With my initials what else would I call my approach to being Maureen’s Care Partner than The PC Protocol? Over the next few days, I aim to clarify my Protocol and outline its effectiveness in maintaining or even reversing cognitive decline. I fully accept that my evidence will be anecdotal and totally subjective. My methodology will be to relate daily events. My approach will lean heavily on Eric Berne’s Theory of Transactional Analysis: if something doesn’t work try something else.
Several events over the weekend have convinced me that I’m onto something. On occasions, Maureen has astounded me by her approach to situations and her ability to recall. It hasn’t all been plain sailing and there have been times when she has been distressed and I have been tearing my hair out. For example, attempting to assist her when she was wearing four pairs of pants and becoming very uncomfortable – it took 24 hours before she would let me get them off (x3 ). I accept I’m being selective in the events I have chosen to relate over the last 48 hours but here goes:
On Saturday morning Maureen’s performance in Freeman Street Market was heartening. I confused her to start with as I foolishly parked at the front of the market which meant that our entrance was not our normal way in. Once at our favourite stall she was a revelation as she selected our fruit and vegetables. She noticed that new staff were on duty and was relieved when the owner turned up and made a fuss of her. In the afternoon she was keen to have a choc ice and I used her desire to encourage a walk to our local Spa Store, even though we had a box in the fridge.
I deliberately took her on a familiar walk to the Spa Store and reminded her of focal points on our route. She remembered some of the familiar sights and remarked on how well locals were keeping their gardens. Once in Store, she bantered with staff who were stacking shelves or on the tills.
During the evening I had a fascinating time listening to Maureen on the Baby Monitor as she comforted a young boy in our lounge. She was trying to make him some shoes as he was poorly shod. I heard her efforts to comfort him as she encouraged him to sleep. Almost half an hour I found that she had dropped off on the sofa where she slept for the remainder of the night.
On Sunday morning we had our own version of Singing For the Brain. Maureen was in great voice as she sang along with her granddaughter on YouTube, applauding us all after every number. She was very pleased to greet one of our gardeners when her arrived to paint our newly constructed fence. Once he began painting I reminded Maureen of her wisdom in encouraging me to stick with Oak Brown, rather than going for the trendy colours that are all the rage at the moment.
At several times in the day, she related her anxieties about the young boy who had no shoes. I reassured her that his mother was pleased with her intervention the previous day and had the matter in hand. This issue may well be related to her past when a dentist scalded her for bringing her son to his surgery with cardboard to cover the holes in the sole of his shoes.
Maureen has slept well for the last three nights, my sleep pattern has also improved. This may well be because our afternoon siestas are now a fixed feast and paying dividends. I also cancelled carer sits over the weekend because they were with unknown quantities.
I cancelled carer sits over the weekend because they were with unknown quantities. Maureen has really appreciated two days when we have reclaimed our own home from ‘The Girls’ daily invasion into our lives.
During the weekend I have lavished Maureen with praise and TLC; never wasting an opportunity to play music or burst into an appropriate song. This one from Ali gives you a flavour of things:
The P C Protocol is not written in stone it is an organic approach to being a Care Partner. I have never liked the idea of ‘going with the flow’ as that is something I associate with dead fish. I have also made my feelings on Kate Swaffer’s ‘Prescribed Disengagement’ clear from Day One.
The icing on the cake yesterday was Maureen’s words as she stumbled into bed beside me late last night. She said she ‘wanted to wash under her arms’ and then added she could probably ‘do with a shower but was frightened of falling in the cubicle’. Then she amazed me once again; remembering that we were short of toilet soap and that she had forgotten to clean her teeth!