn't placed properly and as I was raised up into the air my naked bottom began to slip out and I was left dangling precariously as the carers frantically pressed buttons on the hoist remote control causing me to swing like a mooning trapeze artist. Dignity, always dignity.