A wee update

I spoke with Andy’s consultant today. There’s a wee bit of good news for a change. Or at least not bad news. Last weekend she wasn’t sure whether he’d survive the week, but over the course of this week he appears to have stabilised, even though at a very low level. She thinks he’s strong enough to be transferred to a supported bed in a local nursing home. It’s still a part of the NHS, and he’ll still be under the consultant’s care, but he’ll have a private room and peace and privacy.

The worrying news is that he is developing swallowing difficulties. It a common symptom in advanced vascular dementia. His speech is affected now too. He’s had severe word finding problems for a long time, but the words he could find were clearly articulated – but now they’re slurred and he’s having trouble coordinating the muscles of speech and language.

We’re waiting for a bed to become available, and all going well he’ll be transferred next week. The prognosis remains very poor. He may have a few weeks left instead of a few days. It’s little comfort to take – but I’m happy that he will survive to see the result of the referendum. I know he’d like to see that. He’s lying in his hospital bed and willing a Yes vote. He’s also still very conscious of the issues around selling our house in Spain and buying this flat, and I’m sure he’s clinging on until the sale is completed.

Meanwhile I need to get my head around thinking of life after caring. I’ll be stopping my claim for Carers Allowance, and will need to find work. I gave up work to look after Andy, and since I won’t inherit his pensions once he’s gone I’ll have no income. I need to use this time he’s given me with his last bit of strength in order to sort myself out. I haven’t even begun to think about “afterwards”, but it has to be faced up to.

Thank you so much to everyone who left words of support and love on the previous post. It’s an immense comfort and you give me such strength to go on.

No more updates today. I’ve been a bit emotionally fried the past couple of days and need a wee bit of time to relax and unwind.  I’ve got a load of sci-fi to watch. (Defiance. I love it. It’s got great female characters in it. And aliens and spaceships. What’s not to like?)

Normal No-mockery service will be resumed on Saturday.


44 comments on “A wee update

  1. EvaWilt says:

    Wishing you every best wish for the next few weeks, Paul. I’m glad that Andy will hopefully get to see the result when it’s very important. Take care of yourself. xx

  2. Maybe, just may he could stagger it out and hoping that he was cognisant, he could have seen a bit of a better future for thos eloved one and others he leaves behind.

    Personally, I have not doubt it will happen, I just hope he can share a little bit of that too.


    James McLaren

  3. part of my sign in, includes Hope Street, where I was born in Glasgow.

  4. Aileen Blok says:

    I don’t know where you get the strength from. Eternally grateful.

  5. gwairhir says:

    Cofion cynnes. Warmest wishes.

  6. Steve Asaneilean says:

    As Abraham Lincoln said – “the best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”

  7. Tonight, just put your feet up and enjoy your Sci Fi, bud you’ve more than earned the rest.

  8. macart763 says:

    Breathe Paul. We can chat amongst ourselves. 🙂

    Watching the Winter Soldier myself later followed by a dose of Firefly (awesome).

  9. jamie macdonald says:

    As often happens words fail me in these circumstances, I’m stealing Aileen’s comment on this occasion… and will add.. ‘your creative force will see you alright in the future’.. take care man..

  10. Rosa Alba Macdonald says:

    Well I am sure that there will be writing gigs a-plenty come the Referution. Let’s start putting out contacts with where there might be work. You have the skills.

    Other thoughts are teaching (Creative) Writing or other Adult Education Classes though that is sessional work.

    Many Local Authorities have an Employability Officer.

    But all this must be exhausting. Write if it is a relief or distraction, or do not write if it is a burden.

    In the meantime a Post-Referendum Postcards (From Around A Fledgling Nation) might be a focus for writing: I cannot offer a bed other than a put-me-up in the front room (if you can bear the excitement of a night in a house with a child w ADHD; sometimes it is somuchfun), but others may have better accomodation to offer for a tour round Scotland. Or we could crowd-fund it when you feel ready. Maybe an extant publication would buy the pieces?

    Do you drive? You could travel by Fire Engine or Ice Cream Van. Hey – you could sleep in the Fire Engine and come to people’s houses for supper (and a packed lunch for the next day).

    • Laura says:

      Rosa, I love that idea! A wee getaway break for Paul would be brilliant.

