The Little Girl in the Radiator (Mum, Alzheimer’s & Me) – Martin Selvin published by Monday Books

Hi everyone

This is a powerful book review read, written by one of my blogging students.

I haven’t read this book, but I can relate to this post, because I was not happy about the way my Grandma was treated in the nursing home, which she died in last year, on Friday 13th of June. There were a few staff who was nice to her, but when she died, the chair in her room was riddled with wee stains. When I went to visit her one day she was upset when I got there because they refused to take her to the toilet in the night. When I confronted a nurse about it, she said the residence go to the toilet before bed and one other time at 3am, she has a pad to pee into. It was disgusting and it makes me angry they treated her that way. There was a lot of stuff I was not happy about in that nursing home and I am so glad that she no longer has to put up with that.

What I don’t like, is society seems to think that memory loss (dementia) is a blanket term for anything that person (with dementia) says, is not true, because they don’t know their own mind. This is not actually always true. It can be an excuse for the nursing home to treat residents like, how can I put it politely, with no respect or dignity (worse than they would treat an animal) and use the un-‘fact’ that their mind isn’t working properly, as an excuse to fool the families who only like to think good about the home. I could ‘see’ what was really happening and some people dear to me, couldn’t or chose not to. I have never spoken to you about this before. I have kept it a secret and moved on with my life. I could not prove what was happening, the owner of this private nursing home, seemed not to care. I had meetings with two Managers and was under threat with being banned from the nursing home for, it would seem, interfering.

I could tell you more. I could tell you about the fact they kept residents in the lounge waiting to go to the toilet, and poor old (S) had to wait twenty minutes before they came back to take him. By that time he had pulled his trousers down to reveal his pants, he was that desperate to go. This was an occurrence I had seen before, including the pulling down of his trousers and a half an hour wait. An insider also confirmed that one nurse did shout at residents. Just as I suspected things were not as they seemed, they weren’t.

So, I have finally come out with what you weren’t expecting. This book review has sparked me off in this direction. It’s amazing what the power of the written word can do.

Keep writing and keep blogging, keep being you and trusting your gut instincts, despite what anyone else says.

My Grandma would want me to move on with my life and fulfil my goals, ambitions and dreams, not waste time trying to prove the nursing home did wrong. I had no solid proof anyhow. That is why more than ever I want to accomplish everything I set out to do in my life, so she will look down from the heavens and say ” that’s my Sandra and I love that kid.” I haven’t cried about my Grandma in ages, but now I am. I miss her and love her so much. It’s my birthday on Friday 24th of April and that was the last time I saw her before the night she died. My Grandma didn’t have that much dementia when she was with me – in terms of memory, she remembered and told me about a birthday card that she had written for me, prior to my birthday, and asked me did I get it. I said no it wasn’t my birthday yet, but thanked her so much. If she wasn’t in her ‘right mind’ she wouldn’t have remembered this. I have unconditional love for my Grandma and did then too – It’s this that eased her mind. I told her she had memory loss, she was 96 – So how much of her condition was dementia or simply loss of memory due her age, I guess we will never know. What I can say, is the doctor was called to the nursing home when I was there one night. The doctor said it was not dementia that was causing her such confusion, but the fact she was dehydrated from lack of fluids that the nursing home was responsible for giving her – Again – An outsider would not think about stuff like this. I have the ability to see things that others can’t. Sometimes I can see things for as they really are.

So next time you have a relative or friend in a care home and the care home staff are blaming the ‘dementia’ for what your friend or relative is telling you is bad about being in the nursing home, think twice…….ask yourself…..

Are they covering up?
Is your friend or relative confused because of a lack of care – not enough fluids, or food, or poor sanitation leading to water infections and not because of ‘dementia’.
Is their dementia really that bad, that they don’t know what they are saying at all?

My Grandma was not in the dementia ward and she didn’t have full blown dementia. Some doctors said her memory loss was partly to do with her age, at other times it was a water infection.

I know some people have full blown dementia, I get that, but what about the ones that ‘are not that bad’ to be in that ward. Is it being used as an excuse to not care enough to give proper care??? Something to think about.

If you have Liked this post, thank you. It would be great if you could show my student some blog loving by Liking her original post that I have reblogged, on her own blog. Thanks in advance for doing that.

Embrace Your Quirky and write soon


Front cover Front cover

Back cover Back cover

Very accessible and readable. This book follows the experience of a son and primary carer from the point at which his mum is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
There is plenty of light in this account and I was banned from reading this in bed when I couldn’t stop myself from snorting with laughter over the mother and son visit to dog obedience classes. The experience of loss is very vividly illustrated and the most distressing part of the book concerns his mum’s experiences in the first care home.
It is of course one person’s perspective and one family’s experience but it has a huge amount to say about memory loss, cognitive difficulties and the response of medical and social services. I felt it had some really helpful ways of thinking about this type of progressive memory loss, in particular the consultant who likens the loss of…

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To feel alive – Start living!

