My Dad’s A Goldfish – Wakeful nights, sleepy days

It’s got that every time I collect the Goldfish from the day centre the Man in Charge says; “He’s been very sleepy today. Very sleepy.”

We know this. I feel like replying: “The Goldfish spends so much time awake at night he has to catch up on his sleep during the day.” That sentence might include a few swear words, as well. But, of course, I don’t say anything of the kind. People like the Man are there to help the Goldfish and others like him so we are polite even when irritation makes us want to spit. We understand The Goldfish nodding off all the time upsets the routine of the day centre where people are expected to participate in playing games, guessing who’s who on the picture cards, eating lunch. I’m worried we are going to be told not to bring the Goldfish any more.

The Man also takes the Goldfish out one afternoon a week for a couple of hours. They have several places to visit including a riding stable where the Goldfish can get up close to horses. Often they go to a favourite café where the Goldfish enjoys a cafetiere of coffee and some cake. This usually ensures he stays awake for the rest of the outing.

It was no wonder he needed to sleep after the trauma of this morning. It actually started off pretty well after a good night’s sleep – for the Goldfish, if not for me. I find it really difficult to sleep as I’m constantly listening out for him getting out of bed. He got up without protest, enjoyed his breakfast and went off for his shower with his favourite care person. She had just dressed him when he said he needed to move his bowels.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get him undressed in time. She called me to bring clean clothes and I went into the bathroom to find an enormous turd – well, more cowpat than turd, really – on the floor. His underpants were full and his trousers. The bathmat was covered in it, as were his feet. The Goldfish seemed remarkably calm and consented readily enough to have another shower.

I gave Favourite Care Person a lift to her next job as she was running pretty late by the time we had the Goldfish ready to go out. I dropped him at Day Centre and came home to clean up the mess and put on the washing machine. Carpet fitters came to put new carpet in what is once again my bedroom – the bedroom Wee-sis and I shared as children. It looks a lot better and tomorrow the chest of drawers, bedside table and sofa bed – in case we ever do get someone to do sleepovers – will arrive.

When I collected the Goldfish I was told he had been “very sleepy”. He had woken up long enough to eat his lunch then zonked out again. Why did I feel the need to apologise?

The day ended well. After his meal at night the Goldfish announced a bowel movement was imminent and made it to the loo on time. He forgot to wipe but other than that all went well – felt we should have been awarded a gold star for excellence. He stayed awake and bright and chatty until bed time. As soon as he was settled, I set the door alarms, got into my pjs, poured a glass of wine and filled a small dish with my favourite garlic-stuffed green olives. Bliss.

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12 thoughts on “My Dad’s A Goldfish – Wakeful nights, sleepy days

  1. Mary, I don’t know how you did it. We aren’t at full time care yet. It’ll come soon, she can’t remember how to use the stove and yesterday tried to plug a lamp into a light switch. I’ve told the kids, the second the bathroom stuff is involved, I’m done. I can’t face it. Can’t move in anyway, I work full time and am single… Wine. Yes. That’s the answer for me too 😀 xo to you

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    • I would have said the same thing about the ‘bathroom stuff’ but when it actually came to it I found I could cope. The wine helped. Wee-sis is in the same position as you but we shared it. My OH did a lot, too, so between us and with care workers we managed. The wine helped a lot! Beer would work, too, I’m sure, and the olives, don’t forget the olives. I think people somehow find coping strategies and as Wee-sis says, we can actually laugh at some of it now. You know how to find the humour in the situation – must tell Wee-sis to look at your blog. She’ll enjoy it.

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  2. Funny (well not funny, but you know what I mean) how when reading this memories of trying to get a baby or wee toddler out the door comes to mind, and also young people with learning disabilities. Witnessed a situation recently where the young person had been got all ready, toileted, dressed, washed, fed, everything, then they decided to sit down on the floor, and nothing or no-one was able to change that decision so there they sat for quite some time. Time and people have to fit around the person to such a large degree. As if the centre of the universe becomes something other than what it was. Very disconcerting. I know the Carers and Day Care staff in places probably mean well and of course it isn’t easy work, but some of the comments make you want to roll your eyes to the heavens. Getting a sensitive ‘good one’ feels like gold dust. What can you say other than ‘upwards and onwards, green olives and wine’. x

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    • Janette, reading about the person who decided to sit on the floor and not be budged reminded of the situation whenever a carer – not the Favourite Carer, but another one – arrived early to help with the shower. The Goldfish would be eating breakfast, quite happy, but as soon as she arrived, all cheery and friendly but ten minutes early, he’d adopt a go-slow position. He would take ages to finish breakfast and his mood would dip. If the favourite one came early, she’d sit at the table with him, have a cup of coffee and a bit of toast and talk to him and act like she had all day to sit and blether. The other one never actually said anything to try to hurry him but it must have been there in her body language and tone of voice.

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