Category Archives: Blogging

EXPIRY DATE

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There comes a time when you have to think about putting your loved one into an aged care facility. This decision is not to be taken lightly. I have been asked numerous times to advocate for a ‘Good Nursing Home’  sorry I cannot do that. I can only say I am not completely happy with any aged care facility I have ever worked in and I’ve been working in aged care for approximately 20 years.

When I began working in aged care, things were so different. If I managed to get a tea break, I would go to the staff room to make a coffee and sitting in that staff room were carers and Enrolled nurses who would all be discussing the care of the residents. These wonderful people (miss them terribly) knew everything about their residents. Off the top of their heads they could give you the run down on their likes and dislikes, allergies, at risk behaviours etc. They would discuss new ways to help their residents. for instance if an elderly person was having trouble with dressing, eating, showering, they would put their heads together to come up with new and inventive ways to address the situation, approach the Registered Nurse with this idea and we would work on it together. From there, it would be taken to an allied health specialist such as Physiotherapist, doctor, nutritionist etc and the life of the resident would be made so much better. These brilliant carers knew about equipment which would make their jobs easier and using it on the resident to make it safer. Safety was a big issue and they understood it and complied with regulations.

Those were the good old days.

Now, walking into a staff room all you see are staff sitting around the tables talking to their friends and relatives overseas. Ask any one of them about a resident and you get an answer like this, ‘Look at the notes’ ‘Look at the care Plan’ or ‘I don’t know’ They have absolutely no idea or any intention of understanding the care of the elderly they are there to care for. Even if the resident had been there for a number of years. They weren’t interested. To the carers these days, it’s just a job and to get through it as fast as possible so they can go home. Now don’t get me wrong. There are a few excellent carers working in aged care facilities. They are the ones who do care. They do their jobs well and will even stay behind to finish doing what they need to do to make it easier for the next shift and to ensure the resident is left the way they are supposed to be left. Clean, well fed, in no pain, comfortable and any issues they have spotted reported to the RN.

If the RN needs to know anything about a resident now, we need to go into the shower to examine the resident ourselves. We are checking for fragile, dry skin. Skin tears, toenail and fingernail length, pressure areas, we check their ears and eyes, nose and a lot more. Ask a carer now and I doubt if they even know who they just showered.

This might sound like I’m bagging carers but it’s the way things are now. Aged Care Facilities cannot run without money, and to make a profit they need to have the least number of staff on the floor at any one time. If there is 35 residents there will be 4 long shift carers for the entire shift and a few short shift carers. The short shift carers are there to help with the showering and meals. They go home early. Meanwhile the long shift carers will remain to assist with toileting after lunch and helping the residents with lunch. They will do a ’round’ which is to check continence pads and to toilet other residents who are able to go to the toilet but just need some assistance. There is no time to sit and talk to a resident. To ask them how they feel or do any little minor thing the resident would like.

Every time I see a commercial showing how wonderful an aged care facility is and how splendid the smiling, cheery staff are I seriously want to barf.. What a load of rubbish.

To see the picture clearly, you need to go there and see staff running their legs off, Sweating under the strain on heavy lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling and count how long each staff member has to attend each resident. I did a count once and it was frightening.

Read my next post for the breakdown.

Aged care facilities are not designed for the happiness of residents, they are there to make money. Full stop. Now I know this is going to sound really disgusting but I was at a facility one day and I asked where all the usual carers were and was told, “They are having an inspection and they only want to see white faces here” I nearly fainted. How racist and bigoted can anyone be??? I wondered who was coming and what sort of people they were to  say this..  If I had called the media over this, there would have been hell to pay. But as I have said before. Nobody wants to know. And it would have been difficult to prove.

I sort of feel fortunate working as an Agency Registered Nurse at times because we get to move around from facility to facility and we see it all.

Every Aged Care Facility has at their front door a charter of rights and responsibilities. These points are a legal requirement and they need to provide evidence to show it. To prove this, they have reams and reams of paperwork and documentation and the staff are required to fill out all documentation to show they are doing the right thing. Ha!

