Where should I start? Tier 4 was introduced this week so I felt that now was a good time to write this.
Since the 21st of May I have not written and for that I apologise. Before I start I will say that there will be ups and downs in this blog but bear with me. It is also a slightly longer blog but then again I do have plenty to tell you dear readers.
Firstly the book… it is pretty much complete and I have hit a literal wall with regards to editing and or publishing but good things cometh to those who wait so let’s see what 2021 brings. Apologies to those who have no interest but many ask so there is the answer! I have also heard that many A and B list celebs who were bored AF in lockdown have written autobiographies so 2021 may see book sales a plenty!
Corona aka COVID19 aka a fucking air borne virus that is literally causing havoc around the world. What else can you say apart from what a shit show of a year? I have watched friends who are not only self-employed but those whose jobs have been affected in more ways than one. I cannot help but feel that not only will be paying the price for the bailout for many generations to come but that the toll on peoples’ mental wellbeing will go on for some time. As I previously said, a total and utter shit show yet I cannot grumble nor protest too much on this front. I enjoyed the first lockdown. I have no shame in saying that the weather, the long walks, the sun bathing, the bread making, the never ending cooking and house jobs, ticked off many of my boxes. As a person who cannot sit still I embraced my enforced holiday. Like many I drank like I was on holiday too. I loved living every minute of it!
Then there was a holiday. Yes the April trip got cancelled but we stuck it out for the August one and it paid off. Albeit we could not drive to Portugal as planned, yet we still managed to get down there and one day whilst mumbling some mumbo-jumbo on TV Bojo changed the rules and the return quarantine was no more! The October trip… yes cancelled but again I will not grumble as I got to see some family in August and my kids got to lay in the sun and have some quiet time….. It wasn’t always that quiet as one night the neighbours called the Police in Portugal as due to Covid the ‘noise’ rules had been changed and we, totally unaware, were letting our hair down for more reasons than one. I will confirm that the house in Portugal has a fantastic outdoor sound system that are sued in many outdoor clubs. I digress.
I need to jump back a little on this blog. Back on the 23rd of March the UK went into lockdown. I was given strict guidelines about visiting my Dad and in my gut I knew that there would be trouble ahead. For those that do not understand dementia I will give you a quick whistle stop tour. Imagine a child who you cannot control and is inside the body of an adult. Imagine a very large unruly child who can be aggressive and who can turn their living quarters upside down. Imagine a child in the body of an adult with no concept of any safety whatsoever. Imagine a child in the body of an adult that likes to wander, who now, thanks to a global pandemic, is lashing out because they cannot understand what is actually happening and why they are being told to stop every 5 minutes.
During the first 3 weeks of the first lock I visited my Dad more times than I should have. Why? Because not only is he my Dad but I could see for myself that the imposed restrictions were taking their toll on not only himself but on the staff that were trying to care for him and the other residents. Add this with his loss of the English language you can understand that I was needed in more ways than one. In the first 3 weeks he flooded his flat, turned it upside down, defecated on the floor (I lost count how many times), urinated on the carpet (more than once), attempted to pull his TV off the wall (as he believed they were talking to him), discovered alcohol that we thought had been hidden and drank the place dry of port and moonshine … you get the idea that it was not a great time. Sadly the icing on the cake with Dad came in the third week of April.
At the beginning of that week at around 23.00 I had a call from the member of staff on the night shift asking me to come down straight away. I will try and set the scene for you.
Dad was supposedly put to bed earlier that evening just like you would a young child. They, like a parent with lots of kids (residents) assumed that he was in bed. Sadly this was not the case. Dad had been up for around 5 hours and put all the taps on and then turned them round. Round so that they ran profusely over the worktops and onto the floor of his poo and pee stained carpet of his first floor flat. Better still it was the hot tap. The windows were shut, the heating was on full blast on a warm Aprils’ day (oldies do love their heating) and below his flat was a room with an egg shape bath (film cocoon if you’re old enough) which enables the more incapacitated residents to bathe. This ‘bath’ requires electrics to hoist them in and out of said cocoon. His literal love for flooding the flat this time had come at a cost to others. It had leaked down to the cocoon room. Straight through their electrics, all down the walls inside and outside of said room, thus rendering the carpet in the communal hallway ruined too. Sadly upon discovering this mess downstairs I was informed that Dad was being very aggressive and would not let the male carer in so after more apologies than I could muster I went upstairs to find Dad in a bad way. Upon entering the flat I was met with what can only be described as a cross between a virtual sauna and a paddling pool filled with things that I would not normally want to touch. Dad was fired up, belt in one hand ready to ‘whip’ anyone who crossed him. TV on, radio blaring, every light in the place on, his entire clothes and shoes collection strewn all over the flat not to mention the condensation that ran down the walls and windows. It was like nothing I had ever seen or smelt before. I attempted to clear the water whilst sweating out of my sauna sweaty arse and I, like the career put him bed not long after midnight.
Sadly bed was not where he wanted to remain. Later that night he managed to pull his fridge over smashing it into a wall and things went from bad to worse.
