Congratulations Perla – yes she is Perla – that Florence Nightingale of a Carer, who today turns 60 ... Happy Birthday!
When a relative goes into a Nursing Centre or Care Home, we never know the ropes, we don’t understand the system and very probably we have no idea what’s ahead – so we are extremely hopeful that we’ll settle happily in and find interested and caring staff.
Perla has been marvellous – but Perla has one outstanding attribute .... she totally understands ... she very sadly nursed her husband when he was ill .... and so her rapport with both patients and relatives comes from that point of view of understanding.
|A real Hardwick as he might have looked|
in his heyday
To have a carer who cares and who comprehends the stages that we will experience along this journey is a real bonus, and someone who loves people, who is prepared to share in our joy and be compassionate with our pain and struggles ... just makes life so much easier.
We have been here four years now and in the early days my mother just nattered away to Hardwick and to herself ... she was quite happy; when one of us or the carers appeared - back to earth she came – normality of conversation resumed.
|Hardwick in festive mood?|
She had a twinkle in her eye and a ready wit about her ... we never had to drag a conversation out of her ... and often my mother would initiate ideas. Hardwick helped enormously ... he had come up from Cornwall and has resided ever since on or near my mother’s bed .. he’s an elderly Wire Fox Terrier and now-a-days is in repose mode.
It’s quite unusual for family to be in the Home as much as I have been – my mother could talk and I wasn’t going to waste those moments of life with her – but then we also had my uncle in the room next door after he’d come out of hospital – he enjoyed company too.
The halo-halo is a dessert
made of ice, milk, various fruits
So here is Perla looking after all of us – because as Carers they do just that ... their role extends out as each hurdle is reached, worked through and got over – depending whether we fall over, jump over, dive through ... we were often diving through ... my mother doesn’t like to hang around.
We also met some other friends across the corridor with Africa connections ... so the internationalism of life extended well beyond the boundaries of square rooms and oblong corridors. Laughter often emanated, chatter abounded, and stories were relayed ... with giggles in between.
|A pot of tamarind Sinigang|
The staff often ‘accost’ me and say ‘your mother ......’ and tell me a story – my mother’s imagination is pretty vivid and global ... so we travelled to her castles in Buenos Aires (Argentina), we went to Valparaiso (Chile), we had flats in Sydney, Australia and we holidayed in New Zealand.
We concocted various ways of getting there ... hiring aeroplanes, taking her electric bed, the hoist, and all the paraphernalia of nursing – how many nurses we’d need, who we’d take etc etc ....
... and if we travelled to Cornwall (when she realised she was in Eastbourne ... we’ve sorted of oscillated between the two – no matter - just keep oscillating!) – we would travel in a Purple People Carrier ... and did I remember the way ... ?!
The staff would share these journeys with us and my mother would interact with them all the time ... one day ‘names’ started appearing ... Perla came up with deep brown eyes wide open ... telling me – I’m no longer Perla ‘I’m Cleopatra’! To this day ... Perla is Cleopatra!
Thick black bob hair cut ... Egyptian features ... could be regal – but she laughs too much! Perla comes from that nation of gentle folk ... the Filipino – the soft, caring, quiet (sometimes!), hard-working sons or daughters, who leave their homeland to travel here to help us in our times of needs.
I must say – I bless those early travellers who ventured from our European shores ... to find those lands far away, and who ensured that a great many of them through conquering heroes, or quirks of fate – such as New York being swapped by the Spanish for a Nutmeg Tree .... speak English to this day.
I expect in many ways anyone who does speak English as their first or second language by default of colonialism etc for now is probably grateful – as we have this wonderful connective power of the internet.
Ancient Filipinos utilized terrace farming to grow crops
in the steep mountainous regions of northern Philippines.
The Philippines has always fascinated me as a nation ... to live amongst 7,107 islands (have they counted them recently?!) must be just beautiful – their country always looks gorgeous ... rolling coastlines and rising mountain ranges from the terraced valleys below.
This archipelago is situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire ... and they experience frequent seismic and volcanic activity ... around 20 earthquakes a day are registered, though most are too weak to be felt.
|Typical selection of Filipino foods|
Perla, who is the only member who lives in England, and her family came from the southern part of the three islands groups – Mindanao and now live in the northern third group of islands, known as Luzon.
The Filipinos – love their food, you cannot visit their house without having a meal .... they bring their food in to share with others at the Home – they let us try their traditional fare ... and the one reason they bring their food in – Perla does not cook!!!
So she needs her topping up of Melk fish, Pinakbat (pork stew with aubergines, beans, tomatoes, onions etc), Sinigang (pork or fish stew), Paksiw (steamed fish in vinegar, onions, garlic and ginger) ... with that all important ingredient – rice!
There's a birthday cake made by one of your special friends who works at nights ... Sue.
We all at the Nursing Centre hope that Perla will in her 61st year take herself off home and see the enormous changes that have been occurring to her homeland and spend time with her family and friends from the days gone by ... we are not going away and I know you will be welcomed back here with open arms .. we want to hear your stories too.
|Allotments in the original Quaker village|
of Jordans, Bucks
Her life here is not going away ... her allotment with its flowers, pear tree, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, beans allows for a pottering period that we need in our busy schedules ...
My mother, Hardwick and I wish you Perla - Cleopatra the happiest of times today with your English family ... the many of us that you care for ... we are all so grateful for your laughter, your companionship, your understanding and especially for your care of our dear ones.
Happy Birthday my friend – we treasure you ... enjoy your glass of red wine tonight – you deserve every last drop ... with a few hugs from us.
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