Hi everyone

Thanks for all of your kind comments and support during this difficult time of my Grandma’s passing. Her funeral was yesterday and it went well considering it was a funeral. I read my entire poem without stumbling on my words. Being quirky, I made sure it was a funeral with a difference. I went around hugging everyone, including the people carrying the coffin, the guy playing the organ, the Funeral Director, the Vicar and all guests. I even had the Birdie Song playing us out of the crematorium. Me and my Grandma used to dance to that together and do the actions.

I used to suffer with depression and thankfully I have been free of it for about two and a half years. I cured myself, and still maintain a good head through sometimes very quirky, unconventional methods. I am well aware that I have to prevent myself from going back to that dreadful place ever again. I believe life is for living, to the fullest. Although my Grandma has passed, in the rest of my life, I am the happiest I have ever been and so grateful to be living a young life. In my mind, I am getting younger and I love it. I believe in order to feel alive, you must start living. Do things that make you feel fantastic, alive, enthusiastic, excited and passionate, over and over again, and never stop. I live in my own quirky magic bubble and so long as I am in that, life is beautiful.

My Grandma loved living a full and active life. Today is a new month and time for me to start living a new life. What wonderful opportunities will come my way? I wonder? After crying a lot this morning, this is the attitude I decided to take and I went to the cinema to feel alive and enjoy a part of my life in that moment.

In my usual quirky Roving Reporter style, here is my review of Maleficent. It is less that one minute long. Enjoy it and let me know what you think.

I am currently working on reformatting the interior of my Break through the barriers of redundancy book. It would seem that the CreateSpace templates have errors in them. One template I had 5 attempts to reformat and I had to scrap each one. Self publishing is hard but I am determined to publish my book.

Write when I can


Pre-funeral prayer

As you know, it’s almost time to go to my Grandma’s funeral. 10.30am on Monday 30th of June.

It was a beautiful night catching the train to my parent’s house.




God grant me the courage, to be mindful; thoughtful and present. To give my Grandma the send off she deserves; yet keep her close in my heart always.

Help me to be brave; to be calm in the moment, yet have energy when needed.

Help my to let my feelings out in a constructive way and to banish all fears. To love and to give, to cherish and to live.

God bless my Grandma. I love her xxxxxxxx

Keep writing, keep smiling.


A celebration of life – I love you my dear Grandma

Think of death, not as the end
But as a celebration of life,
Of two souls meeting in a parallel Universe of different state and Matter.

Think of that place, as an Existance in time and space,
Think of it as the unspoken word,
The ever knowing, but never Talking, the calm and tranquillity,
The pleasure and sincerity, the Place where we shall meet but Never touch or embrace, it bears a Different face.

It is your face that I see in my time Of need, you hug me in the
You hug me in the light,
Both day and night.

I feel you watching over me,
How I long for your company,
The smiles, the laughter that we Shared,
Coming from absolutely nowhere.

The tender look, the open smile,
Makes the pain all worthwhile.
To have known you in a blessing,
To have felt you, was amazing,
To have you in my life, was Incredibly special and to have you in my heart always, is priceless.

I love you my dear Grandma.

Are you superstitious? – Gone but never forgotten

Hi everyone

Grandma Kathleen Bellamy


My Grandma died last night while I held her hand. She told me a few months ago that her dying wish was not to die alone and for me to hold her hand as she passed away. I was blessed to have fulfilled that wish. She hung on just for me to say goodbye. She had pneumonia and could barely breathe. I told her that I didn’t want her to die, but if she had to go, it was okay. Within a few minutes she had passed away.

I had been at work yesterday in my day job and went food shopping after work. My mobile phone had been on silent and I had realised that I had missed a call from my mum. As soon as I got home, I saw my landline answer machine flashing; there was a message on it from my mum and I phoned my mum back. She told me that the doctor had visited my Grandma earlier that day and said she has only hours to live. My dad was at the home at that point with my Grandma. After talking to my mum, she went to the home to hold my Grandma’s hand while my dad picked me up to see my Grandma.

It was weird getting ready for my dad to pick me up to go to my Grandma’s death. I had to feed my guineapigs extra veg; give them fresh water and a pile of piggy mix so I could prepare for staying over at my parents. I packed some food, some clothes and my charger. I ate some rice and fish that I had heated in the microwave. ‘Is this what it is like, preparing for someone’s death?’ I thought to myself. It was a very surreal and odd moment.

I vowed last year, 2013, to try to not be superstitious about the 13. I had been superstitious for years, but no longer wanted to be a victim of superstition. When I walked under scaffolding, I thought of renewal, repair and growth; rather than if it would fall on me or bring me back luck. When I saw one blackbird, it would mean stronger as one. Instead of one for sorrow. I tried to think positive.

In the first half of last year, good things happened. I got to meet HM the Queen at St James’s Palace, after saving someone’s life; getting a Good Citizens Award; receiving a Special Recognition Award for my beatredundancyblues business and a Certificate of Achievement. In the second half of the year, my guineapig Peaches died suddenly from a respiratory infection and genetic lung condition. Snuggles had to have a tumor removed, and tests revealed she has an enlarged heart and spot on her lung. Cinnamon was rushed in for emergency surgery for an abscess on his face that was the size of a tennis ball. Daisy had to have surgery to remove lumps from her stomach and to have one of her teats removed.

