Category Archives: A day in the life

Everyday experience of living with dementia.

Patients Know Best……apparently

Maybe I’d agreed to appointments being sent online at some point but obviously I’m not going to remember that am I 🙄…so when I received an email telling me to log into a web site I was a tad dubious at first….but it seemed to have all the right detail and I was waiting for an hospital appointment …….

 Patients Know Best” –  that’s the name of the email account where my hospital appointment was sent from…..the link takes me to their healthcare web site with the same name  “Patients Knows Best”, and there was my appointment….. but then they sent me another email a day later taking me to the link saying it was cancelled🤯….no explanation, no apology…..then another email, another appointment came through from them in quick succession …..and another…..

I’d been expecting an appointment to see someone, wasn’t sure who or what department after I’d been having strange episodes when out and about. Episodes which felt like my body was draining of blood, draining of all energy from my head to my toe and feeling as though, if I didn’t sit down I would fall down. I felt a bit like a balloon and someone was slowly letting the air out of me……

It seems to have happened many times now. Not like fainting, just like my body is turning off a supply slowly…. Often, if I’m nearer to my house, maybe in the garden, I can feel them coming on and I go inside and sit down for a while, then I’m fine. However, once I was at my daughters, pottering in the garden and they suddenly saw me slumped against the garden bin and came out and helped me inside. After a lie down and a cuppa I was fine.

It’s happened by the pond and I’ve had to lean against the pond for a while to regain strength enough to get home, knowing it was only a short walk.

But then the worse episode was when I was out for a long trundle through the fields, one I’d done many times. I felt the weakness starting through my body but knew I was close by the lake. I managed to get to the lake and sit there but realised it wasn’t going to go away this time. I txted my daughter to see if she could come and get me as it was the last part of my walk with car access. I walked up from the lake towards the gate but could feel my body becoming weaker and desperately needed to sit, but of course there was nowhere. By the time she got to me I’d almost gone and was hanging onto the fence. I’d staggered across the road holding onto her arm and fell into the car…..apparently I looked very pale and wasn’t able to answer her questions and that lasted until we got to her house, where after a sit down and a cuppa I was ok again. I wasn’t dehydrated.

 The last time it happened was just last week when I was in town. I’d filled my shopping bag too full and was walking slowly to a shop where I was luckily meeting Gemma who’d txt me asking if I wanted to meet her at one of the shops. As I walked along, stopping every now and then to change hands, I could feel my body shutting down again. I seem to go on automatic, unaware of people or things around me. But I saw some steps a few doors down from where I was heading and just had to stop and plonk myself down on them. I mjust have looked odd, slumped on the steps, so after a few minutes, picked myself up and slowly went the last few years and sat on the ledge outside the shop. Gemma arrived a few minutes later and instantly saw that I wasn’t well and helped me across the road to a bench where I sat while she went to get the car…..

I would normally have hoped my Gp would sort me out, but not this time.Blood tests have come back normal, which I knew they would, as did my blood pressure, as I knew it would. I needed it to be done at the time to show any abnormality. It feels simply like my body is closing down and I want to curl up and close my eyes….

Anyway that’s why the Consultant appointment was needed. I wouldn’t have accepted it under normal circumstances as it would be at Hull Royal, my least favourite place. I would have put up with whatever was going on. But this is stopping me enjoying my walks, my long walks. I havn’t been out of the village since the worst episode as I’ve lost all confidence in myself to venture out through the fields which I love so much.  Some would say ‘go with someone’, but what can they do if it happens, they can’t get me home, they can’t suddenly produce a nice comfy chair for me to sit on. So I feel stuck, hence why I need to sort it out.

My Gp hasn’t spoken to me, hasn’t seen me. All her information is coming third hand through Sarah, who obviously tries to describe the episodes On my behalf and my Gp can’t offer me video calling…🙈…so that’s why the referral initially went to the Neurology Department….sheer guess work I suppose, not having spoken to ME.

In this strange world we find ourselves in you would think Gp practices and hopsitals would automatically offer patients a choice of contact……well maybe some do but mine havn’t….and it’s been very frustrating for all of us. Once again the patient has to fit into services the way they want to deliver them and not offer a choice that might be more beneficial to the patient……The web site suits me but I imagine countless others may find it very difficult.

