Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Last week I hit 60, & whilst my head & heart don't feel 3 score years, my body burdened as it currently is by the damn boot, certainly does!
nevertheless the day itself passed (thankfully) peacefully. i had a few birthday cards arrive as well as text messages from those dear to me.I treated myself-I know its extravagant (!) to a coffee in a coffee bar on the High Street & read the newspaper. I did enjoy that & the sun shone1.
But the real pleasure came on the Saturday last-22nd September. I had arranged a small get together at a local cafe/jardin with a buffet laid on. The place had a bar with real ale as well as a bit of music. I had invited around 40 odd people including my colleagues from work as well as family.My daughter & her husband had taken the trouble to drive down from Tadcaster in Yorkshire the  evening before to spend the weekend with us.
I have to admit that that I was a tad apprehensive prior to the evening of the 'part' as I had feelings that none would turn up. However these feelings fortunately came to naught as all that were invited actually turned up as well as a couple more I hadn't expected!
The evening was wonderful! My colleagues from work were there & brought me cards with expensive gifts!! I hadn't expected that I have to confess!! My sister in law made me a fantastic cake (the last sliver has just been eaten by me as I type!), people from my past present and very recent present turned up. It was a very enjoyable night. I made lots of new friends & renewed some old ones.
For everyone who turned up & to God I say "thank you."

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cameron & his ministers are hypocrites

Andrew Mitchell MP-pushing his cycle for once!!

Two days ago in Manchester (UK) two police officers responding to an emergency summons were cold bloodedly gunned down & murdered by a known & wanted murderer. The crime horrified the nation, & rightly so.
Today, we had David Cameron taking time to go and visit the place where the police officers died & to 'pay his respects' to their relatives. Very noble & honourable you might be tempted to say, however this is from the man who is drastically cutting back on police numbers thereby reducing the number of officers on the streets, & is reducing their pensions.This from the man who as Prime Minister of these isles shows the utmost contempt for all of 'Public Servants' be they police officers, nurses, teachers, doctors or civil servants.
My view of Cameron's action is that it is the behaviour of a hypocrite & that of someone who in reality doesn't give a tinkers cuss about anyone other than himself or his rich Tory party members.

As if to illustrate this point further, we heard today of one of Cameron's chief misters-a fellow named Andrew Mitchell- used foul language at a police officer & calling him a "fucking pleb...... when asked to leave the exit to Downing Street via the smaller pedestrian exit & not the main vehicle gate by the police officer.
Cameron was said to be "angry" & the foul mouthed Mr Mitchell has apologised.
However. The other week I cycled to the local supermarket & for the last 2 yards of the journey I actually cycled on the pavement (leaving a major trunk road out of Birmingham where 9 months ago a cyclist died after being trapped & crushed under the wheels of a truck). I was 'flagged down' by a police officer who politely asked me not to ride on the pavement. (its illegal to ride a cycle on the pavement in the UK).
I apologised & dismounted. But I wonder what would have happened to me if I'd told the Police Officer to "fuck off you pleb". Guess I would have been arrested & rightly so, probably ending up with a caution at the local police station.

But I can't help but feel that there is one law for the man in the street & another for the those who hold elected office(?)

Sack Andrew Mitchell Mr Cameron.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Care of the elderly in the United Kingdom 2012

Residential 'Care' Home. (?)

My mother  ( as I wrote in an earlier post) is currently an inpatient in a rehab' hospital for the elderly. The care is fantastic, the impression given is that the place is a 'Hospital', the patient's appear to be treated as individuals I have nothing but praise for the staff.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the representative of Birmingham Social Services that I have encountered. The family & mom had a meeting with this Social Worker recently. We were steered to the ward dining room where other patients were sitting and there she 'told' us what the future plans were to be for my mother. We were told that mom is to be placed in to what she euphemistically called a "residential care home". We were told that mom is a "risk, hasn't mental capacity, (though this has not yet been tested!) wanders nightly & therefore requires 24 hour care. The families suggestions were ignored & we were told that on the 11th September 2012 mom would be taken to have a "look" at one care home -we could come along if we so desired.
The whole meeting (as I stated in the earlier post) had the effect upon me similar to what the effect upon Sonny Liston suffered when Cassius Clay caught him on the chin with his vicious right hook! It floored me. I was taken aback, totally unprepared for the comments/decisions made & the subsequent disempowerment.
However I have now collected myself & managed to discuss the meetings/decisions with the family.

