A Self Pitying Post By A Family Carer

Today I have been up since 2am looking after my brother and nearly seven hours later he had the seizure I was expecting. The adrenaline has been completely used up and I am writing this post more for my benefit to keep me alert rather than fall asleep in my chair as I wait for him to come round. If it gives you a quick snap shot this is an added bonus.

I once wrote how 24/7 family carers might neglect their own health needs. This has now became very true for me. With an NHS waiting list of a year (and no guarantee they will take you on either), I did not register with a dentist when I relocated to look after my brother full time. He has regular 6 month visits. Making teeth cleaning a game with silly songs like “Make those nice and bright/So they sparkle day or night” he opens his mouth wider. Having had eight baby teeth removed as a kid, his teeth are in best of health now as an adult.

However, last Thursday night I experienced my own first ever tooth pain. As in people talking to me but I could not make out the language they were speaking as I made a fuss. My brother by contrast went to bed quietly, having broken his toe. As he cannot communicate verbally or assess his own needs this makes awareness of him essential.

So Valentines Day an emergency dental appointment was made, thanks to a cancellation, fifty miles away. With two support workers on thanks to a new support care package, one looked after brother while the other drove me there. As a gale force wind buffeted the car and rain so thick visibility was poor, the only thing I could see was why an appointment might have opened up at the dentist.

There an x ray showed two teeth. One very healthy white looking. The other “unhappy tooth” as the dentist put it was blacker than black. Beyond saving in other words. My own stupid fault.

Now I can moan that it took years to get the care package I needed to allow me to go off to a dentist. That I was too busy to fill in a registration form for a dentist when I first moved here. That overwhelmed with demands of full time care it just did not seem a priority to have check ups for myself. That the NHS should not have such rationing that it takes years to be seen.

The less self serving point to make is that there are full time family carers out there without support, who are not getting the care they need for themselves, much less the person they look after. Not knowing what benefits they will have to live on under the new universal scheme. How much person they look after will have due to their disability. Not knowing how they will be financially assessed as disability benefits included for first time in council assessments to save them money.

Losing a tooth least of the issues to be faced at the moment.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

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5 Comments

Filed under British Society, Personal

5 responses to “A Self Pitying Post By A Family Carer

  1. I don’t think you’re self-pitying at all. For one thing, toothache is the worst. And, yes: who cares for the carers? Wishing you well.

  2. Agree with Karen. Hope you’ve had some wrest since posting this.

  3. Poor you – and thanks for raising an important issue.

  4. Jackie Potter

    I’ve been there. If I’m honest with myself, I’m still there (or would be if the person I care for wasn’t school age).

    I’m glad you finally have some practical support. Let’s raise a glass in honour of your ex-tooth. It’s brave and selfless sacrifice will be remembered 😉

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