As for “Patients Know Best”….well that’s just a joke of a title….…find out what happened with the actual hospital appointment via phone tomorrow ……..

 

My daughter, my new hairdresser…..

What do we all miss during this strange time we find ourselves in…..?…Hugs and  touch, were 2 things I miss. I’ve become a hugger and a toucher so the absence of these simple signs of affection has felt very sad…

I began to look like Ginger the pony at one point and was desperate for the hairdressers to open again as were many people.

 

Then a couple of my playmates shaved their heads to raise money, Dory for the Zoomettes and Chris for the Alzheimer’s Society and suddenly an idea started to develop in my little head…..

It was Philly Hare who finally cemented the idea…..we must have been on a Zoom call and I must have remarked how it looked like she’d had her hair cut.  It was then she told me she always cut her and her families hair with clippers. She told me I needed a Number 7 clipper…and what to do….

I’d always liked going to the hairdressers pre Covid simply for the experience of someone washing and cutting my hair, but I’d always hated the false chatter. “Been anywhere nice lately” etc….my hairdresser was lovely but…..

I knew Stuart, my son in law had some clippers as he’d just done his own. When I mentioned it first they tried to put me off, but at some point Gemma must have said she’d give it a go…

The first time we were both very tentative. I didn’t care what it looked like, I just knew that anything would be better than it was! 😂…..it wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough for a first effort and that’s when I decided Gemma would be my new hairdresser…..

We’d had such a laugh at that first attempt. The closeness, the chatter, the kind caring touch made us both feel good. Three weeks later and I went back for more….’a tidy up’ we called it. The same chatter, the same closeness that brought us together. Gemma felt more confident this time and the laughter got louder as I suggested she was becoming a tad over confident 😂….

The last time was when Gemma realised this was her job for life now, but we both enjoyed the time we spent together. I don’t think she thinks of it as a chore…For someone with dementia touch is so important – the hand on the arm, feeling someone care, after all we all know our emotions are heightened with dementia. However, Gemma was definitely a tad blazee the last time as she forgot to check which clipper attachment she was using. I could tell by the sudden shock horror on her face as she casually started to mow my head…….

“Bet that’s a number 2 instead of a 7…” I said jokingly……..”Could well be” she replied as we fell about laughing……after all it’ll soon grow again…….

 

 

 

The Final stage of my 10 mile challenge……

So mile 7 having just been reached, we hobbled carried on with the lake on our right, round every corner a beautiful view in the ever increasing heat and my shoe getting tighter by the minute as my ankle was beginning to swell….🙄 but the pain was bearable as long as I kept moving….

Through the woodlands of Brandlehow Park seeing unusual plants and hearing unusual bird song, we soon could see ahead of us the wooden carved hand….time for a piccie me thinks…

The detail of the hand carved out of a tree trunk a sight to behold and a lovely sculpture to have by the lake shore…

After that and we reached Hawes End where Sarah asked if I was certain I didn’t want to catch the boat back……well I’d come this far so no way was I going to give in now…..So I probably gave her a Paddington Bear stare…😂🤣

It was soon after this that mile 8 was passed

My ankle now beginning to throb in my walking shoes….I guessed that if I take them off or stop now I wouldn’t get them back on.

The next mile was noticibly silent as all my concentration was on putting one foot in front of the other, my ankle becoming stiff if we stopped. But I was in need of a rest and a cuppa. I knew once we got to Portiscale that the welcome sight of the café would be a stopping place, so carried on with that in mind.

There was an unusual and unexpected view when we came out of the wooded area as we passed a field of Alpacas

All quite happily munching away at the grass. There was a sign saying you could take one for a walk if you wanted, but that would have to wait for another time

Nicole End landing stage came into view so I knew our café wasn’t far now. We could have stopped at the Cafe by the launch, but I knew if we stopped at Portiscale, then we’d only have a mile left. Ahead of us I saw the same couple who we’d taken the wrong turn with earlier, which brought a smile to my tired face…

We walked along the road now heading towards Portiscale, the sun still beating down. The café came into sight and in we headed for a welcome sit down and cuppa and to notch up mile 9

They had a lovely idea of having an empty wine bottle on the table along with a flower. Once you decided what you wanted from the menu, you put the flower in the vase to show them you were ready to order…..genius!

