It’s only bloody Christmas Eve! Can you believe it? I’m not ashamed to say that in the Cook household, we have been feeling particularly festive for ages! Starting from mid-November (some years it’s been late October, I shit you not..!!) the tree goes up and the Phil Spector Christmas CD is put on loop. (I’ve literally just found out that he’s a murderer…we’ll have the Smurfs Christmas Party on next year!!) We tend to use Katie as an excuse for our festive zeal but this is an honest blog so I’ll admit to turning into a giant child the moment Christmas cards appear in the shops. I love everything about the holidays. (apart from the kids being off school…no-one likes that) I love how everyone looks more attractive under the mistletoe, I love how it becomes more acceptable to drink wine at 1 O’Clock in the afternoon if you put it in a Christmas mug. People are cheerful (falsely, but hey, I don’t expect miracles) the winter air is always fresher and I can sniff tinsel in public without people thinking I’m a complete loon – I’m a sucker for the smell of tinsel, it’s like crack to me.
Now, does anyone want to buy a telly?!
I’m incredibly honoured and excited to be part of ITV’s new fundraising initiative, Text Santa. It’s a big entertainment extravaganza kicking off this Sunday at 9:30pm – after the X Factor. You can text to donate and 100% of raised funds go the the six Text Santa charities. My lovely little family and I are representing Carers UK and are the stars (:p) of their appeal video. We’re feeling pretty proud of ourselves for putting our story out there. Hopefully it’ll rocket me to fame and I’ll end up marrying Steve Merchant and living happily ever after…
Visit the site: www.itv.com/textsanta (this is not a hyperlink. I don’t know how to do them so don’t expect anything tech-y from me. I’ve only just learnt how to comment on my own blog…)
I’d like to give Carers UK a huge shout out as not only are they a brilliant charity, but they know how much I publicly favour the ‘F word’ (they follow me on Twitter…) and have therefore placed a great deal of trust in me by allowing me to be an ‘ambassador’ of sorts. (Not really, I’m impeccably well mannered in public, honest!)
On the subject of Carers UK, I’d like you to please take the time to find out about them, carer or not, as they are doing a fantastic job and really need all the support they can get. I hate to chat politics but it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to, since carers and vulnerable dependents of the social care system are being fucked in the arse by the government. If you’re a carer and you’re worried about how the cuts will affect you or someone you care for, save yourself the ballache of contacting Social Services and give the Carers UK Adviceline a call:
And check out their website for some very valuable information: www.carersuk.org (again, don’t expect working links… )
So, that’s my obligatory ‘serious’ post for the month. Apologies if you’re just using me for laughs, the funnies will be back very soon! Don’t forget to tune into Text Santa tomorrow night. I know you’ll all be watching the X Factor final so you have no excuse!
So I mentioned in my previous post that I won the ‘Carer’s Award’ at The Stroke Association’s ‘Life After Stroke Awards’ in 2007. It was all true, here it is:
It weighs a ton and although I’m incredibly proud of it, I would definitely throw it at a burglar should our house be broken into. I’m pretty paranoid about things happening to the house/mum and Katie, whilst I’m out. (I know I’m only 22 but I’m notoriously old before my time. I have a favourite cardigan and love my cat, Tigger, more than most people.) There have been times when my mum has been confined to her bed (4 achilles tendon surgeries, 5 mini strokes and the removal of an ovarian tumour will do that to ya) and I have been reluctant to leave her alone whilst I go shopping. I read a story on the internet once about a woman who died alone and before anyone found her, she’d been mostly eaten by her cat. Naturally, I overfeed our cat just in case I’m out, mum collapses and Tigger is hungry enough to start nibbling at her unconcious body. It’s costing a fucking fortune in Felix but at least I have peace of mind…
Does he look hungry to you?
