Fran pulled the covers tightly across my body. She sat next to me on the bed, her hand applying gentle pressure to my head. Exhausted, my body moved erratically, my forceful, regular and rhythmic vocal tics punctuating the quiet darkness of my room.
We exchanged few words. This was the fifth time that Fran had sat with me, calmly and quietly providing support as my body resisted sleep.
The chronic pain in my hips and back makes it hard for me to settle. When I get over-tired my tics often intensify, making it even harder to get the rest I desperately need. This vicious cycle is all too familiar, but so too is the compassionate care my overnight support workers provide.
There have been many times when my struggle to sleep has felt incredibly distressing but last night all I felt was Fran’s gentle solidarity. My body may’ve been hectic, and both our nights extremely disrupted, but despite this Fran’s support meant I was filled with peace rather than frustration and guilt.
All too often support and social care are measured in clinical or economic terms. Last night my support was characterised by intimacy, humanity and unspoken understanding.