My Dad’s a Goldfish – playing while the cat’s away

We took delivery of the fall detector, which the Goldfish wears round his neck. If he falls he can press a button (or the step-monster can if she’s around and the Goldfish is out cold and can’t press it himself) and if there’s no one around to press it someone will come on the line.

Wee-sis and I are first responders for the door alarm (which the step-monster refuses to use) but I’m not sure what happens if there’s no response when care call tries to talk to the Goldfish. I mean, if he’s out cold on the floor it’s going to waste time if they have to ring me and/or Wee-sis and one or other – or both – of us is working. Must ask the CC about this. Have to say our local social services have been great, mainly because we have been very lucky in having the CC we have. She happened to be on duty when the referral for the Goldfish came in – luck of the draw.

We’ve only had one false alarm with the pendant but mostly the Goldfish seems not inclined to play about with it or press the button. He seems rather proud of it and showed it to me one day, saying it belonged to him. “My mother gave me it,” he said.

The Goldfish in his chair enjoying a visit from a neighbour's cat

The Goldfish in his chair enjoying a visit from a neighbour’s cat

The decorator has been brilliant as have the carpet fitters, managing to get everything done with the minimum of fuss – even helping to move furniture around. The living room looks really nice now, though it took the Goldfish several days to notice the carpet. One day he said: “Oh, have we a new carpet?”

“Yes, we have. Do you like it?”

“Very nice. Must have cost a few pennies, though?”

“Well, it wasn’t so expensive and it’s much better than the old one. Besides, it will last you a lifetime.” I winced as those last words came out of my mouth but the Goldfish laughed as though at a great joke.

I’ve had Power of Attorney for some years but, as the Goldfish was able to manage his finances himself, I didn’t act on it. Even when I began to worry slightly I was reluctant to take away his independence. It was only when I was flicking through his cheque book stubs and noticed he had paid half the step-monster’s car insurance, made a substantial donation to the church roof fund (something I knew he was unlikely to do) and paid for the flowers for the step-monster’s friend’s funeral that I began to take a closer interest and, finally, begin to handle the Goldfish’s finances.

The DH arranged a new package for an additional television channels so the Goldfish can watch more nature and wildlife programmes, which he really enjoys. Wee-sis said they’d watched a programme about orphan elephants which she said the Goldfish and really enjoyed, so they watched it twice. I started to watch it with him but had to miss the second half of the programme. When I next sat down to watch it with him he suddenly turned and said: “Is there nothing to watch on this television apart from bloody elephants?” Nice to know he doesn’t totally forget everything!

I managed to secure a nice little tax rebate for the Goldfish and we decided to use it to buy a chair

which reclines, has a foot rest and, more importantly, tips to make getting out of it easier. He is delighted with it; even tries not to spill coffee on it. Not sure how long that will last but the woman in the shop says the fabric is very robust and can be scrubbed. I’m sure it will be scrubbed many times.

The step-monster will return to a lovely, freshened-up house with a smell-free bathroom and a husband who is more alert than he has been for a long time. He loves playing dominoes and we’ve been playing cards with him, looking through books which prompt memories and generally keeping him stimulated.

The cat likes the chair, too!

The cat likes the chair, too!

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9 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – playing while the cat’s away

    • Thanks, Ruth. Yes, he still has a sense of humour although we don’t see it as often as before, unfortunately. I switched programmes so we watched something about kangaroos instead of elephants!

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    • Yes, we were pleased at how much we managed to get done. The living room looked a whle lot better. The cat often comes in to visit dad. Sometimes if dad’s asleep the cat spends ages trying to wake him up to pet him. I tell my friends about you and Bo – feels like we’re all in this togetehr.

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  1. Nice to think of him in his lovely chair. I was intrigued by the pride he took in the care call necklace thing, and the comment about his mother having given him it. Do you reckon these sort of comments are totally without sense or meaning, or do you think a) his mother did once give him something like that or b) he feels that like a mother, it will protect him when things like falls happen, hence the link, or c) he feels a vulnerability and needs a ‘mother’ with him, or d,e,f,g,h,……………. Quite poignant to note that ‘elephants never forget’ too. It’s clearly a full-time job. Always on call. Always at the back of one’s mind. Interesting too about the lottery that is the referral system and you can be lucky and get a ‘good’ CC or unlucky —–purely depending on who happens to be where when. No thought about matching personalities up with clients and families or about who would be best suited for who. And yet it can make all the difference in the world. x

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    • I think he may have been thinking about his mother, but I don’t really know. I don’t think he understood what the pendant was for – maybe he thought it was a piece of jewellery. It is so difficult to know what goes through his head sometimes, and very easy to make up our own interpretations. I do think such comments have meaning to him, if not anyone else.
      We have been so lucky with the care co-ordinator. I have heard so many stories from people who have problems with social services. Once she understood what the stp-monster was like she really tried her best to work with us all for dad’s benefit. And she always stepped in to solve any problems we had with the care agency, as well as being at the end of the phone when I needed to sound off. I’m still sane (just about) thanks to her.

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