Latex Glove Blues

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Hello everyone.

At last, after 8 years of caring, I have taken time out for myself, to the great relief of my friends, who where constantly telling me I needed some sort of diversion from my caring role. Wether or not they might agree with my decision to spend my new found ‘me time’ discussing caring related issues with fellow carers, remains to be seen. A bit about myself first and my involvement with caring for others.

Presently, in year 8 caring for my 40 year old adopted son, now at my home. Up until 4 years ago, I had also been caring, for a couple of years, for my 82 year old mum, together with my younger brother, at her home, some 5 miles in distance from mine.

Mum’s care was not easy Very demanding and demoralising. We could never do what she ultimately wanted, to make her happy, that is, to regain the use of the right arm, right leg, and her speech. She had suffered a stroke whist undergoing life saving surgery to the heart.

An emotional rollercoaster, with mum, an expert in the art of passive aggression. A characteristic we knew all too well from our childhood days. With mum, the glass was always half empty, never half full. It was very sad to see mum spend her last 2 years feeling so bitter and angry, but we did our best to keep her optimistic for the future, but at the end of the day, we felt so deflated and useless, as we knew she simply wanted to die. Was it wrong then for me to feel happy, when the day finally came? I’ll throw that one in the arena another time, as it deserves its own post.

Back to present day business.

As I said, presently in year 8 caring for my 40 year old adopted son, now at my home. Bit of a rough start to life, but turned out good, when I took him on board 20 years back. The first 4 years of his care I was primarily making visits to support him with mental heath issues and monitoring with his meds compliance. One thing led onto the other, as they do, when left unmonitored by the service providers, resulting in him having to spend 8 months recovering from a bad case of toxoplasmosis. Diagnosed with HIV related vascular dementia together with encephalopathy with shunt in situ at the same time. Both dad and son are doing well, all things considered, and looking ahead for what the future holds, and to make the most of.

The issue I have today is, when I asked my Local Authority if they could supply me with latex gloves, they point blank refused, and informed me it was the carers responsibility. Knowing the NHS has to follow strict Health and Safety laws to protect their employees, and as we are not directly employed by the Local Authorities, should they not be morally obliged to take some action?

The carers assessment is a step forward in the right direction towards our needs, so could they not at the same time, on a more practical level, address this particular need, some carers have?
Hi, quick reply re your mum. No, you were/are not wrong to feel 'relieved' that she has now died. Parents who make their happiness the responsibility of their children are 'abusing' their parental role. Mine did that - she was an amazingly warm, loving mum, highly demonstrative and affectionate, BUT my bro and I grew up knowing our 'mission' in life was to Make Mum Happy. Of course it couldn't be done, as what she was unhappy about was the overall circumstances of her life, to which she could never reconcile herself. We 'made her happy' by being her children, giving her two people to love, and to love her back, but we could not change her life circumstnaces (though we ran ourselves into the ground trying to!), and that was that.

So, yes, when she died, apart from the grief we felt, there was also 'relief' that the 'burden' of Trying To Make Mum Happy had finally been lifted.

Happiness is the responsibility of the person, not anyone else. To see the world as glass half full is, to my mind, actually not just unhelpful but plain 'morally wrong'. There is ALWYS someone worse off, and if we don't count our blessings, we should have them taken away from us and then see how much more damn miserable we'd be! OK, maybe that is harsh, maybe there is a set of 'happy genes' and if you aren't born with them the glass is half full, but morally, I fully believe it is our 'duty' to see the glass half full, at the very least because to do otherwise is to unforgiveably insult those whose glasses are distinctly less full than ours! It's like a one legged person feeling sorrier for themselves in comparison with a double amputee!

So, that's my take, and if your mum was determined to be unhappy and miserable, well, that's her problem, not yours. And now it is definitely not yours any more. Sad, but there it is. Her life, her choice as to what to feel about it.
maybe there is a set of 'happy genes' and if you aren't born with them the glass is half full,

Ha, that should be half EMPTY!!!
Hi Adonis,
No, not wrong to feel relief when finally free from caring. I felt the same, I couldn't have wished her to live a moment longer in such pain, with so many things wrong.
With regard to your son, he is now an adult and Social Services should be arranging the care he needs, to keep him and those around him safe. Of course they should make sure that anyone around him is protected, and give you gloves. After all, they're cheap as chips.
I'm wondering if there is a sort of demarcation dispute here, do SS thing the NHS should provide them? Have you asked the GP practice caring for him?
Many thanks for your kind support regarding how I felt when mum passed away.

Regarding caring for my adopted son at home. For the first two years, his care coordinator, was, with hindsight, totally overwhelmed with the complexities of the case, who allowed the Adult Services Team and Rehabilitation Team to battle it out themselves, with who, was going to pay for what, regarding his care plan, agreed at his best interest meeting when discharged after an eight month stay in hospital. In the meantime we were both left in the lurch with nothing concrete put in place, with both Social Service teams saving a considerable sum in the meantime. A cynic may have believed they had taken advantage of the fact, with the case being so complex.

Nevertheless, a new coordinator came on board, so all is now in order. With his care plan complete, the Direct Payments allows him to employ a Personal Assistant 6 hours every day, who prompts him with daily tasks, such as dressing, ablutions, breakfast, lunch, going to the local shop etc, which then frees up time for myself. Also someone comes in two hours every week for exercise sessions. There are funds for his respite, which can also be used for emergency care, if need be. Funds to cover fuel for his transport, and for office equipment, were also included in his care plan. In the event of wandering, which is thankfully not a great issue, neighbours and local shops have my contact number, and the police have been furnished with his photo and details. A personal tracker, is also covered.

As for the latex gloves, thank you for your advice, and I shall make the GP my first port of call tomorrow morning.