Thursday, 3 March 2016

Rugby - is it really that bad Ms.Pollock? it really that bad Ms Pollock.

The open letter, forwarded by Allyson Pollock and countersigned by over 70 academics, calling on the Government to ban rugby in schools clearly sent reverberations around the rugby world this week.

But who is Allyson Pollock and why does she seem to have a bug bear with the game of rugby which has deep traditional roots in the UK. She is a professor in public health matters at a top London university. Her work and research has powerful lobby to sway government think tanks and policy on many matters relating to public health.

So why the bug bear with rugby? It is reported for over ten years this professor has been lobbying about rugby and it's contact nature and injuries to young persons. She is not just an interfering busy body...around 2004  her own son suffered a number of injuries from playing rugby at school including a broken leg and in another incident upper body injury to the head.

Rightly so, as a parent, Ms Pollock was duly alarmed, shocked and angry...basically any parent would be as that is a fact of life. Most parents would have to simply face up to the hard school of knocks...such things happen! But for Ms Pollock, in her career, education and academic work she had the tools to rattle the feathers of the school and the rugby association in realising their responsibilities in dealing with such incidents.

So since then she has penned many articles on injury to young persons in rugby and calls for the banning of the tackle and scrum or for the rugby hierarchy to change the rules and laws of the game among youth teams. She is campaigning for an outright ban of rugby in schools and be replaced with a non contact alternative...tag or touch rugby.

She is prepared to start an e-petition in this matter so that it forces debate in parliament and she clearly has the ambition, factual resentment and academic advantage to succeed in that quest. But will her quest have repercussion for the game in general...certainly there is very real threat to this very traditional deep rooted cultural sport in that if you root out the contact element at youth level then  future generations will never learn the disciplines required to absorb contact at senior level.

Contact in rugby, in my experience, is introduced at the age of nine at club level. It is phased in over a number of years and includes ways on how to fall to ground and protecting oneself in contact situations on the field.  In schools contact is not played until year seven, tag or touch is predominant in primary schools. At secondary level, the contact element is firstly only put before boys on the curriculum, rarely offered towards girls.

Clearly there is argument and differentiation on how rugby is delivered in schools as compared to club rugby. There is a sad lacking in duty of care and primary prevention and significant shifts in schools moving away from physical sport to alternative fitness such as dance - which is hugely resented by boys.

One cannot remove contact elements in rugby just so in schools alone. If you are to have rigid policy protecting children then club rugby would have to adapt as well. Rugby here could follow the rules and laws as in French and NZ and have calendar year groups, weight groups, uncontested scrums at youth would such a move satisfy the quest of Ms.Pollock? I doubt it!

Remember this, it doesn't matter how much you change the rules or to what extent you ban or reduce the element  of contact there will always be that one child who wants to put the fear of God into the opposition;  there will always be that one child who thinks they are clever ducking and diving attempted tackles; and there will always be that one child who kicks against the tackle trying to stay on their feet, swinging their elbows in wild unison. This is where inherent danger lies when those playing ignore the technique and discipline demanded by the sport.

The RFU is taking rugby programmes into schools in a serious way and has a long way to go to achieve its aims. Also the alarm bells ringing out around rugby injuries ought be put into comparisons not only against other contact sports but non-contact sport such as gymnastics and cycling. And then consider this how many children are hurt just at break time alone...probably a comparable number. Then what about outside school such as skate parks? Are councils dismantling these parks? Are schools stopping break time activity?

I bid you farewell and let you all make your informed choice and debate on this matter. Stay safe.

God bless


Saturday, 27 February 2016

The caring game blame

I hate being in this caring role. At first I thought I was strong, had my anticipations and worried anxiousness, but thought I was able enough to cope because these were my parents and they needed me not just as their son but as a caring, loving, emphatic son whom they could rely on to care for them as they now required.

So four months into this journey and I am fighting demons in my head. In essence governed society doesn't give a damn...why because my parents have the immediate fortune to fund their care which sadly for them is expensive whether it be in their own home or if they were ever forced to go into residential care.

Secondly, why should they have to go into a care home. Just because my mother had fall she is recovering and fighting back being resilient as she can. My dad, though he has dementia, just doesn't deserve that indignity and loss of going somewhere strange. They ought to have the choice to live and die in their own comfort.

And that is where I fight my demons. My parents reward me an allowance, cash gifts in their need. Deep down I don't wish for them to go into private care as the battle is to keep them well in their home...sadly a home that cannot meet or fit their present needs. 

It is the daily routine of emptying a commode; the daily task of encouraging my mum to overcome her fragility of fear; the daily witnessing of my father wetting himself or not consuming his food in a normal person's manner; or on some days the constant operation of laundry; the planning out of their meals; it is the blanking of his swearing moods as I change his clothes for an umpteenth time, sometimes myself snapping in tired frustration and concern; it is carrying the shoulder of their daily worries and pain; it is the worry of leaving them in their own company at any time and coming back to unexpected, but knowingly I should  be prepared for such eventualities, confusion and pain so ought to spring into mindful action and compassionate help...but just lately i seem to have hit a wall.

Then there is the burden of home, my family, my wife, my children. My wife also cares for her parents and holds down a full time job. I fear our children are suffering just as much as I feel for the pain my wife burdens as I burden the same here...everything seems just wrong, WRONG I tell and keep telling myself.

