“Who’s your favourite carer - Angel Gabriel or John Lewis?”
A few days ago I mentioned it was National Carers Week. While I’m writing this, Poppy’s in the other room cooking up a storm. She’s making dinner for tonight and also stuff to freeze which I can eat in the next few days. The food I’m able to prepare safely by myself is limited because it’s dangerous for me to use anything sharper than a plastic knife. Pouring, carrying and stirring can get messy too if you add arm tics into the mix.
Getting the ingredients in the first place is tricky because my leg tics have a big impact on my mobility. Leftwing Idiot did some shopping for me earlier and I now have cupboards full of food.
I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the term ‘Carer’ and tend to use ‘Personal Assistant’ or ‘Support worker.’ But none of these words adequately describe the thoughtfulness, consideration and care I’m shown every day by my friends.
Poppy, Leftwing Idiot, Fat Sister and King Russell will all be away from tomorrow. They’re the people I rely on the most. It hadn’t dawned on me until just now, but their thoughtfulness means I’ll have all the key stuff I need.
Recent research by the University of Leeds and Carers UK estimates that unpaid carers save the UK £119 billion a year. The Carers UK website features a care calculator, which allows people to see the estimated value of the care they provide. I used it to see how much the care I receive would cost. The total was £59,130 per year. Rather than looking after this incredibly valuable national resource, the Government’s sweeping spending cuts are putting carers under ever increasing strain.
I don’t always find it easy to accept the care I’m given and I sometimes get upset when other people draw attention to it. I worry about the responsibility helping me places on my friends and I get frustrated by all the things that having Tourettes makes difficult for me.
But I don’t feel worried or upset today – I just feel incredibly touched by the thoughtfulness my friends have shown me. I’m also very excited by the pea and mint risotto, pasta sauce and vegetable stew just going into the freezer.