Be ever vigilant.

We had a busy day yesterday.  One of my oldies took a spill and spent the night on his floor, we found him in the morning. I cleaned him up, he flatly refused to get in an ambulance but would let the ambulance boys put him in the car and so we took him to the hospital.  Poor old fella. Now he is  back in the arms of the Institution.  And the ER nurses are still a little bemused as to how I managed to swan in and out of the ER even though I am not one of the Relatives Only Relatives!!  However the other side have got him now and I know I could have done better to keep him safe. He won’t be able to come home, not for a long time.  He will have to go to one of those care facilities for the rehab.  His life has taken another turn.  All because of a series of un-noted incidents. Nothing happens out of the blue. There is always a warning that a period of flux is coming.

Somehow his phone was not charged or in his pocket and for some obscure reason his house phone was on the blink. He had a head-cold and a dicky knee that had been playing up. He did not think it was serious, so did not mention it to me.   This was not my day to visit. You see how that series of benign details converged into one moment. So the knee went out, he fell, broke his femur, could not move, had no phones and had to lie on the floor, (he pulled the blankets off the bed to cover himself) and taking a deep breath he had stoically waited. Of course his daughter (who lives far away) calls him frequently, alerted us to his radio silence that morning and in we swooped. After a rotton night for the old fella.

But you can see how a series of minor incidents went uncollated, critical mass was reached, fate saw the gap, snapped the mat and down he went.

There is a perfect new moon outside my dark morning window and I have been staring at it trying to articulate what I have learnt here.  Obey your instincts.   If you feel even the tiniest bit of worry, go and knock on that door. I had had that niggly feeling.   Be vigilant about upkeep in the house of your oldie. Check the phones yourself.  Adopt a home alone oldie and mind him.  Make a list and check it twice.  Do not relax or ever think things are going well.

I spent so many hours in the hospital with him to make sure that they were taking him seriously and did not mistake his deafness for dopiness, that when I came out into the light, I was shocked to find that it was three o’clock in the afternoon and time to get back to the barn.  I actually thought it was about eleven in the morning!

So at the end of the day I took the camera for a wee walkabout to reconnect. But even though the sun had come out, it was slim pickins’.  The good news is that my dairy farmeress has started milking again. So I got some cow colostrum for the lambs ( in case Mama does not have milk straight away -again) I will freeze it in small portions. And soon I can begin to make cheese again. 

The garden is still waiting. 

One of Houdini’s chicks, and yes you are right, this little fella looks like another Rooster, as if I did not have enough of them!

Is this a sign of spring? Um NO.

OK that pic of Ton is not even funny, that is just plain weird! The old Codger loves TonTon ( the dog does the visiting with me)  so I guess soon we will be able to test his training in a new environment.  Because I WILL find a way to get that dog in to visit the old man. He can pretend to be a therapy dog. Maybe not in the hospital, though the image of me and my grinning fool of a dog being escorted out of the hospital by the security men does make me smile and would make the oldies laugh out loud!! Then purse their lips at such blatant rule breaking.

OK today will be another busy day to-ing and fro-ing. So I am going to be RUNNING!!

Good Morning


105 Comments on “Be ever vigilant.

  1. Around here, you could tie a kerchief around his neck, and he could pass as a therapy dog. Sneak him in! Animals are such powerful healers.

  2. The following line touched me … ” spent so many hours in the hospital with him to make sure that they were taking him seriously and did not mistake his deafness for dopiness” … Good Morning Celi.

    • Morning frank .. it is true though, people sometimes mistake oldness and deafness as a sign of decreasing acuity. And it absolutely is not. Plus this old fella is very bright.. c

  3. You are a good person and a good friend. With all you do around the farm you still have the time to look in on oldies and care for them. The world is a better place with you in it!

    And I think the picture of Ton Ton is funny, although a bit weird.


  4. Oh, your poor friend! I am sending along lots of healing vibes for him. Thank goodness he has a kind neighbor plugged into his network that found him in time, or it could have been far worse. Sometimes bad things happen anyway, no matter how many contingencies we put in place. Life is fragile and we are at the mercies of circumstance…Ton Ton and you will bring him cheer during his convalescence, which I am sure he will appreciate.

    • And the convalescence is the hard bit .. having no control over your life when you have been running it by yourself for almost a ninety years is very difficult.. c

  5. Your poor friend but he´s lucky to have you. And I agree, trust your instincts…maybe you could get TonTon a white coat and a stethoscope, round here no one would notice the difference!

