Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Same day, different date. 

Just feels like everything is a constant loop at the moment. No routines change, nothing feels any different. Hopes rise then get dashed. 

It’s now just over seven weeks since Gran came into hospital. Seven weeks of us trying to keep together, hoping desperately for some change, any change. 

Visits have taken their toll on us all. We feel weary and worn down.  We all have that weird kind of acceptance to how futile we’re feeling. Everything is out of our hands. All we can do is visit. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

I walk in wondering if she’ll remember my name tonight. The other night she called me Brian…. David…. Dean…. anything but Scott. It cuts me to the bone, but not as much as it hurts her. Seeing the confusion in her eyes is just devastating. I can feel my eyes filling up…..

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

“They can’t get my temperature on a morning,” she says. “There must be something wrong with me.”

“Well, you are in hospital” replies my sister. 

A brief respite from everything. The mood lightens a bit. 

She tells my sister not to come visit on her own. This is the fourth time she’s told her since we arrived half an hour ago. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

There’s a vague smell of shit in the air when I walk in, shit and piss. At first I didn’t know how long I’d cope. All I wanted to was… Hide. Anything but be here. 

There’s something heartbreaking hearing people crying for their mam. Even more so when they’re in their eighties. Everyone wants their mam when they’re ill, that never leaves, even in your twilight. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

One of our evening routines is me sitting and holding a fan to cool her down for a few minutes. She sits there, closing her eyes, slowly tilting her head from side to side. You take for granted things like the wind in your face.

I start to worry about things. My gran’s future. My parents’ future. My future. 

They don’t prepare you for this shit at school. What the hell use are fractions to me right this moment? They can’t make this moment any better…..

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

Gran dozes off a little. Well, she starts to but then fights it. I just wish she could rest. 

Her bed clothes look as though as though they’re hanging off her. Her skin looks like it’s shrink wrapping her slight skeletal frame. She’s lost weight, not that she can afford to. She was never a large lady and now it looks like she’s tiny, like she’s shrinking away before our eyes. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Roll up and see the incredible shrinking lady!”

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

You fall into patterns before too long. My dad and uncle do the afternoon visits. My two sisters handle the evenings. I go along e every other day after work. 

It’s odd when you see others at the same visit as you, like you’re suddenly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your routine feels off. But it’s good to see them, the change feels like some of the burden has been shifted a bit. After a while though it’s back to the way it was before. Everything settles back to the way it was before, like nothing ever changes but the shoes. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

It’s not all darkness, there’s moments of light. We need to make them, otherwise we’d just drown. 

We Facetime my niece who’s at university in York which helps lift her spirits and gives her a glint in her eye. Then there was my sister showing her how Snapchat filters work. Sarah telling bad jokes. My brother-in-law trying to playfully wind her up. 

Then there’s the moments of sitting there, picking through the bones of a bad day trying to find a good news to pin your hopes onto. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

Sometimes all you can do is look at the flickering lights in the distance from the hospital window. 

She has a small clock on her bed table, each minute lasting a thousand years before ticking over to the next for her. It’s not much use, it marks the time but by now she’s lost all concept of time itself. There’s a few times she’s asked us what we’re doing there so early in the morning, why aren’t we at work, even though it’s the evening. She has no idea what day it is. Why should she? Her world is trapped in an endless loop in this small room. 

Repeat. Repeat. Fucking repeat. 

The title of the this installment of my blog comes from the song “Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes” by The Wildhearts. You can find a video of it on YouTube here The Wildhearts – “Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes”. I’ve also now created a playlist on Spotify featuring the songs I include in my blog. You can find it over at The Order Of The Dog Spotify Playlist. I’ll update it every time a new blog is published.

As usual, if you’d like to chat to me further you can email me at and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I’ve created a closed support group on Facebook also called The Order Of The Dog. It’s there for people who struggle with mental health issues as well as people who want to support and get a better understanding. It’s a closed group which means only members get to see and interact with what’s posted there. Finally, please feel free to share this blog with anyone and anywhere you think it might help.

The Order Of The Dog.


4 thoughts on “Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes 

  1. As I read this and reached the point where you described the smells it took me right back to when my Mum was in palliative care. The routine side doesn’t apply for me but the feeling of futility and the paradox of hope hit deep.

    They make this shit look easy in adverts – take a bunch of flowers, some grapes and a get well card. They don’t make “Sorry you’re in here and aren’t going to get better” cards.

    Out of all the possible and horrifying things that can happen in life, this type of experience is up there.

    Liked by 1 person

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