How Time Flies

Well, what can I say, it’s been three months since I last posted on my blog, where have those three months gone?

December – The month of December, like most families, was dominated by planning for Christmas, along with my dad’s birthday (which was on the 23rd December) I arranged a lovely family meal in one of our local hotel restaurants to celebrate dad’s birthday.  In attendance was my daughter, granddaughters, son and his fiancé, my dad, myself and my partner.  We arranged for a cake to be brought to the table, which dad was delighted with (and blew all the candles out in one go). The meal was lovely and we all had a really good night.  As a family we don’t get chance to all be together at the same time, and for me, it was lovely to have my children and granddaughters together to make dad’s birthday a special occasion (he was 84)

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January – Dad has been doing well considering all of what he is has been going through over the last two years (as you will know if you have been following my blog). I was getting worried about his weight, which at times has reduced due to him not eating properly on some days (usually when he has been left to his own devices) I do try and bring my dad to my home as often as I can so he can enjoy meals with the family, this gives me chance to make sure he eats well, and spends time in company rather than eat alone.

Dad has had a few blood tests in the last few weeks, his GP was concerned that he may be suffering from a decrease of his kidney functions and he is keen to look into this further.  I do hope this can be rectified as I would hate to think it’s something else dad needs to be worried about.  Dad is still being cared for long-term by myself, I have not gone back to work yet, still enjoying the time away from work after taking my redudancy, almost a year ago now.  I guess I am lucky to have been able to take this break, considering all of the different aspects of dads care that I have taken responsibility for.

Dad is still attending all of his follow up appointments at the different clinics for his various conditions – Parkinson’s, COPD, Memory Loss, Speech & Language Therapy, and now Dietetics (which helps with his diet, and advice on what to eat to sustain his weight, which has dropped at some times) all of the services delivered through the NHS have been very supportive over the last two years since my dads heart attack in April 2015.

February – Looking on the brighter side of life, I have some wonderful news – I have a new addition to my family, and that is an adorable new grandson.  My Son & his partner are just over the moon with their new born Son, and he has certainly brought some sunshine into our lives, and this has really brought the smiles out in my dad.

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Little George Sebastian was born on the 8th of February 2017 weighing in at 7lb 9oz and he is just so cute.  They have named him George, after both their granddads, which is a lovely honour to them both (especially my dad George) I feel so lucky to have two beautiful granddaughters who are aged 10 & 7

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The lovely addition of a grandson. .

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Our family is growing, and life goes on. . We always have something good to look forward to. . . 💙❤️ My family mean the world to me ❤️💙

 

Progress – Positive Reactions

Its good to see a positive reaction to the long awaited therapy group:

In a recent post in October I  wrote about my disappointment of the cancellation of a much awaited ‘Speech & Language Therapy Group’ which my dad had been assigned to in August.  After just 2 weeks on the programme my dad had been informed of the lack of available staff to continue the programme, which had to be cancelled and would be rearranged for October.

Although this did not happen in October, I am pleased to report the programme has now been rearranged and my dad has just completed his 2nd week of group therapy.

These sessions take place at a local GP surgery not far from my dads home, I usually drop him off at 2pm and pick him up at 4pm.  After his 1st session, dad seemed very positive about the group therapy and seemed to have enjoyed meeting other people who have the same problems he has been experiencing due to ‘Parkinsons’

I was really happy that my dad was back on the programme and this time the group seemed to have a lot more people in attendance.

This week when I dropped my dad off at the session I was happy to see him greet the other members of the group with plenty of humour and he seemed happy to see them, this was positive for me especially as I could see a little bit of mischief about him (something I have not seen fo a while)  however, when I was about to leave, letting dad know I would be there at 4pm to pick him up, a lovely elderly lady who was sitting quietly opposite the group spoke to me about dads singing? I approached her, as she was speaking very quietly and I didn’t quite hear what she had said. To my surprise, she told me that she hoped she could hear my dad’s singing soon, I asked her if my dad had been telling the group about his singing with the ‘Irish Guards Choir’ and to my surprise she explained he had been telling the group all about his 12 years singing with the choir, as well as his hopes to join them again one day.

This made me really happy as I had asked my dad if he had participated in the last group discussions and asked if he had spoken about anything of himself in the last session, but he didn’t seem to remember this.  I guess the little short-term memory loss can have that effect on him sometimes and it’s easy for him to forget things while trying to remember other things, such as his fact sheets and his homework (voice excercises)

On my return to pick dad up from his session I noticed how in tune he was with everything going on, it was lovely to see him chatting with other people and looking forward to seeing them the following week, dad even had a plan of action as he greeted me, he suggested we find out if the Irish guards choir would be performing any ‘Christmas Carol Concerts’ and wondering if he may be able to join them!

This was music to my ears, as dad had not showed any interest in joining the choir since his last visit to their practice session last Year.