We must have been there about 20 minutes, Sarah having a bite to eat and a coffee and me my cuppa tea. I stood to leave when 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯….I couldn’t put any weight on my foot…it had totally seized up….It was sooo painful. I knew I had to get it moving before the pain would go….a good few minutes of tentative steps and lots of ‘oooooo’s’ and ‘ouches’ later, I was finally able to hobble enough to get going again……I knew there was only 1 more mile to go…the intrepid duo kept going

Crossing the wobbly bridge, we eventually came to the right hand turn where Keswick came back into view in the distance….almost there…

Head down, left foot right foot left foot right foot…..my movement automated, my head empty as was my body, empty of all energy…..

Finally taking a left up The Headlands, the Appletrees sign came into view, our start and our destination…mile 10, …..well just over but the piccie had to be back at Appletrees where we’d started just over 7 hours ago…….we’d done 31,542 steps 😳 I’d done that walk in 2-3 hrs with stops before and now it had taken 7 😳….but as Sarah kept telling me, Time doesn’t matter……mmmm…..

P.S.

But that’s not the end. I knew if I went to my room and collapsed on the bed that I wouldn’t move again. We were going home the next day and the sun was still shining. So after going to my room for some painkillers, we ventured for a well deserved ice cream treat and one last look at Friars Crag…

As we reached the Cragg Sarah was quite a way in front of me, but guess who was there to welcome me back….my Robin once more…❤️

They wished us well at the beginning of my challenged and welcomed me back at the end. That’s the mystical magic that surrounds this favourite place of mine

Thank you sooooo much to all who have sponsored me. I’ve been overwhelmed and very touched. My fundraising page will close at the weekend

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wendy-mitchell

 

Stage 2 and drama at Mile 6 ….

So cuppa tea finished and off on the 5th mile, so almost half way . We headed passed Lodore, the beautiful falls out of sight but you could hear the roar of the water….having to walk on the road for a couple of hundred yards we turned right and headed along the long path towards the Chinese bridge. This part has been known to be a paddle as it often floods after heavy rain, but not today….once again the Gods were on our side and the path was clear and dry….

Onto the Chinese Bridge, where at the beginning there’s a lovely piece engraved on the floor from Christopher Robin about standing on this very bridge….and we stopped and stared too

Across the board walks, the boginess of the land either side clear to see…..and onto red squirrel wood but not before mile 5 was ticked off and it had taken us just over 3 hours…

By this time we were glad of the shade the wood provided. The heat of the lunchtime sun unseasonably hot….no red squirrels came into view sadly. I’ve never ever seen a red squirrel and would have loved one to pop up and pose for my camera today but it wasn’t to be…..

The trees around were stunning, so tall, so straight reaching up to the sky…

We trundled our way happily following the path and at 5.8 miles decided our feet needed a cool down, so we went for a paddle. For some unknown reason I didn’t think walking on the stones would hurt but crikey they really did, but ooooo the water was so lovely and cool on my aching feet…….and so crystal clear..

Feet having dried in the sun, we set off soon to notch up mile 6…..

Due to me being slow 🙈….we kept stepping aside to allow others to pass us by and stride ahead. Every now and then I’d remark how that was me once upon a time, overtaking everyone at speed….but then drama and tragedy struck 🙄🤯…..I saw a couple out of the corner of my eye behind me and went to step out of the way, but stumbled, going over on my ankle….🙈…the same one I sprained a few months ago🥴🥴🥴🤐…

For a moment I hopped about trying to gain my balance but the pain was shooting up from my ankle…..I knew if I stopped, it would get stiff and hurt more so I kept moving around gingerly until eventually I’d gone through the pain and loosened it enough to walk again……🤐

I hobbled along for a while and eventually the pain was forgotten, especially when we came to one turning….everyone else seemed to go off to the left, but for some reason we followed a couple who went to the right…..it went fine for a while and then the couple ahead reached what seemed like a dead end 😂 and us following behind them caught them up. We both said, we wondered why everyone else had gone left and I said, well we were following you 😂🤣😂…..the man went ahead and did a reccie to see if there was a path and we eventually joined the path we should have gone along, but it provided a short spell of hilarity…..