So we visited the Residential 'Care' Home. It was a very modern building privately owned by an organisation. There were 56 residents-all appeared to be 65+yrs in age. As we went through the door the- (I assume she was the manager who was showing us about)- said to the social worker in the presence of my brother, me & mom-"is this dementia or elderly care?" I'm afraid I was a little corrective of her when I heard this comment/question, reminding the 'warden' that mom and family we present! The hackles rising within me as they were.
  We were shown about- it was clean, warm all the things you would expect. People seemed happy & content. However, doors to the lovely garden were locked. Residents were not allowed out alone no matter how much or little capacity they had. The 'warden' spoke of a "duty of care". What utter bollocks!-"duty of care" should include continuing to allow (& constantly reviewing the understanding that the individual has of the concept)-the resident access to personal space & freedom.
We were shown a (locked) shop for the residents-a pretty neon sign was flicked on for our benefit as the 'warden' opened the door!)-mom was told that she "can buy EVERYTHING you need from here, you need never go out to the shops" There was a hairdressers on site, quiet rooms it was a rabbit warren of rooms to be honest.
But my strong unshakable belief is that people benefit from spending time in the community-be it at the local shop or the local community hairdressers. Indeed I also believe that the wider community greatly benefit from sharing the community with the widest diversity of population possible. Great emphasis is placed in our society on racial & religious understanding & sharing but the elderly are excluded from this equity. They are locked away, appear to be generally denied the privileges of  broader society & community living.
Mom in fairness said time & time again that she wanted her "own home". The social worker & 'warden' attempted to dissuade her from this. However at this point I'd seen & had enough of this disempowered, dysfunctional way of housing people in pens not dissimilar to battery chickens. I spoke up & strong said that mom be listen to, that we would not allow her to become a resident of a residential home (unless she strongly desired to become one). She should be allowed to go to her home (or a more suitable accommodation) & try out independent living. I refused to allow the authority to allow mom to be sent away-no matter how difficult the relationship is & has been to date between us. It is my duty.

What sort of society do we live in that allows those who have contributed there time, sweat, blood & money to the established infrastructure of it to be shut away & disempowered once they reach an age deemed by that society to be of no further use??
Shame on that society.
 Shame & damn the United Kingdom Health & Social Care 'Service' 2012. Shame & damn Birmingham  Social Services.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Lame :-(

The Boot!

Last Tuesday whilst my next door neighbour and me were climbing over the fence at the bottom of the garden to inspect the space available for log storage-we both have wood burning stoves, thus store/dry logs.
I lost my balance whilst climbing over, tumbled backwards & landed on my arse via my right ankle and left hand.
Ouch! or Prat! I hear you say. However it wasn't as simple as that. My ankle swelled up to gargantuan   proportions, my wrist left wrist followed suit & I felt awful. (As well as a complete idiot)
It became clear to us that I had sprained (again!) my ankle as well as my wrist and treated them both with the appropriate first aid.
When Kate came home she whisked me down to the local accident & emergency room where they diagnosed sprains affecting left wrist & right ankle & sent me home. Easy eh? Unfortunately no. Since then the pain, swelling & bruising has worsened. My overall mobility has decreased & the pain from my ankle has increased.

So. Yesterday (Monday) the swelling increased, the daily amount of painkillers doubled and the bruising now a delightful shade of greeny-blue Kate dropped me once again at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He I was once again examined, my foot and ankle x-rayed from a different angle I was informed  that I have chipped a bone in my ankle & torn some ligaments.
Brilliant. However it does explain the amont of pain & discomfort that I've been in over the past week.

So now I have a bloody great grey plastic boot on over my damaged lower leg/ankle. It has to stay on at least until October 1st when I have to return for a follow up appointment.
To say that it cramps my style is an understatement. I can't cycle, go for walks, shop at the local market for my fresh vegetables, even walk without hobbling & lurching around like a drunken Douglas Bader lookalike! Worse still I can't go to work-now that pisses me off. I do love my work. I'm limited also to what work I can do around the house & garden too.
Autumn is a wonderfully beautiful time of the year-especially around the local parks here in Kings Heath, but as my mobility is severely limited I'm afraid that I'll miss the colours, sights & smells of the season.
I'll have this damn boot on for my birthday as well!
Still it could be alot worse.....I'm lucky to have the facility that enables me to have my wound healed. And I give thanks for that.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Social Services-Stalin is alive & well

Whether we like it or not we all have to do our 'duty' & with rights comes responsibilities. These are not just cliché but I believe maxims that mark a civilized society. And to me personally 'duty' is very important.