Aged Care Facilities also have people (Accreditation Team) come to check on all their paperwork to make sure this ‘Evidence Based Practice’ is being adhered to. (Stop laughing)  I was hired to do an afternoon shift one day and when I arrived, I saw 4 RNs sitting in the Nurses Office completing forms and filling out papers ready for the inspection. They were even signing medication charts where there were many, many signature omissions. Some signatures were from other Agency Registered and Enrolled nurses from months previous. But as long as the tiny little square had a squiggle in it, it was ok.  All care plans had to be updated with the correct information included which should have been done on admission. If and when the facility passes all their ‘standards’ they whoop whoop for days after and throw a celebration. This is a very serious issue. To not pass ‘Accreditation’ is the worst thing for all staff, the residents and the facility not to mention the boss who runs the facility. It doesn’t reflect well on any of them.. The Government will impose sanctions on the facility to prevent them from taking in any more residents until they meet the ‘Standards of Accreditation.’ The facility will only be allowed to have a certain number of residents. Cuts to funding is taken very seriously.

The one thing you need to make sure of if you put your family member in an Aged Care Facility is to be there on admission and make sure they have all the information on your relative/friend. The admission form is paramount to ensuring staff know who is responsible for having the say over financial matters, who makes decisions regarding their health and welfare, are there any toxic relations between family members which could impact on the health and happiness of your family member. Allergies, every aspect of daily living is included and should be addressed. Do they have a funeral organised and with whom? What are the details? Burial or cremation? Who is the funeral Director? Sleeping times, food likes and dislikes, clothing requirements, continence. Do they use continence aids? Do they have enough clothes and shoes? Are they labelled oh and please remember to label their dentures and spectacles. There’s nothing worse than removing dentures or spectacles to find out your family member has been wearing someone elses. Do they have an ‘End of Life’ care form completed? Don’t leave until it’s done. It will save you so much time and make it a bit easier for staff in the case of a death or an emergency. Do they have any old injuries? Do they have pain? There is so much but it must be included. The admitting nurse needs to get baseline readings. This is Blood pressure, temperature, pulse, weight, height, urinalysis and a whole lot more. So if the resident has any health episode the Nurse has the baseline to go by. Any differences will show us there is something wrong. There is a change in their health status and it needs to be investigated further.

Read my next post for the times given for each resident attendance.

 

 

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Expiry Date

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It was just after dinner and I was almost done with the dinner time medication round. I only had about 12 more people to give medications to and my medication trolley was in the corridor. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two of my carers running toward me. I stopped and looked at their faces. Now something like this is hard to describe and document because I think they were in shock and they were so excited and talking so fast.

I didn’t have time to ask them what was wrong. They burst into a chorus of “Marilyn come here quick.” I parked my trolley in a side room, locked the door and ran. At this time I was thinking there might have been an intruder or a fire.

As I entered the room the two carers were standing either side of a female resident’s bed. One of the carers pulled the bed linen off the elderly woman, and I must say, extremely frail woman only to show me her leg was broken. My mind raced to discover what had happened and how but knowing this elderly lady was a bit restless in her bed and constantly stuck her legs through the bedrails, I felt a surge of vomit in my throat when I realised what had happened.

The break was over the shin and it had a distinctive mark across the thin layer of skin.

Her leg was straight until it got past the knee and to the shin and that is where it turned inwards.  We looked at this broken bone and discovered it had been broken when someone had tried to let down the bed rail and had met some resistance. The bed rail would have then been pushed down very hard which crushed her leg. The perpetrator of this would have then placed her broken leg back into the bed and covered her up and left her.They left her. Left her in agonizing pain. Unable to voice her pain. Unable to do anything about it.

Immediately the Ambulance was called to transfer the poor woman to Hospital, notes were written, plus the mandatory reports. (Lots of them)

Before the woman was transferred to Hospital, I measured the red mark on her shin and compared the width of the top of the bed rail. Exactly the same width. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could do this to a frail and elderly person, then cover them up and leave them to suffer. This would have been excruciatingly painful. She would have been left like that for approximately 4 and a half hours and until the next shift came on and did a ’round.’  A round is where the carers go around to each and every resident and ask them if they would like to go to the toilet and if they were not able to verbalize, they would assist them to the toilet. Otherwise they would be in a continence pad and that would have to be checked.