This was a good day, a day when dad had planned something, a day that I was happy to support an idea and look into making this happen for him (that’s my plan of action for next week)

It would be so lovely to see my dad dress up in his uniform again and attend a carol concert at this special time of the year, I do hope I can make that happen.

Over the last 2 days I have seen such a positive mood in my dad, he has been chatting more, joining in with family conversations, even joking and tormenting his grandson, like he always used to do.  It’s all positive this week, what a difference a few sessions of group therapy can do to lift a persons mood.  I hope this continues, but on the other hand I really wish these sessions had gone ahead when dad was first diagnosed with ‘Parkinsons’ a year ago as everything I have read about, all points to the importance of early therapy sessions to help with the symptoms.

These pathways should be in place for all ‘Parkinsons’ patients and they should not have to wait over a year for these to be put in place, as early treatment or therapy helps with the problems they face and can help them in various ways.

 

Who Am I? – The Real Me. .

who am I?

Let me introduce you to the real me, the person other than the ‘Daughter’ and the ‘Carer’. . . I have so many other things going on in my life other than caring for my dad that I would like to start introducing them into my blog.

I will still continue to write about my dad but I will incorporate life as I know it beyond the caring role, hopefully bringing in some fun and good humour into my blog, as I try to do in everyday life.

We all have responsibilities that we deal with every day and we juggle those things while life as we know it, goes on.

Some of my days can be so hectic, I meet myself coming back, other days can be filled with fun, and laughter that I feel thankful for what I have in my life, then there are days when I can feel so tired and stressed that all I want to do is sit down relax and take an hour away from everything and everyone. .

So here we go with the introductions:

I am a ‘Mother’ (Mum) and a ‘Grandmother’ (although I’m known as ‘Nan’)

I have a daughter aged 32 and she has two daughters aged 10 and 7, my beautiful granddaughters whom I adore, they fill my world full of mischief and wonder, love and affection, fun and frivolity 😍 and I cannot imagine a life without them now.

I have a son aged 29 and he and his partner are expecting a baby in the new year, another little bundle of joy to love, and we already know that the baby is a boy! So my first ‘Grandson’ is on his way. How wonderful!

Both my children and grandchildren are very close to me, and I am a mum who is always there if they need me, and that can be pretty often sometimes.  I help out picking my granddaughters up from school two or three times a week, depending on my daughters working hours.  On the days I do the school run the girls come back to my home and we all have dinner together with my partner and my dad.

Dad always enjoys the time he spends with his great granddaughters, and I must say, I love these times too, as it brings out the mischievous side of dad, which shows that he still has that sense of fun in him when they are around.

The girls adore their great granddad and always take time to provide a kiss and a cuddle when they arrive and leave.  The girls love to draw and they always include granddad in this, they love to give him instructions on what they would like him to draw or colour in for them (I think this helps with his cognitive skills) they always have lots of stories to tell him, which he loves listening too, or they just cuddle up on the couch with him and watch TV.

My son (who still lives at home, hopefully moving into his own place before the baby arrives) and his partner join us all for dinner when dad and the girls are around, and it can get quite hectic, especially as he is the favourite uncle who loves tormenting his nieces, and they in return, love chasing him around the place.

As well as the daughter, carer, mother and nan, I am the childminder, the taxi, the bank manager, the advisor, the personal shopper, the cook, the cleaner, the gardener, so basically the equivalent of: SuperWoman – Well, that’s how I feel some days. . . 🤔

Oh, I almost forgot, I am also a volunteer Lay Member on the Safeguarding Children’s Board.  I attend board meetings and audit review group meetings, all of which give me the chance to challenge and discuss the services provided to children in my local borough.  This is an interesting, sometimes daunting role, but it gives me a distraction from my caring role, and keeps me attached to a network of people.

I will be including new posts about my hectic personal, professional, and family life and how this all fits in around my dad needs.

I do hope you will enjoy the posts. . . Have a nice weekend 💫

Take Time To Admire Nature – It’s Good For Your Wellbeing!

A Walk In The Park:

I took some time for me today, some time to watch the park at play.

Nature at its very best, an array of colours had come to rest.

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I took some time to stand and stare, stunning colours everywhere.

Autumn winds had done their duty, bathing the park in all its beauty.

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I took some time to ease my mind, capturing my thoughts inside.

Nature brings out the best in me, a relaxing positivity.

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I took some time to reflect on me, realising I’m where I need to be.

Nature changes with the seasons, without asking for the reasons.

 

Daughter or Carer?

I see myself as a ‘Daughter’ first and a ‘Carer’ second, some would say I am the unpaid ‘Carer’ . . . But I don’t see it that way!

I find it difficult to identify where my responsibilities as a daughter ends and my carer responsibilities start, is there such a thing as a fine line between the two?

I am all dad has and I will be there as long as he needs me, I’m his daughter, his next of kin, the person he relies on. .

It’s been a difficult week, one where I have come to realise that dads condition is getting worse as time goes on, and the events of this week have given way to a number of new anxieties in the ongoing symptoms of dads Parkinson’s disease.

