Diary of a Life-changing Event

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Part 3

After I had arranged and dealt with the funeral for Joan, Jim's health, almost inevitably, took a turn for the worse. He had prostate cancer which had been in remission for seven years but it suddenly decided to flare up again. His specialist told me that it was out of control and that he gave Jim 12 months at most. His medication was changed and to add to the problems dementia was also setting in. I still managed to keep him at home at this stage, doing his cooking, cleaning etc. I was sorting out, and making sure he took, his medication at the right time, in the right quantity.

One of the side effects of dementia and the medication was his inability to sleep long periods and he was forever up and down all night and even going wandering. Fortunately we lived over half a mile from a main road, very rural and quiet, the biggest danger was a fall for him. I regularly, after the first incident went to check on him on the hour every hour, 24/7!! A new social worker was appointed who frankly, was about as much use as a chocolate teapot. After a month of filling in paperwork I was still dealing with the situation on my own. I had cancelled my own hospital appointments with the cardiologist, discharged myself from Physio at the time and was in a real mess with my own medication. It was the cancer nurse from the hospice who stepped in this time as well as my own GP.

Another social worker arrived, this time there was no messing about. This young guy was absolutely brilliant. Within 24 hours Jim was in respite care, I was in the local community hospital for rest and recuperation, my pets were looked after by a registered kennel maid - that was her title, apparently.

It was at this time my heart condition nose-dived somewhat. I ended up back for yet another emergency angioplasty and an increase in my own meds. I was warned by the cardiologist that looking after Jim was likely to be seriously detrimental to my condition. That was as may be, however when Jim came back after respite care I was soon back in the same routine.

The new social worker was desperately trying to find a residential care home that could deal with Jim's specific medical issues. He knew I was rapidly approaching total exhaustion and possible serious consequences. He arranged for night sitters to stay with Jim for 3 or 4 nights a week, depending on who was available, this allowed me to at least try to sleep. In the end a place was found locally and Jim was moved in. I visited every day without fail and in the meantime looked after his home, his two dogs as well as my own stuff.

Three months into his stay at this home I received a call from a CPN and asked to visit with the cancer nurse. On arrival I was shocked to see Jim bandaged on both arms, and around his chest. I asked what had happened and why hadn't I been informed {I was legal next of kin due to now having power of attorney}. It appears he had a fall. After a lengthy discussion it was agreed that the home would put an extra watch on Jim. I increased my visits and length of stays with him. It was only a few days after this 'fall', I noticed more bruising. I was not happy, I did not think they were consistent with falling, especially the bruising between his arm's and the side of his chest. I reported my suspicions to the CPN and social worker the following day. Less than 2 hours later I got a call from the social worker to say they had moved Jim to hospital and had placed the home on a 'stop list', ie no further admissions from social services. Seems my suspicions were right. Jim had been assaulted by staff.

The police were involved and I was told, bluntly, stay away from the home and it's staff. Hmmm, wonder why?

Jim sadly passed away in hospital two weeks later. That was the end of a two-year period that saw my own health irretrievably suffer and at the same time left me in a situation where I needed to start looking for somewhere else to live as the property was now being fought over by Jim's estranged son.

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