Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Annus Horibilis....2019

"Annus Horribilis" is Latin for "dreadful year:" a year that's particularly bad, horrible, or disastrous.

I think we can all agree that 2019 is that year for us!

Previously, we thought 2007 was our most horrible year - when Jim had a massive stroke and spent 30 days in the hospital, and months taking rehab.

Or maybe 2014, when I had heart valve repair surgery and a subsequent stroke and was in the hospital for 12 days, but both those years take a back seat to 2019.....when Jim spent 103 days in either the hospital or a rehabilitation facility, and rehab will continue in-home for months to come. 

I am aware that we are not the only married couple to suffer the consequences of health problems. In fact, at this moment, married friends of ours are dealing with very painful shoulder and hip problems, others are suffering with metastatic cancer, Parkinson's disease and a younger friend has a relative with viral encephalitis that has led to several strokes, etc. 

About all we can do for them is pray; keeping them in our awareness and hoping for the best outcome. We do that for ourselves, of course, as well.  I suppose everyone has had their own "annus horribilis", and perhaps can point to a particular time period in proof of it. I am anxious for 2019 to leave us behind and 2020 cannot get here soon enough for me!

I surely hope that 2020 (which I never expected to see) is  better year for everyone, including you!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Laundry and Dishes and Moving*....Oh, My!

During the time that Jim was in the hospital and rehab, I did not cook anything more than eggs for myself and once in a while, one of my kids. Consequently, there was no need to run the dishwasher more than once a week - and that was mostly for silverware. Well, now that he is home, it is a much different story. Cooking has begun again; as complex as ever, and dishes and pots and pans pile up at an astonishing rate. Also piling up are grocery receipts, and due to rising prices.....they are higher than ever (pun intended.)

As you may know if you have ever cared for an invalid, laundry requires your rapt attention. It seems as though every towel and washcloth we own has been washed at least 3-4 times since Nov. 1st. And his bed sheets, pillowcases and mattress cover too. When we got the new bed, I ordered a set of sheets to fit, and now I know I should have ordered 2 sets, at the very least. It is too bad that I got rid of 4-5 sets of twin-size sheets when we moved, thinking I'd never have twin beds again. Never say never!

As for moving*, it isn't us, but my next door neighbor. When we moved in here, nearly 4 years ago, I didn't meet that neighbor for 3-4 months, and then one day, we both drove up in our driveways at the same time. I took that opportunity to walk over and introduce myself. She seemed very nice, although she didn't suggest we get together.  Jim kept threatening to go knock on her door and introduce himself, but he never did it, of course. About 2 months later, I saw her again at a luncheon. We sat side by side and I learned a bit about her; she was an artist and she spent nearly all of everyday away from the house in painting classes and workshops. I could have gotten to know her if I had gone to the local artist's group in our clubhouse...but they meet on Thursdays....which have turned out to be just about my only free day during the week. I didn't want to obligate myself to be gone on Thursdays as well, so I never went to a meeting. 

About a week before Jim went to the hospital, I got a call from the local TIP (Thriving in Place) a group here in our neighborhood to whom you can go for help if you are sick or infirm and unable to do for yourself. Nancy had hurt her back and was then bedridden. They were seeking meals delivered to her home for the time being. I signed up to take her a meal the following week, and then, as luck would have it, Jim was taken to Duke Hospital and I had to beg out of my commitment. As the weeks wore on, I saw,  on occasion, a person delivering food to Nancy. I had intentions of sending her a get well card, but as I spent nearly all day at the hospital or rehab....I never got around to it. I regret that now.

Yesterday, my daughter came over and said "Your neighbor's belongings are all out on her driveway." I looked and boxes were stacked and being placed on a truck.  I assume that Nancy has moved to a nursing home, although I don't know for certain. I feel bad(ly) for not getting to know Nancy, but I hope someone has told her what is going on here, so she will know I was otherwise engaged.  

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Nurses and Aides and Therapists....Oh My!!

So....we are nearing the end of Jim's first week back home after being in either the hospital or a therapy center for 103 days. 

We have a nurse, an aide and two therapists coming every week. The only problem is that they often want to come when another one is already scheduled....and God forbid they want to come at a time when I am going to be out of the house, which is seldom. See below.*

We are still trying to get into a routine and that takes time. We are getting many phone calls from friends; especially Jim's friends from college. They are all interested in knowing how "Jimmy"  is doing, and we like that they stay in touch with him....but trying to explain to 6-8 people what has and is happening and what his prognosis is....is daunting. 

We have some very nice, friends here, who have been very good to us. They have visited in the hospital and brought books and home-made goodies to eat. One woman makes great biscotti and we have nearly overdosed on that. Plus, she brought a bag of small packets of M&M's, both plain and peanut. I am addicted!! They did a wonderful favor for me on Tuesday. I had an appointment to get my new hearing aids fitted, and they came over and stayed with Jim so I could go. Earlier that day, my daughter stayed with her dad so I could play my weekly Scrabble game!  Scrabble is often the highlight of my week.....so I was very appreciative of that.  