My concerns led me to arrange a checkup with dads GP, which gave me the chance to discuss a new worry, and that is the realisation that dad is having some problems swallowing.  I am aware this is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease, but doesn’t affect everyone.  On questioning my dad, the GP asked when this had become a problem, but with dads failing short-term memory it was more a persuasion on my part to get dad to identify the timescale of this problem.

I have been worrying about this as its been noticeable to me for a number of weeks, but dad doesn’t seem to agree with me.  I on the other hand tried to acknowledge the GPs concerns regarding a timescale of 6 weeks or more, and explained to my dad that if this was correct, then tests would have to be done to identify the severity of this problem.

Having witnessed a near choking incident during Sunday lunch a week earlier, which was very scary at the time, I was concerned that the swallowing problem was becoming increasingly obvious, although dad masks it well by taking a drink during meals, which helps, but I have noticed his eating habits have become slower, taking in only little portions of food.

The GP has given my dad the benefit of the doubt, instructing him (and me) to consider how and when it is affecting dad, and if we identified it as persisting longer than 6 weeks, then it was important for us to inform the GP.  This would enable him to refer dad on for tests, which would look at his throat muscles, which could be becoming weaker, causing these issues.

I must admit, it’s not a nice test, and I don’t relish the idea of my dad having to go through this, but if it does help identify a problem that could become worse, I would rather know sooner than later.

In the meantime the GP is referring my dad back to the ‘Speech & Language Therapy Team’ and a new referral to the ‘Dieticians’ has been advised, and between them they will discuss this further with dad.

I have always been careful what type of food is prepared for dad, as I have noticed a number of foods that he once used to love, now being left on the plate, I did wonder at first if this was just his lack of appetite, but I am now seeing this is more to do with the issue of swallowing. . .

However, we move on to another week, and as long as I can support dad or point him in the right direction for further support I will continue to do so.

Am I doing this as a Daughter or a Carer?  I’m not sure, but either way it’s for the benefit of dads health and wellbeing. . 

Timeout – A day in Liverpool

Its important to have some timeout:

Today I decided to have some much needed timeout with my partner, and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend the day than in my home city of Liverpool.

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However, as always my first priority was my dad, therefore I made sure he was ok, I had already prepared some lunch for him, made sure he had his Sunday paper, had taken his medication, and didn’t need anything.  I would have loved to take my dad into Liverpool (which I have on many occasions) but dad has been feeling a little under the weather lately, and has not been up to walking too far. But it was nice to head off for a few hours with his blessing, as he said “go on and enjoy your day I’ll be  fine”. . .

I am lucky to have a partner who supports me and my dad.   I am also lucky that he shares my love of Liverpool (even though he is originally from Manchester) Liverpool is vibrant city of culture, Heritage and People –  See for yourself by visiting the link below:

http://www.visitliverpool.com/

It was a lovely autumn day, plenty of a sunshine with a gentle breeze coming from across the Mersey.  As always the city was buzzing with people of every nationality taking in the culture, architecture, great shopping, restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

Our first stop was my favourite shopping centre – Liverpool One, I couldn’t think of a better start for me than some retail therapy and I guess I’m lucky that my partner enjoys shopping too.  This always leads very nicely on to a coffee and cake break.

The link below will give you further information if you are thinking of visiting:

http://www.liverpool-one.com/shopping.aspx

From Liverpool One we took the short walk across to the historic water front, enjoying the sun, sea air and lovely views across the river Mersey before taking some time to visit another favourite place of ours, The Albert Dock.

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The Albert Dock is another vibrant area of Liverpool, steeped in history.  It houses the Tate Museum, Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, The Beatles Story, shops, restaurants and bars.

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This is also a great place to see many of the visiting cruise ships as they dock for a day or two on their way to various places across the world.

Liverpool is the home of Cunard and it’s great to see the fleet coming back to Liverpool. The people of Liverpool always come out in their masses to greet and wave off these ships, all accompanied with the usual fireworks display.

Further information on the Albert Dock can be found on the following link: http://www.albertdock.com

Further along the river brought us to the Pier Head which is the focal point of Liverpools waterfront and the world famous iconic ‘Three Graces’.  These historic buildings stand proud in all their glory and heritage, housing the famous ‘Liver Birds’ on its rooftop.  Legend has it that one looks over and protect the people of Liverpool, whilst the other keeps an eye out for those coming into port.

For more information on the  ‘Liver Birds’ visit the following link: http://www.royalliverbuildingvenue.co.uk/liver-bird/

After all the fresh air and exercise, we had worked up an appetite so it was time for dinner and a refreshing glass of something.

2 for 1 cocktails on the menu today. . Don’t mind if I do

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I think we needed our day together, recharging our batteries, feeling the sun on our faces, feeling the sea breeze, taking time to talk to each other and enjoy each other’s company.

I feel ready to face a new week and the new challenges it may bring!