Soon after Mile 7 and Cats Bell behind me……

Well how did my ankle hold out, especially when we stopped for a cuppa further along……just suffice to say, my ankle didn’t like it…..the final 3 miles tomorrow…..and find out how long I took…..🤐

My fundraising page will close at the weekend. Thank you so much for everyone’s support….

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wendy-mitchell

 

 

Stage 1 of my 10 mile challenge……

Well I wrote the next 3 blogs as soon as we got back to Appletrees before the detail faded altogether. I’d typed a few notes in my phone, had the map and my piccies to help. It took me ‘til 9pm to untangle the detail and tie in photos with facts and I might have got some in a pickle but here goes…..

So Monday dawned, the day I was walking the 10 mile around Derwentwater to raise funds for my lovely support group and playmates, Minds and Voices…….

In my previous life, this would have been like a stroll in the park. I’ve done it many times in 2-3 hours. But now I’m slow, my gait is unrecognisable from what it was back then, and I get breathless very quickly….🙈…so why put myself through this?

Well sometimes you just have to push yourself and put dementia on the sidelines, show it who’s boss. I’ve done a challenge each year for just that reason.  Of course, Covid, put an end to my plans for a tandem paraglide over Derwentwater, due to take place the week after our lives changed….so close yet so far……I only thought of walking round it last week, so here I am Monday morning with Sarah at the start…..and here’s our challenge…

 As I drew my curtains, the day looked promising outside…..the Gods were looking down on us and had supplied a beautiful day…

I only ever have a proper breakfast when I’m at Appletrees, never occurs to me anywhere else…..so tummy stocked up on fuel we set off towards the lake, full of energy, full of enthusiasm……mmmm wonder if I’ll be the same later…🤣😂…

Sarah set off at a quick pace and it was me having  to tell her to slow down for a change….in a previous life it was always the others way round…..we passed the Theatre on the Lake, sadly, like most, closed yet not forgotten…

As we walked down the lake came into view, it really was a beautiful day…..

Sarah had the map and we were going clockwise round the lake, so our first stop was Friars Cragg…

I put my camera on zoom to see people were already on the top of Cats Bell in the distance….

No time to sit and stare, we turned around and headed towards the next bay, but was stopped in our tracks by the Robin that had come to wish me luck…..it just sat there looking at us and then jumped down and danced around our feet

Then it’s friend came and we had 2 Robins, so close we could almost touch them. They chatted to us from the tree before flying off and leaving us feeling blessed by their presence

Heading through the gate, we then followed the shoreline before entering woodland and our first landmark, mile 1….

Following the winding path, we eventually reached Milenium bench, where we had a little sit down and enjoyed the silence

Before heading round the corner where the hundred year stone lay in the water

Following the path round, we came across a group of paddle boarders having a group paddle out onto the lake before entering the Scotch Pine wood, their scent filling the air. It was around here that Mile 2 was achieved…..

We passed a huge felled tree trunk that for many a year had been used to insert coins

The lake level was too high to continue along the shoreline and we had to take a detour up to the road and walk alongside the path towards Ashness Gate Landing stage….once there we chatted with fellow walkers doing just as we were, before heading off once more following the shoreline and around the sticky outy bit of land where Mile 3 was notched up

The lake was like a mill pond, so still so quiet, so relaxing….

We allowed a group to go in front of us because I could see a muddy bit ahead and wanted to see which way they went 🤪…..sure enough, we allowed them to find the least wet way before we followed😂…..

We arrived at a car park which signalled the time to leave the lake, cross the road and venture through ancient woodland…it was such a magical place as everything was covered in moss and emerald green……beautiful…..

We eventually reached a welcome sign, telling us that if we looked to our right, across the road, there was a hotel with a lovely cuppa tea garden…….and here we noticed up mile 4 and a deserving rest

Seems like a good place to finish stage 1 as I really couldn’t have done the walk justice in one blog alone……so stage 2 is tomorrow……..

 

Our journey to paradise …….

During this strange time we have to continue to live a life worth living and my life wouldn’t be worth living if I couldn’t go to my paradise of Keswick. So as long as we do things safely and within guidelines I’m happy to make it work…..we’d booked the stay after our last visit but could only get 2 nights at Appletrees this time as Catherine was fully booked, which is very good news for her but sad for us….anyway 2 nights is better than none….