    • Oh I should, that would be so funny, and dressed like that how could they even think that he is not sanctioned!! morning tanya.. c

  6. What a wonderful neighbour you are, Celia. Perhaps he could have one of those SOS alert thingies to hang round his neck? I understand what you mean about the deaf and old not always being taken seriously – being both myself! That picture of Tonton is splendid – a miracle of frozen motion. Did you know that Tonton is a familiar name for Uncle here?

    • He did have one of those things but he took it off and cancelled the account as he said it was a waste of his money!! Uncle TonTon.. perfect! c

    • It is one of those things that does happen, there really is no way to avoid it, I do like to keep the oldies in their own homes as long as they can and that is the risk, but if every oldie has a daily neighbour then that is better thank none.. c

    • Morning Roger. I had to separate two roosters again this morning, I am fairly sure they have been knocking each others teeth out all night they are such a mess! c

  7. Around here, all it takes is a phone call and a “Canine Good Citizen” certification to be a hospital or nursing home visitor. My Oldest has had two German Shepherds in the program for a while. Ton Ton should have no problem showing that he knows how to behave in public – he’s got better manners than most people I know!
    Very sad to hear about your Oldster – a femur break is difficult. I’ll be sending good thoughts and prayers his way.

    • Well i shall look into that pronto, in fact The Old Codger and I were going to take Ton to visit some of his old friends in nursing homes and see how he went.. Though I took the dog into the feed store the other day and he wet his pants he was so scared. But he will go most anywhere otherwise.. This is a very very good idea and I really am going to look into it.. I think he could do it.. c

      • I’ve just laughed so much over poor Ton Ton in the feed store.
        That’s exactly what my dog Sally did the last time we went to the see the vet for vaccinations……….. I had to ask for a mop and bucket before the consultation!
        In this part of the world most institutions welcome carer animals; I regularly meet a woman who takes her dog twice a week to the local hospital (both of you need to be on a register)
        I hope you oldie is more comfortable.

        • I am really considering finding this register now.. surely Ton and i can do this, as long as i carry my mop and bucket with me!! c

  8. Quote … “a series of minor incidents …. fate saw the gap …. and down he went”. So well put Cecilia x a nice feel good yarn. Good health to your friend Thank you for your wise words about being VIGILANT with ones intuition. Love mc xx always meant to tell you; when I first met my husband in the pe office his female colleagues called him Ton Ton. What’s all that about handsome? ClinTON PilkingTON. Your dog has a namesake x

  9. I hope your friend recovers speedily and enjoys TonTon’s visit. How could he not? And my wish for you? That you manage to give yourself credit for what you did, and give self reproach The Hand 🙂

  10. I hope your friend is fine. You are so nice and very kind dear Cecilia. Ton Ton seems happy to play with you… Spring is not here yet. There is snow again. Thank you and my best wishes for your friend, have a nice weekend, with my love, nia

  11. Perhaps it just didn’t seep through your wonderfully descriptive lines, but I’m always set to my back foot when something like this happens to the elderly, many of whom are left for hours on end (days on end even) to their own devices because they refuse help or to ask for it. They are stoic to the end, which if stubbornness were an asset, would make them stinking rich. Many live in their under-heated houses or flats, eating minimal sustenance in order to afford other things more important … I don’t know what the answer is to the way “modern living” views the elderly but I don’t think there’s anything modern or enlightened about how society goes about it. It strikes me that the elderly are often on the periphery of family life and treated as trinkets. And it makes me sad.

    • I do see what you are saying Miskey, they choose to be very frugal these oldies, yes we have to respect their wishes as we throw out dish after dish of delivered and ignored food.. He says The alternative is being doped up in a retirement facility. Or sitting next to doped up oldies in a retirement home. My Old Codger was in one a year ago and has sworn never to return, yet here he is back on track to such a place, I don’t know how to help him now, we are of to visit him shortly then we will hopefully know more. It is such a conundrum.. c

  12. You are a very good friend and I hope he’s feeling better soon. I love the shot that you captured of TonTon flying through the air and I do think you should sneak him into the hospital! 😉

  13. Not the happiest morning news – I hope your friend takes his time and gets better. And I completely agree – intuition is one of the strongest ‘defenses’ we have! I hate it when I feel it, but always obey that nagging worry feeling.

