Due to my disabilities, I rely on 24/7 care. Up until the age of 14, I always had the care of my parents. Then when I began at Treloar’s school and college I used trained employed carers and then through university to present day I’ve use a combination of agencies and hired PAs.
A majority of the time carers are perceived in two ways; kind, nurturing, patient, friendly, selfless people. Then on the other side there is the dangerous, abusive, untrustworthy carers who commit crimes against staff and clients and end up in prison. But for me, and possibly many others, there is a third group of carers who simply have no common sense, lack understanding of disabilities and are just plain stupid at times.
Below are my Top 20 disgraceful, irritating, annoying, ridiculous and amusing experiences of what carers have done to me over the past 10 years. (Note: As much as I would love to name and shame them, all carers will be kept anonmonus)
20. Finding fish fingers in the fridge
First on my list is finding a fairly new box of fish fingers stored in my fridge all de-frosted. How difficult is it to put them back in the freezer after use? Back off to the supermarket I go – foolish!
19. Just turn the oven on!
To save time I asked for a ready meal to be put in the oven. The carer had no idea and so had to be shown how by another carer. She surely must have used an oven before? If I could access my own kitchen I’d be better off doing it myself – frustrating!
18. A sandwich in 12 pieces
For lunch I asked for a sandwich. Not only did I have to direct how to make one, but also when asked if I needed it cut, I said yes into quarters. It came back with 12 bite size pieces – confused and amused!
17. What a strange way to make a bed
After my morning care, I directed a care to make my bed. I watched her do it and discovered she had just folded the duvet back rather than drape it over the bed – very strange!
16. Pass me the bed remote!
One evening I got into bed and asked the carer to pass the bed remote so I could sit up in bed. She couldn’t understand me at all and in the end had to phone my friend at 11pm to rescue me – absolutely ridiculous!
15. Ewww… Why is my foot wet in bed?
Got into bed to then discover my bed sheet was still wet after the carer spilling my catheter bag in the morning and never considered to change the bed sheet – how disgusting!
14. When were you going to tell me the door is broken?
Been living with this carer over a week and was scheduled to leave for a festival with friends, leaving the carer at my house over the weekend. My friend came to help me pack and when she walked into the spare room to collect my portable hoist, she discovered the bedroom door was coming off its hinges. The carer knew it was broken but never bothered to tell me – unbelievable!
13. Use the gear stick, brake, look for traffic, turn right!
Had a new carer who supposedly had a driving licence but had never driven a manual vehicle, didn’t appear to understand traffic or directions. Ended driving around my cul-de-sac twice before arriving home – scary!
12. I’ve had this dirty top on all day and you never thought to tell me!
Had a carer do a 14 hour shift with me which included a trip out to dinner to meet my best friend. When we arrived, I got out the car to greet my friend and it was my friend who noticed the stain on my top – embarrassing!
11. Great, I still look like a schoolgirl
The year is 2017, I’ve graduated from university a year ago and now seeking full time employment. A new carer, around college age, had come to visit my flat for evening care. The first thing she asked me was “Have you been to school today?” My response; “No I’m 23!” – awkward!
10. So apparently I do laundry differently
During morning care, the young carer mentioned above asked me a random question; “Where do you do your washing?” My response; “In the washing machine”. She had been in my home 4 times and had seen the washing machine in my kitchen – laughable!
9. Obviously being disabled stops me drinking alcohol
Was sitting in the university canteen with a carer and discussing plans for the weekend. I mentioned going to the pub with friends and the carer’s reaction was; “I didn’t know disabled people could drink alcohol”. Yes maybe some can’t because of medication or condition but for me without the booze, disabled adulthood would suck! – how discriminating but funny!
8. What!… She is sleeping on my sofa
My carer was doing an evening shift and suggested we watch my Gavin & Stacey box set. We got through one disk and I asked her to put the next one into my TV. I didn’t get a response so I turned round to find her lying on my sofa, with my blanket over her, fast asleep – how rude and unprofessional!
7. There is something on the floor… really?
A carer had put some laundry in my washing machine and was about to put the laundry basket back in its original place when she abruptly stopped. I asked what was wrong and she just said; “There is something on the floor” and the though in my head was yes there are a lot of things on the floor, which thing are you referring to? She gave no description of the size, shape, colour or material. She had been working with me for a year and knew I was blind. After putting it in my hand, it turned out to be my talking dictionary device – irritating!
6. Why put gloves on to put shoes on?
In my boarding house at college, I buzzed for a carrer to change my slippers and put shoes on. Instead of just going to get the shoes she went into the bathroom to get gloves. Are my feet really that smelly? – weird!
5. Don’t hold the hot end of the hair straightener!
At college, I asked a carer if she could straighten hair and she said yes. She plugged them in, switched them on then looked at me and said “What do I do next?” I then attempted to explain how to do it and she managed a few strands of hair. She then put the straighteners down to brush my hair and when picking them up again, she grabbed the hot side, burning her hand. This later led to risk assessments being done on hair straightening. – Just non-seneschal!
4. Stop singing, it’s 1AM!
One night I was reading my audiobook in bed when I heard the distant sound of singing. I initially thought it was a drunk person walking down the street. A few minutes past and the noise continued and much louder. I then realised it was my carer singing (badly) in her bedroom. It was coming up to 1am and I buzzed for her to stop but she couldn’t hear me. It got so loud I think my pet rabbit and neighbours could hear it. I eventually got her attention half an hour later and she couldn’t acknowledge why I was calling her. – No courtesy!
3. Don’t cry over stale doughnuts
A new carer arrived on a Sunday and I offered her a takeaway as I had not much food available which she initially accepted. When it was delivered she then declined it. The next day I ran out of time to do shopping. Then Tuesday the carer asked if she could finish the doughnuts she found in my kitchen. I tried to explain that I bought those over a week ago and they might be stale. I repeated myself several times but she couldn’t understand me. She then begun to cry in front of me, accusing me of starving her – perplexed and pathetic!
2. I need my penis cushion
Yes looks insane I know but trust me, this is funny. I was going to bed one evening and was putting in my sleep system (knee block, brackets, cushions etc) and directed the carer to get the round, cylinder, sausage shaped cushion but the carer couldn’t understand. I then had to be creative and directed the words “Get the penis shaped cushion”. This time it worked – hilarious!
1. I did not order a frozen sausage
And finally at number 1 is this extremely amusing story. At lunchtime, I asked the carer to heat up a sausage roll in the microwave for 20 seconds. Instead she came back with a frozen sausage… But hey, quoting my friend; “gotta love a hard sausage” – hysterical and shocked!