AND of course, I’d decided to snuck in this years challenge. All very last minute as I only thought of it last week. It was due to be a tandem paraglide over Keswick, raising money for Minds and Voices,  but sadly I think we’d find social distancing a tad difficult suspended in the air. So walking the 10 miles around Derwentwater seemed a good replacement for now…..maybe the paraglide will happen next year, who knows….

Anyway, getting up at my usual time, I’d decided not to go for my early morning walk as I had a muddle of things to sort out for my suitcase. So here’s one from Saturday morning instead as the sky looked very similar from my bedroom window…

Pre Covid, it used to come naturally, knowing what to pack, what to leave, but now it requires lots of thought and working out…I always used to carry my red haversack pre the world changing, but havn’t needed to since. I looked at it and wondered why I would need it…I put it on and it felt cumbersome and strange, so I decided I’d put everything small in a bum bag instead – much easier to manage….amazing how quickly things are forgotten….🙈 wouldn’t have gone anywhere without my red rucksack before now…😢

Sarah had been working the day before so it wasn’t to be an early start  – I’m not sure I could cope with an early start anymore..🤔..the new routine of Covid has me going out for an early walk, but then my routine starts and continues until about 9am, so the days of the “silly o’clock start” are a distant memory…

So Sarah arrived at 10am and as I waited patiently (not😂) sitting with my camera in the conservatory, my daily visitor came to wish me farewell

We set off, both full of excitement on a lovely sunny day. Reached the nearby Wetlands and saw the geese fkying in formation probably migrating…..

A stop for a take away cuppa further on having passed the windmills that I havn’t seen for ages…..and we were off properly, stopping at our usual half way point of Mainsgill for a snack and another cuppa…

Once we’d crossed over the M6 at Penrith, that’s when I really feel we’re nearly there. We’d gone through heavy cloud and the odd spot of rain but once we saw the signs to Keswick, the sun shone and the skies were blue. The views all the way down to Keswick, simply stunning….

We took a chance and drove down the road where our lovely B&B lay waiting and were sooooo lucky that another car was just pulling out, so managed to get our free space instead of having to fight with the crowds in the town car park…..

Due to all the extra work getting things Covid ready, we can’t check in until 4pm, so we decided to head into town first to get our supper and other bits and bobs, before dumping them in the car and heading towards the Lake…..it was very busy, but then it was a Sunday with weekend visitors. We stood by the lake and just soaked up the calmness of paradise

Then heading towards Friars Cragg, we ambled along the lake shore,stopping every now and then to take a piccie. It was very windy. Hope it calms down for my walk on Monday!

We then reached Friars Cragg and amazingly, even though it was busy, no one was sat on my the bench……so I did……and simply sat and breathed….

After a while of simply sitting and looking, we left the bench for others to savour and headed to our B&B. Catherine, the owner, had longed for a new sign for ages and sure enough, there it was. The last one had lost it’s ‘A’ in the spring storms….but this was a lovely replacement…

Catherine and Jason greeted us inside like long lost friends along with Polly the dog. Catherine showed us to our rooms. Extra T bags and my red pillowcase over the TV were all in situe as usual – everything perfect. Once we’d chatted and said our goodbyes until the morning, she went off to show Sarah her room, I put the kettle on, made a cuppa tea and sat in my favourite chair by my favourite window…….

Finally here again in paradise…with my window with my favourite view…

Wonder if I’ll make the 10 miles…….😬

My sponsorship page will be opened until the weekend…..

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wendy-mitchell

 

 

A long walk round the village…..

I had a rubbish week energy wise but before that took hold I managed this long walk round the village

 I seem to have lost all confidence to venture outside into the fields and down the hidden public footpaths, that I took so freely and easily at the start of Covid. An episode when I had to txt my daughter to come and help just knocked me for six and knocked all the stuffing out of me. So due to the fact that my Gp doesn’t offer video calls it’s not been investigated enough for me to feel confident to venture further afield and now a hospital appointment has come through and they only do phone calls….. enough of the depressing, I’ll save that for another time 🙈

Any way I’m lucky enough to have my lovely village to trundle around and on the particular day I decided to do the full circuit. So I hope you enjoy coming with me….

