In Sickness and in Health: How to move in 20 steps (it’s not as easy as it sounds)

15) Mend TV, swearing optional.

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The Independent Online

Last year, Rebecca’s husband, Nick, was hit by a car and seriously injured. Here, in one of a series of columns,  she writes about the aftermath.

How to move your (my) husband from one care home to another, in  20 steps.

1) Once your husband has been offered a room at the care home next door, the first thing to do is check that he is happy to move. When he says yes, because he’s fed up with the residents at his current place, and hates the noise, and has been complaining and crying about it for two months, take his answer with a pinch of salt.

2) Take the husband on a tour of his new room, having measured the old room to try to prevent any kvetching about size. Show off the room’s plus points (laminate floor rather than carpet, so no vintage smells to inherit; ground floor location; nearer the pub; overlooks  a lovely garden).

3) Have celebratory lunch somewhere you never thought your husband would be well enough to go.

4) Be patient as your husband asks 50 times if it’s a good idea to move. Reassure him 50 times.

5) Try to keep being patient as the questioning continues.

6) On returning to his current room, do not be tempted to poke out the eyes of the carer who asks him not to go, but to stay where he is because he’s such a laugh.

7) If, at any point you are tempted to shout in frustration at your husband, who is now refusing to go, and telling you that you’re wrong about the trajectory of his recovery, remember that he has a traumatic brain injury that makes him vulnerable and frightened, as well as annoying.

8) If the remembering doesn’t help, take a timeout over a pint of Pepsi (or something more soothing, if you’re not driving). Congratulate yourself that you’ve got this far with your husband, not least compared to Daenerys Targaryen and her way of dealing with seriously injured husbands (as in, a pillow applied topically to the face).

9) Return to your husband and tell him that you’ll both take a rain check on talking about moving.

10) When, an hour later, you’ve been nagged half to death about the move, forget all about the traumatic brain injury and resultant fear of change and berate husband.

11) Get shouted at.

12) Cry.

13) Wake up the next day and calmly talk it all over. Elicit grudging agreement to at least try the new room, provided that everything is placed in the same place as in the old room before he sets eyes on it.

14) Spend 36 hours taking his belongings down in the lift, across the drive, through the reception, down the corridor and into the new room. Remain cheerful when suspicious staff ask you who on earth you are. Put head in hands when you find out that the TV isn’t working and your husband yells: “I’m not leaving until the telly works!”

15) Mend TV, swearing optional.

16) Transfer husband.

17) Tell him how proud you are of him for facing a big change.

18) Collapse with an enormous drink. (Top up as necessary.)

19) Discover that you don’t know where anything is and spend two weeks learning that despite both care homes being run by the same company, everything is different.

20) Enjoy the finest words any spouse can hear from their partner: “You were right (about the move), and I was wrong.” 

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