Saturday, 18 August 2007

I Despair

The above statement is probably a familiar feeling for anyone who has to deal with respite homes.

I called tonight to try to book Mr Man in for a couple of nights at the end of September. Bearing in mind that thanks to cutbacks there is now only one bed for the whole of the north of the county, and bearing in mind that the dates we want are only 6 weeks away, I would like to have booked them as soon as possible. But apparently I can only book the bed through Mr Mans Key Worker at the respite home, and seeing as he won’t be working again until Monday, I’ll have to call back then.

Thank goodness he’s not on holiday.

What difference does it make who books it? I actually asked the lady on the phone this, and her answer? “I don’t know”

And these people are responsible for Mr Mans care.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007


Is it me or is there a serious lack of Carer Blogs out there?

Although this blog is relatively new, I’ve been blogging for a year at the end of this month. During that time I have come across many mental health blogs, but few written by Carers. It’s a shame really, because during the short time that I have been writing this blog I have found something that I have rarely found before during the whole 6+ years that I have been caring for Mr Man – solidarity.

I have been to Carers groups in the past but to be honest they didn’t provide me with what I needed. In my experience it was just a social gathering once a month with complete strangers, which needlessly took me away from Mr Man for a couple of hours. We would either read poetry or have a pub lunch, but we never discussed Carers issues. Most of the Carers were elderly, and many were ex-Carers; living alone I’m sure they looked forward to the Carers meeting each month, and these ones seem to have more to say than any of the others.

One lady was a similar age to me and she also cared for her husband, although his illnesses were very different to Mr Mans. She started attending the group at a similar time as I did, and having nothing in common with anyone else, we seemed to be drawn to each others company. It wasn’t long before I stopped attending the meeting altogether, but I still meet fairly regularly with this lady for coffee or lunch. The great thing is that we actually do talk about Carers issues, and we both experience very similar problems even though our spouses have different illnesses. It’s reassuring that if either of us has to cancel at short notice the other one completely understands, and neither of us feels “over the top” by having our mobile phones right next to us, always ready for “that call”.

She is the only person I have ever felt really understands my situation as a Carer, although she doesn’t necessarily understand everything about Mr Mans illness, and likewise, I don’t pretend to understand the illnesses her husband suffers from either. But it doesn’t seem to matter.

The same is true for Carers who blog. I particularly like the comment left by Maz in the comments section.

“I really think we carers are all in the same boat, so we each must take turns to paddle”

It’s so true. I have been amazed how I have been able to relate to the experiences of each of the Carers who have commented thus far on this blog, and it’s obvious that they have also been able to relate to my own experiences. And yet, each of us is in a different relationship with the person we are caring for, and they each have a different illness.

Carers issues are often the same. Isolation must be the biggest problem. How important then that we “paddle” for each other. It’s important that we’re heard, understood, and that we can recognise ourselves in others, to help reduce that feeling of being so alone.

"Rescue" by Philippa King

I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to all Carers, and to thank those who have commented already or linked to me in their own blogs. Please feel free to leave your address in the comments section if you would like me to link to you.