On the evening of the 16th of April I got another call, just 48 hours after what I call ‘cocoon flood’. Dad had really lost it this time, threatening a female nurse which later resulted in him picking up a coffee table and throwing it against the window. Clearly it smashed and this final cry for help was what was actually needed. I flew round there and an ambulance was called. I won’t bore you with what took place that evening but suffice to say that the table throwing incident was probably for the best. For a long time the thought of Dad going into a care home had been tossed about but nothing was actually done about it.
48 hours after being admitted to the Royal Hampshire he was sectioned under a Section 2. I won’t lie and say that it did break me ever so slightly. My Dad, a proud, loud, crazy man was literally being detained, yet a Section 2 only lasts for a month and as that month flew by they placed him under a Section 3. This gives them the power to detain Dad for as long as is needed.
He remained at Parklands Hospital until 3 weeks ago and just before the second lockdown came into force Dad was placed into ‘end of life care’. This means, and apologies for those who already know, that even under the restrictions, you can visit a ‘dying’ relative. Cheery I know but those are the facts under Corona. So visit him I did, 3 times before he was to be moved because a lovely person bought Corona into Parklands which meant all visiting had to stop again.
When Dad went into hospital he was a different man. Albeit I have spoken, or attempted to speak, to Dad on the phone but what I saw before me was surreal. Dad can no longer walk. He is now wheelchair bound and those winches from the cocoon room are now the kind that hoist him in and out of said chair. He can no longer feed himself and although his English language left a long time ago, now even his Portuguese is non-existent. He tends to whistle or make strange animal noises whilst staring into space like a rabbit in the headlights. So they moved him into a care home that can deal with end of life dementia care.
In the meantime our family dynamics also changed. Back in September we lost my English Grandfather. I have written about him before and I can honestly say, and yes I know that everyone says it, but genuinely the world is a sadder place without him in it. The world does not have many like that left. He was the most chivalrous but cantankerous man I have ever known. When I was younger I recall walking with my Grandad beside a road and he flew round to the side of me, nearest to the road. I had to ask what on earth he was doing to which he replied that should a car mount the pavement he would be hit first…. You get the idea that they really don’t make them like that anymore. I remember passing my driving test and driving from East to West Sussex to visit my grandparents on my own. When I went to leave, after he had cleaned my headlights, opened the car door for me, checked my oil etc. he then leant into the car to put my seat belt on for me. As I said, they don’t make them like that anymore albeit I could forgo the seatbelt bit as it was fucking annoying to say the least and he always did it! He too had dementia but of the vascular kind, unlike my Dad who has early onset dementia. Vascular coupled with Grandad’s age (90) and the return of his prostate cancer meant this thankfully his dementia didn’t hang around for long.
We have lost more this year too. My step-uncle lost his fight with Cancer a few weeks ago and a good friend of my Dad’s in Portugal, who also had early onset and was exactly the same age, same date of birth too, was blessed to have a heart attack last week. I say blessed because who would want to be living like my Dad right now?
So second lockdown. We all now working this time and I am glad because the weather has turned to shit. Believe me if it was sunny I would be beyond gutted. We, like many others planned to go away for Christmas 2020. It was booked just before Corona swept across the world and we, like many others, believed it would all be done and dusted by the autumn…. It may not surprise you to know that that little gem of a holiday will not be happening now. We shoulds have actually flown as parts of the country entered Tier 4 so bang goes seeing my brother in 2020. Bang goes Christmas on the beach! Our daughter was meant to go travelling in Asia with friends and that too has been cancelled. Our son, now in his final year of University is paying well over the odds for what may as well be an OU (Open University) course right now but as I said earlier, a shit show all round but we are all working. We are all fit, well and (touch wood) alive and kicking.
So what has Covid or lockdown or 2020 taught me that I hope I won’t forget about.I had to really think about this. These are my 20 before I sign off before the end of the year becuase I will try and resume my writing of last year in 2021.
1) We take too much for granted
2) Being outdoors or walking was great to do together (he hasn’t been home this much in 8 years.. there were more advantages but I am trying to be nice here)
3) I am so glad that I did not have young kids to home-school or the curriculum would have been quite limited and be mainly based around food and gin measurements
4) Lockdown calories were invisible until your kids summer clothes didn’t fit
5) Daytime drinking is quite nice when it’s sunny in the comfort of your own home without any visitors required or allowed
6) I fucking love banana bread as did most of the world and i was more than happy to share my favourite recipe
7) Human contact is amazing
8) There is no such thing as an ‘unskilled’ worker. Covid must have shown you that
9) Work-life balance is important as you can’t buy time
10) I perfected bread making and I am happy to say I am pretty dam good at it (and modest on this)
11) I never want to paint my garden trellis ever again. I almost gave up.
12) Getting wankered in front of your kids during lockdown is ok but throwing up after isn’t (must try harder)
13) I realised that I like to care for others far more than I realised
14) If you thought your family was far away before then please let a pandemic show you how far they really are when you’re all locked down with no end in sight. I will haunt my kids because I can never leave them after this shit show
15) I can laugh at pretty much anything and have a very bad smutty mind which gets me into trouble quite a lot on a daily basis
16) Everyone denies pissing in the shower but does it
17) There is always someone out there who is having a shittier time than you.
18) Sex is underrated by too many and so much better when your partner is at home
19) How has my Dad not caught Corona yet
20) We all enter and leave the world in the same way. Don’t become another arsehole as the world has plenty of those already right now