I blame myself, frugal living of not having the wealth or the forethought to have rightly planned or of not having had that care to have led an exemplary career to give my children that right to have a good start in their adult life's. I look back and I have wished that I hadn't done this and that and put more thought into certain things that have deemed our way  presently. I just feel I have let everyone down because I have not found the safest path in this journey and that the path i am on is crumbling away.

Sincerely, I have the assurance that I am not alone and that every person who cares for a dependant is in the same situation and feels the same frustration and pain. I just feel that I have more complex pain and right now that wall, I want a large sledge hammer and smash that wall and those bricks into, not rubble, but brick dust. I want to scream at the top of my head and shout, "Lord, I asked for an Angel and you failed me...YOU FAILED ME!"

God bless


Friday, 19 February 2016

Caring for elderly is an insane madness (part I)

Why is caring for parents so bloody hard?

When one is thrown into the role of carer for elderly parents then one can surmise that this ought be easy at first. After all you have a relationship with your parents that has grown from that parent-child role into adult-adult status. 

And this assumption is ones first big mistake because if you are having to care because, let's say, your mother is no longer mobile or maybe your father has dementia, then your heart and mind will be seriously challenged.  It is like an egg timer being turned upside down with a massive shake so that the sand slips through faster than expected. As carer you will have to lessen that flow to give your parents and yourself a good  balance of life, and that will be hard going, emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically.

How you step into this role of carer depends on your expectations and circumstances. Do not expect it to be a quick fix because it won't is a gruelling slog and if you are not readily fit for it then one will certainly suffer its pain. It will be like stumbling over sticks you fall and simply pick yourself up and start again. But learn from that fall.

In this modern age of England most of our parents probably reside in homes that most may have no downstairs toilet. So if your parent has had a fall and the most common injury in old age is a broken hip, then take heed because the recovery of a hip replacement is around six months. Therefore, with no downstairs toilet, a commode will be essential in their recovery, so plenty of air spray, pleasant smelling wipes and a nose peg will be needed...honestly, damn right essential!

Let's make the challenge more parent is now less mobile and the other has dementia for it is this disease of the mind that to a carer is the most emotionally and mentally, dysfunctional test of character that will either harden your resolve and certainly change your once adult to adult relationship to a child-parent role. Your dementia suffering parent being the now child and you as "parent".

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Haven't blogged for a while

Haven't blogged for a while
Because things went rather flat.
My mum had a fall
And dad, dementia is not cool!
My dearest in hospital she went,
A blockage due to stones,
So my time was spent,
Caring for all those ones,
That I so dearly love.

But I shall be back,
Blogging up in my bed,
To feed you the crap,
Of all life's traps.
Diversity of view,
From one of the few,
Of the strangest argumentative blogs.

Good night,
God bless,

Friday, 11 December 2015

My advent ten and eleven

This my advent blog. Something to tell to you of that you may not have heard elsewhere, or of my worries or concerns about life. You may be able to relate to the themes I shall express so please enjoy.

So to paint the next windows or picture for days 10 & 11. Remember it is always nice to build up a few openings as those chocolates are so small...and anyway we are a busy lot.

This caring lark has been difficult. My father went to the dementia suite and it was full with clients with the same infliction. My mum was being cared for at home by the visiting enablement team. Not sure if it were just tiredness but for some reason I burst into tears in the middle of the local supermarket.

Today was a much different day. A better day. Mum joked with the carer...both pint size; carer and Dad slept well, think I slept well, better at least. And after dinner, mum wrote out Xmas cards and dad watched a film and I was able to visit my own family for a brief time...hooray!

Perhaps things will get better or my prayer has been answered and an Angel is at my bearing all this in mind I ponder you the Rocking Around the Xmas Tree.

Enjoy your chocolates

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

My advent nine.

This my advent blog. Something to tell to you of that you may not have heard elsewhere, or of my worries or concerns about life. You may be able to relate to the themes I shall express so please enjoy.

So to paint a picture or window for day 9. My mother returned home today from rehab, having had an emergency hip operation. 

As part of her on going care firstly she was transported home by hospital transport, visited by the enablement team and called on by a district nurse. So today has seen and been a lot of coming and going by the Angels of our health service.

And as we settle down for the evening my father who has dementia made attempt to place the phone back in its cradle and bemusing to me we were phoned by the police to ask if everything was okay at my parents address.

I explained what may have happened and they confirmed that they had heard my father express himself  replacing the phone, which I did for him. In doing so he must have dialled three nines and they dutifully phoned back...another angel to ensure that everything was alright.

So I ponder you the song While Shephards Watch Their Flocks by Night

Enjoy your ninth chocolate

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

My advent blog...days seven & eight

This my advent blog. Something to tell to you of that you may not have heard elsewhere, or of my worries or concerns about life. You may be able to relate to the themes I shall express so please enjoy.

So to paint the next two pictures or windows. Sometime you forget to open your advent on some days and when you do open them you several to open.

On the seventh day I had a phone call from one of my clients family. He served me with the sad news that his father, whom were my client, had passed away. Following a fall he was admitted to hospital and at 92 years one does not fall without causing some injury, if not serious. His were serious and with his two sons present he gave up his will to live.

On the eighth day I find myself yet again at my fathers house, looking after him whilst mum is still in rehab. My sister has treated him well but we both can see changes in him which we expect. On retiring to bed I expected him to be restless but as I write this I have not heard a peak.

So I ponder you the song Silent Night 

Enjoy your chocolates