Dear Anaglypta……

Dear Anaglypta,

I got you on CCTV.

The front door opened at 7.17 am, and closed behind you at 7.49 am.

Your Log Book entry, however, was 7.15am to 8.15am.

Dear Anaglypta, how did it come to pass that you, a carer, thought it was alright to leave my elderly, disabled mother in her bra and knickers, sitting at the side of her bed at 7.49 in the morning?

She was waiting for help to have a shower and get dressed. That’s what you, dear Anaglypta, are paid for that hour-long shift to do.

While she was waiting for help from you, on the side of her bed in her underwear, you were writing in the Carers’ Log Book that Mum was unwell. You wrote that you gave Mum her pills and a cup of tea, that you left her in her bed. And then, dear Anaglypta, you left without saying good-bye. Mum did not even know that you had gone, and sat there, waiting patiently for the help that you are paid to do.

Dear Anaglypta, this came to my attention, because, blithely unaware till then, I had a call from the Age UK alarm people at 10.47. Mum had fallen, and pressed the alarm. When I got round to the house she was on the floor, in the hall, still in just her underwear, on the way back from the loo. She said she had been there an hour but didn’t want to bother me. She was cold. I helped her up, and helped her get dressed. That’s when I looked at the CCTV. I don’t look at it all the time, because I am trying to have a life.

Dear Anaglypta, I said to Mum that I would complain to the agency. Mum said no, that compared to some of the others you are ok, not actually frightening, not like Artex, although you zoom round like a bat out of hell.

Dear Anaglypta, I had already asked the agency not to send Artex again. She was built like a ready-padded American Footballer, six feet high, four feet across at the shoulders, and behaved as if “caring” for Mum was delaying her from getting to her real job, which was hand to hand combat in a proper war. She was followed in her bedtime visits, by Lincrusta, her sidekick. Lincrusta tagged along meekly through the door behind Artex, but who wouldn’t. Lincrusta always wore the same interesting shiny hat, like a sparkly, crumply swimming hat, and she would walk through to the kitchen, and fabricate some times and duties in the Carers’ Log Book. Then her arse, like a huge beige sack of rising dough, would rear across the screen of the CCTV video, and she would collapse on it on a chair in the hall for the rest of their very short visits. After observing her once or twice I changed the chair to a more substantial one.

One evening last week at 21.31pm Artex charged through the front door, dominating the CCTV view of the hall . Lincrusta shuffled in sideways, squeezing through the door after her. At 21.32 I heard Artex command, in her sonorous baritone,“Come on now, lady. You get off the commode. You have not got time for this. It is time for your bed now. Here, put on these incontinence pants, and then if you wet the bed it does not matter. Here, let me help you.”.

To my Mum.

My Mum is not incontinent, except when ill, but she’s 82 and with care like this she soon would be. So would I. Artex and Lincrusta closed the door behind them that particular night at 21.43. They were there twelve short scary minutes. In the Carers’ Log Book they claimed for half and hour. I don’t mind if the carers bunk off early, so long as Mum is happy, and they do their job. But this, I mind. This was beyond the pail.*

Next day, Mum told me what had happened. I reviewed the CCTV footage. I phoned the agency. The agency wanted us to work together with Artex “to solve our problems”. I had to insist that Artex never darken my mum’s door again and she didn’t. I really hope she has stopped being a “carer”, which was so frustrating for her, I could see that, and got her job as War-Lord back. We still get Lincrusta, but she comes with someone else, who is ok. Lincrusta even moves about a bit now, her and her sparkly swimming hat.

So, Dear Anaglypta, I wrote you a short note, about that day when you left my mum in her underwear by the side of the bed. It was much shorter than this missive. You read it when you came again at lunchtime, and then you never came back after that day. Never. I had not phoned the agency, or threatened you. I just caught you out.

Instead we have Alma. Alma is caring. Mum now has a caring carer who does her job, and to whom Mum and I are very very grateful.

Dear Anaglypta,

Good-bye.

*Yes, I know, but it’s a joke: commode – pail, geddit?

Names have been changed to decorative features, some from the 19th Century, to protect the guilty.

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