October 3rd was the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day and the theme of this year’s literacy celebration was ‘Truth.’
Karen Tidy, a Senior Governance Nurse and a carer of the people who supports Thistle Court Care Home, has written a collection of poems about some of the stark realities for people living with a dementia.
Karen, who was thrown into caring for her family after her father had passed away when she was aged ten, made the transition into professional caring when she became of age and became a carer of the people.
The poetry she writes comes purely from emotions deep within and from past experiences whilst giving end of life care before her time at Thistle Court Care Home. During this time, she observed many people confined to their beds who were unable to verbalise or feed themselves anymore, which prompted her to wonder what they were thinking about and what they were feeling.
She says it is imperative that the people she cared for were still spoken to and included in everyday discussions. As soon as you stop doing that, she explained, that person becomes part of a conveyer belt system, on their way to their end, rather than thinking of them as a living person, complete with their feelings and frailties.
Karen reads her poetry to those who she cares for and loves, to whom so many have been so lucky.
An excerpt from Karen’s poem, ‘What is Time to Me?’ is featured below.
What is Time to Me?
A second, a minute, an hour a day
What does it matter to me anyway?
I get up in a morning, have a cup of tea
The time of day doesn’t matter to me.
It seems like a rush, I feel like a number
Just leave me in bed to finish my slumber
Don’t rush me along and then down to the table
Let me take my time – you know I’m not able
To give myself food or make myself clean
Well I am 94, have you not seen
How feeble I am and how slowly I walk
All you do is rush and consistently talk
About which one is next, or what else to do
You just make me feel like a burden to you
I’ve just settled down and sat in my chair
To have 40 winks and then someone’s there
It’s my bath day today I wish they wouldn’t hover
And rush me again it’s just so much bother
Its mid-afternoon I just want to nap
Not be pestered and tugged and dunked in the bath
Leave me ‘till later when I go to bed
But please do not hurry, go slowly instead
And seeing as you’re listening, I might as well say
Don’t put me to bed to get me out your way
I know I might hinder you as I wander around
But I like to feel free to walk up and down
Or to watch the TV once in a while
I’m sorry if this cramps your routine and style
But try and imagine just how I feel
When time dictates every drink, every meal
Every conversation – and sometimes they’re few
Is dictated by how much you’ve got to do
© Karen Tidy 2011