This poor woman was the last on the list of people to check the pad and so it would have been about 2 pm the staff would have been to her room to check on her continence needs.

There was also a chart to tell who worked where and it didn’t take us long to work out who was responsible. I will tell you know though. After the report I made, I had a complaint made against me to my Agency which sounded something like this

“We don’t want Marilyn G back here again” “She keeps leaving us notes”  Leaving them notes?  Ha!  They couldn’t get rid of my notes because they are a legal document and if these reports I wrote were requested by ‘Freedom Of Information’ the family of this woman would have taken legal action.. I’m glad I wrote personal reports and photocopied incident reports. I have a very large box full of them.

This is not the last report I will write about the Health Care system. Keep your eye out. And if it makes you feel a bit queezey just imagine how it made me and others feel when it happened.I started Nursing 1995 as an RN and just flowed into Aged Care where I remained for nearly 20 years. The work is hard especially if you do the work and the pay isn’t much to sing about but it was very challenging..

The latest news about the abuse of the elderly man in the aged care facility was shown on channel 9 25/7/2016.  I have worked in this facility and never enjoyed it because there was a problem with some belligerent staff. Another facility I will never work in again.

Having cameras in resident’s rooms is a great idea but it infringes on their resident’s privacy and dignity. I don’t think it will ever be tolerated. The public are up in arms now over an incident relating to a young male carer who abused an elderly gentleman in an aged care facility. Sorry to say it but I have seen worse.

I haven’t been supported by the aged care facility or the Agency I worked for when making these complaints to the managers of these said facilities. They just don’t want to know about it and while they are raking in the money, they don’t give a hoot. Many times I’ve told family members to install  a secret camera in the room to catch the abusive staff members.

Carers take these jobs in Nursing homes because that is the only job they can get at the time and Centrelink encourage them to take it. Even if they are not suitable for the position.

Attitude play a big role in caring for elderly people. Staff cannot afford not to treat these people any other way but with respect and give them the dignity they deserve.

Channel 9 News asked for a comment from the ‘Council for the Ageing” and we hear there is a 5% to 10 % abuse incident rate. Well, lady. To that I say bull! I know it is more than double that.

Overall, I blame the Government for the compete lack of care in any and all Aged Care Facilities. Money is what drives them. Cheap labour. Hiring staff who cannot speak English and who give medications which cause damage to resident’s health.

When they have a Plebiscite on ‘Assisted Suicide” I will sign it and say yes please. I refuse to go into an Aged Care Facility.

Winter food…..The stuff we love to eat….

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It’s been really cold here in Adelaide and so we’ve been cooking a lot of stuff to warm our bodies and give ourselves energy… and eating highly nutritious foods for health too.

Dieting?  No.. We don’t need to because all the food we eat keeps us healthy and trim.. You can do it too. marilynsplanforweightloss.com.au

Here is a few pics of the meals we have been chomping down on the last few weeks.. Don’t get a lot of time to take pics of all our meals due to our rushing to get things done and by the time I remember to take photo, I have eaten most of it…

Here we go…

IMG_0716 My super salad.. I added a little creamy dressing mixed with some white wine vinegar.. Buy the book and see why I mix it with vinegar…

IMG_0717Hubby’s creation of partially cooked pumpkin tossed in a pan with a little olive oil and with a handful of fruit and nut mix sprinkled into it at the finish cooking time.. Gorgeous…

IMG_0720Beef  hot pot.. Had mushrooms and bacon in it too.. He put too much potato on the plate… Yummy…IMG_0723I love a fresh garden salad.. With raw onion.. I ate most of it…

IMG_0725This was one big hamburger… With all the trimmings… Finger lickin’ dripping good fun…

IMG_0726Apricot Chicken..  One of my favs…. With chips of course….

IMG_0748Have to teach hubby how to make the best Pea and Ham soup… This was nice but he always adds too many peas…. It was so thick…. Tasty though.. I am wondering if he forgot the ham?????

So just looking at all this food we eat.. I can tell you it is wonderful to be able to eat the foods you want to eat, and fresh foods too. Not delivered in toxic plastic containers which cause cancers….

