16 October 2014

Rapunzel's Tower

Why did I never notice I had so many stairs in my house before?  Forty to be precise. Five flights of 8 stairs between my six levels. To remind those of you who can be bothered, my house looks like this in cross-section with the staircase going through the middle vertical connecting the six levels:
I try to describe my house to strangers over the phone. It has six levels - well not from the outside of course, but from the inside. I tried explaining it to the house insurance company when I had the roof leak. I've tried explaining it to the social workers who are responsible for my mother while she stays with me following her recent hospital stay. They think I live in some quirky lighthouse in the middle of the sea of London. A room on every level with a staircase up or down to somewhere else. Sometimes, I feel like Rapunzel looking down from the window at the top.

Because my elderly mum has broken her knee, because she cannot stand or walk very well, because she has a brace strapped over her leg to keep it straight, because she cannot cope yet living on her own, despite the hospital in their wisdom abruptly chucking her out after only a week in their care, she has moved in with me - on level 4.  She has sole occupation of my bedroom and my ensuite. I have been banished to the bedroom on level 5. The kitchen is on level 1. The front door on level 2. So many stairs inbetween. So many cups of tea, coffee and meals for the patient.  Delivering post, newspapers and medicine to the sickbed. Entertaining social workers and agency carers about needs and finances and long-term plans. Up, down, up, down... I'm cream-crackered and then still have to climb from the kitchen to my bedroom (32 stairs) to fall into bed at night.

Yesterday there was an appointment (the first time her knee has been addressed since the fall) at the fracture clinic. The hospital had laid on ambulance transport to take her there and back. I was not allowed on board so had to drive separately to attend the appointment with her. Afterwards, when I got home, I waited for the ambulance to return with her. Some two hours later Mum returned in an ambulance with a young girl pushing her in a wheelchair to the front door. On opening the front door (level 2), I pointed out that there were two flights of stairs to the patient's bedroom on level 4. The girl's face dropped. She was all on her own. My mum bravely suggested she try to climb the 16 stairs and so she did, albeit every step taking about 30 seconds to climb. So much for resting the knee straight, as the doctor ordered! Who sends a patient with a broken leg home from the fracture clinic in an ambulance with only one paramedic to drive and get them back into their home?

Anyone know of any bungalows for sale?


K Ville said...

Block and tackle?!


I know it's hard, but it might seriously be time for you to think of a more horizontal type of accommodation :)

Isabelle said...

I'm sure all the stairs keep you very fit, at least.

Carrie Van Horn said...

Stairs can be hard...but can be therapy as well. Take care Addy. :-)

Flowerpot said...

Oh lordy Addy - take care x

Anonymous said...

And our NHS just gets better! You would have thought they'd keep her in or are they using 'shortage of beds' as their lame excuse again? That seems to be the norm these days, but I reckon it's a lack of nursing staff and a lack of expertise. I could be wrong of course but my faith in the NHS has dwindled over the years, especially after being expected to wait 8 months to have tests done to identify why I kept having epileptic seizures - in which time those seizures could have just killed me and made the life of the NHS that much easier! (Went private in the end and it was all done and dusted, change in meds etc, within 7 DAYS!) But we shouldn't need to go private. Anyway, I know some won't agree, especially our American friends whom I know deserve to moan about their health system.

I do hope she's okay and those stairs don't become too much of a problem. One consolation I guess is the exercise you're getting ;-)

CJ x