A Very Good Read









Order a copy of the book:


Amazon or TheBookplace


The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring: an extract



You may have acquired this book under false pretenses. You think you're a selfish pig. But that's because


* you never expected to find yourself in the role of carer


* you're pissed off about it


* you feel guilty about your reaction


Well, what I know, and you don't, is this: everybody who gets lumbered with the job of caring for somebody else goes round and round in the same emotional whirlpool. And there are millions of us carers. If you don't believe me, have a look at pages 50-1.


We didn't apply for the job. Most of us don't have a vocation for it. We've had no training. We're certain we aren't much good at it. Plus, and this is the nub of the matter, we've got our own life to lead. Are we expected to throw that away because of somebody else's disability? We've got things to do, places to go. And now it looks as if we might not be able to.


But aren't we just as important as they are? Why are we expected to sacrifice ourselves for somebody else? And yes, I mean sacrifice. We're not talking about giving up five minutes of time once or twice a week. Or putting off a holiday from this year to next. We're talking about changing our entire way of life. The old one wasn't perfect, but it was the best we could do. This new one isn't even ours. It's somebody else's life. And it's one that doesn't suit us at all.


It isn't fair


Sure, sure, sure. I'm not going to argue with you. All I'm going to say is that none of this makes you a selfish pig. You're reading this book aren't you? Well, you've got this far, anyway. That probably means that you're caring for someone. Or thinking about caring for someone. Selfish pigs don't do that. They get somebody else to do their dirty work. Or they just turn their backs on the problem and walk away.


So what are you, if you're not a selfish pig? A reluctant carer?


No, you're just the average carer. The reason you aren't aware that you're walking down a well-trodden path is because carers don't get much publicity. Or attention. When someone pushes a wheelchair through a crowd, it's the wheelchair that attracts the sideways glances. Or which causes passers-by to look politely away. In either case, the person who's doing the pushing is invisible. Those people in the crowd don't spare the carer a thought. Be fair, did you ever, before you became a carer?


No. So what goes on in the minds and deep dark despairing souls of the carers is a complete unknown. Except to other carers. They know. They've been there.


Did you really think all those other carers were doing it because it's what they always aspired to? Maybe they won the big prize in a competition? Or saved up for years so that finally they could take up this glamorous way of life?


And do you somehow believe they're better at it than you?


Hang on, I know what you think. You've convinced yourself that they're better than you, full stop. That someone who cares for another human being, long-term, is a better person than you are.


Well, all I can say to that is Ha! The only difference between them and you is that they're a bit further ahead, that's all. They kept walking down the path that you're starting out on, and along the way they discovered things. They didn't have any training or vocation or special ability. They aren't more capable of loving. They most decidedly are NOT less selfish. They're exactly the same as you. Just more experienced at being carers, that's all.


So there you are. Whether the title of this book is a good one or not, the book may have some stuff in it that you'll find a use for. I have no plans to try to turn you into somebody else. Change your nature, and so on. Endow you with limitless patience and goodwill. All I'm proposing to do is walk with you down the path, pointing out a few things as we go. You'd stroll down it perfectly well without me. But together, we might go a little faster. And who knows, we might even have a laugh on the way.









From the Author


The story of my mother's daily fight against a disease neither she, nor anyone in the family could understand. The book contains useful tips and information for anyone who has to look after a relative at home suffering from dementia.