  14. Oh Celi, so sorry to hear about your friend – sending a big warm love filled hug to you both. I, after lessons learnt ALWAYS follow my intuition.
    Ton Ton looks like he is sitting on an invisible bike and I agree 100% you have to get Ton Ton in to see your old mate – no questions asked.
    🙂 Mandy

  15. That is wonderful that you watch out for him. After a fall is a very dangerous time for the elderly (but I will refrain from my training manual). Hope he mends without any issues. You can always just ask the residence if pets are allowed to visit. Some places encourage that it’s called the Eden alternative concept. t

  16. That is such a sad sorry about your *oldie* how awful to have to lie alone for hours (waiting, praying, hoping ?) for help. Your are a very good neighbour. 😉

    • I know, he wanted to live alone, refused to move in with his daughter, he just wanted to be independent, so sad.. c

  17. So glad you could be there for him, Celi. Most do not realize how important it is to have an advocate for them when hospitalized — and not just for the “oldsters.” Someone to sit with you when the attending physicians make their rounds, to listen & interpret the doctors’ statements, and to insure you’re getting the care you need. I’ve been there, sometimes as advocate, sometimes as patient. What you did for that man, besides offering comfort & compassion, was invaluable.

    • Thank you John, it is hard for anyone to suddenly become a case in the ER.. with the pain and the fear all mixed in .. c

  18. So sad to hear about your friend…my thoughts will be with him. My father lived alone in his home and it worried me so when he was ill. I totally agree with going with your instincts, I was about to head home after Xmas one year and something made me put my kids on the plane and stay with my dad – he passed away that night.

  19. Always trust your instincts…there are one of the most powerful assets given to human beings. Bless you for being a good friend and lending a hand to someone who needed one.

    • You are all being very kind but i am sure each and every one of you would have done the same thing, this is how things should be.. and you are right about instincts.. c

  20. A good reminder for all of us who have older parents and friends to try and look after. I love the tip about checking everything around the house when you visit for signs of neglect or disrepair and will remember that with my mom. I hope your friend comes through surgery well today and will send positive thoughts his way. TonTon does have a weird smile/grin/about to bite the frisbee look, almost like those funny photoshopped animal smiles! Therapy dogs around here wear canvas blankets with pockets on them..but might take a while to make one of those in your *spare* time!

    • That is very funny, he does look like he has a photoshopped expression, his mouth looks way too big!! Morning betsy! c

  21. Those oldies can be a bit ornery, can’t they? You are so loving to have waited with him to make sure he was respected and understood. I hope I have someone like you around to see to my crazy behavior when I’m an “oldie” 🙂

    My Grandma was 90 when she slipped in my mom’s garage taking out the newspaper while my mom was at work. She knew she had injured herself but crawled back into the house on her hands and knees, somehow got herself into her bed and waited for my mom to return from work…6 hours later. She could have called someone or pushed the Life Alert button around her neck, but did she? Of course not. She thought she just needed “a little rest”, as she called it. That evening we found out that the little “slip” she had taken in the garage had broken her pelvis! I realized that going to the hospital means something entirely different to an “oldie” than it does for us young chicks. They fight it because somehow it symbolizes the beginning of the end.

    I love the buds on the ends of the bushes, they remind me of chicken feet! Hope you have a wonderful day and don’t rush too much! 🙂

    • This is such a great story. And My Old fella was the same about the ambulance. And your Grandma putting herself to bed.. mercy what a tough old woman. Old people can fall, even when you have them living in the house with you, it happens. Lucky for your grandmother that she had someone coming home from work that day.. but you cannot watch them every second, in fact they would prefer you did not, so we must just do the best we can.. c

  22. You can’t be with someone every minute. After my 89-year-old mom fell and shattered her shoulder, someone stayed with her 24 hours a day for several months. She recovered enough to live alone again, and we immediately got her one of those pendant devices, which she used twice–with good results–before she died recently. We also got her a phone system that had extensions all over the house, including portables to carry with her every time she took a step with the walker. It was important to her to have her independence, but it was a constant worry. No, that sentence is backward. It should read IT WAS A CONSTANT WORRY, BUT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HER TO HAVE HER INDEPENDENCE.

    Your friend is lucky to have people to care for him.

