She. read. out. a para. graph. so s-l-o-w-l-y. that I could. write. every. word. in long. hand. So when it came to typing the piece back, I got it 100% right. And I got the job, as a ‘pool’ secretary to cover holiday, sickness, maternity leave and other general absences. I loved every minute of it – working in current affairs one week, the sports department the next, doing stints in press and publicity and typing the billings for Radio Times.
This week’s very sad news is that my great friend Carolyn’s mum has died.
Carolyn had given up work early and left Newcastle to look after her mum, also with Alzheimer’s. It was the promise of having Carolyn here as my buddy that finally persuaded me to come back to Scotland to look after Dad. We have been friends since the age of nine and our parents all knew each other, so our lives have been entwined, sometimes more closely than others, for almost half a century.
They're a bit like Valentine's cards - a nice idea, but they can be hard work and don't always give you the results you're after. But I am a great believer in that ‘use it or lose it’ edict.
The need for mental stimulation is well known for anyone with dementia, and with the generous help and tremendous expertise of Alzheimer’s Scotland I think Dad has been pretty well served in that department since his diagnosis. But it may be that we rather neglected his physical well-being while concentrating on keeping his mind occupied.
Here are some other Reasons to be Cheerful: the world didn’t end on December 21 as predicted!
December 21 was my birthday.
My birthday is the shortest day of the year and the longest night.
So now we can truly say ‘the days are getting longer’. And it won’t be long before we really see a difference.
December 23 was my nephew Jack’s birthday. Happy Birthday Jackster!
And some others, with apologies to Ian Dury:
Reasons to be Cheerful – one, two, three
This week the radiator in Dad’s bedroom started to come away from the wall. It would soon reach a tipping point, fall, snapping the two inlet pipes and causing hot water to spew out all over the carpet. The insurance company would start the long, tedious process of raising a claim, sending a loss adjuster, appointing a builder and, eventually, getting the work done. And all the while Dad would be in a cold bedroom, or a bedroom warmed by a noisy and thirsty fan heater borrowed from a neighbour.