In November we held a Writing Competition for our friends and followers with the theme “community”.
We had so many amazing entries and after a lot of deliberation we have chosen our winner and 2 runner ups.
Our Winner is…. Nicola Gornall – a Care Worker at Betsy Clara Nursing Homeading
And here is her wonderful entry.
So…I’m just a Carer
So…I’m just a carer, Let me put you straight
I wake early every morning, To get to work at eight
I check on every one of them, To make sure they’re okay
I serve them tea and breakfast, And a smile to start the day
Some are pleased to see me, Others aren’t so impressed
Especially on their bath day, And when I get them dressed
Then once they are all settled, I go and make their beds
Making their rooms look homely, Comfy pillows for their heads
Then it’s cup of tea time, With a biscuit or two
I sit and have a chat with them, As I think of what to do
Shall I paint their nails today, Shall I do their hair
Shall I sing them songs they know, To show them that I care
I check on the less fortunate, That can’t get out of bed
I sit at their bedside, Sometimes no words are said
Some feel my presence, When they are feeling low
And sometimes, sadly I hold their hand, Until it’s their time to go
I offer words of comfort, To loved ones when they cry
Holding back my own tears, For it’s hard to see them die
I may have known them for a year, Or as little as a day
But each and every one of them, Touch my heart in a special way
I carry on with my duties, No two days are the same
Caring for the sick, The frail and the lame
Next it is lunch time, Time to serve their food
I feed the ones who need help, And the ones in a low mood
Sometimes it runs smoothly, Other times not so great
I have been painted with their dinners, When they have thrown their plate
After lunch it’s time to freshen up, The ones that need more help
I take them to the bathroom, Where some will scream and yelp
Afternoon tea and cakes are served, And time for one to one
Sometimes it’s quiet and calm, Sometimes it’s loud and fun
Supper time is here, I serve their food and tea
I help the ones that need it, And watch the others carefully
It’s time for some to go to bed, The day has been long
I get them ready for the night, Quietly singing them a song
The others I get ready, But they stay up in their chair
I sit with them, to reassure, That I am still there
Another cup of tea, Another friendly chat
My day is nearly over, My energy running flat
The clock strikes eight, Time to say good night
A kiss on the cheek, Until the morning light
Driving home, I recall my day
Did I do my best?, In every way?
Did I make a difference?, Did I make them smile?
Did I show them enough love?, To last them for a while
I look at each and every one, As if they were my own
And everyday I’m with them, I will make them feel at home
I walk through my front door, Exhausted from my day
Marked with scratches and bruises, From my injuries along the way
Now it’s time to settle down, With my family at home
But still I think about, Those who feel alone
As I lay down to sleep, I say a little prayer
I think about those people, Who are in my care
I close my eyes, And dream away
My alarm is set, For another day…
So…to you I’m just a carer, I hope I’ve put you straight
Because to them, I am much more, From early until late…
Our Runners up are:
Craig Summers – Groups Training Manager at Berkley Care Group
Branwen Draper – Care Worker at Bluebird Care
Finding Safety – Craig Summers
It started with a cough.
The broadcast repeated “remain indoors, don’t mix households”. Going outside meant catching it, meant changing, meant something worse than death.
The government advised, updated on vaccines, case numbers and how the most vulnerable must be protected, we must STAY. AT. HOME.
The virus had no name, it was like nothing else. You coughed for a week or so, then changed.
People with the virus changed into uncontrollable, rage fuelled creatures intent on destruction and death. They called them ragers, with an anger which had to be spent but was never fulfilled.
Those most at risk were young adults, struck down before knowing themselves, changed into something uncontrollable, untameable.
The world began to end.
He awoke drenched in sweat, struggling to catch his breath, the nightmare again, only waking didn’t end it. He pulled back the blanket and rolled his legs off the sofa. Bending forward, hands around his head, breathing deeply, Mason took his time before looking up.
He had survived for months alone now. Both parents fell to the virus and were out there, no longer his loving mother and father. He hadn’t seen them change, they’d just gone out one day and never returned. They may be dead. Mason hoped they were dead.
Mason knew he had to move, he had no food left, the water ran sporadically and the power had been off for weeks. It was so cold. He spent most nights shivering himself to sleep. He couldn’t make a fire, the light attracted them and at eleven years old, he wouldn’t survive a fight.
Mason had one plan, the only place he knew other than home or school, full of people safe from the virus, with food, water and most importantly, his Nana.
Mason knew not too far away, at Sea View Lodge, Nana lived in a home full of old people who were always nice to him. Mason knew the journey could be walked; he’d done it with his parents. Mason knew old people were safer from the virus. He heard somewhere; care homes were closed to keep people safe. Safe is what Mason wanted, needed, craved. Nana always made Mason feel those things. Mason needed his Nana.
Mason would go during the day and needed to go soon before losing his nerve. He gathered the few items he thought of use and put them in his rucksack, replacing the school books he wouldn’t need
again. He took his phone, it had no battery but it had the photos of life before the virus, a knife from the kitchen, hoping to never need it and the picture from the lounge which showed this family.
Mason took a deep breath and headed to the door, wrapped up tightly with a facemask and scarf covering his mouth and nose, to stop the virus. Mason stepped out, never turning to look back.
It felt like hours since Mason left but knew it couldn’t have been more than thirty minutes. It had gone without incident, having only heard vague noises nearby. Now where Mason lay on the grass, sodden with rain and still cold through the layers he wore, he saw the car park of Sea View.
The problem was the cars, there were more than he expected, and cars meant people. He could see them, dotted around the car park. Some moving, some… unable to.