My Grandma died yesterday, on Friday 13th.

On reflection, you could say that last year, there was an equal amount of good and bad, but what my piggies went through was worse than the good felt by the awards that I received. I saved a life, but I couldn’t save another.

Am I still superstitious? Yes, I am a bit superstitious. People still tend to die in threes. My mum told me yesterday about a total of 5 deaths and sure enough later that day, one of my Facebook friends that I used to work with in a voluntary capacity, said he lost his Nan a couple of weeks ago. Of course I do accept there is more people that will have died, but I tend to hear about 3 in close succession. Maybe it’s because I am focusing on 3, that is all I see. I will continue to challenge such beliefs.

I will still strive to turn negative thoughts about things into positive ones, so my superstitions are less. I do believe reincarnation can happen for some people. It may have happened to me before. It’s possible. Anything is possible is this amazing universe.

My Grandma believed in my writing and always backed me up. I told her I was dedicating my Break through the barriers of redundancy book, to her. She asked me to bring her a copy when it was published. She never doubted my abilities for a nanosecond. She didn’t say if, but when. The dedication is currently written in present tense, so I will need to change that to past tense – Maybe? I will thrust ahead with all of my writing projects knowing that she will be more proud of me than ever. She told me she loved me and that she was proud of me on more than one occasion. We had the same sort of mind and we just ‘got’ each other. She will never be forgotten because she lives on through me.  Which seems a bit of a weird and quirky thing to say, but it’s true. Our minds were so alike.

My Grandma was diagnosed with an overactive brain by her doctor, at the age of about 3 or 4. My mum told me she used to get up in the middle of the night and write sums on her wall. I, too, have been blessed with an overactive brain. It never stops doing and thinking. It is incredible. I have a writer’s mind and the ability to see things that some other non-writers can’t. It helps me to be entrepreneurial, as well as creative in writing. Years ago I didn’t like who I was; now I love it. I totally accept myself for who I am and realise I was born this way for a very specific purpose. My mind is not a problem, but a unique gift that I am blessed with. I am no longer depressed, I am loving life. Despite whatever happens in life, including my Grandma’s death, I am blessed to be me, blessed to have my overactive mind, particularly for writing and coming up with business solutions from out of nowhere, and blessed to be living. Most of all I am blessed to have held my Grandma’s hand whilst she died. I continued to hold it until the doctor arrived a little after an hour later. Yes, it was weird holding the hand of a corpse. Her hand was as stiff and as white as a sheet by the time I let go, removed her watch as my mum asked me to, and put her hand under her blanket. I sobbed my heart out for this hour, talking to her even though she was dead. It was a very weird experience because I had never seen a human dead body before, let alone touched or held the hand of one. Only on TV had I seen that before. I wanted to keep hold of her until the doctor came to officially announce her death, and he did. Only then could I leave her body and blow her a kiss goodbye.

It may have been a morbid experience to have held her hand for that long; to feel her hand pulsate and tingle as the blood moved away from it, but I guess I haven’t experienced that kind of thing before, I wanted to share that experience with her. I wasn’t afraid like I thought I would have been. I kissed her forehead shortly after she died and that had already gone stiff. Her arms stiff felt squidgy.

To my wonderful Grandma:
I love you now,
I love you forever.
I love you,
My precious treasure.

If you have read this entire post, then thank you. It is probably one the longest posts that I have ever written. I realise you may have found some of this post a bit disturbing or upsetting, because if I was not me, and I was reading it, that may have been how I interpreted it. I always knew while holding her hand that I would write a blog post about it; that I would be able write to give me strength, to deal with my grief, let it out, go with the flow and feel that closeness to my Grandma. She will never leave me, for she won’t just be in my heart, she will remind me in my mind of the connection we shared and of the bond that is unbreakable. She will remind me of what pure love is. She will make me more determined that ever, to enjoy life to the fullest and to fulfil all of my life goals, ambitions, dreams and so much more. She had two mottos in life: One – There is no such words as can’t, and two – If you don’t use it, you lose it. Her body packed in because she was no longer using it much. Her mind was filled with a ton of stuff that was no longer exercised. Her love of me kept her going. Bless her. I wasn’t always happy about the care she received in the nursing home and in that respect she is free. She is my lovely Grandma, whom I will forever love implicitly.

Thanks for listening. What do you think about superstitions?

Write when I can

Ps. Live life to the fullest because you never know how long you have got. My Grandma was 96 years young when she passed away yesterday. Thank God I was there to hold her hand while she died. It was her dying wish. Feeling good about that and blessed.

Birthdays all round

Hi everyone

My illustrator has extended my book deadline to 9am this Wednesday 22nd. I have typed up all of the chapters but still need to do a final edit on them. I also have the book blurb to do and most of the index to do.

This extension has meant I could spend some extra time with my Grandma for her 96th birthday yesterday and to see her today. She has been poorly and I really needed to spend time with her.




Also, I saw Daisy and Cinnamon for some of today, to celebrate their 2nd birthday.



Write when I can