Being a carer makes it easier to be taken advantage of…

Why do I get the feeling that because I’m Ma’s carer and fit my whole life around her wants and needs that people, aka service providers, want to take advantage of that?

I have had a couple of ‘run ins’ with Ma’s community nurses over the last few months all stemming from a complaint I made as I didn’t like that the assigned nurse wasn’t following the protocol set down by the Ulcer Clinic.  I used to come home from work to find her dressing was too tight which I re-bandaged.  As Ma has had her ulcer for over three year’s now I’ve learnt to be proactive about its care.  Too often we have had it go ‘pear shaped’ due to changes in her dressing made by a nurse who thinks she knows better then the experts.  (Nurses don’t have the authority to access the ‘golden dressings’ that doctors or podiatrists do so you can get locked into a never ending situation of inadequate dressings.)

The last straw was when I returned home from work to find the nurse had helped herself to a bag on the table which I had some items in so, she could use the bag for the dirty dressings.  My stuff was dumped on the table!  Really? Would you walk into somebody’s house and help yourself to somebody’s things? What was in the bag wasn’t important, the fact that she had helped herself, was.   I rang and asked the ‘boss’ to have her removed, I even said I was happy to take over her dressing changes.  In the past the nurses have always asked me to do her dressing if there is a public holiday or they are too busy.  They have never shown me how to do her dressing.  So, after my complaint and questioning of the nurse’s conduct the ‘boss’ turns from being ‘you need to tell me what’s going on’ to ‘oh no, you must be mistaken’ and ‘I find that very hard to believe’… in other words calling me a liar!  I offered to take over her leg completely but was then asked if I was cancelling the service!!!  The service continued and hey presto the nurse started following the protocol set down by the Ulcer Clinic and deferring to me when she wanted to make a change (roll of eyes).

So, now that I’m at home nearly full-time I was asked to do her leg last Friday because they were busy.  I’m now asked to do Monday because it’s a Public Holiday and now they also want me to do Wednesday because they are sooooo busy!!!  Really? Why is it my problem?  I did do Ma’s leg on the Wednesday because I find it improves when I do it as I find the care the nurses take is ‘slap happy’ at best.  It wasn’t always like this.  The good nurses we had have all left due to changes…

Public holidays mean care is only provided to people without anybody.  That’s by respite as well as community nurses and Ma’s 1.5 hours of house work she gets per fortnight.

Ma was allowed home from the hospital because I was there to look after her yet I get no extra help or assistance.

I keep getting told that I need to look after myself; that I’m important too.  If I’m so dratted important, why can’t I get more assistance?  Carer’s Week is coming up, there are pamper days and BBQs etc for carers being held.  How does a carer get the time off to go to these things? I want to cover the grey on my head and get my purple streaks back but that needs 3 hours! God bless my hairdresser who gave me a mineral powder that covers my grey, for free I might add, delivered through my sister.  Seeing the grey in the mirror and the lack of purple was enough to put me into a ‘funk’.

I’m very grateful I’ve been able to access 4 hours emergency in-house respite for 5 weeks so I can go to work for a few hours.  Why is it so hard?  Why do I feel like I don’t matter or Ma doesn’t matter?  Some days I just want to say ENOUGH! But, I can’t…  and so we continue…

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