Always someone worse off…….

I cannot quite remember, nor find it online, but there was a comedian who always used to say, ’There is always someone worse off than you and his name is…………….’ Please email and tell me if you know.  Possibly Eric Sykes, ooh I did love him, do you remember him and Hattie Jacques playing twins living together with their cuckoo clock, Peter?  You can find the series online, there are many shows to watch.

Right now the saying ‘there is always someone worse off than you’ is absolutely true if you are able to read this indoors in the warm.

In the current difficulties, while still living on a building site, I have been trying to keep some of the builders employed.  Building is a trade with many self-employed sub contractors.  Currently in the UK the money situation for the self-employed is fluid.  Our carpenter is one such.  As he lives alone, has been coming for untold months and can work in another room, use another toilet and eat in his van, I am trying to keep him in work until supplies run out.

One of the jobs still to be done is the new staircase.  It has been lying in the garage as a kit of parts for a couple of months.  So it was decided for the sake of employment that the carpenter would fit the staircase today, assisted by the OH, which left me and the OH clearing junk from under the staircase until midnight last night.  This involved emptying and moving my big dolls’ house and the wash stand, full of glasses, and the sports equipment and and and (who knew there was so much stuff under the stairs?)

Round about eight at night the OH got very ratty. He is on very reduced alcohol and got to the bit where even me breathing was annoying and screamed words to that effect quite a lot.*

I don’t do crying. I remember being three years old and deciding I would never give my mother the satisfaction.  She, being a control freak, was delighted if she could make someone cry, especially me.  She had a particular facial expression, pleased and slightly to the right of insane, if I cried.  So I trained myself not to do it.  So I don’t.  At my cousin’s funeral there were boxes of tissues everywhere; I recall wondering why.

So last night, verbally attacked, I got rather thoughtful and at this point thought of that saying that there is always someone worse off than you, and began to make a mental list of who they might be.  Here’s the list:

Child carers –there are thousands of these people who do not have a childhood at all, all round the world.  Children who, as soon as they are able, are pressed into service looking after an older family member. Maybe a short-tempered older family member.  Maybe a family member who has physical needs which are not pleasant to deal with.  Instead of getting some hours a day escape at school those children are locked in with the ailing family member.

Children in difficult homes.  Some children will be locked in with family members in withdrawal from drink and drugs.  People in withdrawal are very unpredictable and frequently frightening.  If you are the sort of person who has a prayer list, you might want to save the children in your prayers.

The very old.  People over ninety have just been told here by the government not to go to hospital.  I am old enough to have an inkling of how frightening some of the conditions of age can be.  Bits drop off or stop working and, whilst you don’t necessarily have massive faith in young doctors and nurses, many of whom appear increasingly wet behind the ears, it is reassuring to have reassurance.  I used to be included in my mother’s hospital visits to the geriatrician.  The geriatrician was a person one hundred per cent right for the job she was doing.  My mother loved her.  The doctor usually started by telling my mother how smart she was looking, how bright she was for her age, how eloquent and so on.  She didn’t just butter her up, she laid it on with a trowel so thick you could have laid bricks on it.  My mother lapped it up, to the extent of ‘ Is it time to see my special doctor yet?’  ‘No, you saw her last week.’  ‘Are you sure? You know how bad your maths is.  I don’t think so.  Ring her. Now.’ 

Yes she did love that doctor and, as conditions are now, how lucky she was to have her.  Someone worse off than you is anyone who needs medical assistance and cannot now get it.

My cousin died at home, quietly without drama and with attendance from his wife, not wearing a mask or plastic clothing and was then able to have the funeral he planned with friends coming together from all over the country.  Which now seems a wonderful thing.  On to the list go all those whose final moments will not be peaceful, whose families will not be in attendance.  And all those who will not be able to have a ceremony, a funeral, an ending that celebrates a life.

I have been barrier nursed.  The second time, I think, I turned up in hospital with blood in copious amounts coming out of either end.  I was put in a room on my own.  Before people came in they suited up.  I could not see their faces.  They stood well back from me unless they had to check anything.  There was a bin by the door.  Standing on the other side of the door they took off all the protective clothing, turned it inside out, reached through the door and put it in the bin.  I thought ‘Oh gosh, what have I got that the doctors are so frightened of?’  If this is not you, or not you yet, be so glad, you are blessed,

Someone unsure of where the money is coming from to eat tomorrow.  Been there done that.  When the S&H was four months old my mother brought me a tin of biscuits.  I lived off that tin of biscuits for several weeks because I was using my child allowance to feed my in-laws, who were staying every other week for four days when my mother-in-law was demented.  The main money was paying the mortgage, the petrol and food for the OH, who at the time was in his research post on Legionnaires.  It was important he had enough food to keep his brain working.  I worried so much.  I remember looking in the tin, watching the biscuits dwindle.  Dear, it was so desperate I even ate the custard creams.  Fortunately I was able to get part-time work back at the college do exam prep, just before the biscuits ran out.  It was a close call and I lost inches off my hips.  Boy was I svelte!  (Didn’t last long.) So anyone being barrier-nursed goes on the list as do the nurses doing the nursing.  All frightened and doing it anyway.  Not you, not me, lucky us.

Anyone very depressed or overwhelmed by the current situation.  Point them in this direction.  I will keep blogging, something cheerful, something uplifting.  I’ll try to do it every day but have weekends off.  As long-term readers know there is ten years worth of free reading on this site, just scroll down and keep scrolling.  I ain’t Shakespeare,  just a short, tubby writer, cheerful in the face of everything.

The very very bottom line on this one is that you will either survive, in which case you will have survived, or you will die in which case you will be out of it and no longer have problems.  Those are the only two possibilities.  If you are here now, reading this, you are one of the lucky ones.  We’ll be OK you and me.  We can do this.

Whilst, as I wrote yesterday, many of us have been given a twelve week gift by the government. we still only live one day at a time.  If nothing bad has happened today, then it is a good day.  Do the gratitude list at the end.  Don’t be lonely, email me. I’ll reply.  We will live one day at a time.  That is all you are ever asked to do.

And, of course, be glad you are not a politician.  They wanted power, they got it and now…………

Ours are looking a bit knackered to say the least.  Oh yes, be glad you’re not a politician.**


*And we subsequently discovered, had forgotten to take his medication two days running.  If your normal schedule has been disrupted, for goodness sake, remember to take your medication.

**And have you seen some of the hairstyles politicians have, round the world? I think it’s a requirement.  I wonder if you can pick them out at school?  ‘You – mouthy little know-all with the toilet brush hairstyle – politics for you, I’ll tell the career teacher.’  ‘No Miss, I won’t.  I want to be liked and would like to pass a law to that effect.’  ‘Politics it is then.’

Yes, personally speaking, it could always be worse.

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