I stood at the end of my path wondering which way to turn, eventually deciding to go up the right hand path and trundle to the allotment first to see what I could find….no footpath, just a busy country road but only a short distance so I take my life in my own hands and hope the cars will see me….

Past the field of barley where birds are stocking up on seeds still until the farmer thinks it’s time to harvest…

…and down then take a left take the secret lane to the allotments…as soon as you walk through the gate, the calmness and serenity fill your lungs

It appears all quiet, no noise, the only sound the birds in the trees yet I know from the cars, that people are beavering away somewhere or maybe just sat and surveying their handiwork in the sunshine ……

The path goes all the way round and I start up one side, looking for signs of life and a head bobs up and says hello and we chat about this and that before moving on. I can see Shona in the distance near her greenhouse and her hand goes up in a cheerful wave….

Here and there people were tying up and tying down ready for the forecasted storm over the weekend. It was the silence that stood out, the peaceful commaraderie that exists here.

Tools abandoned yet safe, pots waiting to be planted stood idly waiting for their owners to return

Just sheer beauty and peace all around. Once last photo before I leave this little secret haven

Then back down the road towards the village but this time a right alongside the Manor House with it’s white clock tower and bell standing proudly above the wall….just having struck  2pm

Following the road round, alongside the field with the Wolds in the distance to my right, eventually coming to the long straight track used by cyclist and walkers alike.

I used to follow the long track at the beginning of Covid but havn’t been up there for a while, instead turning left and going down the road towards the main road, crossing that and heading up the hill. No footpath again, the verge a tad neglected and full of bramble making it difficult to walk on. But still beauty to be found on the verge ….

At the top, before turning left down the village back lane I take in the view….more peaceful beauty…

Ambling down the back lane the sheep come into view. Abby, the owner and whose chickens supply me with eggs, tells me all the names each time I post a picture but only 2 remain in my head – Valley and Wally…..Wally is the first piccie…..

I stop and watch them for a while and they look up once in a while to see if I’m still there….before heading behind the church and further along the back lane, spotting a squirrel perched on a headstone, wondering whether to dart away or pose for a piccie – luckily he stayed….

The cricket field empty of play today but the squeals of delight and excitement from the mini zip wire that delights all the children in the playground can be heard as I approach…

I disappear down the path and come across a lovely bird, whose name escapes me. I know I’ve got a bird book somewhere but can’t for the life of me find it…🙄….it was looking at me as I stood stock still wondering whether to take flight but decided I was still enough to hang around continuing it’s foraging for discarded berries on the ground

And so through the houses and to the duck pond…..my final destination before heading home. A few days before, Peter the duck man had brought along some amazing photos of his to show me from times gone by, when swans occupied the pond. They were stunning. He also had brought a photo of the street where I live but it was a photo of a painting from the 1890’s. The street looked just the same. The old houses all neatly placed as they are now. From the angle it was drawn ,my house would have wasteland. I knew something was different but couldn’t place it until I went along there and then it struck me – the cars were missing because there were none back then……

I’d taken some food so the ducks were happy with me. Today Peter and his wife joined me by the pond. We chatted away. When mine and Sarah favourite, the yellow eyed duck appeared. I said this to Peter and he agreed that it too was his favourite. It’s a  Tufted duck, he said, not to be confused with the Golden Eye because of her beautiful yellow eyes and she’s been there 23 years ..no partner, but happily alone all that time, maybe that’s why I like her so much.

We went our separate ways, me heading home, one last look up the lane to see if the bowls gate was open but not today, all quiet and closed up

My trundles and my camera are the only thing keeping me going lately, but I’m very lucky to have them……

 

 

The Perfect Start to any Day………

Yesterday morning, I half opened my eyes, tapped my watch ……6am glowed at me…..closing my eyes again the dream I’d just had came into vision. I was the conductor on a tram in Blackpool along with playmate Agnes Houston and Donna, her daughter was the driver…..been having some crazy dreams lately 🙄

I half opened my eyes once more as I felt a strange glowing light in the room. A unusual warmth shone through the half opened door. I rolled out of bed, and went to investigate. The whole landing was filled with a strange light and as I walked through the to the back bedroom I could see why…

I wrapped myself up in my dressing gown, went downstairs, slipped on my garden clogs and outside into my garden and there the wonderful sight greeted me

The most beautiful sunrise.

