Sunday, 26 April 2015

Home Nursing

There will be no church service in Trelawnyd today. Gaynor, the hilarious Church organist told us somewhat breathlessly yesterday.. The vicar took a tumble in a local stately home the other day and is recuperating at home.. I shall miss the church bell ringing before service tine.
It looks as though its going to be a bright day here today, a day to catch up with jobs. The Prof will send some time holed up in his office, which gives me a chance to deliver eggs, drop off a glut of goose eggs to Auntie Glad and Ian & Jo in the village. I am buttering Ian up with the eggs in order to get him and his partner to enter the cookery classes in the flower show ( he's a mean baker by all accounts)
I also need to call around to my friends Bob & Olwen in their neat little house in the centre of the village. Some years ago, Bob taught me how to cull a group of unwanted cockerels. An experienced and responsible poultry farmer of many years, Bob insisted that the job was done with gentleness and respect. The birds were handled in an almost zen like way, relaxing them in an almost hypnotic stupor before " the dispatch". and after the deed was done, he taught me to prepare the carcasses from plucking to gutting with considerable patience.
I felt I had the rare opportunity to learn from a master
Bob giving me my first plucking lesson!
It wasn't a buxom cockerel was it not?
I have a feeling he's still in the bottom of the freezer

Unfortunately Bob has been poorly in hospital recently and Olwen took the brave decision to nurse him at home as his condition deteriorated. Palliative care nursing at home is a hard road to walk is it not?
Chris and I have always told each other that we want to die at home. I want to be surrounded by dogs under a patchwork quilt, but that's my Hollywood version of what I want I guess.......
The reality of home nursing is sleepless nights, a whole marching band of visiting, well intentioned professionals and a home that is transformed into cross between  care home and hospital ward.
I saw all this when my mother cared for both of my grandmothers at home in the months before their deaths and I saw it all again when my brother died peacefully in his own home.
It's bloody hard work
Home nursing works, if support is ongoing, you are mentally and physically strong enough to cope with the day to day workload and you have pragmatic nursing cover.

So , I will call up to Bob and Olwen's today. I take the Sunday paper. I will offer to sit with Bob if Olwen wants to pop out and I will listen to the day's events with hopeful alacrity. That's all I can do

And Up and down the country thousands upon thousands of Olwens are home nursing their loved ones behind closed doors and curtained windows.
Hey ho



60 comments:

  1. John, you are such a kind, thoughtful man. Bob and Olwen are so lucky to have a friend and neighbor like you. How I wish I lived in a village like yours where people took care of each other and looked out for each other. That's what life should be like.

    And I am touched by your description of Bob's gentleness and respect for the animals in his care. A good man like that deserves a peaceful passing in his own home, surrounded by friends and loved ones.

    Wiping tears....

    xx

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    1. Bob's ability to put the birds at ease gave me great respect for him, in his time hemust have culled 1000s but never skimped on his gentle wYs

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  2. very true John theres a whole army of unsung carers out there , I know thats a road we're heading down , but as we havent got a timescale its so hard to plan any kind of tomorrow

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  3. I hope the vicar gets well soon. I am sure that Bob and Olwen will appreciate you popping in today. By the way, have you introduced yourself to the new people yet and have you cajoled them into entering this year's village show by way of some freshly laid eggs?

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    1. Ive seen the woman who moved into the first bungalow and gae her a flower show schedule
      She looked at me as if i was a loon

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    2. A very nice loon. :-)

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  4. That does look like an extremely scrawny cockerel.

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  5. That does look like an extremely scrawny cockerel.

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    1. There's only one cockerel.

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    2. They were all teenagers cro...

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    3. They were all teenagers Cro... apparently.

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  6. You have made me feel sad. My Mum died in hospital all on her own, and I can't bear to think of it. I was with her for an hour the day before. She kept scuffling her legs about under the bedclothes and I recently heard what that is called prior to death, but I can't remember now.

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    1. Francis......i have a saying to rekatuves like you who sometimes miss the final stages
      " you can only do what you can do" chin up x

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  7. Life goes on eh. Thank you for sharing all its highs and lows with us xo

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  8. Yes, many are on that road, have been on it and will be on it. We nursed my father when he had cancer and the last day was like something out of a horror movie. Although it was over 40 years ago I can remember every detail.

    I learnt to ring a chicken's neck, and pluck and dress from my mother. I pluck and dress pheasants but have not wrung a neck since I was a child. Most of this work was done by me and mum and my brothers and father never did it apart from the neck wringing. I don't know about Zen but It is important to wait until the chicken is still otherwise it is a bit of a job to do the kill.

    No dog shit today.

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    1. Yes a calm hen makes things awhole lot easier

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  9. my BIL took care of my MIL for 10 years until last july; she was then moved to a nursing home due to the 24/7 health needs she had. she passed in march this year.

    it's not an easy job and I don't think I could do it.