Get out your knives and cooking pots and pans and go for it….

Weight loss???  ‘Marilyn’s Plan..’ Keeps us healthy and fit…. and trim too….Love it…

Summer is on it’s way and we are ready for it….

 

Insurance for pets and people????

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We have two sweet little doggies who we love to bits.. Ok so one of them got sick last Christmas eve and it cost us a few thousand dollars for the vet bills.. Ugh!  We had been discussing signing up for pet insurance but when I checked the insurance companies who give pet insurance I was surprised to see many of them were underwritten by ‘People’ Insurance companies. Know what that means??

It means they have the best insurance investigators who will try every trick in the book to avoid paying out on an insurance claim if your pet gets sick.. Some of these companies I have noticed have even stipulated a clause to say if your pet is on food which contains artificial preservatives and additives then too bad… They won’t pay.. Now I have been promoting  Raw Meaty Bones and BARF for years and included it in my book (Marilyn’s Plan), knowing all too well the disastrous effects of preservatives and additives in our foods and researching the best way to feed pets.. There are plenty of groups on the net who will tell you how and what to feed your pets to maintain optimal health.  So, if these insurance companies are on the ball with their investigations into foods and their effects on the body then why do we give these foods to our pets?  Beats me.. All I know is they won’t pay for vet bills for sick animals when those animals have been consuming processed foods.   My girls haven’t had processed foods for years now and have been healthier for it..  Back to pet insurance.. If your pet is over a certain age and has no medical history (no illnesses recorded) then you might be lucky enough to get health insurance for them but the pet insurance companies will not pay claims on previous illnesses. They will pay for desexing and that is about it. Gum disease is rife in pets, caused by them eating rubbishy processed foods. Think of it like us eating a packet of biscuits every day for our nutrition. This crap gets stuck in your teeth and you cannot clean it out unless you have a toothbrush. Try to get an older dog or cat to take on a toothbrush.. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.. Ours screams and cries if we approach her with one..This is where the insurance companies make their money. At three years of age, a pet will have rotten teeth. There is a 3 to 4 week waiting period to be able to make a claim so don’t let them get sick in between then. We worked out it would be more expensive for us to insure our pets now as one is not well (food allergy) and the other pet is an older doggie so we would be paying insurance for nothing.. No claims.. So that is it… We are working on some research into T cell behaviours on the human and animal body to try to help our little girl overcome her illness.. Fingers crossed we can get her off the prescription tinned muck she is on..  (Paste).  We work very hard at cleaning her teeth too because she is not able to eat anything to clean them… The vet is querying IBS.. I wasn’t aware animals get IBS… (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)  Big job, but I’m sure we can do it..

So if you are considering getting pet insurance.. Get it for your pet the day they are born…. read their clauses very carefully too.. Either that or start saving now for the vet bills…….

 

 

Blahhhhh!

Blahhhhh!

A week of Wow!

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My week last week was pretty mundane to begin with but then things hotted up..
My brother returned from Fiji where he spent time with his new family as per his new wife.
He turned up at our home at about 7 pm and was told freezing cold and totally worn out so we told him to stay the night. He slept on the floor on an air mattress in front of the lovely fire.
The next night he came over for dinner becasue he was a bit sick of eating curries and he also said ‘If I ever see another bgrain of rice I will die’

He was craving an ordinary meal with mashed potato, peas, beans, carrots, and meat with gravy so we provided. He scoffed the lot wish much relish! Hubby even heated up a christmas pudding with custard. Mmmm that went down a treat.
My brother showed us some of the photos he took while he was over there in Fiji and a couple of videos.
They were a lovely family. Very hospitable and caring. They looked after him so well he felt guilty. He said they wouldn’t let him do too much.. Every time he picked something up to do something with it, someone would come and take it from him and do it for him. Most of the family live in a 2 bedroom house and he and his wife were given the largest bedroom and the rest of the family slept in the second bedroom or on the foor in the loungeroom. We were quite concerned for him leaving Australia and going to a strange country and to stay with people we didn’t know but it was wonderful. Now we are all waiting for his wife’s return to Australia as we do miss her and we have planned to do more things to help her learn our culture and about our food etc…
Last night I was watching tv and saw a program called ‘Sunday Night’ on channel 7. The reporter was doing a segment on people smuggling. The smuggler was on there and told the reporter how he ‘ripped off’ these people to bring them to Australia, taking their money and promising the world but no guarantee. He told them to make up a story to tell our authorities to ensure they were able to stay here. Being Tortured, victimised etc… But they aren’t. These people pay thousands of dollers to get here and a lot of them don’t make it. Some even put up the papers to their homes to these smugglers and if they don’t make it they have lost everything.The Sri Lankan authorities are after them now and they want them all returned. The stupid thing is… Our Govt believes all their stories and allows them to come here under that guise. Then we hear they get PR and all go home for a holiday! The ones who come here by the right way are angry about it too.

