...but I love that comfy don’t want to get out of bed feeling - so I plan in at least three hits of the snooze button.
Once up, it’s time for breakfast with the morning news, then shower, dress, makeup, and hair. Pretty normal stuff.
08.30 – time to start work.
Here we go! I turn the computer on, trawl through emails and deal with anything that’s urgent. Then it’s time to plan the day: who I’m seeing, where I’m going, and how to get there. I read client notes and plan the sessions. Next, I check that I have all the equipment I might need. The boot of my car is full of bumpons, canes, and various talking gadgets - which tend to go off - usually on the motorway.
First, it’s a 40-minute drive to see Doris, who is 92 - going on 18. She refuses to take part in the communal activities at her sheltered housing complex, because it’s “full of moaning old people”.
I’ve been visiting Doris for two months, we've looked at pouring, using a liquid level indicator – (which is now apparently used mainly for wine), I have marked her cooker, washing machine and microwave, with bumpons, we've practiced peeling and chopping and we've organised her cupboards.
She's now able to use her kitchen, but she confides that she sometimes spills her wine when pouring her fourth glass… I'm reassured and consider this as perfectly normal.
When I arrive, Doris offers to make me a drink, I accept even though I'll be bursting for the loo later, but it means I can check on her pouring skills. Pouring goes well, nice cup of tea.
Doris would like to read and has decided to try a USB player to access talking books. This is our plan for today. Doris is nervous when we start, she doesn’t know what a USB stick is, or how it works. We start at the beginning and go over what it looks and feels like. We explore the machine, where the plug goes, where the battery compartment is, on and off, pause and start, fast forward and rewind, volume control, etc. We practice starting the machine and inserting the USB stick - we repeat this until she has the hang of it. The process is harder than it sounds, when you can’t see, have arthritis, struggle to concentrate, and can’t remember too much in one go.
We fill in the application for talking books and - yes Doris is happy to receive the books with the 'naughty bits' in them! If I get to 92, I hope I’m like Doris. Good session and Doris is excited to be able to read again.
Driving back home I need the loo as I knew I would. I get home; check emails, and grab lunch before heading off for the afternoon session.
This time it’s a 30-minute drive in the opposite direction. As much as we like to plan to visit clients that live near to each other, it rarely works out that way!
Traffic is bad, but it gives me time to think about this afternoon’s client. Jane is 19 and fairly new to me. If I’m honest getting information from her is like pulling teeth. Jane has serious confidence issues and has admitted to feeling nervous around people. There’s a lot of work to do to build her confidence. She can orientate herself, and keep safe, but is too nervous to ask for help and won’t go out alone. We have agreed to work on this and to brush up on her mobility skills.
I arrive in time but have to park five minutes away and run to meet her. Well - ok walk, I don’t really do running.
We drive to a large shopping area that she's familiar with, but she's never been into the shops on her own. We chose one that she would use. We walk the route to the doorway, then into the shop, up to the counter, and back out again. We practice a few times; I ask if she can go in and ask the assistant for something. She says no. That wasn’t the plan.
Plan B, diversion time - we sit on a bench and talk about her interests. This seems to do the trick, and she relaxes. It’s the most she’s said all afternoon. I suggest we try again, and she agrees.
She manages well and I feel a bit like a proud parent. I can tell that she's happy too, but she’s far too cool to admit it! The talk did it. I drop Jane back and head home. The Jane breakthrough puts me in a good mood, so I turn up the radio for a bit of a sing along.
I get home and have a well-deserved cuppa and realise it’s the first drink I have had since lunch - four hours ago. I have a big glass of water too. Right - now time to relive the day and record it on our IT system. Before I know it, it’s five, and I still have to write my notes for the day. I write up Doris’. It’s amazing how two hours gets condensed into a paragraph.