It’s been a year since I ‘restarted’ and most of the reasons that kept me away from blogging were centred around problems concerning Bear and Whale.
2013 was a terrible year for both of them. Bear’s beloved daughter died of cancer in July and his brother died in October. Bear’s legs have been getting more and more painful – even the left with a replacement knee isn’t very good and at times he feels his legs won’t hold him. He has to use a walking frame.
To make matters worse, he was in hospital at the time of his daughter’s funeral so even though Jay had arranged to drive him over to England, he couldn’t go. He was stuck in the Nephrology ward with a serious infection. He asked if he could be taken to sit in the Chapel on the afternoon of the funeral but they wheeled him to a small room on the second floor. Bear was cross and asked me to take him to the ‘real’ chapel but the Aumonier (resident priest) arrived and calmed him down, inviting us to stay for the Wednesday Mass so that he could pray for all the family. It was a very simple but moving service and we were invited to take communion even though I had told him we weren’t Catholics.
Bear has suffered from depression ever since losing his daughter and this hasn’t helped the pain which he suffers ‘all over’. We just hope time will start to heal soon. . . . . . . .
Whale has also had a bad year in that he, too, had a serious infection just before Easter and was taken to hospital and put on a drip. A couple of days later he took a turn for the worse and we thought he had had a stroke but, in fact, the antibiotics had caused considerable damage to his kidneys and he was in a bad way. He spent two weeks being fed by tube and aspirated as well for some of the time. He was delirious and, fortunately doesn’t remember much about it.
When he was discharged he was much more handicapped than when he went in and now needs a hoist to move him from bed to chair and has to suffer the indignity of wearing ‘nappies’. At first we didn’t know how we would manage, especially as the nurses who used to come in daily declared that they didn’t have time to cope with his more serious disability.
Eventually a system of care was put in place and now we have carers who come in twice a day to wash and change him, the nurses come when necessary to deal with bedsores etc. and he has physiotherapy two or three times a week. We also have some financial help towards employing a neighbour (experienced in caring for handicapped people) who comes in some days to assist the carers as they are not permitted to work alone when it involves moving a heavy patient. Jay is designated as his ‘troisieme personne’ and is paid a small sum for all the work he does.
CC does her share of helping the carers and between us we manage to lead our own lives to a certain extent despite one or more of us being tied to the bouse all day every day.
The youngsters try to keep sane by going to Reims, Paris or Brussels from time to time and CC does four days a month of voluntary work in London.
I still teach English and have my chickens, cats and dog to look after so life is quite fulfilling.
This year I really will try to write at least once a week.
Let’s see how long I can keep it up!