  23. Oh a broken femur, how painfull, I’m wincing at the thought! And it will take time to heal, but your old codger sounds a gutsy one, so the healing will I’m sure be quicker.
    The Spring buds are just starting here too, I can see the fruit bushes stirring into life. Lets hope for some bright days

    • And you still recovering, how is your arm? Will you be up to par for the planting? How wonderful that you seeing buds!! c

  24. Oh, my. This is a “for the want of a nail, the horse was lost” story. You certainly are earning stars for you crown in Heaven” as my elderly relative would say. (Sturdy self sufficient farmers into very old age). Get that dog there if you can – it does make a difference…can they wheel your friend out to a porch for a visit?

    • Once he is one of those rehab facilities we will be popping in and out dog and I, i will see if i can get him registered as a therapy dog.. c

  25. POSITIVELY anything to make the old folks smile – including (and maybe especially) a lab coat and stethoscope on TonTon! (Brilliant, Tanya!) And YOU Celi, an advocate, a Friend in the very truest sense. How very lucky for the old gentleman to have had you in his corner. May the sun SHINE on you!! xo

  26. Stoic aren’t they? – the oldies. My darling Auntie Syb was the same, only it was her arm that was broken. She sat on her kitchen floor from 3pm till I phoned at 8:30 the next morning (as I always did). She didn’t answer, so I went straight there…
    She is gone now, so I have ‘adopted’ an elderly neighbour – another brave old lady…
    Have a lovely day C XO

    • morning Janet, your aunt syb sounds like one of them for sure, they are a tough old bunch, and well done adopting an old person, i cannot be there for my own father so it makes sense to me to look after a few oldies over here.. c

  27. So sorry to hear about your oldie. Hope the dear heals quickly. And I do hope that you find away to smuggle Ton in, they can bring such joy to others. 😀 (BTW-roosters make great stew 😉 )

    • I hear that roosters make a great coq au something.. but then I would have to wring its neck and pluck it and god help us -GUT it and i am not sure i am up to all that quite yet! .. c

      • Coq au vin is great (we make it in the crockpot). With our chickens, I don’t pluck them, but skin them. Much less mess! But, I still wait at least a month before getting them out of the freezer to eat.

          • Our first lot of chooks, reportedly all females, turned out to be 5 coqs and 5 hens.mIn defence of those poor over-used hens, we killed the roosters, plucked them in the orchard, so the wind could take the feathers where it would, and then set about preparing them for the freezer. My ex – who had been planning to do the gutting, made a hasty exit with his hand over his mouth, while I donned rubber gloves and did the dirty deed. I cooked the first one and none of us could eat it, so I buried the others at the bottom of the freezer for long enough to become anonymous!

  28. You are so wonderful to stay there at the hospital and make sure he was understood. Uncommon kindness. I hope he will be able to go home again. …. and that baby rooster photo is really nice!

  29. It is so important and so good of you to be a caretaker in your community. We will all want a neighbor like you for ourselves one day!

  30. I am so sad to hear about your friend. It’s sad how the world finds so many ways to rob us of our dignity. I’m glad you did your part to help your ‘oldie’ retain his as long as he could.

  31. Sweet that this one of your oldies has his guardian angel Celi looking after him–he’d never have made it through this on his own. I’ve no oldies in the neighborhood to adopt, but now you mention it, I realize that our former neighborhood is less than a mile away and I ought to just walk over with some purpose from time to time and visit my two oldies there, since I so rarely see them anywhere now that we don’t go to our communal mailboxes together anymore . . .

    You, my dear, are the queen of caregivers and community-builders, so I shan’t try to keep up with that, but I know I can do my little bit better. That much I ought to do! Thanks for the reminder.


    • That would be great Kathryn .. there will be an oldie that you can adopt out there, and you will do it so well without them feeling checked up on.. I am no different from anyone else.. c

  32. There’s a special gem waiting to be placed in your crown, Celi. I share that soft spot for the oldies! I’m a Pod Leader so I keep track of the oldies in 5 small clustery neighbourhoods in the Pod. I know who to check on and who can help me do it.

    I love the concept – it’s ridiculous that people live alone and no one would take the time to check on them! Mon Dieu! The courage of the elderly to be as self-sufficient as possible and the busyness of our medical system –

    Don’t get me goin’ !

