An (overdue) Update

A lot has happened since my last update in February. The big thing is that Johan’s depression became really bad, which resulted in him having to go into hospital for a bit on 27th March. You can read more about that on his blog here. This was mainly because we still had no help from social services, and even though they’d been warned he was getting that ill they didn’t do anything.

Because Johan went into hospital, social services had to start providing my care. The morning the nurses came out on the Monday (Colin stayed with me overnight on the Sunday, but had to leave for work at 6.30am) they realised I needed a lot more help than two visits daily would allow, as I need help with getting drinks, getting to the toilet, getting food and stuff, as well as things like washing and dressing. Because of this, it was decided I needed to go into a care home while Johan was in hospital. One was found that would take me, and then an ambulance came to take me there (social services suggested a taxi, until Louise (from college) told them I couldn’t walk and was in an upstairs flat, so would need help getting down the stairs). I managed to forget things as I normally do, but it was sorted in the end.

The care home itself was okay. It’s designed for people with physical and learning disabilities, and the other residents were nice. My room was okay, apart from being very brown (I don’t like brown that much) and the doors being too heavy for me to open. This meant that I couldn’t manage to take myself to the toilet after a while, as even though I could crawl there (until I got ill- more on that in a moment) I couldn’t open the door. There were other problems as well, that we’d not realised would happen. I can’t ask for things for myself and I can’t cope with open questions, such as “do you need anything?” (this is a communication problem caused by my autism). This caused problems. It became a big issue on the Friday when I couldn’t ask to get into pyjamas, so had to sleep in my day clothes, including my big hoodie (I can’t lift my arms above shoulder height, so need someone to help me with my top half of clothing).

By Saturday I was ill- I’d overdone it (crawling to the toilet, lifting my bottle of diet coke so I could have a drink, getting myself ready for college on Wednesday morning because the staff claimed I’d changed my mind about going, when I hadn’t, and things) and I couldn’t sit up unsupported or move much. I was in a lot of pain, and I became non-verbal, which is normal when I’m overloaded. The staff’s response was to keep asking me to talk to them. I couldn’t- I couldn’t remember how to speak, and my attempts to do so failed. They had been warned that this could happen, and it was on my care plan, but it must have been forgotten at the time. One of the care staff even touched my face (there was a big sign on the door telling them not to touch me without asking) which didn’t help, and caused me to panic.

Because of my inability to communicate, I went without a drink or going to the toilet for 19 hours. This was not good. I still have a mild UTI from this. When I finally was able to type on my phone, and get one of the care staff to look at it, I was able to tell them that I couldn’t speak, and that the pain was unbearable and I couldn’t take codeine (on the Monday I’d taken some and the abdominal spasms where horrendous even with the buscopan). They called the doctor out, and while I waited (it took him 6 hours to arrive) Johan came and saw me.

Johan was able to get me out of my hoodie (when I’m that ill, I alternate between sweating madly and feeling too hot, to being freezing, so wearing a big hoodie was not the best), get me a drink and somehow get me to the toilet. He was also able to tell the care staff that I needed more help than they were giving me. Louise also phoned the care home (we were in contact via email) and told them about how my autism affects me, and that they need to ask closed questions, such as “do you need a drink?” or “do you need the toilet?”. After she’d spoken to them, things improved a bit, but there were still times they only asked open questions and I couldn’t answer.

Luckily while Johan was there I slowly got the ability to speak back (being more comfortable and being able to talk with him using messenger helped) so when the doctor arrived a few hours later I was able to explain to him that the pain was unbearable and I was too scared to take codeine because of the abdominal spasms being nearly as bad. He gave me a prescription for nefopam, which I’d never heard of before. The care home promised I’d be able to get it in the morning (it was quite late at this point).

Sunday I was still in a lot of pain, and still unable to get out of bed except to go to the toilet, but at least I was now able to drink. My visit that day also cheered me up a bit, which helped. Unfortunately, the chemist the care home uses decided to not be open that day because of a wedding, and hadn’t told them so I wasn’t able to get any painkillers that day at all. I survived though.

On Monday I finally got my painkillers, and they helped a lot. This meant that by the evening I was feeling much better, was able to sit up, and finally got a bath so felt a lot more human (I’d meant to have one on the Friday, but it didn’t happen). Tuesday I was able to go back to college, but by this point the stress from the weekend, on top of the anxiety caused by not knowing if my needs were going to be met meant my mental health had started to get worse, and I started having my first thoughts about suicide in a year. By Friday’s meeting with my social worker and the home care staff (I had been reassessed during this time- the previous assessments weren’t good enough for the physical disabilities team) I was desperate to get home, so when they said that the home care would only be another 10 days, Johan agreed that it would be better for both of us for me to be home. I’ve been back a week and my mental health has gone back to being mostly stable, so I guess it was just the stress.

The good news is that the home carers start on Monday 😀 I’m getting 12 hours a week from them, some in the morning, some in the evening. They’ll help me with getting up in the mornings, getting ready for bed at night, baths three times a week, and also help with doing some basic housework on days I’m not having a bath. This should take a lot of the stress off Johan (who is doing a lot better), which should help a lot.

Okay, what else has happened? I have seen the M.E. specialist, who wants to make sure my tiredness and stuff is not caused by depression (erm, apart from the blip caused by the stress of being in the care home, I’ve not been depressed for a year) or being autistic (even with the explanation I was given about it being caused by overload, I’m not convinced it can cause such exhaustion that you can’t walk). Hopefully once that’s happened, and the M.E. is confirmed again, I should get some coping strategies and things to help. I know that M.E. can’t be cured, but I’ll accept any help at the moment I can, as my functioning is really poor.

I also got my exam result from my AS Computing. I got an A 😀 This is awesome. My predicted grade for the next exam is either an A or a B, depending on what sort of day I’m having. I’ve been enjoying the programming part of the course, even though Visual is a bit weird in how it does things. I’m still slightly behind, as I’ve missed a lot of lessons because of being too ill to get in, but I’ll be able to catch up as it’s the Easter holidays now.

Interface has been good. I’m now running an Internet club for the other students, doing stuff like how to send emails, how to behave appropriately on different parts of the internet, how to keep yourself safe and things. I’m hoping it’ll go well.

Tomorrow I’m going to a friend’s wedding. Yay! This will be the first wedding I’ve ever been to as a guest, so it’s very exciting. I may blog about it afterwards 🙂

On my functioning- well, I can stand up for a few seconds on a good day (yay!) but there are so many things I can’t do or need help with. I can’t walk at all, I can’t lift anything heavy so need someone else to pour my drinks, I knock things over all the time (the M.E. has made my dyspraxia much worse). I need someone to brush my teeth, wash/brush my hair, help me with the top half of my clothing. I need my food cut up for me as I can’t do it myself, and often have to eat with my hands because holding a fork or spoon causes my hand to shake uncontrollably. I can self propel my wheelchair for a few seconds, but it’s normally just enough to get around the toilet or get through doors if needed, and if I try to do too much I end up stuck in bed. I can type, but writing is nearly impossible. This is all on good days- on bad days I can’t get out of bed, can’t sit unsupported, and sometimes need Johan to feed me or hold my cup to my mouth. I hate being so dependant on other people, but I’m starting to get used to it.

Okay, I think this blog post is long enough now, but I may do that 30 day song challenge thing I’ve seen on other blogs, starting tomorrow. No promises, though 😛

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