Mum and I are sometimes able to go out together for some quality time. (Katie has 15 hours of respite a week which is pretty shit but we’re grateful. She has a better social life than we do…) Now, I don’t want to sound pretentious but in our small town, everyone either knows us or wants to know us. We can’t walk five minutes down the street without someone stopping us for a chinwag. Gets right on my left one. Usually it’s some asshole shouting ”Wow, you’re tall”. Like I hadn’t noticed. ”Fuck me, am I?!! Thanks for letting me know pal…” or ”How tall are you?” ”6ft so you need to be AT LEAST 6’2” for this ride” The other day a guy actually shook my hand when I told him my height, as if he was congratulating me on my success. That’s right, being tall is a craft I’ve been working on. Fuckwit. Anyway, my point is that we only ever have three hours to spend in town and that’s damn precious time! We have bills to pay, food to buy, wine to choose…so what really fucks me off is when people who are familiar with our situation monopolise our time. Sitting in our favourite coffee shop (Caffe Nero: mum’s is a one shot, soya latte and I’ll have a hot, skimmed milk – thank you!) is a treasured moment, as we don’t get chance to have a good old gossip amongst the shit collecting and mothering at home. Just the other day we were deep in conversation (Shag, Marry, Avoid: Dr Christian from Embarrassing Bodies, Denzel Washington, Mr Bean – the results were quite surprising!) when an elderly couple we’re acquainted with plonked their wrinkly asses down at our table and proceeded to dominate the conversation with ‘tips on selling a motor home at this time of year’ and did we ‘know that you can get a fried egg batch from Wetherspoons for £2.20?’ That ballsy little voice inside my head wanted to shout ”if you fuck off now I’ll pay for you BOTH to have a Spoons batch, filling of your choice!” But the well-mannered sap inside prevailed and I waited patiently for their teeth to fall out. They stayed for an hour. A whole, fucking hour! They were like two cockroaches that wouldn’t die. You know, the ones that live for days without their heads. So it begs the question; where do we draw the line between frank and rude? How do you hint that you’d like someone to leave you alone? Respite is incredibly important for carers. We rely on it much like Amy Winehouse relied on crack; it’s an equally volatile relationship. I’ve decided that next time, and there will be a next time because people fucking love us, I’ll just stand up and be honest. So if you see us out, remember: you get to go home at the end of a 9-5 to relax and forget about your day. For us, it’s a 24/7 grind and we love the time we get to spend as mother and daughter. If you’re not invited to join us, piss off and leave us alone. And if you’re offended by that, well, there’s an old couple sat in Wetherspoons enjoying a fried egg batch that would LOVE your company…
If you hadn’t already guessed, (or been bribed by me to read this shit) I’m Amy. I’ve started this blog with the intention of changing the public perception of carers; although it may end up just being a selfish, cathartic outlet for my wine fuelled ramblings about how terrible it is being a carer and how I have to justify the amount I drink to get through it. Carers aren’t all boring, moaning bastards who go to the corner shop in their slippers and claim they ‘don’t have time for a shower’. Well, I can only speak for myself… A lot of us make light of all the horrendous struggles that have befallen us. I mean, there is a funny side to waking up at 7am to find little lumps of shit on the stairs and your mum shouting tentatively from the toilet ”Help…I didn’t feel it come out. I have had a stroke!” You pull on a pair of marigolds, pick up the surprises and laugh about how many hits you’d get if this were on Youtube.
This is my mum. Hot stuff isn’t she? You’d never know she’s had a stroke and shits herself at least once a month:
So back to me. I’m 6ft and naturally ginger; I didn’t think my life could get any worse until I became the main carer for my mum and sister when I was just 16. Studying for my A Levels (Literature, German and English Language, hold the applause) I was thrown in at the deep end. The kind of deep end you’re only comfortable in wearing scuba gear. My little sister Katie (below – looks like butter wouldn’t melt but in the coming posts you’ll see what a sneaky little a-hole she can be. I still love her immensely though!) had just come out of hospital and was bed bound, tube fed and had very little quality of life.
My mum suffered her third mini stroke (TIA) and we thought we’d lose her. By ‘we’ I mean me. My grandparents had fucked off on a mini break and I haven’t seen my poor excuse for a father since I was 2. So I took over, like Wonder Woman but with smaller tits. I cooked, cleaned, washed, ironed, fed, bathed, medicated and aspirated Katie’s NG tube (you draw stomach fluid through a syringe to make sure it’s in the stomach and not the lung. Heavy.) all whilst back and forth between home, the hospital and Sixth Form. So that’s the rough outline. I can officially say that I’m an Award Winning Carer as I won the Stroke Association’s Carer’s Award in 2007 for this particular incident. Power to me, I think so! I also model on the side. Here’s proof:
More on that soon. Check back for more hilarity and tales of my scrapes. I’ll also be posting useful links and tips for carers so don’t just bog off, I’m worth your while I swear.