December Diary and Happy New Year (Leila, part 6)

Posted on 28th February 2019 by

bty

Leila has been a member of our Neighbourhood Care Scheme since 2011. In this regular series, Leila shares her thoughts and experiences with us. Thank you Leila!

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In December, the lifts in my block of flats were down. At first it was purely an annoyance. I set about cleaning and my Daughter’s family helped put up the Christmas decorations. We baked mince pies, my Granddaughter helped make some sourdough shapes and we painted them to go on the tree. I was busy wrapping presents and double checking there were plenty of Xmas cards to give out. I may have been stuck indoors, but I was busy and happy.

I was invited to Impetus’ Winter Reception where I spoke about the importance of having a sense of purpose in life and the effects of loneliness on everyone’s mental health. I met some really great people, it was lovely to hear others’ stories, and the food was fantastic. I was blessed the lift had been fixed that morning so I was able to attend! Thank you to Impetus for putting the event together and to those who made the afternoon so special.

The next day I wanted to post some Christmas cards, but the lifts were broken again. As we have a proportion of residents with low mobility, people felt angry and worried about how they would do their Christmas shopping, get out to visit friends and family, and indeed how their visitors would be able to climb all those stairs to the different floors.

My volunteers were able to visit me, which was so appreciated, but I saw less of them once the schools broke up. Christmas came and went and loneliness tugged at my heart. Afterwards, I felt deflated. I became unwell mentally and struggled to cope. My carers and family did their best to help me, but the broken lifts added to the problem – I felt trapped.

I was very lucky to have family who visited over the festive period. I felt a sense of sorrow towards those who spent it completely alone, or had no place to call home.

When January 2019 arrived, the lifts were fixed! I was still mentally unwell, but began to recover at last towards the end of the month. I had been bed bound for approximately two and a half weeks, which made my feet sore and swollen. Not going to complain though – it was a new year, and I managed to see both my volunteers again. It was lovely to hear news of their adventures over the festive period.

There were also some problems with my care. It was short notice, so I was told I had to go into hospital while they found a new care provider. I wasn’t very happy about this – in fact, I dreaded the thought as nobody knew if it would be for a few days, weeks or longer. I felt bad about adding to the “bed blocking” situation. However, at the last minute, the rapid response team of nurses was able to step in and provide care for me in my home. I was so thankful!

My Daughter went shopping for me to get some ready meals so I could have a hot dinner every day. I decided that, for the foreseeable future, it is unrealistic to cook from scratch as I’m not well enough and the nurses are not allowed to cook. They can use a kettle and a microwave, but not a cooker, and a hot meal every day in this cold weather is a necessity.

I wish you all a wonderful 2019 and hope your wishes come true.

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