Earlier in the week, I popped in to see someone that I hadn’t seen for a couple of weeks. I had intended it to be a fairly quick visit. Things had been stable and I was in the area so just wanted to check and show my face – just in case. I’d phoned the previous day and confirmed with her and her son that I’d be around.
Sometimes, I find a need to be proactive – rather than waiting for people to come with problems. Perhaps it’s more common with older people but people sometimes ‘don’t want to bother me’ with some of the difficulties they face so occasionally I have be quite determined to seek out these difficulties.
This was one such instance.
On arriving at Mrs S she told me that her son and carer had been taken to hospital that morning. She didn’t know how he was or what it was about except that he was in great pain. She hadn’t wanted to phone to tell me because she didn’t want to bother me!
A few phone calls later we had established that he was fine but also not fine in that he was going to be staying in hospital at least for a few days.
And that’s where we had to kick into quite speedy action –
– Call to district nurses to ensure they could monitor medication
– Informing care agency and asking for additional hours with as soon as possible effect (they were able to do the next day – which was enormously helpful!).
– call to other son who lived a little further away and ask if he can fill gaps for the immediate
– call to day centre to ask if they could increase service for the next few days to ensure hot meals
All the standard stuff, all fairly smooth.
The main difficulty though remained, at least for Mrs S.
Her son had bought her a wonderful TV. It had a satellite box, full cinematic experience, surround sound – along with various other bits and pieces that I couldn’t identify but somehow provided access to more television channels than there are grains of sugar in a sugar cube!
And.. .4 different remote controls.
In between my telephone calls, Mrs S looked at me sadly and asked me if I could turn the television on for her.
‘I haven’t been able to watch the telly all day’ she said
‘I can’t work out which control to use’.
I looked in askance at the pile of controls
‘I’m not afraid of buttons’ I said to myself.
We combated PIN numbers (hurrah for defaults!) and some juggling of remotes to find the something she recognised.
Brief explanations and an extremely poorly drawn chart, along with some sticky tape and highlighter pens allowed me to ensure she knew at least, the right volume buttons and how to change the channels.
But this is the kind of thing you possibly don’t think of when you buy your mum the latest digital TV surround sound cinematic experience television – and she just wants to see Emmerdale.
I did think though, as I left her happily watching – that I was really glad I had decided just to pop in that day of all days – I would have found out the next day anyway, when her regular carer showed up but one day without television – I don’t know if I’d be able to manage it!