My penny has just dropped.
I get it. I understand.
The world has stopped and I love it.
Yesterday I was asked to do an interview for a radio 4 programme. About the effects of the lockdown on people living with or caring for dementia.
And I said I am enjoying it.
Pardon. Er, why?
Well, because I am not constantly annoyed about the CCGs and others refusing to either listen, engage or act to improve dementia services. And planning my strategy. Writing another letter, another FOI. It’s been a pain in my brain for nearly ten years.
And now it has gone.
And that, folks, is such welcome relief I am happy.
But this morning I have just realised another, even more important and revolutionary benefit…
It is quiet out there. It is silent, but for the singing of birds, branches rustling, leaves fluttering, a distant train hooting once a day.
And that, my friends, is an enormous win for me. That is why I am enjoying my days of isolation here. I am not overwhelmed by the noises of busy living.
The trains, and stations.
The cars and motorbikes screaming, police klaxons, airplane thundering.
People talking too fast and loud. Or not loud enough to hear clearly.
The work we put in in order to deal with, to process and understand and respond to, all this cacophony, is enormous.
So, silent spring, welcome. I love you.
Of course, there is a flip side.
There’s always a pay off.
When, how, will we get dementia back on everyone’s commissioning agendas?
For the moment, Big V is THE only issue. The only show. And rightly so.
But…as ever…but…why is dementia not one of the criteria for exceptional support? For special shopping times or queues? For food deliveries?
Those living alone with dementia will be finding getting food and meds difficult. It’s all very well advising home deliveries, but you can forget the big supermarkets. Their slots are gone by 2 minutes past midnight. And that presumes you have smart tech. And can use it for shopping.
I know there are many wonderful support groups springing up, and shops are delivering locally. And I’m pretty sure many who live with dementia in towns, or perhaps tiny villages, will have neighbours who will help.
But remember, many with a diagnosis do what? They withdraw. They lose confidence, self esteem, sense of value. They stay at home, hidden away.
Who will help them?
We are living in a world of exceptional contrasts, extremes.
I am enjoying this silence. Many are not…they will be alone, staring at walls, unable to get the food they enjoy, wander around, maybe see familiar faces passing their windows.
And many will not understand why. They will not remember why.
It must be a difficult time for those in more advanced stages of dementia than me.
The BBC person said, gently, you don’t sound, the way you’re talking, as if you are very affected by your dementia. I mean, I know you’ve got it, but…
Well, I said, if I were not taking my pills I would be unable to put a sentence together, or do much else.
I explained a few of the difficulties I have, which are pretty minor on their own, but which together have changed my life.
Ah. I see.
You can hear, these days, the pennies that drop gently into the ponds and send out ripples.
Rachel Carson may have died, but this silent spring is for me a welcome change.
We have fewer birds and insects, fewer ‘weeds’, and that is shameful, but the world learned from her work.
Let us hope the world learns from this year’s silent spring to value quiet, slow living again.