As ex - Paramedics we know more than most the unbearable situations that people find themselves in when health lets them down. We used to go into patients' houses, do our best to help and then swan off to the next job, rarely giving much thought to what we had left behind. How difficult then, that we find ourselves at the sharp end with our own family.
Neils's father was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and has found his health failing in several dreadful ways ever since. The situation now is rock bottom. The whole family are trying to cope with the dreadful result of the decline of one of their most loved and treasured family members, and the sheer frustration and feelings of ineptitude are tangeable.
Living in France we have been cushioned from this decline, which makes things both easier but also harder. The sheer shock of seeing the difference in him and the realisation that this is unlikely to change for the better is frightening and we wonder how on earth things will go from here.
For once having a vague knowledge of the 'system' regarding elderly care is not really going to help, as there is nothing much to be done, and as much as we want to stamp our feet and make things change, apart from initiating support, if this will be accepted, we feel powerless and impotent.
I have lost count of the amount of patients who warned me "Not to get old dear",but as we all hurtle through life it is a stark reminder that every day counts.