Dignity is being heard

Mrs Ghani Sumitri-Mills


I’ve lived here since 1943 when I was born here.  So I was educated here and married in Wales, had three boys in North Wales.  Then after that, seventy four, we moved to Australia so, coming back here on and off, but this is the permanent move back...because of age and illnesses, not so much for myself but my husband and my youngest son.

I define where my sense of home is by  one thing which is: when I’m away from here I long to be here, and it’s the Welsh heraif  that we talking about..a  feeling and a longing  when I’m in Australia, that is very often, but if I’m here I don’t long for Australia. I was away a long time but it didn’t make any difference. I needed to be here. And the community here I think is better health wise for us, especially for our son.  We’ll need care when we, my husband lying dead, so we need to make sure that he’s, you know, comfortable and accepted in here as well.  I think it’s really about us saying well yes it is an age thing, because we are both in our seventies now. When we are not well enough to look after our son, that is where we, it does trouble us. It troubles us a lot. Um, having, also worked around mental illness, um, long term, we’ve seen how communities don’t really understand what the needs of people with psychiatric problems are because they are more in the community than they ever used to be and they need to be understood. Um, there are lots of things..small things like somebody will say “Oh, well he’s a schizophrenic”. But you don’t say who they are and through their illness. With my husband coming back here, um, he, he’s come back because of his own parents’ illness, age. We said well they didn’t have to make a decision because they were already in the community to stay put, and they didn’t go into long term care. So they stayed at home and died practically at home.  Oliver, the youngest boy, that lives with us he always said “I’ll look after you mam” which is very sweet. And if he was well enough he probably would do that. Um, having said that I don’t want to be a burden and I will say like mummy always said to us, you know, “oh for goodness sake, if I get like that shoot me”, but I’m always optimistic. I’ll be fine until the day I drop, I’ll probably drop down in my arms, but my worry is more about him, not myself. I’m here for Chris and here for Oliver, but when I’m not here Oli says things like “my world will end when you’re not here.” That’s very hard, that’s more hard for me to cope with than what’s going to happen to me when I need care. I’ve got my experiences that I’ve been in that job and also seen how other people are cared for.  I’m not that happy; probably prefer to be in my own home. I think my ideal would be if there was just Oliver and I that I would sell the house I’m in, which is a big house. I would buy care in really, if that would be what I would prefer. I like nice clean sheets, I like nice clean pyjamas. I like to make sure that I’ve got nice food. I would like them to perhaps sit and talk to me a little while. I don’t know if that happens. I would think they’re very busy and wouldn’t have the time to do that, but to respect um, some privacy and that. Just treat me with some respect that I’m still a human being in here, inside. I don’t know how it would, how it would work if it was dementia I had or something like that. That’s a bit more difficult. Would I be able to say to them, could you put that in the bin please or something like that.  I don’t know. I suppose the hygiene part of it I would want somebody to be mindful of. Being heard, being told I’m heard. That’s to me dignity. It, it, just small things that would make me feel that that person actually heard what I said, affirmed it and believed what I say. Even if it’s just their culture, their idea, because we’re all very different. Uh, what pleases me doesn’t please somebody else. That’s what I would want, that person to hear if I was to say to them “would you mind asking so and so to do that for me” and not be brusque about it. It might not be what they want to hear, but that’s how it is.