Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Air Canada’s wheelchair teams took very good care of us at SFO and Eric Hartman, our totally reliable driver and very interesting person, was there to meet us at the airport soon after landing. The traffic was light at 10:00 pm and we were home soon after 11:00 pm. Daniel, the night concierge, a member of the care giving team, was there with Elvon’s own wheelchair. Between him and Eric, they got Elvon in, to the bathroom, and into his nightshirt. He was asleep before I finished feeding Sylly P.
I was exhausted, I went to bed, too, but somehow it was 1:30 am. I got up around 8:30 am, feeling refreshed, but that didn’t last long. I went to the dining room and foraged for breakfast, which I brought back to the room, like ‘most every day here at Fountaingrove Lodge. Michelle, one of the care givers, came to help me get Elvon up. We couldn’t get him to hoist himself off the bed. She said she’d come back with reinforcements later. After she had left, I got smart and taught him how to use the bedside table to support himself, while I brought the wheelchair in behind him. It’s a good wheelchair, the foot rests come off easily for getting it into tight corners like this. It’s a good bedside table, too. It was my grandmother Megan’s wedding present from her husband. People were practical in the 1890s.
I wheeled him to the breakfast table and we both got to eat. We were pretty hungry. After he had eaten, and while he was still in the wheelchair, he agreed to attempt a shower. This was a very good thing, as he was getting pretty high. I wheeled him into the bathroom. He got to sit and watch while I took my shower, then he was able to stand clutching one of the bars, while I hosed him down, sudsed him up, and rinsed him off. Help, in the form of Manny and Shane, arrived just as we were finishing up. I was exhausted, so they got him transferred to the bed and dressed, which was a big help.
While they were dressing him, I did a little unpacking, got the last Montreal blog out, and made a couple of essential phone calls, our evacuation insurance and a doctor’s appointment, which will be necessary or they won’t pay for anything at all. When they were done, they suggested I take him to Wine Wednesday, which would be good for us. It was, we re-connected with our Lodge buddies, had a couple of laughs, and a nice dinner with Bill Blair and John Kennedy. It was corn and crab chowder, and a seafood linguini, which included lobster, clams, mussels, squid, etc. in a delicious white wine sauce. We were in bed by nine, still pretty tired, but very well fed.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
I got up around 7:30 am and did the usual food run. When I got back, Elvon got up into the wheelchair and let me wheel him to the toilet for a much needed constitutional, as he had skipped that yesterday. When he was done, he couldn’t get up, so I called for a caregiver and Ashley came. We got him on to the bed and I decided to take it from there myself, as he needed a little rest before dressing. We discussed his physical therapy strategy and I let her go promising to wheel him to the gym at 1:00 pm.
He brushed his teeth at the breakfast table, ate and then shaved, all in the chair. By this time it was 11:30 am, so he decided to stay in the chair, rather than go through two transfers for a one hour nap. The news lately is all about hurricane Harvey. There are so many people so much worse off than we are, that I am able to count my blessings, still. The big blessing is that we are settled into this fabulous place, with friends, gourmet food and lots of help.
By the time we got to the gym, I was exhausted again, but I did my 10 minutes of treadmill, and an almost full set of core strengthening exercises. When we got back, I spent 20 minutes at my level, which was very refreshing, and continued with the laundry and unpacking that had been filling odd minutes all day.
We ate in, because I had fresh eggs from our Lodge hens, and fresh tomatoes from someone’s garden, all kindly left in our Bistro. We started with a calabrese salad, minus the cheese and basil. The main course was a cheese and fried onion omelet, with two eggs from each of yesterday and today. It doesn’t get any better than that, unless you add a side of bacon, which I did.
After dinner I wheeled Elvon back to the bedroom, where he couldn’t wrap either his mind or his body around the concept of transferring to the bed. I had to call for help from Manny.
