Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dear Diary - Day One as a Care Giver in England...

Dear Diary - 17th May, 2011

Today started off at 5.30 am at Kerry and her husband Johnno’s Crystal Palace apartment. I was up before my little grandson made his hello call to be taken out of his cot and given his morning bottle. I opened the curtains and looked down upon the leafy green canopy of trees outside my bedroom window…at last the time had come to get moving and finally start my new job as a care giver to the elderly.
Once everyone in the household were ready to leave for work, (including little Lochlan who is dropped off at nursery school by Kerry on her way to her office in London) we set off to the nearest bus stop to catch the bus.
When Lochlan was safely deposited in the care of the jolly nursery assistants, Kerry guided me to Waterloo Station where I boarded the train at 9.45 for Leatherhead. Clambering on the train with my little suitcase in tow following me like a faithful puppy on wheels, I mused at how funny it is when the role of parent and child is reversed and suddenly you find your children guiding and looking after you, as they think you are unable to do things on your own…not that I am complaining, coming from a little backwater in the South African Cape, - London and it’s transport system are still totally daunting as far as I am concerned!
After and hour of travel through the countryside into Surrey, I arrived in Leatherhead and caught a taxi to Great Bookham where my 90 year old client lives.
Pleased that I got to the place before the stipulated 12 noon to meet Veronica, (the Carer in place) for the handover, I duly introduced myself to both her and the Lady I shall be working for the next three weeks.
Veronica was good enough to take me into the little village and show me the various shops, and then it was time for her to leave and for me to take hold of the reigns.
As it was lunch time, I rustled up a meal for Joan and the she promptly nodded off for a snooze in her chair, so I had time to get acquainted with my surrounds and read up on the pages of notes about her that have been recorded by numerous previous Care Givers.
5.30 arrived and it was time for Joan’s glass of wine which she likes decanted into a crystal glass along with a savoury snack. I was offered a glass as well, but had the impression I should drink it in the kitchen whilst preparing her evening meal.
She has a grandfather clock that chimes every hour, on the hour, so when the doorbell rang soon after I had poured her wine, I thought it was the clock…eventually I realised it was someone wanting to visit Joan and I went to answer it.
Gosh, when I opened the door I was given a real tongue lashing by this little woman with a French accent! Taken aback, I saw her into the lounge and was amused to see that Joan was put out at being interrupted by her neighbour.
The little woman waffled on at Joan about her gutters and some faulty plumbing for half an hour, then made her farewells and I saw her to the door. As she walked out, she turned around and spoke to me like a servant, telling me to see to it that next time she visited I was to be at the door immediately.
I could not help responding in fluent French that I would happily let her in if Joan wanted to see her and as a parting shot mentioned that it was so wonderful to be working for Joan and not her.
The little woman was rather taken aback at the fact that I was speaking to her in French and not allowing her the liberty of speaking to me in such a manner.
When I returned to the lounge, Joan looked at me with a twinkle in her eye, I had amused her! (Unbeknown to her, many of the Carers had written warning notes about the little woman who lived next door, so I was well prepared.)
After cooking dinner, I saw that Joan took her evening medicine, and launched her on her stair lift upstairs to her bedroom, then happily closed myself away in the refuge of my bedroom to write about my day…
It’s 10.30 pm now, and I have an early 6.45 am start tomorrow, so I’ll end here and fill you in on tomorrow’s events at the end of the day…