I can’t believe we are back from Dorset already. It doesn’t
seem like a week has passed. Ellwood Cottages did not disappoint and it’s hard
to describe what a calm and relaxing place it is. The kids forgot to bring
raincoats but the weather was so good that they didn’t need them. It was all
going so well…let me share some diary entries with you:
So here we are again at Ellwood Cottages. Arrived safely in
beautiful hot sunny weather. Bit of a
delay getting down as queuing traffic at Stonehenge. Listening at this
moment to an absolute explosion of birdsong.
John and Anne as lovely and helpful as last time, the cottage is
absolutely spotless – such a pleasure. Crisp, clean white cotton sheets and
fresh towels. The hoist, although a standing hoist, is not exactly like our
own. Perhaps we haven’t quite got the sling right? Seemed better going to bed
so looks like we have it right. So far haven’t forgotten anything vital. All
ventilator parts present and correct. Lovely first evening sitting out in the
little rose garden watching the birds with Roch –swallows, sparrows, finches,
crows and jackdaws – as the horses
grazed beyond the fence against a background of rolling green hills. The perfect
setting for Roch’s beer and cigars!
Longest day of the year. Yesterday was overcast but muggy
and warm. We made the much anticipated return visit to the Udder Farm Shop –
such a success last trip and no different this time round. Delicious food in
the restaurant served by lovely people and then shopped for fresh organic local
produce. Kids frolicked in the playground for a while. Getting used to driving
on the little twisty roads again. Felt very tired in the evening so had a rest
and then played Cluedo with the kids. Did R feel excluded? Hard to know – he
said he was okay reading. Kate even came up with a plan for him to play using
his I-pad as he can’t hold the cards but he gave it a miss. A couple of
episodes of ‘Orange is the New Black’ – something of a Dorset tradition for us. Still getting used to the hoist but no
mishaps and all settling down here. Can’t get him out of bed by myself and he
can’t turn in bed by himself. Last night he asked me to turn him at 2:45am and
I had to get Tom to help. Luckily those two had only just gone to bed and were
4:30pm Father’s Day today.
Father's Day 2015
Cards and Game of Thrones
tee-shirt from the kids. Loving the rose garden.
Noticed nesting boxes today – one
has a sparrow family inside. There is one rose which smells of lemon.
A most delicate lemony scent
Swim today with Kate. 30 minutes in the pool, practising our
strokes. Really loving the exercise. She looks like a mermaid in the water –all
that lovely long red hair. What a beauty our girl is. This is such a restful place. Note: Roch does seem more frail. Only when he
is ensconced in the recliner or in his wheelchair does he seem confident and
relaxed. Sitting on the bed this morning
he fell sideways. He was still in the sling but when I detached the sling to
move the hoist, to put on his tee shirt (The House that Jack built) he keeled
over and I had to call Tom to help me set him upright again. I am developing a great love of birds and must clean out our
bird feeders and buy a birdbath when we get home.
Well, it’s happened. I guess we’ve been pretty lucky that we
haven’t had to call for an ambulance before now. Last night we did. He fell and
we followed the accepted professional advice and called emergency services.
Unfortunately it happened at about 12:45am which somehow made it that much scarier.
He had been, as I thought, secure in the hoist. I was steering it into the
bedroom, a journey of a few short steps from the recliner. He was in the
doorway when his knees gave way and before my horror-struck gaze, he slipped
out of the sling and fell backwards onto the floor, his head hitting the
(thankfully carpeted) floor with a thud. The kids came running from different
directions. He lay still for a time to recover and assess any damage as their
poor shocked faces looked on. Options were discussed. There was no bleeding and
he hadn’t broken anything. He didn’t want an ambulance called and we were all
reluctant to disturb John and Anne. Eventually we compromised.
We had to call
for an ambulance because we would never have been able to get him up ourselves,
and we had to make sure there was no injury we couldn’t see; but after a while,
at his request we moved him to a sitting position, leaning up against one of
the seating cushions from the sofa. Tom sat beside him on the floor, alert to
keep him from slipping sideways. Kate and I prepared to venture into the
darkness in an attempt to find a phone signal.
We made for the very back of the
garden. I could feel the coolness of the damp grass through my sandals as we moved
through the pitch black, the only light coming from the little emergency
lantern I carried. Kate called John and Anne to let them know what was
happening and I called 999. My heart sank as my calls failed a number of times
but eventually my call was answered. Back to the cottage and on the way I saw
that there were lights on at the main house. I felt bad that we had disturbed
them. Sure enough, they emerged into the courtyard and I hurried over to explain.
As we talked, the sound of laughter carried across from the open window of the
cottage. Tom was distracting Roch with Youtube videos.
Kate and I had opened the gate to the courtyard and she was
waiting there with the lantern. John, Anne and I joined her there to keep an
eye out for the ambulance. It was a
balmy night and quite dry. We waited for 30-40 minutes under a starry sky and eventually we saw
the lights of the ambulance. John and
Anne went back to the house and we brought the ambulance crew to the cottage.
Liz and Jessica had come from Dorchester and they managed to get Roch sitting
on the side of the bed, using the hoist. Liz explained that they couldn’t put
Roch in the sling and that we would have to do that in case he fell again, as
if he did, it would technically be their fault. So Tom put the sling on him. Liz examined him while the children looked on and I answered Jessica’s
questions as she filled in some paperwork. Roch’s head and backside were sore
and he was shaken but otherwise okay. They stayed while we settled Roch to bed.
Kate was dead on her feet as she’d been up that morning at 6am so she went off
to bed too, but Tom wasn’t ready for sleep so we stayed up watching RuPaul's Drag Race –
don’t even ask! We 'Sashayed Away' at 3.3am but I don’t think I got to sleep
before 4 and woke at 8. I think we are all a bit fragile today.
It had been such a lovely day, too; a swim in the morning
for me and the usual coffee and cigars for Roch, sitting in the sunshine. After
lunch we drove to Sherborne, a very pretty town, and went to see Sherborne New
Castle, once the home of Sir Walter Raleigh. The guides were anxious to make
sure we all got the most we could out of the visit. We had arrived late but
they gave us a whistle stop tour. We saw the pipe Sir Walter reputedly smoked
on the scaffold and Tom and I had a quick gallop round the shop, while Roch was treated to a slide show (access only on the ground floor so the slide show brings the disabled visitor through a tour of the upper rooms). Then we
trotted round part of the grounds and garden (designed by Capability Brown) and
back into Sherborne for a pint for Roch.
Yes, it was all going so well before the
Fall. We are restricting transfers to
short distances only – no wheeling him around in the hoist. Two people on the
job and on high alert during transfers. Glancing through my diary entries, I
think I am guilty of complacency. His condition has seemed relatively stable
for so long and we have had no disasters. I was clearly uneasy about the hoist
from Day One but I managed to convince myself that it would be ok. Roch, as always, takes a philosophical view. It could have
been worse, he says. He wasn’t hurt and we all worked together as a team. That
man can see the positives in anything. That’s why I need him.
Home now and facing a week of appointments. He had trouble
turning last night but thankfully no problems with the hoist here. We are being
extra vigilant. I have emailed the OT as I think we may have to think again
about transfers. His legs are weaker – the right leg may be giving up.