Reality of caring

Received from Pat

David has 2 degenerative conditions both of the spine.. Cervical spondylosis and ankylosing spondylitis. He also broke his back whilst serving in the Royal Navy. He suffers chronic pain, reactive depression and now short term memory loss. This is associated with years of strong prescription opiate based pain killers. He is in receipt of an 80% War pension which means he needs care both day & night.

Just 16 years ago I became his full time and sole carer. He is my husband and I took on the role of caring for him when I married him.

In July of last year my brother, who lives back in Australia, was diagnosed with bowel cancer. An operation followed but the cancer was vicious and spread quickly to his spine and he is loosing the battle. He is dying.

I want to be with him, hold his hand and tell him how much his younger sister, his Mum, Dad and all his family, love him.

David can not manage the 22 hour flight and neither can he manage without care and support. I shall go on my own.

No problem. I called social works and asked for their help. I was met with negatives to my request. In fact I was asked why I couldn’t get the help he needed  from neighbours? Kind neighbours we may be blessed with but he needs a bit more than a cuppa and a biscuit. He needs professional supervision especially with his drugs.

Jokingly I said, if they wouldn’t help, I would have to put him in a nursing home. Nope came the reply. Never get funding for that. She wasn’t joking.

I was horrified that there was no help offered.

Apparently it is difficult to get home carers to our part of the world. We had a similar experience 18 months ago when we first moved here. No we don’t live on the Moon but 7 miles from a large town where social works have offices. ( As do the council.)I thought about this for 2 days….time was running out for my brother, and I sent an email to David’s social worker. She may be a friend but I was treating this matter on a professional level. Her reply came back in the form of a referral, from her, to her boss!

Another email and the phone was ringing as soon as I had sent it.

She wanted to arrange a visit early this week. She was shocked when I said my trip was imminent. Battle lines are drawn and I have written my request for David’s care.

I have had a carer’s assessment since moving here and the comment on it was ‘No service available’. I was due a reassessment on 11March. Nothing. I have over the many years had the ‘statutory assessment’ but that is all it is. Never had a health check….never been offered one. Plenty of brochures telling me I can travel miles for training or a support group. I can even have alternative therapy if I pay.

The county where I live is not alone in the services it ‘offers’, either for  home carers for the severely disabled or their carers, but it must be one of the worst.

Oh, by the way I am registered blind myself but that doesn’t count for anything.

Disgusted from Scotland.


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