26 January 2017
It’s been nearly a year since I found my beloved BH slumped in the shower. I still shudder at the memory. But his native strength (you can’t keep a good Balt on the floor), and his “medical man”, as he calls him, have pulled him round.
Yesterday he celebrated his 88th birthday in his usual cheerful style. Since that day last March I found that I simply could not concentrate on anything but getting him better. Ordinary life was suspended and a new, rather restricted adopted. Commonplaces, while often thought of – how I longed to expostulate over Brexit – had to be shelved.
Any one of you who has looked after a frail and elderly person at home will know exactly what I mean. It’s rather like looking after a new baby: ears pricked for the slightest noise, frequent visits to the bedside in the middle of the night and to the armchair during the day. I sometimes think he’s dead and tiptoe to him, holding my breath. But he’s only asleep with his mouth wide open, looking a little pale.
“Keep the fluids up, don’t forget this pill at four o’clock but the others at regular intervals during the day. Make sure he walks as often as possible. Keep him warm. No alcohol but good nourishing food. Oh, and the Nurse will call on Tuesday, but you should arrange physio and OT yourself. I’ll do his bloods again in a week and the hospital will let you know when they can do a scan. And for goodness’ sake get some rest, you look really tired”. (I could tell he meant ghastly.)
– Thus said the “medical man”, cheerily, on a follow-up visit.
Of course I couldn’t manage alone. Apart from anything else BH is a Big Man and I am not. Help came in the form of a tiny, dynamic, Glaswegian blonde, cheerful, knowledgable and in the Care business for thirty years. Moira, we fancy, is now part of the family. She comes twice a day to tend BH and when she has time off, one of her extended family fills in. I can’t believe how lucky we are.
I fear BH begins to prefer her to me – at least I assume so because he does everything she tells him, whereas if I suggest a little walk…