She and another friend went shopping on a day that I was unable to join them. They bought a beautiful red and black sweater/jacket for my recent birthday. I can't wait to have someplace to wear it. 

*Unfortunately, I can't go out of the house much unless I find someone to sit with Jim. He does not feel comfortable being alone yet. That means my activities will be curtailed somewhat, until he feels confident to take care of himself.  I hope and pray that time comes soon!

Friday, November 01, 2019

He's Home.....after 103 days

Jim was brought home by wheelchair transport about 11 am. He is very happy to be here, and he approves of the changes we have made at home, to make it easier for him to move from room to room. 

He has a new extra-long bed that has a power lift for the head and feet (like a hospital bed, but better). I bought a hospital-type bedside table that raises and lowers at will. It wasn't a necessity, but it will come in handy. Our grandson put the bed together, and it works well.  The only problem is that I don't have the size sheets it needs. We ordered some, but we don't know if they are going to come today. They are extra long.  I can use some old king size, if need be. 

He says he is motivated to do his exercises as often as possible. We will have home health nurses and therapists coming for a while, but I don't know how long. Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

One of those Axe-murderers is at it again....

Of course, I am referring to people on the internet - as named by my children. I am not supposed to give any information (especially personal) to anyone on the web, for any reason. 

Well, when someone offers to make something for you - they need your address so they can send it - don't they?  I got another chastisement today, after showing them a pic of the wonderful blanket that Star Foster made for me, after I complimented her on the one she made for her cute granddaughter! Somehow, they think I will give my address to a "bad actor" and get killed or robbed for my lack of wisdom.

I have given my address to about 5 different people from the web, over the years, and no one has done away with me or robbed me yet. I do have some discernment about those to whom I am giving it.  Only people with whom I have had years of contact! And for that, I have had lovely holiday cards, nice letters, cornbread mix, origami trees, felted acorns, and house-slippers. Some of them have had meals in my home and I in theirs.

Star has been a blog-friend and now Facebook friend, as well as a dedicated Scrabbler and Words with Friends player. I have seen many pics of her lovely family and grandchildren and I feel certain I can say there is not an axe-murderer among them! Here is the wonderful blanket.....I have been enamored of all things Egyptian for over 60 years. This symbol is The Eye of Horus, and I could not be more pleased!

Thank you, Star, for what must have been a labor of love. I am forever in your debt!

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Money, money, money monnnnnnnnnney!!

I went to a club meeting at our clubhouse last week and I did something I don't usually do: I bought 50-50 tickets. 

It is some kind of game, and I don't know exactly how it works, but you buy 5 tickets for $3 and if you have a winning number - you get money back! 

I bought 10 tickets for $6 and when my number came up, I was given an envelope containing $33!  I seldom win anything and this was a nice surprise. 

Of course, the money was burning a hole in my pocket, so the next day I went to TJ Maxx.
There are times when I get the urge to go there, and when the urge is strong, I often find something really great. The urge was fairly strong that day.....and instead of limiting myself to a purchase equal to my winnings, I spent triple that amount. Shame on me. (But I am not returning the purse, the shoes or the blouse!)

Friday, October 04, 2019

Day 75 - but there are bright spots!!

Jim has been in either the hospital or a rehab for 75 days today. It's really inconceivable when I think about it, but there are bright spots if we look hard enough....Here, he is standing, with the aid of a machine and a therapist. We hope he will soon be able to do this on his own. But even this shows progress!

Last weekend, Jim, our son and I went out to the back patio area of the rehab. It is a lovely patch of flowering shrubs and trees, surrounded by a wrought-iron fence. Beyond the enclosure, are fields of grasses (and a highway that can be heard, but not seen.) It is a lovely, quiet area in which to sit (in shade or sun) and get fresh air.  

When we went back into the rehab, we were met by two dogs; one was a beautiful brown and white retriever of some sort (German/Austrian - I couldn't hear his owner). The other was a small terrier of the wire-haired type. Both dogs were very friendly and calm, and we all enjoyed petting them. That was a definite bright spot to the day.

Yesterday, I had no engagements until dinnertime, so I went to the rehab about noon and read to Jim from a book given to him by a friend. I am enjoying the story, even though it is about a subject I would usually have little interest in  -  international spying, intrigue and oceanography. The author goes into details of the ships in the story, and Jim likes that, although it is Greek to me. 

Last night I attended a fashion show at our clubhouse, sponsored by a Christopher and Banks clothing store. The group that put the show on also sold 50/50 tickets. You buy 5 tickets for $3. I bought 10 tickets. Lo and behold, at the end of the show, when they settled up - I won $33, for a net gain of $27!!  I was so happy! (It doesn't take much, folks, especially under current circumstances!!)

We must all keep looking for the bright side!!