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Virtual Late Spring Bank Holiday Open Day

Updated: May 27

25 MAY 2020

It is hard to know where to start with todays diary… We have had a rather dramatic time. Last night having positioned Jean as instructed – reclining on the chair with feet up – we went to check on her at 1am. Rapid Response had warned us that in very rare dementia cases when the chair is reclined and feet up, the patient will shuffle to the edge of the raised foot rest area and tip the chair up. Well Jean is obviously that rare case. We discovered her, still fast asleep, with the chair tipped forward and her sloped down to the floor. We carefully wake her up and then four of us lift her back into the chair. We then leave her in the normal sleep/sitting position with lots of verbal prompts, as advised, to not shuffle forward because of the danger of falling to the ground. There are no buzzes/sirens during the night, which although welcome, seemed strange, and we went over soon after 8am. The inevitable had occurred, Jean was sitting/laying on the floor in front of the chair, head and shoulders propped against the foot of the chair. She could not reach her buzzer, dad could hear her calling from his bed, but had dropped his buzzer, and knew not to get up himself– he’s attached to a night time catheter. He was not wearing his care line button because we take off at night as it goes off with any movement and wakes him up! DISASTER! Jean is anxious to get up but complaining of pain in the base of her spine and as one of her many problems is osteoporosis, we realise that we should not move her. We call 999 and they send an ambulance quite quickly. The paramedics want to raise her up using a concertinaed inflatable cushion (very ingenious) but then discover they don’t have the correct pipework for it and have to call another ambulance. It takes 4 paramedics and the inflatable cushion to get her up, and they take her to hospital to be checked. I call Rapid Response to let them know what has happened, and because I know the hospital will discharge her as quickly as possible and now I do not feel she is safe on the chair. Dad is quite bemused by all of the commotion but comments that it is nice and peaceful now Jean has gone… so much for brotherly love!

I go outside because today is the date of our second public open day of the year, although obviously we cannot open, so we are intending to film a ‘virtual tour’ to publish on Instagram and our website as before. Ironically, when Jean was still living in Dorset, she was admitted to hospital on at least two of our previous open days – she obviously wanted to keep up the tradition.

Diane and I do a bit of tidying up and I get Meave to do some watering (reluctantly). After several calls to the hospital and rapid response we establish the Jean will be returned to us by about 2pm and we will be revisited by Rapid Response to reassess the situation. James and I decide to get on with the virtual tour which concentrated mainly on things our visitors would not have previously seen, including projects we have embarked on in lockdown for example, the Wild Flower Meadow, the Mount and Mushroom House, the new Composting Yard and newly cleared areas in the orchard.



I was just about to walked through the fremontodendron arch into the vegetable garden, when I notice a swarm of bees hanging from the side of the arch. My surprise was recorded for posterity on the video. I carefully continued, respectfully passing the bees as I walked through the arch, James took a longer detour, understandably because of his track record with bees! We call the bee man who arrived within the hour to collect the swarm. The apian version of ‘Rapid Response’!




Jean arrived home in the middle of the virtual tour and the girls settled her in. After James and I finished filming and before I could eat lunch, Rapid Response had arrived and we had another lengthy assessment about different types of chair, anti-slip mats etc. We waved Rapid Response off and I finally eat lunch at about 4:30pm!

Jean is not in great shape and is on antibiotics for another UTI. They decided she hadn’t injured herself when they checked her at A&E, she doesn’t eat all day…very unusual!

The family continue with ‘project tree removal’ and I do a few bits, including weeding and ‘tying up’ in the fruit cage and weeding the middle triangles of the central border. After giving this section of the border a good soaking I plant the mimosas.

When we put dad and Jean to bed we tuck Jean up carefully in her chair and say a prayer that she will stay safely in the chair until morning.

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