Tuesday 29 April 2014


Having written about the loss of disability benefits in my story 'Single File' and overseen the SEN and disability policy (and various rewrites) at school I'm now debating whether the after effects of my mother's stroke are considered disabilities. Does my mother have special needs herself,now, after years of working with severely handicapped children and young people? Is the paralysis down her left side temporary or permanent? Can she sit in a wheelchair without being able to sense her left side?

   We are so glad mum can speak, listen, recall and respond. We are so relieved she can at least swallow little meals. But, at nearly ninety, this massive stroke has taken it out of her. Mum is very tired. I try to read to her, show her 2 minute films on the ipad, and she enjoys it. She reads the headlines in the paper to me and reads messages in her cards-then falls asleep. Her body needs all the energy it can get to recover and repair, it seems.

   We are hoping we can find some nursing provision which means she can be at our homes for a few weeks at a time. Is this a pipe dream? I don't know but I think it's what she wants. She looked after folks most of her life and has rarely been ill - until now. Ninety is a bit late for learning how to be ill! But none of our elders have been in institutions for long. Mum did the caring - now it's her time to be cared for.

Pass the baton on. Pass the baton on.

Saturday 26 April 2014

Trussell Trust

It seemed a bit of a blow to me, as a writer detailing the effects of Austerity, when The IMF showed there was an upturn in Britain's economy. Oh no! What will happen to all my material for stories about the difficulties faced during the cuts? My sidelong glances at situations brought about by being laid off  - such as in 'Gardening Leave' - or the fear of losing disability benefits in 'Single File' - these scenarios would be irrelevant in a booming economy! But on the same day as the IMF report the Trussell Trust showed there was an ever expanding list of people in need - folks who cannot afford to buy sufficient food to live on. It seems my stories 'Austerity and Other Cuts' will remain relevant for some time to come. They may be more than social satire-maybe more a commentary on life in Britain - despite its being the sixth richest nation on the planet. For some it is the best of times ... For others it certainly isn't.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Joy and Sadness

It was with great joy that I opened our anthology 'A Cache' to see my piece 'All the Responsibility - None of the Power' in print. Two encouraging forwards from Philip Hensher and Naomi Alderman and an acknowledgement for my part in the editing of the submissions were good to see.
    It was, however, with great sadness when I took down the 'Happy Easter' cards. It hasn't been a happy Easter. A little after eleven o'clock on Easter morning mum, who is coming ninety, was slumped over the sofa bed. I called 111, and the paramedics were on the scene within minutes. Of course mum had had a stroke but she was treated quickly once at hospital. She was out of A&E and in a bed in The Acute Stroke Unit a few hours later. She was trying to talk- it was slurred but she was understanding us.
     Monday morning was a terribly low point. We were told the survival rates for her age group and what damage had been done following what had been a massive stroke. She'd had a bad reaction to the treatment (anaphylactic shock). In essence the treatment hadn't worked. It had not dispersed the clot. We were told the worst. Thankfully mum didn't know. She was talking and was aware of the other side of her body - despite what the scan said. It was a terrible few hours.
     Yesterday, Tuesday, was a much better day. The second consultant was much more optimistic. Not based on what he saw of the scan but what he saw of mum. He was able to communicate with her and mum was thinking clearly. Good for her! She was talking more freely and there's even a chance she may be able to take fluids. The instruction 'nil by mouth' may be removed.