I met an asylum seeker after he was released from a detention centre where he waited for 2 years to be processed. He said he was a shepherd in the mountains of his country and he didn’t have any trouble there but he just wanted to come to Australia for more money. Now he is going to tell the authorities he has depression because he misses his family and he knows his family will all be brought here too. His elderly family members don’t and won’t speak english because they don’t have to. The Govt provides an interpreter for them and they just stay on the dole for the rest of their lives. They don’t have to work. This was a real wakeup call to me but he had it all organised. I thought it odd he didn’t care what he told me but I suppose he also knows our stupid Parlimentarians don’t know and don’t care anyway. They let it all just happen because it gets more votes!

I have said it once and I will say it again. I don’t begrudge anyone a job or a decent living but when the sytem we rely on is rorted like this and I have no work, then I am bloody angry about it. I will be emailing the minister for immigration and having a shot! I will also send them a link to the program and urge them to watch it as well.

Then I had my birthday yesterday. It began very quietly as hubby went to work and little irl went to her friends place for the night. I’ll be honest, I was terribly lonely in the morning. Then at about 11 am, there was a knock on the door. It was the family. All bearing food and gifts, cards and best wishes. We had a lovely morning tea and my spirits were again on the up!

I’ve been washing bed linen for a week due to our little dog weeing on it at night. Bark Busters fixed that! My neice had them over her house to help with her 2 dogs and one of them was doing it on her son’s bed. She was telling me about it and I gave it a go. Bugger me… it worked. No more wee on the bed. The worst.. Climbing into bed at night and finding a wet spot. Ugh! Wake hubby, strip the bed, wash the plastic protective cover, dry it, re make the bed then climb in again. Exhausting.. It was a simple little thing and it worked. She now goes on the spot we picked out for her. We have incontinence sheets in a couple of places so if they cannot get outside, they can still go where it’s ok! I love successful interventions…
So that was my week… There were other things which really got to me but not enough room here for it..
I do hope your week was better.
Marilyn xxx

1 of the many pitfalls of nursing. Don’t be shocked.

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As nurses we are supposed to wash before attending each and every client (I hate the word client) I feel as if I am trying to sell them something. I do wash my hands thoroughly between clients and this is what I’ve ended up with.
A severe dose of eczema.

My consant washing with harsh chemical soaps and drying with cheap paper towels in these facilities has defatted my skin and dried them to a crisp. I spent last night cleaning my kitchen from top to bottom and all the time wearing crepe bandages, cotton gloves and latex gloves over the top of that.

On the weekend, one of the areas on my right hand was showing signs of infection so I debrided the sloughy areas with a clean set of surgical scissors, treated the area for a couple of days with Tea Tree Oil and clean dressings. Oh the expense! I keep a good stock of dressing supplies and I’m almost out of them now so will have to go for more soon. McNeil Medical supplies in Adelaide. Or the local pharmacy but the latter are quite expensive. Best to buy a few simple items like Melolin, Melolite, Micropore and crepe bandages. That way you will have a good supply of the most used dressing equipment needed for any type of wound unless it’s a wound with exudate and then you will need to purchase something to soak up the excess moisture. Jelonet is a good buy too. This keeps a dry wound slightly moist and tissue likes to gow in a warm, moist environment.

