Monday, 2 June 2008

High Anxiety

I am not by nature a person who finds life stressful. I am easy going and not inclined to worry unduly about things I can do nothing about. This, given my circumstances, may well be considered a positive trait. So if I tell you that today I am very stressed you will understand that I probably have good reason to be. This morning I had my first glimpse of the new agency that will be taking over my home care. I'm trying to be charitable here, but it was not shall we say, encouraging.

We were being visited by the agency manual handling expert who was coming to observe me getting up and being hoisted, showered and dressed. This was the third attempt, the two previous appointments having been cancelled at short notice, and I was looking forward to meeting members of the experienced and professional team who will soon be integrated in to my life. Two of my regular carers were already here when they arrived and Polly had dashed back from the school run. Soon all five were stood over me in the bedroom. I was introduced to a woman in extremely high heels and a girl, young enough to be my daughter, whom I was told would be coming into me four times a week. The girl gave me a shy smile and that was the last eye contact I had with her for the rest of the visit.

Jerry and Carol went into the familiar routine of getting me up and into the wheelchair. High Heels and Shy Girl looked on as Jerry gave a running commentary explaining exactly what they were doing. Usually copious notes are taken on such occasions. In this case High Heels made a note on the back of her hand in Biro. I made my way to the bathroom and, mercifully, was left to transfer to the loo alone. A little while later I called out that I was ready and Jerry and Carol came in to fit the sling to the hoist. They were half way through when we all began to wonder where the 'observers` were. Carol went to get them. I heard Shy Girl say, “I suppose I'd better see what I'm going to have to do.”

Shy Girl and High Heels sauntered and tottered in to the bathroom and watched as I was flown, Peter Pan like, from the toilet to the shower seat. High Heels made another note on the back of her hand and then she and Shy Girl left. And that was it. Carol and Jerry dared not look at each other or at me. They have always had reservations about the handover and are protective of their clients, I could see they were not impressed but were too professional to say anything.

I may be doing them an injustice. High Heels may be incredibly quick on the up take and able to make assessments at just a quick glance. And for all I know Shy Girl might have a dazzling personality and years of experience. I guess I'll find out. In the mean time I'm just a little bit anxious.

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