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  10. I think I'd prefer to go into hospice if at all possible should I develop some kind of hideous end of life illness.....I saw what it was like for Dad when Mom spent her last days at home..even with help (which wasn't easy to get) the man was exhausted and it was affecting his mind. With hospice family can be there 24/7 if they want or they can go home and get a bit of rest and a chance of atmosphere.

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    1. Ive worked at the hospice and that true holistic way that care is viewed is wonderful

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  11. My father died at home. It was a few years later that I learnt how awful it was for my step mother. Really really bad, in spite of daily attendance by a nurse. It was his breathing, she said. Which will be his last, as his skin and bones lay on the former and very active conjugal bed. I will not inflict my demise on anyone, least of all the person I love the most. There is professional expert care for the dying. That is where I will be, much as I would love to be in my own bed with my tablet computer while writing my last post.

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  12. Umm, what I meant to write was a famous Aussie cricketer wrote a book with the title, How to hypnotise chooks...........whatever. Apparently you can hypnotise them.

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    1. My dad used to do that, hypnotising chickens, when he was a boy. He told me how to do it, but I never put it to use with chickens. Nope, we kids would hypnotise a devilish old gander who would attack the nearest human when he came out of it...
      We were mean little devils.

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    2. I've done it a few times.......hold the, tightnand rotate your hands in sseveral slow circles....
      When you put the hens on the ground....tey dont move

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  13. There no Hollywood endings when we reach the end our lives are there John? Think I would like to end my life at home with my family and livestock. You always write with such feeling. That's why you are so popular with us all.

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  14. In the US the majority of long term care is provided at home, but the majority of the money to pay for long term care is spent on institutional care, and still the vast majority of people die in hospital despite saying they would prefer to die at home. We tend to panic at a sudden change in condition and call am ambulance.

    Your offering a 2-3 hours of respite care could be the kindest thing in weeks.

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    1. I agree your visit will be the highlight of the day.

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  15. That is very kind of you. Family caregivers always need a mental and emotional break.

    Don't even get me started on care here in the US. Your savings has to be bled dry before Medicare steps in to assist in payments for nursing homes. It is bloody embarrassing what a convoluted medical system we have because no one wants to talk about long term care or hospice.
    Dr Atul Gawande a well respected physician in Boston, wrote a book about end care as well as mentioned some nursing homes that are now changing their ways and giving say, Alzheimer's patients, more autonomy. I heard his interview awhile a go on NPR
    http://us.macmillan.com/beingmortal/atulgawande

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  16. Your wish to be surrounded by your dogs made me wonder if you'd seen this on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhP2ssoO4lQ&list=FLoJUBIsLnGm_6MsDINk9lcw . Such a lovely story.

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  17. This is the route my sister has chosen...in the near future they will bring in a hospital bed and hospice care will come in daily to do the bathing and lifting. She has developed a second brain tumor but has meds at hand...no more chemo and radiation. She is at peace with this decision as are her family. She has her two fur babies that keep her smiling.

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  18. If I ever find myself in Olwen's shoes, I will pray for a friend/neighbor as thoughtful as you. The gift of time is the most valuable, and leaving her Bob in the hands of a competent caring nurse makes it even more so. XOO

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  19. No long term care for me. I'll end it myself. Can't imagine burdening my family with nothing left for them to inherit.

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    1. The Eskimos have te right idea.........walk out onthe ice alone

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    2. That will be my choice of exit too if I get to choose

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  20. You're exactly right- it is a long, hard row, taking care of a loved one at home. The human body does not want to go on, in my experience. It takes its time. And has so many needs. But, if done lovingly and with help, it is incredibly rewarding and even, may I say? Beautiful.

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  21. My husband is an only child. His father was nursed at home and died in my husbands arms (his father was a very small thin man) when my husband, at his dad's request, was carrying him from chair to bed. His mother died in hospital and my husband was also holding her....and we both were holding his border collie dog when she had to be put down.....all to say that when I go I want to join that club and die in my husbands arms...

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    1. Your husband has a big heart me thinks

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  22. It seems we all have our own ideas of what is best when it comes to palliative care. If we are of a mind to be in our own homes and are fortunate enough to have people to care for us, then I think that is the way to go. Literally. My dad was in a retirement home, as he had a series of mini strokes, and later developed dementia. My mother had died some years before. His behavior was erratic to say the least, but often hilariously so. He had a wonderful sense of humour, and we often wondered if that somehow inspired some of his antics. Eventually he weakened and the 'call' came. My sister and I, sat with him for his last days, and he passed peacefully on a June morning, as the sun's first rays made their way into his room. We could not have managed this without the wonderful help of the nursing home staff, and dad's nurse Russell. He shed tears along with us and told us it had been a privilege to care for dad.
    This comment is taking on a life of it's own, so I'll end it by saying, we felt Dad had the best of both options. Professional care, in a homelike setting. We were very fortunate..x

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    1. My mother died in hospital and that was best for us, her children
      Non of us , for varyingreasons could have had her in our own homes..,

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  23. It is a hard decision to make and when made, a hard task to deal with daily.

