Grumpy’s Donation to Science (and cremation)

If you have read my blog or visited my attention to care group on facebook then you will have heard me talk about Grumpy (my Dad). Grumpy died from Alzheimer’s 3rd April 2019 it was a short journey for us from diagnosis to Grumpy dying. Grumpy and my mother had both made arrangements to have their bodies donated to science rather then a large funeral. They had both signed up for donation and we were all informed of this by them both. I was sceptical I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but now I can tell you I could not be prouder or more amazed at the process.

Mum and I spent the 4th APRIL phoning to see if the local body repository could take dad, do remember it’s not as easy as signing a bit of paper.  Once the person has died you need to check which university hospital has room (you are normally signed up to your local one)  or check if the have restrictions (because some will not take people of a certain size or if the died of an infectious disease). Mum called all around the country and eventually Nottingham university hospital (The National Repository Centre, based at City Hospital) agreed to take Grumpy. They organised the transport (there was a cost for us) and then took him on his journey to help within medical research. We had been informed that he could be with them for 2 years and so we were prepared for the wait but we had been reassured that we would be invited to a cremation ceremony.

We decided to do a little get together for family and friends to remember Grumpy which was lovely. However, I think there was still an element of a feeling things have not been completed and I suppose there was an element of when may they call to say they are doing the cremation ceremony. Not that I am saying this is a bad thing but I think you have to be prepared to feel that regarding a loved one and not to hide that feeling (which I believe we did).

After having Grumpy for 5 months mum got the call to say they are ready to have the ceremony and invited us to attend (people had mentioned it would not be personal or that there would be more then one family in the same ceremony). Sadly not everyone could attend but some of us could and I am very grateful that I was able to be there. We had the cremation on 3rd September 2019 at 9:30 at Gedling Crematorium it was the most beautiful setting. 69939097_563219157755524_8512856593509908480_n

We arrived as Grumpy was been taken in and we were able to give the sunflowers and roses we had prepared with all our names on to be with him and my sister Joanna wrote him a note which the lovely funeral director placed on the coffin. It was very emotional but I can honestly say it was so personal, kind, thought provoking and comforting service I have ever been to. There was not an overly formal feeling Bernard the funeral director informed us that him and his team have  been the ones driving Grumpy around to each of the hospitals. He reminded us of what a help grumpy will have been to mankind for selflessly allowing scientific research and young doctors learn from his death. We were able to choose the songs that played as we walked in and while we sat in the room and as we walked out. We were allowed time to go to the coffin and place our hands and say both hello and some of us said our goodbyes. Bernard did a beautiful ceremony and I was able to get up and do a speech about Grumpy. I have to say Nottinghamshire funeral services did us proud. I can not thank them

It was honestly beautiful and I will now be looking into this process myself. I am thankful that we have been lucky enough to have this moment and even though we still have one final trip with Grumpy to the Angel of The North it was a much needed time.

The point to this blog is to just say have a look at donating if you want, I have checked out the site and there is so much that they tell you so you know what will happen. I am so proud for what this service has done and as a family we thank you. We are grateful for what Grumpy stands for.

As I said the other day ‘grumpy was a giant of a man’ he was our grumpy and we will miss him’. We know he is waiting somewhere and we know he is telling us ‘before you come here you must have squeezed every ounce of laughter and joy from your life’.

We will aim to do just that. 69556012_679307149235639_869669833069821952_n

 

