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Patience and Frustration

September 9, 2017

Patience and frustration have been in my head. Yesterday we shared some of our work with the residents, staff, their friends and families at Northbourne. It was a lovely afternoon. Lots of us crowded into the lounge, chatting on. Oliver arrived. He is frail, but still gets about with only the assistance of his walking frame. Oliver used to be very involved with the People's Theatre, he knows his etiquette as an audience member.  Arriving a few minutes early, he sat in the empty chair next to me. Gradually the room filled up.  Kate and Clair introduced themselves and talked about what the residents and they had been doing; making sculptures, creating thumbprint postcards, yarn bombing outside Costa Coffee in Low Fell, all sorts of brilliant things, including making films.  Kate showed three films, including Joan's skypewalk to the farm where she lived as an evacuee little girl.  At the end of the films we all applauded. The event was winding down and Oliver started to get up to go.  "Hang on Oliver" said one of the lovely staff, "We'll just help a few people so you can get to the door."  Staff then very kindly and calmly started to help people to move around so Oliver could get to the door.  Anyone who used a wheelchair was asked, "Could I just help you to move a bit over there?" No just shoving people around. Other people needed a bit of help to get up from a chair so the chair could be moved to a slightly different place.  Then two staff were needed to lift a table, this having to be done very carefully so no-ones feet or legs were knocked in the process.  After about 10 minutes the route to the door was clear. "OK Oliver" said the Carer.  Oliver got up and without any complaint or frustration at having to wait 10 minutes to leave his own lounge. Slowly left the room.  So now I'm wondering, how does it feel if you use a wheelchair and you need someone to help you to get to everywhere you want to go?  And what if you use a wheelchair and struggle to get people to understand you?  And what if you can't remember why you needed help to get you to where you wanted to go 10 minutes ago?  So I'm thinking about patience and frustration.

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