    Bless your kind heart, John, all care givers welcome a break.

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  24. I nursed my first husband at home to the end and I wouldn't have had it any other way John. I had wonderful night time help from Marie Curie nurses and our doctor called every day and was available day and night by telephone. Yes, it is hard - but it is satisfying in that you know you are doing your very best for the one you love.

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  25. As you said, you do what you can. I am sure Bob and Olwen will appreciate your visit.
    We had my Mother with in-home hospice at her house for the last days of her life. She was so much happier in her own home. Her 4 adult children had the privilege of staying under her roof with her for those last days. She improved so much after we brought her home from the hospital that we (and her nurses and doctors) thought she could possibly live months longer. But she was just holding on until after my oldest sister's birthday; she didn't want to spoil that day. She ate cake, wore a party hat, and died 36 hours later in the arms of another sister and me. So sweet, so sad, so beautiful. We were beyond fortunate that we could have that experience. Your visit will make it easier and sweeter for both Bob and Olwen.

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  26. It is a hard decision. I have told my children laughing that just put me in the warehouse somewhere. I really don't want to be a burden to them. Home care is hard even if you have help.
    But if I had a choice I want to be in my bed with all the dogs with me. I am in a sad mood today.

    cheers, parsnip

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  27. I cared for my Dad at his home before his death, until his pain grew so great that moving him in bed was a torment for him; then we went to Hospice together.Other than occasional trips home to spend time with my sweetheart, and daughter... and to gather up a load of clean clothes... my time was spent with Dad. I was holding his hand as he was dying, and was able to enforce his decision not to be rescucitated. It was hard, but I'd do it all over again, if I could. Having said that, I won't put my family through it, especially since it could drag on and on with me. No, when the pain becomes too great and it becomes too difficult to find joy in life; I will simply go, and have it all done with.
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Trelawnyd and the folk there are lucky to have you, and you them. You're a nurturer John, and you need to nurture as surely as they need your nurturing. Some people become the heart of a community, and I'm quite certain you are one of those people.

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    1. I try to tell relatives to try and keep with their loved ones when they are dying no matter how hard it is
      They will treasure those feelings when the grief eases

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  28. Your posts are always waited for here by me. They either make me laugh really hard or make me think really hard and sometimes there's a tear. Today is a think post as was one of your others recently. Made me not post my usual bollocks about food or some such trivia that I usually write. I echo all the other comments above, you are a lovely person. X

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    1. Olwen is the real hero me thinks

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  29. If it comes to that sort of scenario I want to die anywhere but at home, such as in a hospital or care home where I am no bother to anyone other than to people who are being paid to be bothered by me as I perform the useful final task of keeping someone in paid employment. My preference would be to be abducted by aliens, repaired and used as breeding stock, of course (which happens, apparently). Oh yes.

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    1. Im with the eskimos
      I'll be off onto the ice fields

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    2. Nice warm bed and a good bottle of wine washing down whatever it takes to send me off. Not for a very long time though I hope

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    3. Ice fields John? In Trelawnyd someone may just have to lock you in a freezer, or maybe just leave you out in the Welsh rain.

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  30. Your post put me in mind of elevens which I wrote about but it's the back of neck before death, the bones go stiff, have you heard of it? Sorry I'm morbid today.
    XO
    WWW

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  31. Found it! http://wisewebwoman.blogspot.ca/search?q=elevenses

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  32. I often wish there was some way to have those needing a home to care for the elderly or sick in their homes...maybe single moms/dads that could be paid to live with them and thus be able to care for their children and have a home , or the homeless or students. I once saw an article about a nursing home that was built beside an elementary school and the children would visit the residents and read to them and even get homework help

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  33. You're a fine man John Gray xx

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  34. You've said it all, and said it well. All my best to Olwen as she helps her husband through this part of his life.

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  35. Trelawynd sounds like an amazing place to live John, I agree with Jaquelineand...you are a nurturer and the people of Trelawynd have a need of your services....Bob sounds like a very lovely man and his wife Olwen an angel... any time you can give to them today will be greatly appreciated.

    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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  36. So many heroes behind the curtains caring for their loved ones. I only wish that my mother hadn't died in a residential home surrounded by strangers. They phoned my workplace that day to let me know she had reached the endgame but the school receptionist neglected to pass the message on and I wasn't able to dash to East Yorkshire to be by her deathbed.

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  37. You have such a good heart. xxx I helped with my neighbour who died at home from cancer. I think at times, things we had to do for him distressed him a lot more than it would have done if a professional had been doing it, and therefore his last days weren't as peaceful as they might have been. I am very torn on the topic now.

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