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Life of a trainer

It’s a trainers life for me

Instilling knowledge for a fee

Smiling and passionate

Positive and spirited

Frustrated and concerned

Worried and perturbed

Its a trainers life for me

Not perfect or done with perfection

But there to teach and engage

There to smile and show passion

There to nurture potential and share

Its a trainers life for me

To live in realities and know the barriers

To be honest, open and transparent

To take off the rose coloured glasses

To let the carers know I have been there

I know the life and have lived the life

The need to adapt and change some minds

The aim remind carers to be kind

To ensure the most vulnerable people get what care they need

It’s a trainers life for me

Sharing, caring and valuing

Reminded that carers should be valued and respected

That carers need to understand there will be the unexpected

The shift of a day

The shout of a voice

The scream in pain

The upset of fear

The unpredictable events

The journey they will be part of will not be a straight road

The road will have twists and turns

Some harder then others and some tricky with an up hill incline

The everyday tasks to the most poignant

of moments

The tears of success the tears of loss

Its a trainers life for me

Reminding you carers you don’t just wash and wipe a body

You comfort, care, enable and listen

You wipe away tears and encourage belly laughs

You are not just encouraging existence, you are enabling living

Carers you make me do the job I do and I choose the trainer life for me.

Happiness and Grief

Sharing just because it’s Sunday

Attention to Care

When I smile does is mean I have forgotten you

When I laugh does it mean I’ve moved on

When I cry does it mean I will not stop

When my sadness is painted over my face does it mean people think I am miserable

The moments I forget your gone does it mean I am in denial

Happiness and grief mingle together

The patterns are intertwined

You will be one then the other.

Moments of grief that pounce upon you with no warning

The little reminders of them fleetingly cloud your thoughts

The ball in the face moment reminding you they are gone

Then happiness takes over and you smile

You smile with joy with no tinge of sadness

You laugh from your tummy, loud and free

But then the smile changes as you are reminded of their smile

The emotions are rapid, senseless and varied

But they are…

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Happiness and Grief

When I smile does is mean I have forgotten you

When I laugh does it mean I’ve moved on

When I cry does it mean I will not stop

When my sadness is painted over my face does it mean people think I am miserable

The moments I forget your gone does it mean I am in denial

Happiness and grief mingle together

The patterns are intertwined

You will be one then the other.

Moments of grief that pounce upon you with no warning

The little reminders of them fleetingly cloud your thoughts

The ball in the face moment reminding you they are gone

Then happiness takes over and you smile

You smile with joy with no tinge of sadness

You laugh from your tummy, loud and free

But then the smile changes as you are reminded of their smile

The emotions are rapid, senseless and varied

But they are what you feel, they are your way of grieving

They will bring you comfort in time and the sadness can be watered down

The grief will be there but the joy of knowing them will give comfort

Happiness and grief go hand in hand but be sure to smile and laugh be sure to remember

How you feel is you and no one can tell you not to feel

Sunday 4th August

Well it’s been 4 months since Grumpy died and things have continued to move forward, everyone is doing well and working out life without Grumpy. Mum has had the biggest change as she now has freedom. Not that she regrets being a carer but now she can actually look after herself and decide when to do things. She still of course misses the love of her life and I can not imagine how it must feel to have been with someone so long and now to be a widow. Mum has been able to go away a few times once back to South shield with my niece, then a holiday with my other niece and her family and then to us in Cambridge when she drove her on her own for the first time ever. As you can see life continues and mum grows with each day to be independent.

Decided to blog today as it’s a quiet day and I am sat in my back yard listening to music and just taking in the day. I have thought about dad a lot today and found it shocking it was already 4th August and dad died 3rd April wow how time moves on. I have written about loss and that there is no right or wrong way to think about loss. I still look back and wish I had got home but I realise now it just was not what was suppose to happen. I am so lucky that I have photos and memories that I can sit and look at. Social media you remind us of those memories I can imagine for some people this is not a positive thing but for me it’s a reminder of how we valued moments.

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I have now set up a new instagram @attentiontocare please check it out.

This is just a quick post just to say I am still here and that I aim to do more on writing about care. I need to now focus on getting the word out that care is important and needs to be valued. So check out my instagram and my face book page.

See you later have a great week

Loss and what you can expect!

Loss is such a unique experience for each person.

Sometimes we hear the news and immediately scream with sadness. Sometimes we start moving at hyper speed and make all the calls to inform people. Sometimes we are at a standstill, with no actually understanding what has just been relayed to us.

