Thursday, 22 May 2008

Who Cares?

I've just been assessed again. I'm telling you, I've never had so much attention as I've been getting recently what with Tina the district nurse, the risk assessment, and: now yet another extensive form that seems to have an unhealthy interest in my continence. This time it was a lady from the care agency that's taking over my care whether I like it or not. Our local authority, like most others in the country, is farming out it's home care provision to agencies. The sole reason is, of course, to save money regardless of the impact it has on its clients (as we are now called). In the past we've had agency care and on the whole it has been excellent, but it did have one major drawback; you were very reliant on a single carer. This was because agencies need to take on as many clients as they can to be economically viable therefore each carer is spread as thinly as possible and, in some cases, worked to a point of near exhaustion.


Over the years I've had some fantastic carers. First there was Jill who came when I lived alone and didn't need much personal care. She would go shopping for me and do the laundry and cleaning. She was a lovely lady who would regale me with stories of her husband's search for employment and her own health. She was a martyr to her feet, back, legs, joints and, indeed, almost everything else. She was wonderful and I was very fond of her, She did, however, take against any other women in my life. For a while I was in a relationship with a girl called Roz, a student teacher. Jill,, with out saying a word against her, engaged in a subtle form of warfare with Roz, whom it must said was ready for battle. If Roz did anything that Jill considered her domain, such as dusting or vacuuming, she would sniff dismissively and do the job again. In the kitchen cups and mugs would move bewilderingly between cupboards as each of them sought to establish dominance. When, eventually the relationship ended Jill set her lips in a straight line and said “Pity”, and never mentioned her again. At least I knew where my mugs would be.


When Polly came on the scene she found that winning Jill over was a priority if our relationship was going to go anywhere. Winning my family over was child's play in comparison. She started on a charm offensive, appreciating everything Jill did, seeking advice, and marvelling at how she had put up with me for so long. It worked and before long I was trapped in a pincer movement as they worked together to reform my bachelor ways. Even after we moved out of Jill's work territory( she didn't drive and would only take clients she could walk to), we continued seeing her on and off for years.


And now we are going to have another set of people to get use to and integrate in to our lives. I'm sure they will be very nice, but the truth is I am perfectly happy with the people I have now. They like coming here and we like having them. Change is never easy, especially when it is forced on you from above. And it will take them a while to learn where the mugs go.