It seems to me that I often make mention of our care recipient as such, given our respect for her privacy. However, this is an awkward way to identify her through the course of a blog post, so let’s start referring to her as “Annie”. And, why Annie, you might ask (in fact, I think I can hear you asking that question.) Well, I chose that name because this person often reminds me of Annie Oakley, or at least reminds me of what I’ve always assumed Annie Oakley to be like. Okay, that’s enough of that digression.
We’re always concerned when we receive calls from Annie’s day care program staff while she is in attendance there. Always what comes to mind is that something bad has happened, such as a fall, stroke, or heart attack that has adversely affected Annie’s health. So, when Heather started the conversation by assuring me that the call had nothing to do with a health issue, I relaxed considerably. Only then to become a bit miffed to learn that the call was about Annie waiting outside for the bus to arrive, in weather considered very cold for where we live. I then felt pleased that Heather made the call to bring the situation to our attention given that there are mornings when we need to leave the house before the bus arrives. On those mornings we might have a problem, with Annie becoming very cold but not wanting to go inside in case the bus were to drive by, with the driver assuming that she was not attending that day (even though they phone to ask). The other matter Heather and I discussed was Annie’s apparent difficulty in adjusting her wardrobe to the colder weather. Raising this topic gave us the opportunity to discuss Annie’s strong willed ways, me describing examples of us having to choose between a knock down, drag’m out fight or a peaceful morning, with us knowing full well that she waits in a sheltered area and knows that she can duck back into the house if she gets cold. However, I did agree to have a chat with Annie to assure her that the people at the day program would prefer for her to wait inside.
Ever since receiving Heather’s call about Annie waiting in the cold, I’ve thought about Heather commenting on the frail, old folk so excited about attending the day care program that they go outside, no matter the weather, up to an hour before the bus picks them up. In particular, I think about the old souls who live on their own, hence no one would realize how long they’d been out in the elements, and they could be doing damage to themselves. This is a story I think I will remember on the days when Annie’s radio is blasting throughout the house, and especially into my office, and I’m tempted to get an axe to smash the radio to smithereens. After all, it is because we can hear so clearly what goes on in Annie’s suite that we can ensure that; she isn’t waiting outside in the cold, she hasn’t had a massive tumble and no one knows, she isn’t choking and can’t get her breath, and so on. Thank you, Heather for your call!
Yours in caregiving …