Tomorrow, December 9th, will mark 100 days out of 342 so far this year that Brendan Bjorn has spent bedridden due to a pressure sore. 100.
Tomorrow will also be the 45th day in a row he has been bedridden this time around, which is the 3rd time this year the same sore has opened up.
Each time, the sore gets worse.
This time, it reached the point of a grade 3 pressure sore.
Earlier this week, Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein TD for County Louth) addressed the Dail regarding the plight of carers. In that presentation, he mentioned my precious Brendan. It brought tears to my eyes to see a TD finally bring this situation up before the government, and I have much appreciation for Gerry having done so.
The reply from the Taoiseach, however, left much to be desired.
I sat there with my mouth open (well, when I wasn’t throwing out a few expletives, that is) as I listened to the Taoiseach throw out verbal jabs at other political party members while then rolling off a list of numbers for home help hours and respite – including the illusive night and weekend respite – that “we” (ie: the government) provide to carers. That left me with a number of questions:
- Where are those 160,000 respite nights per year given and to whom?
- Where are those 2,000 holiday respite placements given and to whom?
- Where are those 42,000 respite days given and to whom?
- Does he mean via charities that the government helps fund?
- If so, why then do those charities have to constantly fundraise just to be able to provide such respite, which is very limited to say the least?
- If those figures he mentioned really are so boast-worthy, than why aren’t there overnight/weekend respite facilities in every county across Ireland that are equal of quality and facility as LauraLynn (the only Children’s Hospice in the entire country)?
I heard phrases such as:
“…hope on the horizon that they’ll get an evening off or a weekend off”
“…the possibility of being able to carry on knowing there’s a hope that they might get respite”
“…5 million extra is being provided for housing modification grants”
“…a 5 year increase in Carer’s Allowance”
- I don’t want hope on the horizon. I want hope right now, right here, today.
- I need more than an evening or a weekend off. I’m only 1 person and this job is 24/7. I’m sinking.
- I don’t want merely a possibility of being able to carry on. I want proper services to assure that I will indeed be able to carry on caring.
- I can’t use a home modification grant when I can’t afford to buy my own home because I am a full time carer relegated to “social welfare” with no hope of saving for my own home, let alone having a secured retirement and a pension.
- Any meager increase in Carer’s Allowance will not save me, or any other carer, from the often inhumane situation we are left alone to struggle through. It isn’t five euros more we need, Taoiseach.
The hashtag currently on Twitter is #carersincrisis and it is fitting. We are in crisis, and the thing about that is it puts our loved ones, for whom we are caring for, in crisis too. I don’t think the government fully grasps this all-too-frightening consequence.
100 days and counting.
My beautiful son has spent nearly one-third of 2017 in bed because of a pressure sore. It’s been over a week and still no word from the county’s tissue viability nurse to even set an appointment for her to come examine him despite it all.
There is so much wrong with the state of things.