    • This fellow chose to live alone and chose not to accept his daughter offer to come to her, but she had a system in place and it worked. When i am old I am sure i will be just as belligerent about living on in my own home.. and you are so right it take great courage for the elderly to buck the system and stay home.. Your pod system sounds excellent.. c

  33. I have such a hard time capturing action shots of Penny. I need a fast shutter speed, but since she (like Tonton) is mostly black, she just looks like a shadow with scant detail. I will keep working on it. I think I need someone else to throw the stick while I just concentrate on the camera. It’s pretty hard to transition from throwing a stick to clickity click click.

    • I find the frisbee easier as it wafts down slowly so I can throw it, find it and shoot, you do need a faster shutter speed and yes .. the light.. Ton looks like a harlequin dog frequently!! todays was crazy!! c

  34. Your photographs are always impressive, but that one of TonTon is just amazing action! I am sorry for your friends pain, but I am so grateful for him to have a friend like you.

    As for the dog, well, as teenagers we once snuck a friends little dog into the hospital to visit with him… their was one Nun who we were certain knew what we had in that over sized, wiggly shoulder bag, yet, she let us get away with it for a bit, and then after a time came in and mad a big show of making us take it out of the hospital. Our friend had a broken arm, leg, ribs and pelvis from a rock climbing fall. Hence, her leniency! Somehow, I don’t suppose this will work for TonTon! ~ Lynda

  35. I’m so glad you were able to help out – bless you for that. It’s not easy getting older – my parents are facing all sorts of issues. I wish I was closer, but they’re half the country away. So hard.

  36. I don’t care for visiting hospitals, but I know when I’m there I always lose track of time. Sometimes I can’t even eat.. so I completely understand how that happened. And you are such a wonderful person to help.. but then again I think we all knew this already ;). Love the photos

  37. I’m getting around to reading awfully late in the evening, and I can see that you’ve had quite a time of it. I trust your dear old friend is doing better, or I certainly hope that will soon be true. I have spent a lot of accumulated hours in hospital and rehab rooms with my oldster loved ones…I cannot imagine leaving someone I love without that advocacy. Seeing how you care for your animals, like family members, I would have known you’d have strong loving instincts to care for others! I hope you’ll share how he gets on! Debra

  38. We all need to care and look after each other no matter the age. You have such a good soul…God bless you for all you do.

  39. that is so good of you… my husband and I went on a little day trip to look over machinery yesterday, and he called his 87 year-old boss before checking in for the night, to makes sure he was in his home and didn’t get lost in the hills working. the old man still works seven days a week. sometimes you have to push past the “what are they going to think” or “i don’t want to upset them or make them feel dependent” barriers. great post!

  40. That every Oldie should have a kind, loving and caring friend like you. That every Person should have a kind, loving and caring friend like you. My dear, you are a blessing beyond measure.

    Your reminders to all of us to care and to trust our instincts and to be there for others is are words we need to hear. Thank you.

    I cannot imagine the pain your friend endured overnight with a broken femur. But to see you swooping in must have been for him like seeing an angel.

  41. Oh no, I hope he’s recovering ok. It’s really a wonderful thing what you’ve done and do, very humbling and inspirational. My husband’s grandmother slipped and fell in her bathroom last year but she couldn’t reach the panic button in her flat. She wasn’t badly hurt but it left her horribly shaken. She’s now got a panic button she wears as a chain. Thank goodness you went round there.

  42. Hmmm, I think this is a side of you I wasn’t aware of, c. I would love to read more about your “oldies” and how you’ve gotten to know, love and care for them. You have the rarest of intuitions and it shows in your written words… I don’t know quite how to explain that, but there is a depth to your writing and observations that shows your intuitiveness.. How blessed you were there to care for him and he will receive the treatment he needs. TonTon at your side will be the perfect cure! The place I volunteer at allows dogs to visit… I hope this is the case. Ok, now I’m picturing you with dark black-out glasses with your dog on a special harness… cane clicking the way in front of you down the hall…

  43. Sweetheart, I pray you never blame yourself for any oversights. You are one busy woman, and give so much to so many. Still I’m happy that you reflected and came up with this wisdom: Obey your instincts. If you feel even the tiniest bit of worry, go and knock on that door. I had had that niggly feeling. Be vigilant about upkeep in the house of your oldie. Check the phones yourself. Adopt a home alone oldie and mind him. Make a list and check it twice. Do not relax or ever think things are going well.
    Blessings to you for caring for the oldies. I know it adds immeasurably to their lives, as well as to yours.

  44. It’s been a few days since you posted this. I hope your friend is on the mend. The Lord bless you for being such a good friend and neighbor; hard to come by in some areas.

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