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 a permanent fixture, 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.

I met Leona Biddle and her friend Jane, from Varenna, at The Breakfast Club, when I went to forage.  They had sympathetic ears and good advice.  Penny Mihaly is good to talk to, because she is a great person, and is going through the same thing, without the post-polio component.  They will be going on what will probably be Mike’s last big trip in a week or so, Budapest, Turkey, Spain.  We are good for each other.  Lexie Proietti and Sue Pierce offered good ears, should I need them.  Lexie is very spiritual and Sue, very experienced, in care-giving, both good resources.

Daughters Cathryn and Susan both called in.  They understand the situation and are very supportive.  Cathryn saw a lot of signs during our dinner at Bonaparte.  When we left she said “I don’t think he knew me.”  So, I asked him as soon as we got in the car.  Who was that we just had dinner with?”  And he answered “Cathryn.”  “And who is Cathryn?”  “My daughter.”  Cat wasn’t all that impressed, as she had told him about six times during dinner.  She thinks he may be trying to check out of life, and she may be right.  We’ll see our doctor next week and see what he thinks.  This is very hard on all of us.  Both daughters think I should put him on the list for “The Terraces”, our Memory care unit.  I will do that next week, as there is a long waiting list.  By the time his name comes up, it may really be time.

We did get to the gym, and Elvon had PT from Natalie.  The recumbent bike was in use, and he refused to get on the arm machine, so she took him back to bed.  When I was done exercising, Geri Novak was waiting for a massage.  Geri is another good ear, having gone through this same thing with her late husband.  The massage looked like a good idea and Jeff Rooney, our massage therapist, was free at 4:00 pm, so I booked myself in.  Both my hips and knees are giving trouble these days, likely from pushing the wheelchair.  Elvon still weights 180 pounds, and I think he is putting on weight.  Barb Christensen, joined Geri and me and offered her ear, too.  She’s our youngest inmate, a stroke victim.  She has been improving since she got here and is very sweet.  Jim Kavanaugh reminded me to take care of myself. His care-giving activities caused him to have a stroke.  Ed Gristing’s gave him a heart attack.  I get it.

Pat Gustafson, bless her heart, has arranged dinner for us with Mike Desky and Pat Finot.  Pati Simon called in to tell me to have Elvon drink plenty of water, and that Bill Potter had died.  When the doctors tell you it’s time, they are usually right.  Bill fought valiantly to the end.  A nicer, more positive man would be hard to find.  We loved him dearly and he will be sorely missed.  I am so glad I was able to get Elvon over to Napa a month ago, for lunch with the Potters at Celadon.  It makes a nice memory.

The lights in the Lodge went out during my massage.  Jeff finished with what the generator provided.  I went back and mustered Elvon, as we were due at Pat’s at 5:30 pm.  The power seemed to be back on.  I wheeled him down to the third elevator, as she lives at the other end of the building from us.  Nope, no elevator service.  None of them were working.  As I passed the lobby, on the way back, the fire doors clanged shut, too.  We were out again, all right.  It had been going on and off for a while.  I called Pat and asked her to please bring the party to our place, as we would probably have to get take-out and eat it there.  Elvon was never going to climb the stairs to the Dining Room.  It was just Pat and Mike, so far, as Pat Finot, who lives in a bungalow on the property, could not get her car out of the garage.

Jim Kavanaugh was in the lobby, too, and I realized he wouldn’t be able to get up to dinner, either, so I invited him back with us.  He was more than happy to come.  When everyone was settled with a drink in their hands, Pat and I went upstairs to see about dinner.  There was only one entrée and that was a strip steak, which was more like a pot roast.  No blue or well done, everybody gets medium rare.  We added a calabrese salad, and apple pie for dessert, and made it for five.  Pat Finot had made it up to the Dining Room, when a power spurt had let her open her garage door.  She never went to Pat G’s house to see the note on her door, saying to come to our place.  Too late now, her dinner was on the way.

