Bob and I had both been looking forward to today.
It was special because it was his first visit to the St Barnabas Day Hospice. What a marvellous organisation this is. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful, caring hospice close to us. I am very grateful to Bob’s medical team for referring him here. The wait between referral and today has been relatively short. The heart failure nurses have already paid us two home visits and I love the way they look at every medical issue as a whole. Whether it’s a painful toe or a diuretic problem – it’s all part of the underlying problem – it is such a relief to talk in-depth with them, rather than a rushed ten minutes with a doctor.
John, the hospice volunteer, turned up at 9.45 and whisked him away for his day out. And all in all Bob had a great day: he did some painting and told me that everyone praised his efforts. I believe he would have been a good artist as well as wordsmith, but he never cultivated the artistic side of his talents.
He reports that the company was good, as was the lunch, and he had a hand massage. For someone who had never had any kind of massage, this was a new experience, but he seemed to enjoy it.
His day out ended rather painfully because he fell as he got out of the volunteer driver’s car. It was his own fault: he got out before anyone could give him assistance. So he has ended the day with bruised ribs and a graze on his back. He has very little flesh on his frame to cushion falls and our drive is rather hard so he will be a little sore later.
As for me, I made the most of my five hours of me-time. I started with 40 minutes on the treadmill at the gym while I watched some day-time TV. Somehow I don’t feel guilty watching day-time rubbish when I am there. I followed that with 22 lengths of the outdoor pool, pausing only to chat to a friend whom I met in the changing room. A leisurely soak in the jacuzzi, 10 minutes in the steam room, and I was ready for lunch.
Lunch was at the China Palace in Arundel with a friend of over 40 years – also a translator. Having put the world to rights I made for home ready to greet Bob – and pick him up off the drive.
All in all the day did us both good. As we parted I assured my friend that I was doing all the things carers should do – ensuring some time off for a bit of rest and recreation. And that’s what we both achieved today.