Flash Fiction: ‘Ey You

“That’s a cute puppy! What’s his name?” asked Bob’s granddaughter while they enjoyed their coffee together.

She often brought him a take away coffee – and usually a big piece of carrot cake from their favourite local café – but she had never seen the shaggy black and white Border Collie before. He was so tiny she was able to pick him up and hold him in her hands.

“Oh, that’s ‘Ey You,” he replied.

“Huh?”

“’Ey You,” he repeated, slowly enunciating each word. “You know, like hey you.”

“Oh right, now I’ve got you. ‘Ey You. Has he been behaving himself for you?”

“Oh yes, he’s a very good puppy.” Bob’s eyes lit up in delight as she handed the puppy over to him. “You’re a very good boy, aren’t you?” he told him, as he nuzzled his face.

Bob’s granddaughter continued to bring him coffee. Soon, she had to stop bringing carrot cake when he was put on a soft food diet. Then, she was forced to put sickly sweet thickener in his coffee. Finally, she had to stop bringing coffee, but he somehow always managed to let her know that he still knew her.

‘Ey You usually sat on Bob’s bed, providing him with great comfort during the lonely nights in noisy, and often scary, nursing home. Bob loved to bring him along on their walks in the garden and he quietly sat on his lap the entire time.

On the day Bob’s granddaughter said her final goodbye to her Pop, she drove straight from the hospital to the nursing home. She couldn’t stand for his belongings to be in that miserable place anymore, especially not ‘Ey You. Even though ‘Ey You is only a stuffed toy, he will always have a place in her heart. After all, he was her grandfather’s only friend in the end.

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‘Ey You and his buddy, Spot, being looked after by my cat called Zeus 
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I’ll save that for later

I had a very strange moment today. In the picture below, you will see an old copy of The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, a box full of buttons, and a Twiddle Muff I finished making for my Pop today.

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A Twiddle Muff AKA Fidget Cloth is a sensory activity used in many nursing homes, and I believe sometimes for children as well, to give people who get the fidgets something to do with their hands. Or sometimes it can just be nice to look at, hold, or maybe talk about.

The strange moment came when I got to the part where I added the buttons. Because I’m not really that much of a crafty kind of person, I had to go and buy every single thing I used except for those buttons. Because I already had a box full of buttons that belonged to my grandmother. Using her buttons today, some that I remember from when she used the exact same ones on her own craft projects, put a whole new spin to the phrase: “I’ll save that for later”

I started to think about what kind of things I save for later and the answer was pretty obvious. I never ever throw out a book if I can help it. In fact, I still feel a little bit lost without the hundreds of books I somehow agreed to get rid of in the middle of a packing panic when I moved interstate. But I did hold onto this copy of The Magic Pudding, which originally belonged to my Aunty, and then it lived at my grandparent’s house for a long time until I claimed it. It’s a story that is remembered fondly by a lot of people in my family, including my Pop, as I discovered one day when I brought it along when I went to see him.

Now, I’m definitely not saying that it’s a good idea to become a total hoarder and just hold onto a whole bunch of useless clutter. But maybe it’s a good idea to put some thought into some of the things that you do save for later. Because there are so many strange little things that you just never can tell when they will come in handy, or stop and make you remember something very special.

Dementia Sucks!

It’s been three months since my last blog post…I’ ve been a terrible blogger! But in that time I have done my best to be the best granddaughter that I can possibly be and to keep up with my university studies as well. I’ve sat down at my computer hundreds of times to write a review or just to let you know where I’ve been but I’ve had the biggest case of writer’s block that I have ever experienced. And let me tell you, writing 2500 word essays on copyright law is not a pleasant experience with a case of writer’s block!!

Earlier this year my grandfather (Pop) had a stroke and now has severe dementia. My family had to make the decision to put him into a nursing home because he needs a high amount of care. I’m sure all of you who have a loved one or friend suffering from this cruel disease, in any of its variations, knows that it’s shit. And I’m sure the rest of you can imagine.

Having to place your loved one into the care of strangers is equally shit, but I think this experience is one that is impossible to imagine unless you’ve gone through it yourself. Even if it’s a ‘good’ nursing home, which in most respects my Pop’s home is, it’s still shit. Probably the biggest shock for me was to discover that there are no mandatory staff ratios for aged care homes in Australia  and a pattern over the last 10 years or so of an increase in the amount of unqualified personal carers and a decrease in the amount of Registered Nurses working in aged care. This seems to be a worldwide issue and one that I really think more people should be aware of. We’re all going to get old one day!

Besides from that tiny little rant, I’ve been doing my best to be there for my Pop. As difficult as it can be sometimes, it makes it all worth my while when I’m able to make him smile and show me his usual cheeky self.

Here’s a collection of some of my favourite pics. I might be a little bit biased but I think my grandparents are beautiful!

Stay tuned for a ginormous catch-up of book reviews coming soon!

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Me and Pop
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The love of his life
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My last visit before the stroke
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This is his most favourite photo of himself

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