      Paul, there’s a spare bed here with your name on it xx

      • Steve Bowers 74% win says:

        Yup, we can do that too, house is on the market just now tho, depends on timing, put Stonehaven on your list Paul.XX

  11. Teri says:

    I do hope Andy makes it through to the result of the indy ref. The nursing home sounds ideal for him to spend his last week’s in privacy whilst still get the same high level of care and attention. It also gives you time to spend on your own with him up until then as I think that is very necessary.

    As for work, Paul, you are very talented and I’m sure you will find something that suits your skills.

    Stay strong. You will get through this.

  12. JimnArlene says:

    Enjoy your night off, glad to see Andy has improved; albeit a slight reprieve. More time together, precious and beyond calculation. If I remember correctly, in his dream all three of you were in an independent Scotland. I hope you are altogether, for the beginning of that process. I know that’s less than three weeks, I would wish Andy to be with you longer, but at least you could enjoy that dream coming to fruition.

    I hope what I’m trying to say is coming through, I’m not the wordsmith that you are.

  13. Angus MacRuary says:

    I am full of admiration for you and Andy. We don’t know each other and, almost certainly, never will but I always find your writings thought-provoking, witty and incisive. How you do that with all the heartbreak around you I just do not know.

    I hope that you find strength in the support of strangers like me.

  14. Fairliered says:

    Awrabest to you and Andy. Every day is precious at a time like this, so the more days the better.
    Are you sure about Andy’s pensions? If they are personal pensions, i.e. not final salary pensions, it may not be too late for him to nominate you as a beneficiary (if he can sign one more piece of paper).
    Email me if you want to discuss privately)


    Fairliered (Independent Financial Advisor)

  15. lizann75 says:

    Courage Paul. I think you’re terrific.

  16. Sometimes I take the follow up option when I post, sometimes not.

    When it comes to WGD’s personal travails, and his uncommon sense posts, I am struck by the preponderance of female commentary and their disarming comforting humanity.

    Why do we not more of these ladies posting on other blogs, their common humanity and sense.

    We all need it now, more than ever.

  17. Paula Rose says:

    Like so many – my thoughts are with you – you are heroes.

  18. MoJo says:

    perhaps when all the dust has settled and we have made history….. you could publish some of this wonderful blog as a testament to the beating heart of this referendum campaign … for another day though …. meantime take it easy and one day at a time….

  19. WRH2 says:

    I’m pleased to hear the news about Andy and I hope he sees a Yes vote. I lost a family member who would have been overjoyed to have had this opportunity but he died before the 2011 election. He never knew we would be where we are now. Stay strong Paul and believe Andy has the determination to be here to see us win. Lots of love and hugs to you both.

  20. For a Dancer says:

    It never fails to amaze me how strong the human spirit can be even when the body is weak.
    I so hope, for both of you, that you get to be together for whatever the 18th brings, because whatever happens you gave it your best shot and while doing that made it real for all of us that you took with you.

  21. Jan Cowan says:

    Good to know that you’ve more time together. Wishing the best to you both and of course that great wee ginger dug.

  22. Sue Varley says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed Paul – I hope you realise how many people you have touched and inspired through this blog. Peace to you this evening and in the days to come, and strength to Andy to hold on to see an Independent Scotland.

  23. Deedee says:

    Hoping against hope Andy hangs on for a Yes vote. I’m sure you will get plenty of references for any writing job you apply for ; ) And I for one would be more than willing to pay to read your blog, even post referendum, just a thought xx

  24. bobsinclair2014 says:

    Your love for Andy is implicit in the very difficult and challenging decisions you have made.
    Thanks for being a shining light in our all our lives, and, though I have never met him, please thank Andy as well.

  25. Echoing what everyone has already said in this community that you have created.

    Huge huge appreciation for your humanity, and all you are doing at home and at large.

    I suggest you crowdfund for Postcards from a Fledgling Nation now on the 19th, but let people know about that soon.

    The 19th will not be the end of the independence story. It will be the beginning. There will be a huge task in the years ahead.

    It sounds as though it may be the end and the beginning for you personally too in a huge huge way – your life seems to echo and amplify our collective story.

  26. A Meringue says:

    Heres a wee bit more good news that will make you smile. All the way from our hosts home town!

