27 Feb 2008

Post number 20: The soc services discuss their potential involvement in my future

Yesterday was a funny day and I don’t mean of the’HaHa’ variety. It actually started OK with a long meeting (long by my standards means 1 hour+). I usually hate meetings because now they seem to generate even more hot air than they used to. I used to struggle to stay awake before my stroke now it’s a mission and a half. Most things over half an hour are barely worth thinking about. For starters my concentration span is a joke . After about 15 minutes I have to start asking people to repeat themselves. It’s pretty pathetic.
The meeting was between my parents, A social worker from Surrey called Kris and a lady from Southwark YPD, believe it or not called Alf. I’d heard her name bandied around a few times. She was basically the big cheese at YPD and the person who held the Purse strings for the NHS budget in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham.I probably owe this woman my life and I’d never met her! Anyway, unlike a lot of NHS personel she appeared to know what she was talking about. She was concise,to the point and very knowledgeable and was able to offer Kris some good advice on what would be helpful for my continuing care when I’m living more independently in Oxshott. She was very encouraging about how far I had come and gave a very clear explanation of why she put so much truck in getting peoples mental state as ready as possible for the transition back to the community. It really got me thinking. Without all this Psychological input that I’ve had there is no way I would have accepted having to give up my home in Brixton and my former life after rehab (both of which I quite liked for some reason) despite having practically no choice. in favour of this new life of disability that I’ve been dealt. So that was the meeting yesterday morning – Apart from feeling completely destroyed by the end of it, I also felt pleased to have met this mystery person (Alf) and that someone good and importantly someone who felt intelligent, understanding and above all trustworthy from the social services, (that makes it sound like the rest are Charlatans which is probably true). After the meeting I had a meeting with Amanda. A lovely lady from the Stroke Association who has become friends with Ian and Ruth ( Ruth was in the FC at the same time as me ,Ian is her inspirational boyfriend , Ruth is probably in her mid to late 30s and has recovered remarkably well from her brush with death with Ian as motivator in chief and Amanda as inspiration… I have been so lucky to meet people like this along the way.In no small part is this down to Natasha who has worked tirelessly to find the right people and stay in touch with people who may give me a glimmer of hope that my future is not as hopeless as it at first may seem. So far, things had gone alright and then the whole day got turned on it’s head…

After the meeting in the morning my parents set off up the hill to go and have lunch in the hospital canteen, about 15 minutes later my rather flustered looking mother came back to tell me that dad had been unable to make it up the hill because he had been out of breath.The thought of this horrified me. Dad may be the wrong side of 70 but he’s strong as an ox. This had never happened to him before.. 15 minutes later mum came back down and said that they’d put dad in wheelchair and then had him examined by the head doctor at the RHN and that the whole thing was probably caused by some virus that was doing the rounds. Well, it was a huge relief it wasn’t anything like a heart attack, because that usually is curtains. My mum informed me that they were going to go and have some tests done at the local hospital in Tunbridge Wells. So they left, I have scarcely been so terrified. All I could think of were my mother telling me that the last couple of people she knew of who complained of being breathless ended up being diagnosed with serious Cancer. I was hoping it was nothing like this because treatment for cancer is horrible and makes anything I;ve been through look like a flu jab. Early indications were that it is a clot on the lung. I’ve got no idea what this means and knowing this has done little to calm me down bar a couple of texts telling me how treatable it is. I am still terrified because it has made me think how difficult life would become without my dad for everyone, and it’s hardly easy at the moment! On the face of it, my mum and Dad may seem a bit of a weird couple but I have noticed, particularly over the last two years ( when I have probably seen as much of them as when I was a baby, a sobering thought) That they both need each other to survive the many pitfalls of the modern world. Dad is and has always been the practical one, mum would be lost without him… The relationship works the other way round too. Mum is the gregarious one, The sociable one,Dad is more solid and austere. At meetings mum usually makes the running (sometimes to her detriment) and Dad takes the notes. Thank God for this approach because between them the right questions get asked. Mum, a bit like a Blunderbuss and Dad more like a sniper with a silencer without enough bullets to get the job done! Between them they get the job don. They are a team that usually gets the job done and without each other god knows how we’d all manage. I know my life would be a shedload harder and I’d miss either one horribly – dad is sitting in ward ten at the Kent and sussex hospital right now waiting for the results of some more tests, so the early indications of it being a clot could be wrong. I am waiting for Mums phonecall. I can’t remember being this scared!


Manu said...

Hey Dom, we don't know each other directly, but I think we have a few friends in common from clubland. I just wanted to say that I hope your Dad gets better soon, and good work on the blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, we appreciate the graft. Manu

Anonymous said...

I love the description of your parents - particularly your dad.



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