I used to wake in the night wondering where my handbag was. It wasn’t unknown for me to get out of bed to go and find it. Many of the ladies that we work with in the care homes clutch their handbags and it has been known for arguments to arise over bag ownership.
I shocked myself last night – I dreamt that I had lost my phone. The panic! The mad searching – I was distraught. I was so glad to wake up and find my phone on my bedside table (yes, I know it’s a bad idea to have it that close all night!), I felt so reassured.
It did bring me up short though. That dreadful, irrational fear is the same that I see in some of the ladies’ eyes. When something is lost and there is no obvious way of finding it, it’s very scary. We always treat apparently lost handbags seriously – because it’s serious for the ladies we work with. And if it means that we have to answer the handbag question 25 times during a class – so be it. After the panic I felt last night I have great sympathy; if I can offer reassurance then I will. And if the handbag only contains a comb and used tissues – so what? That’s not our call – so the next time you are asked the same question over and over again – just think of how often you check that your phone is in your pocket / bag / case – and if you can’t immediately find it – see how you feel. That’s what our ladies feel like, every single time they ask the same question.