I have a 'difficult' relationship with my mother. We have never been close ( & earlier posts will expand on this). However for the past month she has been incarcerated in a rehab' hospital for the elderly following a small fall at home. The physical care given to my mother has been  tremendous & first class. The staff have been attentive, caring & dutiful. The time has now arrived however for mother to be discharged. We met with a Social Worker yesterday who informed us that mother HAS to move into a residential Home for the elderly. They have arrived at this decision as 'they' (the 'care team') believe (apparently) that mother is a risk to herself, she is demented, has poor mobility & needs constant supervision.
 She or us have to pay any financial short fall for this. Mother was informed of this & she, amid some tears, refused "an old peoples home". My younger brother  (who is 'golden balls' in mothers eyes'!) walked out thereby leaving me once again to pick up the bits and be portrayed as the 'bad guy'. Nothing new in that!

Kate & I discussed the issue late into the night. We decided that despite all that we feel about mother we have a duty of care to take her in with us. We would modify our house & hopefully get some help from the local authority in providing some respite care for mother & us(!).
The Social Worker phoned today & I informed her of out idea/suggestion/offer.
It was shot down & ridiculed by the Social Worker. I was told that mother has to go into residential care for her protection, that we couldn't cope with her "wandering during the night" (I don't recall mother actually wandering during the night) & that we haven't the skills to care for mother.
My nursing knowledge tells me that living in a 'home 'with a family far improves a persons quality of life rather than they living in a residential home. Despite all that I feel about mother if she wishes to come & stay with me & my family then so be it. I will modify my house to suit her needs. I have a duty & responsibility to take her in, I would argue this point with God himself. It will be hard, damn hard we are aware of that, & we will insist upon support from the local authority in her care.

It seems that the 'Nannie State' is trying once again to show its fist. However this time they will have a damn hard fight on their hands, I will not allow them to impose their Stalinist dictates upon me. I will fight this wretched Social Worker every inch of the way for fairness & justice for my mother & for us.
Big brother will not triumph, how dare they believe that they can impose their will over the individual!

Power to the People!!! 
Stalin is dead!
Long live the Revolution!

Monday, 3 September 2012

The National Health Service & The 2012 Olympic Games.

This post will hopefully be- (do I hear some of you mutter "please...?") the last rant/moan about the recent London Olympics. It will not be the last post I ever type concerning the debacle that is currently the National Health Service.
The health service of the UK was once the envy of the world- it is said that though, envy ultimately destroys,  if this be the case then, envy is well en route to destroying the NHS. Especially as it is now in the hands of a Government intent on wrecking not only the NHS, but also of systematically crushing the soul, heart & morale of the majority its citizens.

The NHS functions as it does solely on the goodwill of those who work within the service. Lunch breaks if taken are eaten hurriedly whilst 'on the job, staff regularly work over their allocated time of duty without remuneration  & mangers pile ever increasing work upon their staff in order that targets be met-thereby bring funding into the service. The new patient of the NHS has become paperwork. It is paperwork & targets that need to be nurtured & cared for, the human person who was once the focus & centre of Bevan's NHS now lies de-hydrated, in a wet bed waiting for treatment/therapy.

This sorry state of affairs was illustrated at the time of the burlesque show that was the London Olympic Games. One Health Trust in the UK a patient in need of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)- be it they are referred to psychological services because they suffer from depression, OCD, thought disorder, anxiety etc etc. Have to wait a minimum of 6 months for therapy to be seen. If you are lucky enough not to be afflicted by any of the aforementioned mental health conditions, you might just say" Hmmm...that's not to bad..." However, imagine that you're unable to leave your own house without feeling that your heart is beating so fast that it will explode in your chest, that you can't breath for fear of leaving your home, that you feel panic at the thought of having to open your front door. Imagine that you have suffered horrendous abuse as a child & now, as an adult you now feel unable stop yourself from cutting your arms as a way of 'coping' Then, I think, you'd want some help ASAP. Now, if had these difficulties perhaps 6 months is like an eternity.

However, in the Health Trust I refer to the psychological lead therapist/manager was allowed time off to offer & be there to give therapeutic care to "some of the world's elite athletes..." This was boasted about by the trust-a feather in the cap no doubt.
But meanwhile the real sick & injured of our society have to wait a minimum of 6 months for therapy.

Where are the priorities here people??