As promised on twitter, I am posting a picture of my right hand at it’s not so bad state. Should have seen it 4 days ago!
Have commenced a topical cream called ‘Novasone 1%’ and will be using it for a few days. Cortisone creams can only be applied for a few weeks as it can thin the skin. I have to sit around and do nothing as ordered by the LMO. Oh, what fun. Now I suppose I will bore you to death with tales of fungating wounds and macerating ulcers, spontaneous fractures and other such delights. Oooh and what about sinuses. That will thrill you if you like horrid, gooey tales/tails..
hehehehehe
Da da daaaaa! My right hand.
It looks very greasy because it is a greasy ointment.

It shouldn’t take 8 months to spring clean anything

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That’s how long I’ve been spring cleaning my house. I thought about this as I struggled to clean and sort out kitchen cupboards today before tea was served. Hubby cooked a gorgeous Laksa! Anyway to get back to my tale.. of woe…….

I took 3 cupboards of spices and herbs and turned it into one cupboard full. That was an effort worth talking about. How long has it been since you checked all your ‘use by dates’ for all your herbs and spices? Some of ours I remember buying when we moved in here and that was a loooong time ago! They had use by dates going back to the dinosaur.. Out they went. (Had to giggle, because when hubby emptied the bin, and it was overflowing, a shitload of spice sprayed out all over the floor hehehehe).

There were grubby fingerprints all over the spice jars too, so they had to be cleaned and dried. Packing them back into the cupboard was a treat though. Everything all clean and shiny. Got to sort out our odd collection of bowls and bits and pieces. One day when hubby is at work I plan to dump a few here and there to get rid of them. I don’t really like odd bits and pieces. I like odd dining room chairs though, especially if they are vintage. I spilt chilli powder all over one of the chair cushions and spent an hour in an agonised sneezing fit. Hot! Hubby thinks because I’m sitting here, I’ve finished but low and behold, when I begin the other corner of the kitchen and leave him to finish it then I go to begin the laudry, he’ll know… it hasn’t been completed.. Poor bugger!

I often wonder if men appreciate what we women do to keep our homes neat and clean? Do they even realise? I also work and fitting in a good clean is a logistical nightmare especially when you have sick children in the house to care for. If the house was empty of people, I would get a big wheelie bin, stick it next to the back door and fill it with anything and everything. Then I would clean. Or get someone to clean for me but I do like to do the thorough stuff myself. I have a blanket sitting on my clothes drier and waiting to go to the laundry to get cleaned so tomorrow I might take a book, go to the laundry and read whilst it’s in the extra large washing machine. Oh, what a treat! Me time… I could just sit there and stare at a wall, but knowing my luck, I’d be confused with someone who should be in a secure environment, so maybe not.

Funny though, my floors never get cleaned until the last room is finished. Just realised that could be months so I’ll have to re-think that. I also have a skin problem keeping me from cleaning as much as I usually do. I was at work, did a lot of shifts and we have to wash so many times, my hands got extremely dry. In the night I scratched them so much I made them bleed and now the backs of my hands are red and a bit on the sore side so no more work for me for a couple of days and until they’ve healed. What a bother. Not having the use of your hands is an absolute bugger and having to sit around doing nothing with both hands covered in bandages and rubber/latex gloves is terrible. I’m so bored I could scream but I haven’t had a holiday for years so I should really make the most of this time off and relax. R E L A X. Ok, so now what?

Maybe I could write a list for everyone in the house to help clean a room tomorrow. Yeah right! That would go down like a lead balloon. I will say though, hubby has been so nice and seemingly caring in his attitude towards my cleaning. He says, ‘Why don’t you just sit down and take it easy?’ Ha! He knows, when I get started on a project, he eventually gets asked to help sooner or later and he hates housework! Yeah, as if I like it. I do it all. If I had the strength in my arms to mow the lawns I would have to do that as well. I could spend a week in a hotel and relax there but they would track me down sooner or later. Ugh!
‘Where’s this.. ‘Where’s that?’ ‘I can’t find…’ ‘Can you get my…’It never ends…’
I suppose I shouldn’t complain but where else can I go and write it down and know some other poor bugger is probably going through the same situation. I feel like ‘Marge’ in ‘The Simpsons’ There is no ‘appreciation’ and no ‘me time’… It’s all about them. Love them dearly but where are the bloody aliens when you need them?????