There was no way to the door without going past them. Mason knew no other way to get into Nana’s home. Just the big doors where you rang the bell, the lady behind the desk lets you in, has a big smile and tells you how tall you’ve got.
Mason could run, he was fast, a lifetime ago at Sports Day, Mason won the parent/ child race with his dad. The memory hurt in a way he fought each time it came and tears sprung from his eyes, clearing the grime on his cheeks.
Mason had to move fast but quietly. He reached the edge of the tarmac, hiding behind a large Jeep where he could see the ragers by the main entrance of the car park. He had a clear path to the door.
A deep breath, one last look to check the way, then sprint. Mason ran, faster than ever in his life. Barely breathing, almost flying, not looking where his feet were landing, then smack…
Mason hadn’t seen the leg of the women on the floor. He hit her leg hard and tripped, flying into the side of a car. He hit hard, expelling the air in his body and feeling like he snapped in half, but the ear-splitting siren from the car was the worst feeling.
The alarm screaming to the ragers about his presence. Mason was terrified, knowing he had to get to the door. It was so close. The sounds of scrapping feet behind him let him know they’d heard and were close.
Mason stood, looked over the car and saw them, dozens of ragers looking furiously in his direction and heading for him.
He turned to the door and stated slowly to the door because of the pain. It was so close, but the ragers were getting closer with each second, their breathing audible now.
Mason reached the doors which needed someone inside to open. Mason pounded on them, screaming, “NANA!” The noise adding to the anger the ragers felt, they sped up.
Madison heard a noise followed by an alarm. She assumed one of those things was hitting cars again. They terrified and disgusted her in equal measure but were out there and she was safely in Sea View. The team at Sea View had taken early action when the virus hit, stopping visits and some
carers in the team chose to move in. They knew if they went home and returned as normal the chance of bringing the virus in was great and if it got in, it would be deadly for everyone. So they stayed. Madison stayed.
It enhanced the community and family feel at Sea View, carers taking turns to support residents. To start with it was fun. That sense of fun was long gone and now it felt this was their only chance of survival. No one could leave until this ended.
The staff couldn’t leave because residents needed them, and it was clear the staff needed the residents too. Their stories of surviving through horror before gave the carers strength, their cuddles gave conviction, remaining alive gave everyone a purpose.
The alarm sound gave way to banging and screaming, maybe they had found someone after all? Madison realised it was the door, being knocked and shaking violently.
Madison ran to reception, ignoring Valerie and Mildred who asked what the noise was? She almost lost her footing on the shiny floor but stayed upright thanks to the grab rails along the wall.
Madison saw the door, the glare of a low Autumn Sun blazing blinding her momentarily, a child was banging on it. A child, with a look of terror in his eyes and behind him, approaching quickly, were ragers.
Mason saw the lady, his heart beating in his throat. He smacked the door harder, seeing salvation within reach but certain death approaching, Mason screamed for her.
The lady got to the reception desk, leapt over it and smacked her hand against something on the wall, the doors opened enough to allow Mason to fall through and crash to the welcome mat. Mason was still on the floor when the lady jumped over him pulling the doors closed and checking they were locked as the ragers smashed into the glass.
Panting and sweating, Madison turned to the boy, “who are you? Are you ok?” each question spat out between breaths as she composed herself, shook from the incident.
Mason turned to her, pulled down his scarf, took off his mask, “I want my Nana”. Tears flowing steadily now. Madison took him in her arms and held him, slowing her breathing to calm his.
Madison held his hand as he guided her to the bedroom he remembered being his Nanas. When there, the room was empty and for the briefest moment Mason was terrified she was gone, or changed, and turned to ask, but saw Madison smiling; she explained, “Nana, we call her Georgie. She’s in the kitchen, she’s been helping us. Let’s get her”.
They made their way to the kitchen, going down corridors Mason had never seen before and they entered a huge room, full of silver and smells of cooking. Mason saw her and let go of Madison’s hand and running to her, his Nana.
“NANA!” Mason crashed into her holding her so tightly it ached. Georgie was taken aback, ignoring the pain caused by the blow, knowing his presence could only mean that her own daughter was gone.
“Oh, my darling” she sighed, gently stroking his hair and holding him.
Mason stayed at Sea View with his Nana and the carers who had remained, ensuring the safety of the residents. It had taken horrific circumstances but Sea View was now a home made up of carers and residents, living and working together, all with the same purpose, as a family. And now their family had grown, and it would likely grow again. Sea View was safe, self-sustainable, utilising the skills and knowledge of the carers and residents, they could ride this out. Caring for each other.
96 & 22 -Branwen Draper
“What’s you secret?” I enquired.
Hoping to implement a catalyst for a successful
and fulfilled life like she has.
After a short pause and a moment to reflect she leaned in,
she voiced so boldly,
“I won’t give life advice because if something goes wrong
I’m not getting the blame for it”
There I was, eagerly waiting for her aged wisdom to hit my
youthful ears and I received a different response to what I
Though I was not disappointed.
In a moment of asking for advice I learnt the biggest lesson
of them all. Life is for you to experience, enjoy and navigate.
Not anyone else. You.
I thank you for this exchange and for being so full heartedly and
assertive in who you are. You inspire effortlessly and I think that is
the greatest gift you can hold.
Thank you for making my job enjoyable, rich and engaging.
– a conversation between myself, a carer aged 22,
and a regular customer of mine aged 96
This competition was sponsored by The Care Umbrella and we also had prizes donated by Staedler stationary.
Thank you so much to both for supporting us and for all the amazing entries.