A helping hand – National Carers Week blog

Last Wednesday I decided to make cowboy pie for tea. I’d heard it mentioned on the Chris Evan’s breakfast show not so long back and had thought about it, quite possibly more than normal, since then.

Work finished for the day, ingredients sorted, tummy rumbling.

Popping it into the oven I decided to nip the dogs round the block for a quick walk while it cooked, and that’s when the day fell out of my hands.

I’ve owned (or been owned by) rescue greyhounds since 2007 and I’m now on my third (Mabel) and fourth (Storm). Sid and Betty having passed away over the last few years.

Four bears collage

Walking back up the side entry to get to our house, the usually laid back bears spotted a fast moving cat before I did. About 10 seconds later I was halfway further up the path, on the floor.

Looking down I knew things were not quite right, but holding on to the dogs had been my number one priority. That cat owes me big time. I managed to get up, get in the house and collapse on the sofa. I knew I needed to take a look inside my boot. Ouch. My left ankle was already twice the size and a bit of an odd shape.

Two very kind friends, Jill and Ian helped me out of the house and down to A & E where I found out my ankle wasn’t broken, but sprained very badly. Dispatched about midnight with crutches and strong painkillers my lovely Mum very kindly picked me up and got me home.

That was a week ago, my leg looks like Shrek’s from below the ankle and I’ve not been able to put any weight on my foot yet or go anywhere near the crutches. Luckily with the wonders of the internet I’ve been able to work from my bed, with Mabel and Storm admiring their handy work in amongst snoozes.

Thinking takes up a good percentage of most of my days, but there’s been room for a bit more the last week and my ‘unfortunate incident’ has made me reflect on National Carers Week.

Carers Week is an annual event, running 6 – 12 June in 2016. The campaign aims to ‘raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.’

Another line from the Carers Week website really struck a chord with me over the last week. ‘Every day, 6,000 people become carers. Many don’t know how or where to get help. For some, caring comes suddenly: someone you love is taken ill or has an accident,…’ Well, that was me. One minute making tea and the next under an X Ray machine.

My Mum dropped everything and came to the rescue. She’s stayed with me and helped do all the things I couldn’t, in amongst a full time job of her own. I don’t know what I would’ve done otherwise and I am incredibly grateful. This is going to be short term (apart from the life long caring role of a Mum!) but reading through other blogs and statistics by carers or those being cared for, it’s clear the role played by all those giving a helping hand is enormous and a focused week long Carers Week campaign is a great way to keep raising awareness of the role and the support carers we can’t do without.

In amongst skidding down alleyways and rescuing hounds, I run a very small Arts and Health social enterprise called Beauty and Utility Arts where we develop and manage creative projects and products with social benefits.

At the moment we have a live crowdfunding campaign for a creative dementia product we are developing called A Book of Me, a creative, portable A5 resource for people living with a dementia and all those supporting them. A Book of Me will include: beautifully designed sections for entering life stories, spaces to make notes before, during and after appointments, information about UK organisations offering support and positive hints, tips and quotes on living well with a dementia.

If you get a minute to look and would like to support us, that would be fantastic.

Oh, are the dogs feeling remorseful and looking after me? Well, sort of. It’s a 15 minute return journey to the bathroom and one of them is always keeping my space warm when I get back. Oh, and who doesn’t watch Netflix through the back legs of a greyhound?

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Best wishes/ttfn Katherine