Monday, May 21, 2007

An episode in the life of Debi

Monday morning.
I'd just dropped off Little Guy at school and returned home to find J from upstairs knocking at my neighbour's door.

J has severe mental health problems and is in and out of hospital.
She also had a stroke recently and is partially paralysed down one side.
She was crying.

She had flooded her bathroom (again).

After ascertaining the neighbour (elderly, dodgy hips and knees and disabled wife) was able to cope, I took J back upstairs in the lift to survey the damage.

Flooded, all right.
The hall and bathroom were awash.
Lucky she'd taken up the fitted carpets after the last episode.

Back downstairs, gather mop and bucket, back upstairs and start sluicing.

Her flat is oppressively hot.
The heating is on, the windows are closed and the curtains drawn.
The tv is blaring.

Sluice, squeeze, sluice, squeeze ...

'At least the floor's clean,' I say.
J manages a laugh.
'I was up at 3.00 cleaning,' she says. 'It's part of my sickness to keep cleaning.'
'I've got the opposite problem,' I tell her and she laughs again.

Sluice, squeeze, sluice, squeeze ...

I roll up the sodden rugs.
They're heavy.
J stumbles to help me.
She calls out.

It's only at this point that I realise her bloke is in the front room watching the tv!

A while later, I'm back home, thinking I should never complain again that G doesn't do enough in the home.

Later still, I open my front door and find a little bunch of flowers.
No note, but I assume they're from J.

She didn't have to do that ...
I was just being a neighbour ...

3 comments:

equiano said...

Dear Debi. Thanks for this little snapshot of your life. It is both a sad and happy story. Sad that your neighbour is having such a tough time coping with her life at the moment, and happy, because your kindness reminds me why it is good to be human. Here's sending you a cheery wave!

Minx said...

Life just gives us a little nudge sometimes, doesn't it? Our daily struggles with life all depend on perspective.

Kath T said...

Yo, Debi you've helping to put the cherry on the cake of human kindness and keeping the forces of lightness over the forces of darkness - good on you.

A friend of mine has problems a few years ago with depression, anyway on a nice sunny day decided to go the the Post Offica and get the child benefit and a bit of shopping. Anyway, she had a dizzy spell on the way out and was jostled to one side by a gang of teenagers, got home unloaded some shopping and horror of horrors could'nt find her purse. Thinking it had been pinched rang me up in a total state, so nipped round to give a hand we got the marigolds on and went through her bins, incase it was in one of the bags went out to see if hand been dropped on the road inquired at shops to see if her purse had been handed in - no joy. Got back, I said 'have a sit down and we'll have to report it to the police and I'll make a cuppa'. Put my hand in the fridge to move some stuff further back in and yes that's it she'd put it the fridge. So ever since 'frozen assets' has alway been a bit of a joke. Luckily we both a had a good laugh later on.