Sometimes, despite the seasonal ambiguity, or perhaps because of it, the nights are shorter but still too long. Or at least they seem that way when I experience multiple periods of wakefulness from time to time. I’m sure many of my readers will have experienced that broken sleep pattern at some stage, even when they still have their partner with them.
It is hard to get out of bed sometimes when you are in that cycle of, what I suppose could be, depression or anxiety or loneliness. But, like so many others locked-in at these times, I am determined to not let that sleeplessness distort my day-life and, to that end, I make a positive effort to get up around 8am, and move – while I can. Goodness me, the time will come soon enough when I physically can’t get up and at ‘em!
I am permitted to visit my wife Dorothy only weekly at present, and I am always pleased to see the numerous activities that are planned for her and the dozen or so other residents in her care home. That can never match the interactions and activities we, together, could be involved with at home – but she is settled and happy ‘in the moment’ and those moments are pure gold for me. Over the months, she remains constant, always pleased to see me and to walk with me. But you should see her hair! I can hardly wait for the time when it’s her turn for a cut, it’s been a while since the resident salon has been operative, so that will be a treat, soon.
Dorothy is, by nature, placid and easy-going so it’s always a shock to get a phone call, infrequently but always it seems, just when I’m settling down for quiet evening of TV news and a show, to advise me that Dorothy has been involved in a ‘minor incident’ with another resident or two! My heart races as the caller hastens to add that “everyone is fine”, but the policy requires the home to advise me of an occurrence. When one considers the circumstances, it’s not surprising that the interplay of personalities is inevitably going to result in some emotional exchanges. The residents all have some form of dementia and a variety of medication and a huge array of backgrounds and relationships. It is miraculous that there aren’t more ‘barney’s’!
The staff level is probably not optimal, but it’s good in that wing, I know they are basically efficient, and I know most of them by name (or at least I try!). Because it has regular trained and caring staff, working in what could be a hot-bed of discontent, is what makes me so grateful that Dorothy is housed where she is. Most of her fellow-residents are also unable to vocalise their needs, or sometimes even their feelings, so people who criticise the style or competence of the staff at such facilities do need to stay a whole day over several visits to really get an understanding of the stresses and complexities that the staff need to manage and properly care for our ‘loved ones’ (don’t like that term, but it is appropriate!). Although these days I only stay for a couple of hours I have, in the past two years, been there for extended periods on multiple days and have a much deeper understanding of all those processes. It is not like being at home! It is different, and I am forever grateful for the dedication and skill of the people I have entrusted (and paid) to care for my beloved wife.
Meanwhile, here I am at home, alone, keeping busy, walking, fixing broken computers, watching the news, keeping in touch with family and friends, writing this blog, and doing a myriad of other things except cooking (did I tell you I’m a dud at that?). I hardly have a moment to spare! Oh, I’ve resumed reading books, but the only time for that is in bed at night – and that’s what helps to dispel the insomnia and make my nights shorter, sometimes…..