I knew nature didn’t hang around. If I went to get dressed and venture out the moment would be lost. So I stood on the damp dewy grass and savioured the moment.

The flame coloured sky enveloped me from all sides

Mesmerised, the only sound was my own breathing and the birds calling to one another. So still, so beautiful

Light rain began to fall and I turned to go indoors, but there in the sky my second perfect start to the day….the most beautiful rainbow spanning the village from one end to the other

I looked back round behind me and the colours were gently fading

Could there have been a better start to the day?

As I went back inside, the rain falling steadily, an autumn chill running from the toes to my nose, I climbed back into bed to get warm. I gently dozed back to my dream of the Blackpool tram…

Waking once more,  I tapped my watch. I’d only been asleep a few minutes – 06.45. Had it all been a dream? HaD that wonderful start to the day been a trick of my fading brain? I looked out of the window and a grey sky met my eyes. Rain was steadily falling and the world was waking as the odd car with headlights alight streamed past my house. My heart sank at the thought. I’ve found it hard to feel happy lately, sadness being the dominant emotion, but this bubble of happiness inside me somewhere told me I’d seen something really special this morning.

I opened my ipad, the photos having magically transferred and there was the evidence of the most perfect start to the day…it really had happened…

 

A visit to the Wetlands……

Me and Sarah had passed the sign to the local Wetlands just a few months back and  said we must visit there…..then Peter the Duck man, in the village,  had told me the story of the village swans being relocated there many moons ago to have a larger lake to inhabit, and then the other day, someone had posted on Twitter about their visit there!! So I had to go…..

I’d had 2 discombobulated days in a row and I woke to another. The days before was alleviated by Gemma taking me to Hobbycraft for the first time. We’d had an amazing time and had to go back to the car twice 😂 and must confess to having purchased our first Christmas items 🙈😂❤️

Anyway I digress….I was sat up in bed, going through my routine of games and Twitter, emails, Facebook etc hoping the routine would calm my head, when a message appeared on my ipad “Check your Whatsapp’…I thought it was my ipad being very clever, but then I looked at my emails and Sarah had emailed me to say “Check your Whatsapp” 😂🙈…..I’d forgotten that her emails flash up on my screen as she’s set up as a priority…….My head was exploding and I was so confused….as I was already fuzzy  and  hadn’t finished my routine…….there’s me thinking my ipad was so clever….🙄

Anyway I checked my WhatsApp and it was Sarah asking if I wanted to go to North Cave Wetlands, not far from us! I was due to join the Thursday Funsters on Zoom, but I couldn’t miss up this chance.

It’s times like this when I wish I could still drive. I’m so restricted on where I can go without my daughters and basically it’s the village bus into town at the mo and that’s it. Makes me feel very trapped. But I’m lucky, I know I am, as my daughters do take me places and that day was one of them….

Camera at the ready I waited for Sarah to txt to say she’d left and was on her way.

We couldn’t believe we’d never been there before and approached the lane seeing the Wetlands tea hut at the beginning of the trial. Sarah got a cuppa coffee and we settled ourselves in the outside seating area looking out over  2 lakes. With the naked eye you failed to see the hundreds of thousand of geese….

but zoom in my camera and there they were

It was so calm, so still, so beautiful just to watch them oblivious to our presence in their world. Another smaller piece of water, so calm, that the reflections of the birds stood out

Eventually we trundled further down the lane and hidden every so often were little hides or gates to wander through.

We went through one to reveal yet another lake, it was like a millpond with a beautiful swan seemingly with the lake all to themselves…swam serenely

Then it’s mate appeared thankfully as I was worried it’s mate had died and it was on it’s own as we all know swans mate for life…and there there were side by side

We left the swans preening their snow white feathers

…….. and ambled further round the path. We found a man with a camera much bigger than mine pointing it into the overgrowth. I thought he’d seen a magic bird or other wild life in the shrubbery so we stood stock still in our tracks so we didn’t disturb his concentration, but he spied us and said:

“It’s ok, only a spiders web” and showed us how in the overgrowth there were loads of spiders webs with spider catching all sorts to eat……😂❤️

Another side of the road, another stopping place in which to intrude found more simply chilling on the marshland

Back to the beginning for one last look at the hoards by the lakeside and then homeward bound.