    Coatbridge Museum ran a independence poll. number of respondents – over 5,000

    Yes 89.7%

    Naw 10.3%

    Good eh? 🙂

  27. John Lowe says:

    I feel your pain have been in a similar situation long time ago. Your obvious love is truly inspiring. And your blogs are just as inspiring.

  28. Life can be so cruel. There are so many people who worked tirelessly for independence who didn’t make it to the day. Not just big names like Margo, but many others who all contributed their share and more of the effort. I really hope Andy makes it till then. It would be such a good memory for you to hold on to. But if that’s not to be, then you will still have all the shared good times to cherish. Meantime, look after him and try not to worry about the future. Independence, like children, will bring its own luck and its own opportunities. We are all thinking of you both.

  29. Eric says:

    You know, I’ve seen graphics where people in the future will be asking “who was this Alicsammin fella?”

    Me?… I believe I’ll look back with immense fondness, and pride, at the role that YOU have played here, bringing people into your wee world and inspiring us with your words.

    And to do this, while dealing with your own personal suffering, is sometimes hard to absorb right now, as we all prepare for history in the making.

    I’m not in YOUR life mate, but you Andy and the Dug are in mines right now. And that’ll always be a part of my YES. Always.

    Thank you all.

  30. rowantree633 says:

    Paul and Andy represent the essence of this Yes movement together with all of the other folks I have worked with to get a Yes vote – it’s our campaign and it’s something we should be proud of, no matter the result. We have worn out keyboards, shoes, boots and had fingers caught in so many sprung letter boxes…

    I hope there’s something for key campaigners such as WGD and Munguin and the Rev Stu and everyone else after we win. When I read that the likes of Carmichael is now hedging his bets to try and keep some sort of top job in Scottish politics in the event of a Yes vote; the thought that our campaign success could be infected by those awful unionist politicians who have worked so hard to discredit us makes me pretty angry and angry for Paul and Andy and everyone who has done the heavy lifting for Yes when time and personal circumstances allow.

    It’s our movement – I hope we can keep these careerist unionist politicians out. As and when they loose, we must tell them they have lost and they must pay the price for backing the wrong side!

    Paul, enjoy your Sci-fi – great escapism. I usually retreat to Lord of the Rings for a break from the real world!

  31. Bill Dale says:

    Enjoy your wee break Paul, and enjoy taking the dug out, we miss our two Westies terribly. You are the true voice of the people of Scotland, and that voice will be heard long after September 18th.

  32. panda paws says:

    I always read your blog, it’s brilliant, but this is the first time I’ve posted.

    I know you don’t want to think about “after” but you might not have to look for work immediately.


    If you qualify, it will be paid for a year

  33. Sincere thoughts and love to both of you. And the wee dug anaw. xxx

  34. Capella says:

    I hope that Andy will be here to share the result. Glad to read that he cast his vote. The next few weeks will be quite surreal so take all the time you need to focus on your future. But still – I will be back every day to see whether another gem has been posted.

  35. Rookiescot says:

    Take a couple of days off Paul. We will be here when you return.

  36. vronsky says:

    I really hope Andy will hear the result. I’ve campaigned for independence many years and seen many bonny fechters come and go, passionate and selfless men and women. I’ll be thinking of all of them on the 19th when I raise a glass to our victory, or our continuing struggle. Although I never had the privilege of meeting your partner I’ll include his name in my mental roll-call.

  37. McTim says:

    Pleased at the good news (relatively speaking of course). Enjoy your well-deserved break, Paul. x

  38. Jonathan says:

    My first post, but I can’t wimp out any longer.

    More often than not when reading your blog I end up with tears rolling down my face, either from laughter or from sadness, sometimes both. Paul, thank you for everythimg you have done, for Andy, for Scotland, for future generations and for those like myself who are strangers in foreign parts who will also benefit from the advancement of democracy, justice and humanity in an independent Scotland. Because this is not just about Scotland, it’s about common human decency.

    I’ve waited 40 years for this, and these last 3 weeks are like a roller-coaster. Hope you’re enjoying the sci.fi but please stay with us. Above all, I hope you can take some comfort from the fact that clearly thousands of us are keeping you both constantly in our thoughts.

    I will never forget Andy’s dream.

  39. Pat Cruse says:

    Off grid at the moment and just managed to find WiFi so I can catch up with you. Great posts. You’re very brave. Take good care.

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