Jaqui's Daily Blog

The Importance of Being With

Mr B’s Little Bruv, Mr H (they are like peas in a pod, don’t you know?) telephones us to ask if we would like a visit at the beginning of March. Did he really need to ask?


Mr H and I have something in common: we both have a Problem Shoulder. In fact, I have told him, we should form a Problem Shoulder Club - I actually know a few more potential members, including grandson Jack. Mind you, now that we have both gone “under the knife”, Mr H and I, we have graduated from the Problem Shoulder Club to the Recovering Shoulder Club. It’s a bit like moving from Cubs to Scouts, I suppose, though never having been either a Cub or a Scout, one could say I don’t know what I’m talking about. Not that, I hear you say, that has ever stopped me pontificating in the Daily Blog on Matters Of Which I Know Very Little.


Mr H says he will find somewhere local to stay but I say, oh, dear me, no - you must stay with us. Mr H explains that he will have his dog, the beautiful Laurel with him but I say this makes no difference, I am keen to make Laurel’s acquaintance. It is all settled.


I am thinking it will be interesting to see how Mr B responds to Laurel’s presence. I have long thought that he would find a dog a great comfort. I pass this thought on to him when I inform him of the forthcoming visit. I really do believe, I tell him earnestly, that he would love to have a dog, an ever faithful companion, always there for him. Mr B responds, slyly, that he thought that was what I did. I am moved almost to tears.


Alright, so I don’t have a soft, furry back to stroke, or long ears to fondle, or a long, pink tongue to  lick his hand lovingly - but I can do a reasonable impersonation of Man’s Best Friend. “Woof, woof!” I say. Meaningfully.


Today is my hospital appointment so that my consultant (you may remember I call her Tigger because she is so very, well, bouncy) can check on my progress almost three months on from my operation. She seems quite pleased with me though she says she always wants more. She sounds like Mr B or, possibly, Oliver Twist, the two have much in common. She shows me, on request, my X-rays before and after and my MRI scan. I thought it was the least I could do to ask to see them, so proud she is of her handiwork. Or shoulderwork.


Best of all, I have made such satisfactory progress that she gives me clearance to return to using our Ambiturn at home to transfer Mr B from place to place. For the last three months the poor man has had to stay put in his armchair unless we have a visitor prepared to operate the Ambiturn. It hasn’t been much fun for him and he hasn’t complained. Well, not too much anyway.


This evening, for the first time in three months, I was able to use the Ambiturn to transfer my fella from armchair to wheelchair so that we were able to eat our dinner together, up at the table. We had fish and chips and shared a bottle of rather good wine. It felt like Old Times. 


I have been reading a wonderful book called “Be with...” You are probably wondering what that’s all about - it is written by Mike Barnes, a Canadian who is a carer - or caregiver, as they term it in Canada - for his mother. Personally I love the term “caregiver” with its equal emphasis on care and giving; I think we should adopt it in this country forthwith. The book takes the form of letters to other caregivers and the idea is that the reader doesn’t necessarily read it straight through but dips in and out of the book, with each “dip” discovering a new insight, a source of inspiration or comfort.


In one letter, he talks about all the myriad jobs which fall to the caregiver: dispensing medication, washing and dressing, dealing with finances and legal matters, arranging paid help, arguing with the authorities, doing the laundry, the shopping, the cooking, engaging in the ongoing conversations with doctors, with nurses, with physiotherapists - all of these matter and matter a lot. They keep the wheels on the care bus, you might say.


But what matters much, much more is simply - being with... 


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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