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October 23, 2012 / angelavbolton

Week Three at NRH Begins

Bob and Angela fooling around at the Grange Motors Dinner Dance, Killiney Castle Hotel, Christmas 1985

Anyone who has read this blog at all will guess that I’ve been stamping my feet for the last two weeks– I’ve not bereft of virtue but patience isn’t one of them. However, waiting for Robert to begin assessment and medication review has been tough because it hasn’t just been the last two weeks: it’s been the last year, or nine months since he was medically stable. Knowing, logically, that his new location would mean the staff getting to know him and him getting used to his new place was no help: logic doesn’t calm you down in the middle of the night when you’re frightened and worried.

Angela and Bob at the Hard Rock Cafe, San Diego (Ayesha took the photo)

Typing up our observation sheet notes, kept since the end of January, was gruelling. He’d been so aware and awake from March to July that it’s galling to think that if his assessment had been then it might have shown a higher level of responsiveness. I’m worried that he may have withdrawn over the last two or three months – apparently it’s a possibility if an injured person doesn’t get the right therapies.

Didn’t realise until a week after Robert went to the NRH that his geographical location was such a focus for me: in St James’s I could always get to him in 15 minutes whether I was on the bike or in a taxi, which in a way comforted me: ‘I can be there in quarter of an hour…’ Now it takes at least an hour one way or the other.

That being said, now that he’s been there for two weeks we’re all finding our feet: the staff have been wonderful, helping me to adjust and showing me the ropes, allowing me to assist in his care and adjusting the schedules to fit in with my visiting times/working hours. I’m very grateful. Ritamary gave me some lovely chocolates to bring in so, although I know bribery doesn’t work (cough, cough), it won’t do any harm to raise their blood sugar levels – they burn it off pretty quickly. Slim as reeds, the lot of them.

So, where do we go from here? Well, Robert’s been getting music therapy, physiotherapy, speech & language therapy and occupational therapy so they haven’t been sitting on their hands, but that may become more focussed when the SMART assessment starts this week sometime. In fact, filling out the questionnaire for the assessor was a little emotional because I had to describe what kind of person Robert is and what he likes, etc. Unfortunately for the assessor, I can go on for ages about him: yak, yak, he’s this, he’s that, but what I did come up with – with some help – was that he is:

Gentle, assertive, kind, practical, intelligent, humourous, forgiving, reserved, loyal, affectionate, old-fashioned, sensitive, sometimes introverted and seemingly moody and quiet but less as time has gone on; protective of those he loves, well-mannered, enjoys a good debate (religion, quantum theory, musical gear), generous and dignified, patient and strong-willed – sometimes stubborn; a determined character with a strong sense of fair play. Enjoyed long phone conversations with siblings and friends. Can be both thoughtful and distracted at the same time. Ritamary says he’s also a terrible tease and highly opinionated! True, true…

I enlisted the help of the other family members for memories that might mean something to him and between us we came up with these:

  • Standing on the roof of the old Airport Terminal, saying goodbye to [his big sister] Carolyn when she went to the States
  • Seeing Little Richard in Belfast in the early ’60s
  • Seeing The Rolling Stones in Slane in 1962 (when Brian Jones was with them) and again in 1982
  • Seeing Led Zeppelin in the Stadium in 1971 (said they were the loudest band he ever heard)
  • Being on TV with Johnny Logan, The Swarbriggs and for The Beatles tribute concert he played in the Gaiety (‘John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Bert’)
  • Robert’s band The Negatives supporting Eric Clapton on Irish tour, 1980; also releasing a single with The Negatives ‘Love Potion No. 9/The Prize’
  • Birth of first grandchild Luke, then Lia, then Daragh, Mattia and Camilla
  • Son Jason graduating and getting his Doctorate
  • Son Daragh becoming Taekwando Heavyweight World Champion
  • Bon Voyage gig in The Baggot Inn when we were leaving for the USA
  • Our wedding in 2008

We have to trust that everything will go the way it’s meant to and that Robert will make every possible step forward. He is an incredibly strong man and we have every faith in him.

Miss him, though, so much. You would think that a person would become inured to some degree, or more accepting of what’s happened, but you can’t unbreak a heart. The situation has not become any easier to bear, and what happened is still almost the most horrible thing imaginable.

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