Pat G and I went back, drank a little more wine, with cheese and crackers from her place, and the few Gascogne cheese cookies that we hadn’t consumed on the plane.  When we got the dinner is ready call, Mike and I went upstairs to fetch.  It turned out to be just fine and we had a great time.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I am getting a lot of sleep, and am still not awakening refreshed, but I did get up at 8:30 am to go forage for breakfast.  It was a shower day, so I let Elvon sleep in, while I cleared some email, and called Chase about United’s pending charges.  It looked like they were trying to get the extra $591 to fly coach, out of our hide, twice.  What bandits.  Chase said to wait and see if they actually took it, and if they did, they would be happy to reverse it and dispute it with United. Then I dealt with August 29th’s email and took a welcome sympathetic call from Pat Harrold in Vancouver.

By this time, I figured I had to face getting Elvon into the shower.  I wheeled the chair into the bed room, got him to get into it, and got him as far as the pot.  While he was on that, I made the bed, brushed the cat and put down a nice thick towel where he would next land.  Then I went back, got him off the pot and back into the chair, which I wheeled over to the sink.  I presented him with toothbrush, tooth paste, a glass of water, a razor and shaving soap, and he went to work.  I stripped, got into the shower and had a nice one.  I dried myself off, and wheeled Elvon into the shower, where he grabbed one of the bars and pulled himself up, so I could get him nice and clean.  Then I wheeled him back to the towel on the bed, and ministered to him, including a nice pedicure, and the application of coconut oil to the chafe he got flying home on one Depend.  The coconut oil fixed the problem in 3 days, and made it feel good while it was healing.  Good stuff, that. (Might be TMI, that, but I thought you might have a use for the information some day.)

By the time we had had breakfast, it was one o’clock, time for the gym.  He wouldn’t go.  He was just too tired.  The way he said it, he was too tired of life.  It didn’t make me feel any better.  I was exhausted myself.  This is all very draining.  I wheeled him back to bed and did a couple more days of email.  About three quarters of an hour later, I announced that I was going to the gym, and did he want to come?  He did.  So, we went, and he spent about 20 minutes on the recumbent bicycle, before he had to go to the bathroom, where we needed some help getting him off.

Back in the apartment, I continued writing this blog.  As I wrote, I started feeling better and better, and credited the blogging process.  But I am not so sure, because around 5:00 pm, I heard moving noises coming from the other room.  I got up to see and there he was, walking towards me, in Winnie Walker.  I think he was getting hungry and forgot he couldn’t walk.  I was delighted.  It wasn’t time for dinner, but I had him shave again, as he doesn’t do as good a job sitting down.  Then he got a half-hour rest and we went to dinner with Pat and Ted Johnson. Poor Ted, Pat had promised him I was depressed and would be subdued, and there I was, positively manic with glee.   Dinner was delicious, home-made guacamole and chips to start, shrimp and lemon cream risotto, and I had chocolate ice cream for dessert, because I like it better than lemon gelato.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

This is brunch day, so I went and got some fruit and orange juice, and took some breakfast meats out of the freezer.  The eggs, were laid yesterday and the day before.  They made fabulous French toast, with bacon, sausage and maple syrup.  I took care of the business of getting back the Holiday Inn points for part of the stay that we had missed, and got back to work on this.  Around one, the doorbell rang and it was Marissa Goldman, the Lodge Nurse.  She had figured out how to charge me for lift assists, etc., and wanted to explain it to me.  I was delighted with the price and readily agreed.  I am still going to get Elvon on to the wait list for memory care, but this gives us a good amount of breathing space, especially as he is getting better.  While we were talking, Elvon got back up on Winnie Walker, and got himself on to the toilet by himself, another first in five days.  If you don’t hear from me for a while, please take it as good news.  I’ll be taking care of business, with my renewed energy.   I’ll write again, when I need the therapy.

PS:  I’ll also write soon to tell you about Santa Rosa Dogfest and invite you to join me.