I woke feeling awful, a cold in my head,
And with no real desire to get out of bed.
The clock said half five and the day had begun
As I crawled from the covers and peered at the sun.
The dog needed walking and feeding and play…
But I needed caffeine to kick start the day.
“I’ll just have a turmeric milk,” said my son,
“And then I’ll work out, while you get some work done.”
So I heated the sulphuric gunk of his choice
With spices and honey; cursed under my voice
As the bright yellow powder went flying again
And I dived for the dishcloth before it could stain.
“I’ll just clean the windows, before it gets sunny.”
(It’s only a bungalow, saves him some money…)
I fell off the stepladder, risking my neck,
Then slipped on the water on freshly-oiled deck.
But the glass was all sparkly (apart from the bird
That left me a ‘calling card’ as the last word).
I did all the housework, and fed cats and fishes,
Then sorted the bird feeder, laundry and dishes…
“The bed will need changing,” I’d hoped to forget it
That thing is so big that I always regret it,
The duvet’s as big as a family-sized tent
By the time it was done, I was totally spent.
But the garden needs weeding, the bindweed runs riot…
I wonder about herbicides on the quiet,
But dig up the stuff by the root and the bale,
“The cat has been fighting, there’s blood on his tail.”
I chase the poor moggy, and check his condition
(I’m flagging a bit now, in need of nutrition.)
“The filter needs cleaning, and while you are there,
I’ve ordered some bits that need fitting with care…”
“Tomorrow?” I whimpered, but no…no such luck…
So we tackled the pond-filter’s foul-smelling muck
Oozing up to the brim, full of leeches and worse
Which we baled and disposed, while I cringed and he cursed.
“A new bulb needs fitting, and don’t touch the glass!”
They’re radioactive, these things, so I’ll pass.
“You may as well clean out the pond pump as well…”
Well, yes, as I’m covered in muck now and smell…
“That big clump of irises really needs moving…”
A day that keeps giving and just keeps improving…
“I’ll just get a shower, I need to get clean…”
Well, I understand that, I know just what he means!
“…and you can make lunch, do me steak, eggs and cheese.”
“Some mushrooms with that, dear?” “Mushrooms? Oh yes please!”
So I cooked and washed dishes again for my son,
It had been seven hours… at last I was done.
Though I worked seven hours, they’ll pay me for three,
“We expect, as his mum, that you’ll do it for free.
And we know you’re on call every day of the year
And will not even notice when weekends draw near,
And you cannot go sick or claim pay if you do…
But you don’t have to go out to work, so whoo hoo!”
This week, in the UK, is Carer’s Week. There are over seven million carers in the UK alone, and the effects of being a carer encompass everything from social isolation, to poverty, to damage to physical and mental health.
Many carers are children, many are themselves elderly and in ill health.
One in four people in the UK will be a carer at some point in their lives…and the rest of us may need a carer. So, it makes sense to learn what the caring role entails. There are some Key Facts on the Carers Trust Website here.
Most ‘family carers’…and that includes friends… are unpaid and remain unhelped, unsupported, unnoticed by all except carers’ charities.
Some of us are, under fairly recent new rulings, lucky enough to be employed to provide the care for our family members. What that employment pays for and covers is nowhere near the whole range of care and assistance that may be required, but it does mean one less digit on the unemployment figures, while effectively barring you from any of the support available to unpaid, family carers. It also alters the dynamics of family relationships, not always for the better.
Please spare a thought for carers, especially the ones you know and you probably know more than you realise. The smallest of gestures… even a phone call or email… can make a huge difference.
Take the time to learn how being a carer affects a person’s life…
… and never, ever tell them that they are ‘lucky not to have to go out to work’!