Something on our doorstep so beautiful yet never visited…..we’ll definitely be there again now we’ve found it.

I publish all my daily trundle photos on my Facebook page everyday should anyone be interested ☺️

 

If I were in a Care Home now……..

I use to like it here, but all the smiley faces have gone’…..a comment from a resident with dementia in a Care Home when everyone started wearing masks…..

Our lives are ebbing away, yet there’s so much risk aversion about visiting.  For those of us living with dementia, our memories are our most treasured possessions and we lose some every day. Imagine if you lost something of special value everyday – that’s the daily reality for those of us living with dementia. I’d give up possessions anytime if I could have some guarantee that my memories would remain intact…

So imagine having been in a Care Home and not having seen those closest to you for the last 6 months…imagine the effect dementia has on your ability to remember those closest to you?

So we’ll deteriorate, though the lack of stimulation given to us directly from loved ones who know us best….. and  so much our lives will disappear without seeing loved ones – what sort of quality of life is that when the quality of our life is already changing?

Is it really person centred care, to allow the confusion of seeing someone via a screen or behind a screen in a garden that doesn’t mean anything to the person with dementia?

Each stage related issue should be treated with individuality. Some may have coped with seeing their loved ones on zoom, outside in the garden, but sooo many others have lost that connection. Shouldn’t families be allowed to make a choice? To assess the risk themselves?

Of course not all care homes have the same rules, yet more inconsistency. Some have said, “They’re keeping their residents safe”, but safe from what? Surely you have to weigh up the risk of Covid striking the home with the risk to the residents of not physically seeing their loved ones in close proximity? Our physical lives may be long but a fragment of our mental lives disappear each day with dementia. Many Care homes appear to be afraid of being the next Care Home to have an outbreak so go into survival mode to save their reputation. But have they really thought of the effect this may have on someone in the later stages of dementia? They may be keeping them alive but you want that life? I know I wouldn’t.

I’m not putting the blame at the door of the Care Homes. With the pressure they’re under they need more consistent informed guidance. As for the carers, I can only imagine the multitude of emotions they’re going through.

Imagine sat there alone….vague recollections, sparks of memories fleeting through the ever fading brain of people visiting who make you smile……now wondering why no one visits, or worse still, forgetting that anyone ever visited…..being taken into a garden with a strange plastic screen and figures at the other side , strange figures, so you look down to avoid seeing these strange figures with strangers faces from afar….

Those closest to them know them best, how to interact, what will work, what won’t. No one with dementia can be sure what memories they’ve lost. Those around us are often our guardians of our memories. After all, how do we know what we’ve lost if we can’t remember them? It’s only when others question or relate memories to us that we question our own thoughts.

In desperation a friend of mine visited her husband who is a couple of years younger than me. It was a garden visit but they had a big perspect screen dividing them. It became so traumatic for them both when the husband started clawing at the screen as he didn’t understand why he couldn’t hold his wife’s hand and be close to her. So tragic, yet easily solved.

The care home staff are allowed to go about their lives, shopping, maybe even going to the pub, but loved ones aren’t allowed to visit without all the barriers. Yes, the care staff have done an amazing job in this period of strangeness but why can’t exceptions be made where physical touch is the only communication that works ? They could have a test and if it comes back negative, why shouldn’t they be able to visit as normal? Choice not barriers. Alternatives, solutions not one size fits all.

One lovely lady I know has stopped visiting as it was too distressing. Her husband simply didn’t understand she was there as they had no physical contact….the only thing that stimulated his memories.

We need touch, we need whatever each individual responds to for connection before that connection is lost. Imagine your loved one dying in a care home and not having been able to see them or hold their hand because ‘of the rules’………

Care Homes were  forgotten by the government at the beginning of all this strangeness and now it seems people with dementia in care homes are still being forgotten…..😢

The Dementia charities are finally working together and one of the first articles they published was around the state of Care Homes at the beginning of this pandemic. But one article won’t bring about change. Outrage at the time, yes, but soon forgotten. It needs continual hammering home that this needs to change. Look at the situation in the beginning and look at it now…..very little has changed for people with dementia in Care Homes…..

Many are simply existing. Would that be the sort of life you would wish for your loved ones? it’s not a life I would want….because it’s simply not a life…