It’s unique. Unique to every person.

One thing I know, is that no-one can tell you how to feel or how you should be feeling. They can’t tell you to stop feeling or feel more. It is something that must happen when and as it wants. It must be organic.

Sometimes, you might feel the need to put on a façade. Sometimes you may hold back those feelings, simply because you don’t have the capacity to deal with them. Sometimes, loss brings anger – and that anger may have to be withheld.

Loss has a way of placing you in a state of turmoil, a turmoil that flits from one emotion to another within seconds. All I know is you can’t fully control it. It doesn’t run on a timeline, it doesn’t know how to fit into your life and come at the best time – purely because, well, there is no good time for it. That’s why, some people struggle more, some struggle less and some pretend. Many people are already dealing with struggles of their own and when loss appears, it makes it hard to see the wood for the trees.

I have recently been through a loss. Grumpy (my father) who I have spoken about before died 3rd April 2019. He had Alzheimer’s and in truth, I feel we commenced grieving from the day of his diagnosis.

I did not get back home to him in time. Suffice to say, this has affected me immensely. I feel regret.

I wish I could have seen his face one more time, I wanted to hold his hand one more time, I wanted to feel his love one more time. This is a comfort I wanted to give myself. A comfort I think I deserved. It’s not selfish to want this for myself; it is normal. I wanted to say, bye dad, see you later or just plain old love you dad.

I will get through this and I will continue to live the best life I can, but it may be be a little tarnished for a while. Perhaps forever, but that’s okay because at least I am feeling.

What I take from the loss of Grumpy is that in death, there is life. Great good can come from intense sadness and loss and this is exactly what I feel with the loss of my father. Grumpy chose to have his body donated to medical science and my mother tirelessly worked to ensure he got his wish. He could be the bridge between life and death for future generations. He could help scientists find more information about Alzheimer’s to lead them that step close to a cure. Ultimately,I wish he was still here, but only here at his best, at his strongest and at his happiest. I wish he was here to tell us we will be okay, even though I already know we will be. His comfort and huge presence will be missed more than words can explain. This has emphasised a fact I always knew to be true – making memories is the most important thing. So, please, everyone, make them and cherish them. Don’t waste a moment. Memories remain and pain disperses.

Don’t worry about how you feel. Just feel what you feel.

Wishing that sometimes We didn’t know what We know!!

Decided that sometimes knowledge of something can make you know too much.

I am sure this sounds like I have possibly lost the plot but I have worked in care for 30 years. Supporting people to develop skills, keep skills and to be cared for through the end of life process.

Some people would think knowing information or knowing what’s to come is a good thing. However, not always as at the moment it isn’t. Knowing the progression within Dementia and knowing the end of life process means, I know what my dad is possibly going to go through. As a trainer in social care I stand each month and teach about dementia awareness which has an impact on me as I am actually talking about what might happen to my dad, over and over (I love my job but it can be hard when going through something).

Knowledge and experience

As my dad progresses through the dementia journey I struggle to get those images out of my head of people I have met, cared for through this incredibly harsh disease. I see the people screaming as they are being cared for and shouting for mum because they have forgot the reality they are in. I see the progress of having to assist the person to eat with a puréed diet because there swallow has been effected. I also see the families broken and frightened of who they now, don’t really know. I see the daughter visiting their mother but she no longer remembers being a mother. I have also been lucky enough to be with people at their end of life and know what it can be like sometimes I wish I did know as I am sure others wish they didn’t know.

My reality at the moment is wishing I didn’t know wishing I was being told by a professional at each stage rather already knowing quite a lot all at once so I know the possible end journey.

Just a family member

We forget that people who work in care or in the caring profession whether a doctor, nurse or care worker that they will have loved ones who may be suffering from a condition. But just because they have the knowledge they are not a doctor, nurse or carer when we are talking about a family member they are just a daughter, son, husband, mother etc. They too will be on the journey and even though they can’t forget what they have learnt or seen they will wish they could for a day so they can be just like everyone else and be the daughter, son etc.

