Well, we have been home for a full week now and whatever holiday glow attended our return has definitely dissipated at this point. Just one day home and he had a fall. It was Sunday and I had gone out to Tesco. He slipped in the wet room. He banged his head, arm and behind - but nothing broken, no major damage. By all accounts, Tom was brilliant but it must have been a shock for everyone (especially Roch). Roch can just about get himself up from the shower seat (which Tony raised for us before we went to Ireland) but last Sunday his feet just slid out from under him on the wet floor and once down, he cannot get up. As I left for Tesco, I had a momentary doubt about leaving him. He was just finishing his shower and Tom was on hand to assist. It probably would have happened if I'd been there, but should I have listened to that inner voice of doubt? - After all, he hadn't used our wet room for three weeks. Was I in too much of a hurry to get out and back with the food for dinner? On the other hand, what kind of faith would it have shown in Tom, to insist on staying? Neither of us could have prevented it from happening. Tom and Kate did all the right things and with the help of Kate's boyfriend, they managed to help Roch up, so they didn't need to call an ambulance. We have since tried a non-slip bathmat but it doesn't work really, not on that floor. We've been using a towel/mat which is better and Roch ordered some crocs to wear in there in future.
He can 'just about' do a number of things and I think we're both wondering how long this stage will continue, which may be a gloomy thought, but natural I think. It's great that he can still do things for himself, but it's hard to feel grateful sometimes for these feeble abilities, although no doubt when they disappear I will look back with nostalgia and longing to the days when he could 'just about' do something.
He has to adjust to retirement now, too. We both do. He is officially retired from work, although very unhappy about how this was managed by his employers. I don't think they've heard the last of it. Dr. Cable has written to the Chief Executive of Hammersmith & Fulham Council once more, on Roch's behalf.
We are entering another phase - a real milestone - where we will employ other people as personal assistants, to be at home with Roch and help him out whilst I am at work. Two of our friends will take on this role, which we hope will begin on 10th September. This is when my new shift pattern will start. We have been advised in this by Paula, of RUILS http://www.ruils.co.uk/ which provides an invaluable advice and support service, making the whole employment process much easier for us to embark upon. There's a lot to think about.
Over the next week we will draft a job description to reflect the support plan already agreed, a contract for each, organise insurance and activate the direct payments scheme. It feels a bit daunting, but once we get down to business, it will feel good to have everything organised. I hope it will set my mind at rest when I'm at work. I hope having friends as personal assistants will make the adjustment easier for Roch.