I’m reading a book by Martin Slevin titled The little girl in the radiator. I almost finished, there is only a couple of pages left. It’s about author’s mother and how he used to take care of her when she developed Alzheimer’s. It was a rear case where the patient’s communication skills were unaffected – the reader can see from the book that the author’s mum remained very eloquent up until the time she had a severe stroke.
It’s a good book and I’d really recommend it for everyone interested in the subject or just for someone who wants a good read. Some of the things become obvious to me quite early on as I was reading, like for example when the lady wanted to go back to her ‘real home, one that had green kitchen floor’ she meant the home where she was brought up. Funnily enough, this is how I see my family home in Smardzewice – 9 years after buying my own flat and despite the drama of my family life I still see the house in Smardzewice as my ‘real home’. I doubt that will ever change.
The book mentions some instances of inappropriate care author’s mum received in the care homes where she was looked after – in one all her clothes were ruined by an unexperienced laundry assistant, in another the poor woman was apparently covered in feaces for several days. I find it difficult to say anything about that, perhaps there are instances where those things happen, but I never came accross this type of neglect, and how I see it, is, those are unlikely to happen because they would be very likely to be discovered. The real problems with care homes are, in my opinion more about grey area: the constant chaos and inability to see residents’ needs as they arise. And what I mean by that is the ‘toilet time’ for example. 11am and 3pm. Or the fact that they have to stay in the main living area the entire day – or the entire day in their room. They don’t get to be seen as individual with fluctuating needs, there’s no time for that.
I am quite touched by this book – at the end, as we can guess, the poor lady dies. I may actually not be able to read pass that point, although it would be good to find out how her son felt at the time. Men rarely talk about their feelings, don’t they?