Dementia is a journey for all. Just remember to enjoy the good days and role with the punches on the not so good days. Do what you can and just love each other.

Take care all.

What gets people to read?

Still asking the question. What gets you to read?

Attention to Care

What gets people to read is my question today?

I am thinking of what makes me read something and I am struggling to know what. Here are some of what gets me to read:

  • the intrigue that gets me looking further, the expectation that it’s going to be a SURPRISE!
  • the title that gives me a question to be answered and only can be answered if I continue to read.
  • the expectation of what something is going teach me
  • the fear if I don’t read I will miss out on something that can help me
  • the assumption that I know what something is going to include so I make an informed choice
  • the lack of understanding of a title so it’s a MUST read to see if it’s really what it says on the tin (title)
  • I also like a title that may hold a conspiracy theory
  • lastly I choose…

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What gets people to read?

What gets people to read is my question today?

I am thinking of what makes me read something and I am struggling to know what. Here are some of what gets me to read:

  • the intrigue that gets me looking further, the expectation that it’s going to be a SURPRISE!
  • the title that gives me a question to be answered and only can be answered if I continue to read.
  • the expectation of what something is going teach me
  • the fear if I don’t read I will miss out on something that can help me
  • the assumption that I know what something is going to include so I make an informed choice
  • the lack of understanding of a title so it’s a MUST read to see if it’s really what it says on the tin (title)
  • I also like a title that may hold a conspiracy theory
  • lastly I choose if I think I may have an opinion of the topic, if it’s near to my passion.

These are some of the reasons I read certain things and not others. What are your reasons you read articles, posts, tweets or books?

 

Social Care and the NHS…

For the last few days I have been ‘tweeting’ I am new to this and just wanted to be more pro-active. I have had a good time just commenting and retweeting tweets until today. I know social media is known as a bit of a harsh place to be at times. However, being part of the care industry and training both nurses and carers I think it is important to be fair when posting about social care and the NHS. I made a comment that it is not only social care that has the poor care but so does the NHS and the response from a particular person was rather harsh. Telling me that NHS is superior and telling me ALL social care providers are rotten (not word for word but that the tone of the comments).

I am not disrespecting the NHS I am grateful for it but when will people understand bad care happens in the NHS to. We as a family have witness this on a number of occasions (not just once). It seems everyone is quick to speak negatively about social care both home care and care homes. Don’t get me wrong I have been honest about our experience with home care also but lets ensure we are not constantly thinking the NHS is superior to everything. It has it’s faults as does social care.

Social care is so devalued and until we value it more we will always have people saying all social care providers are bad and all NHS is superior.

There are many things wrong and one of the things wrong is providers not being held responsible or monitored properly by local authorities. Recruitment of managers, recruitment of care workers not appropriately done. However, the issues are similar within the NHS as well and we should not forget this. The lack of monitoring of how a ward is run as I just don’t get that in the same hospital wards can be so different.

We must push care/nursing/healthcare as a chosen career so we need to show that society and politicians value it . Time we pushed the best practice that is out there, time we were more constructive with our concerns, time to be a solution so if you have a concern do speak up regardless of whether it’s the NHS or not.  Local authorities and CQC time to really understand that one persons experience is important to check out. Time we had zero tolerance of poor practice and care. We have the 6 C’s lets make sure they are followed. Stop thinking all are bad there are so many good providers, hospitals, carers/nurses out there. Stop tarring all with the same brush.

I don’t expect all to agree and I don’t mind if you disagree but once I replied to comments today the person sent me a very harsh reply and placed a screen shot of may profile up. It felt like I was being bullied into shutting up. Sadly my confidence on social media is still not up there so I deleted and blocked the person. I am not about airing my laundry in public. I am about being fair. I am about voicing an opinion. I am about learning from others. I will continue of Twitter but it has left an uncomfortable taste in my mouth of how people can be. Kindness and respect cost nothing.