In May 2017 I started my personal blog, A Carer Writes, to share my experiences of being a carer and the challenges and rewards that I encountered. I finished writing my blog in order to concentrate on my other writing, but it was a valuable exercise in flexing and developing my writing muscles.
Listed below are a few of my posts to give you a flavour of my more informal writing style. Click on the title to read the full post.
I’m not one for fancy hats or, even worse, fascinators. Surely the only fascinating thing about a fascinator is why you’d want to stick one on your head at such an awkward angle in the first place? I like a woolly hat in the winter, though: one pulled down over my ears when there’s a pesky little wind blowing in off the North Sea.
But as a carer, I’m getting used to wearing a lot of hats.
Most carers want the best for their loved one; that goes without saying. But wanting the best for the person you care for, and knowing how to provide it, isn’t necessarily the same thing.
When people think of what it takes to be a family carer, it’s usually personal qualities that spring to mind, such as patience, empathy or kindness.
But there’s another less obvious skill that’s equally necessary.
It’s amazing how quickly a day can go pear-shaped, as what I’d hope to achieve evaporates in the face of unplanned events. It can happen to anyone, of course. The baby that keeps you up all night teething. The train that gets inexplicably cancelled. The colleague that calls in sick. The coffee cup that spills all over your white shirt just before you go into an important meeting (yes, that was me). We aren’t as in control of life as we’d like to think.
But disrupted plans and frustrated expectations seem to happen to me more as a carer than they ever did before.
The first time we left my father at a care home for a week of respite, I went home and cried.
Damn that respite guilt.
Last week someone (I’m going to call him Derek) made a comment that struck me as a little odd at the time and still has me puzzled more than a week later.