Thursday, 21 July 2011

Saturday 16th July 11, Little Green Gathering, second day

Not that comfortable a night in the tent, as the position under the trees meant that large random drops of water fell on the tent and the taut material acted as a drum skin, and it was quite loud. 

After breakfast I attended a talk/discussion with Peter Doggett talking about music and politics, initially about the 'revolutionary' 60s, but the conversation also covered mind expanding drugs, punk and some more current themes including the recent stuff about Bono not paying his taxes in the way that some people would like to see him do.

The rain meant that I couldn't use the main stage for my show, so I set up in the Meeting Room and did a 10.30 til 12 slot, which again went well, more of a workshop this time though, as the youngsters who saw me last night were all there again!

At lunchtime I was approached by a woman called Jenny who's husband had overheard my story.  Jenny asked me if I was planning to go and see these people again, and if I was, would I like some support?  She felt that I shouldn't have to have that burden on my shoulders by myself.  I told her that yes, I'd been considering revisiting and yes, I'd be grateful of support.  So we walked round there together.  I told her what to expect, but when we got there and Ella invited us in, it was still a shock. 

Peter was still in the chair, all wet with urine, drunk and semiconscious, there were more flies and the stench was enough to make Jenny retch.  We got a key to open windows, and gently asked Peter if we could help.  He did want help, and Jenny went into 'nurse mode', despite not being a nurse.  She asked Ella if she had some dry clothing, and a nightshirt was found.  With some difficulty his dirty hospital shirt came off and a dry clean one was put on.  However, it took the best part of an hour to get him to agree to change his trousers and pants, and getting him to stand up... it was a nightmare.  Ella provided a bin bag to go on the chair (moisture barrier) and a dry towel to sit back down on.  The trousers and undergarments went in the bin.  The poor man had the beginnings of urine-burns or bedsores.  We couldn't wash him, just put dry pyjama bottoms on, and Jenny asked if the hospital had provided any incontinence wear.  No, nothing, so Ella was persuaded to find some pantie liners belonging to her daughter and Jenny explained that these would help soak up just a little bit of urine, so helping to reduce the re-wetting of the clothes and towel.

Ella showed us a photo frame with photos from just 10 or 12 years ago, with Peter and his young daughter (who we found out was now living with an aunt, because of her parents' alcoholism), and Peter was a handsome, healthy looking guy in his mid to late 40s, a company director.  This was perhaps the saddest thing for me, to see the deterioration into a nearly-dead shell of a person, only in his late 50s. Shocking.

Jenny also talked to Ella about what would be needed to look after Peter, but that care probably wouldn't be easily available until Monday.  I was so grateful that Jenny had come with me, as I wouldn't have been able to do this myself.  We walked back, having promised Ella that we'd come and see them tomorrow, both shellshocked and upset.  Jenny couldn't work out why the hospital would discharge someone with no incontinence provision or wheelchair, as he was incapable of standing up on his own, let alone walking steadily.

The ambulance people had done nothing as this apparently wasn't a medical problem but a social one.  Well as far as I'm concerned, this 'social' problem was rapidly becoming a medical one, and regardless of how these people ended up in this state , they deserve care.

Serena arrived back on site and we spent some of the afternoon together, before my next Fiddlesticks show, at 5.30, which was the first time Serena had seen me at work.  This was followed by a nice vegan BBQ and then an excellent gig from Seize The Day, who are perfect for green festivals and camps.  I really enjoyed them, despite chasing round after Serena's child who wanted to play and climb all over the outdoor classroom building.  Serena was I think quite tired after her gig last night, and rather a lot of driving.

I had a more comfortable night, maybe because I was much more tired so I just slept through the rain and stupid bouncy airbed.

1 comment:

Compostwoman said...

This all sounds so terribly sad. Well done you for helping , though AND Jenny for joining you.

If Peter cannot move from the chair, does that mean that Ella is feeding him alcohol? Or how is he getting it?

I had this situation with a man I knew, his wife was buying him alcohol even though he was by then in a terminal state from it and chair/bed bound. She would hold a glass with a straw in, to his mouth so he could drink the whisky.