Friday, September 1, 2017
I got another eight hours of sleep and didn’t wake up refreshed. I had to take an Aleve to get any sleep at all. Arthritis has kicked in nicely, in both knees and hips, and it’s hard to find a comfortable position. Elvon woke up complaining of dizziness, so I made him drink a bottle of water and raised the head of the bed, so he could watch TV and get a change of ideas. I suspect he might be wondering if life is worth living anymore. Morning dizziness is either a sign of dehydration or depression. I know I have a touch of the latter. I am mourning a life-style that is changing for the worse, for both of us. The wheelchair is likely permanent, and the transfers to and from it are very difficult for him, me, and the care givers, who often get called in. Physical therapy has been ordered and we should have it soon. There are a lot of supportive people here to keep me going, but it’s still exhausting. To compound it all, a very, very good friend is dying. On this depressing note, I will leave you and get on with my day.
I am keeping this blog going because writing is therapeutic for me, and it may be of some use to some of you at some point.
Glenn Coates said:
Glad you are back safe and sound. It may take a couple of days to totally get your bearings but sounds like you are in good hands. 🙂 Lucky birds!!
john jones said:
Hi Helen. Joyce Jones here. We will keep you and Elvon in our prayers. I’m glad you got to make that trip. Good memories. You made the move to Santa Rosa at just the right time. So glad you have help. You are such a good wife, and the two of you have been able to do so much in spite of the polio health challenges. God bless you both. Love, John and Joyce
Sent from my iPhone
W.T. Travel said:
Yes Helen, please continue with the blog on a periodic basis, and as you write, some of it may become a private diary, if you find you don’t have something new to report but still want someone to know, if only the you of the future, how frustrating this all is. It would be so much better to keep it open as a place to vent, better than taking it out on Elvon, no matter how much he might forgive you. We, your friends, will rally around the both of you.
What a blessing that you could afford to splurge on the airfare–and that you took out the insurance.
Much love to you both.
Susan Bogar said:
Ah Helen, I think of you often. Your job is exhausting and often thankless but take some comfort in the fact that nobody does it better. Stay tough, old friend …
A bedside table for a gift. Maybe I’ll try that with Noreen for our 50th. Of course, I may not make our 51st. Your lodge sounds terrific and the assistance invaluable. You were one smart lady in choosing it. Still hoping our travel paths will cross again.
Sylvia G said:
Hi Helen – Just finished reading your blog…We went through the same care for my Mother when she was with us a little over a year. Looking back, I’m glad we were able to do it. Your task is all-encompassing! Elvon tries through your encouragement and when needed, you can call for help, which is a blessing. Keep the faith…you are doing a wonderful job and continue your interesting blogs! it’s good reading!…
Aloha, Sylvia G
Helen Megan said:
It’s actually called a gallery table. It was on one side of the fireplace in my Montreal living room, balanced by a secretary desk, which is now my night table. It’s great I keep the cat grooming stuff and other nightly necessities and they hide nicely when I put the table flap up. When you live small, every piece of furniture has to work for you.
Marge Mapp said:
My dear Helen,
I am so sorry that this is happening to both of you. Chris and I thought of nothing else after we left you, and especially after Jo-Ann’s email telling us about your departure. I can put myself in your shoes, and in Elvon’s. I won’t presume to offer you advice, just want to tell you we send our love and heartfelt wishes that all will be well in the end.
Marge and Chris
4281 Mario Street
Pierrefonds, Quebec H9H 2P9
Judy Symansky said:
I’m so sorry for what you are going through both emotionally and physically. It is certainly not surprising that you are feeling depressed; you are carrying a huge load. Would you consider a higher level of care for Elvon, dear sweet man that he is. It won’t do either of you any good if you wear yourself out.
Wish I could teleport and give you hugs and kisses.
Lottie V. Nicholson said:
I wish I could give you as much love and support as you gave me when I had my two broken legs. Unfortunately we are miles apart now. You are a very strong person to carry the load you are now carrying. It is too bad we can’t all reach our older years without the aches and pains that seem to come with them. I am glad you live in such a wonderful place that gives you so much friendship and support. All my love and roses, Lottie