My mum and dad have been married for 63 years and most of the time things has trotted along happily enough. Two years ago my mum was diagnosed with cancer, but she responded well to chemotherapy and, while not out of the woods by any means, she is in reasonable health for an 86-year-old.
Her main problem is her eyesight. Glaucoma and macular degeneration have over time caused her to become partially sighted. Added to which she has never driven a car, and has been dependent on my dad for most day-to-day necessities. Shopping, days out, cooking, paying bills. These are things my dad deals with everyday. Until now.
A month ago he developed a urinary infection, and the life my parents had together, without much fuss or problem, has been sent into a tailspin.
Older people are prone to these infections, and they can cause all manner of strange symptoms, particularly in the brain. Hallucinations and personality changes are common, and my dad is having these on a regular basis. He currently has the personality of a grown-up toddler on acid and has caused chaos at home.
It has taken a fair number of hours for me to get most of the relevant organisations to sit up and take notice and become involved and aware of the devastation this infection is creating. After managing to get his doctor and social services involved, my dad has ended up back in hospital where he is being treated for the infection, but that only happened after a nurse went to the house on my insistence and she took one look at him and rang for an ambulance. Added to which, he has still yet to have a urinary consultant deal with his case a month after he was first diagnosed by his doctor. The NHS in a nutshell. You have to travel the extra mile to get anything done, and even then there is confusion and a lack of communication. Perfect it ain't.
In the meantime, my mum is at home, where she struggles to use a microwave or cooker. Meals on wheels have been useful, but not cheap and the variety of food is limited. And all the while, there is the issue of what happens when the hospital want to send him on his way. I'm hoping to get him in a rehab centre, a very good one in the local area, but if that doesn't happen, I can see I will be travelling down to Margate regularly to deal with the next drama.
Oh, and there's my uncle's will, for which I'm an acting executor, and having to deal with non-communicative solicitors (not been impressed so far) and arranging to put his a flat up for sale.
So, not much birding then. I've managed to squeeze in a couple of hours here and there and the digiphotos below show what I've been looking at.
The Brent Goose, five Wheatear and three Water Pipit on Staines Moor, plus the pair of female Common Scoter and the Great Northern Diver on Staines Reservoir, where I also saw 10 Common Tern feeding on the north basin late on.
I also went out on Sunday morning in the rain and fog, and failed to find a male Ring Ouzel on Betchworth Quarry. It transpired I was looking in the wrong place. Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose.
|The Brent Goose was still on Staines Moor two weeks ago|
|Poor shot of Water Pipit in summer plumage|
|Five Wheatear brightened up the afternoon at Staines Moor on March 22|
|A pair of female Common Scoter on Staines Reservoir on April 3|