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Showing posts from 2021

Bill Healthcare Update

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Time for an update on Bill's health and my caregiver status. We have settled into a routine.  This morning was Shower Day, as it is every three days. Bill complains but he does appreciate my help in giving him a shower. He hasn't been this clean in years. Bill never was one for really washing himself. For  years his definition of showering was a quick splash of water sans soap about every four days, not the best personal hygiene practice. Oh sure, I tried to persuade him to shower more often, especially when he started emitting body odors, but you have to know how stubborn Bill is. No wonder during two different emergency hospital visits they found fungus on his body. I know this is a turnoff to many of you who read this blog but I'm just stating facts. Some may say  "How could you live with somebody like that?"  Well, he wasn't always like that. I think his lack of personal hygiene developed over the years. But this is for sure now, as long as I'm able, B

Mother's Day 2021-Remembering My Mom

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  Mom with her "bed warmer", Miss Molly (about 1996) My Mother died eleven years ago. She was my best friend for many years. Towards the end of her life, as dementia crept in she became alienated to me. I suspect part of her attitude had to do with my brother who lived with her and turned her against me. I have two younger brothers, he is the middle one. He never has liked me. Of course he's a Trumper now, no surprise. We don't speak.  However, for many years my Mother and I were best friends. I was her favorite, being the first born an all. She always wanted a girl and early on I guess that's why she probably treated me as her "little girl." She told me she wanted a girl to make up for the childhood she felt she was robbed of. Her Mother died from the after effects of child birth shortly before my Mother's second birthday. My Mother was the youngest of five children, having two older sisters and two older brothers. One could say she had a Cinderella

Spring Clean Up

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  Our garden shed expels Wow! It's been a whole two weeks since I've posted. Must be spring. Busiest time of the year for your favorite blogger. Yes folks, I'm entering my busy season. Not only am I a full-time caregiver now, I am also the full-time manager of Casa Tipton-Kelly. Heretofore Bill's strokes, Bill and I shared chores in the upkeep of our almost one acre (.97 acres) of verdant wildlife sanctuary that we call our backyard. Now that has all fallen up on me. Not that I am complaining, I expected to eventually have full responsibility for running our whole operation down here in lower slower Delaware. Thank goodness my daily routine for caring for Bill has settled into a manageable routine. Every day I wash Bill's edema swollen legs with anti-bacterial soap. I help him dress. I fee him. I take him for rides. I shower loving attention on him. Not that there hasn't been a few "bumps" in the road but overall I'm managing. Every day I give than

Mulch Delivery

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Hi folks! I'm back. Time flies when you're (me) having fun doesn't it? Of course my whole life now is devoted and spent taking care of Bill. He is stabilized now but he needs almost constant observation and care.  Once a week his hospice nurse calls (yesterday) and on alternate weeks she visits to check on Bill. She's very good, she cares. She checks Bill's blood pressure and asks all the right questions. She also makes sure we have all the medications and medical equipment we need, usually the same day.  Spring has sprung around here and my daily must do activities are ramping up. Right now I am awaiting a call for the delivery of thirty bags of cedar mulch. Me and the mulch company have been playing telephone tag for the last week trying to arrange a delivery date. Ironic since they're right up the road. I can almost walk there but I can't pick up thirty bags of heavy mulch.  Before spring has spring I has quite busy around Casa Tipton-Kelly with regular h

Bill's Favorite Pastime

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Yesterday, I posted what I do in my spare time. Today I'm posting one of Bill's favorite activities, sitting on our back deck with the sun in his face. These days, with much of Bill's activity restricted because of his poor eyesight and reduced physical stamina, he loves the peacefulness of just sitting in the sun in the cool weather, listening to nature abound around him.  I am so thankful that I have Bill at home here at this time of his life in the comfort of his own home surrounded by everything he loves. Think of all those families during this COVID pandemic who don't have that choice. All those families who don't have the option of having their loved one at the end of their life, at their home.  Bill and I are indeed very lucky.

How I Pass My Time These Days

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Now that I'm not working my part-time job at the hotel, what you may ask do I do with my spare time? Not that I have a lot of spare time but I am able to secure some Ron Time when Bill goes to bed which is usually around 7 PM at night. These days he does stay in bed all night and is waiting for me in the morning when I go down to his basement bedroom and prepare him for the day.  Usually in the evenings like this I play online Scrabble with Pat while my TV is on in background (wallpaper), almost always on MSNBC (Joy, Chris, Rachel and Lawrence). Sometimes I update my blog like I'm doing now. I also take care of business like tonight I ordered spring bulbs from Breck's to arrive in the fall. I'm always enthused in the spring to order bulbs but when they arrive in the fall, I am so tired from yard work and ready to take my winter break, I have to force myself to plant those bulbs. But when spring rolls around, like this year, I'm glad I made the effort. Thus hundreds

My Way

  Oh I sure did do it my way.  Yes, I'm still playing with this lip synch Wombo app that Pat sent to me a few weeks ago. On this latest version I'm lip synching Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way."  God, I wish I had this kind of talent. Not just the singing voice but the physical expressions. Looking at this short video I see how stilted I am but that there was always the possibility that I could do more. It's too late in my life now to change. I am one of those old men who is absolutely set in his ways.  My new "way" is staying home all day caring for Bill. He's improving but will never get back to where he was before his strokes in January. With medication he could live another six months to a year and even eighteen months. Of course one never knows but I am heartened that he is able to get around on his own now. He can go to the bathroom by himself but he still needs me to help him shower, which tomorrow is shower day (he hates "shower day

Phases Of My Life

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Taking a break from my now life's a caregiver, this is what some of my life was previously until today.  In order of appearance, this is a description of each photo: "Dessie", my first crush/love - 1962 - at a friend's cottage Chesapeake, City, Maryland during my Army days Peggy Fisher, bowling banquet, me president giving address during my work employment at Girard Bank, Philadelphia, PA My and my school friends Jack and Larry at a class reunion at another classmate's farm in Mainheim, PA Me and my two younger brothers John and Isaac and our dog "Sam" (Chesapeak Bay Retriever) at "The Old Swimming Hole", Boot Road, Downingtown, PA circa 1954 A very tired me after my night auditor gig at The Hampton Inn, Exton, PA - I had to sleep in my windowless basement room during the day to get my sleep cycle back on track - obviously not so successful Me and my longtime friend and co-worker Don McKenzie at my friend Bob McCamley's single wide trailer

Bill Looking At Fifty Year Old 8mm Film Of Our Dogs

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Bill is doing well folks. He's still very weak and will never be the Bill he was before his two strokes in January but we're managing.  He no longer has open, weeping wounds in his lower legs from his edema. He still has that edema but his condition has improved and not gotten worse, which is what we feared. His hospice nurse visits us in person every other week and by phone on alternating weeks. She is very helpful unlike the health aid workers who, although they meant well, were more disruptive than helpful. I think Bill's edema leg condition has been helped by his daily walking and me cleaning his legs and feet every morning with anti-bacterial soap.  Bill still needs help showering and with his bathroom needs. He gets confused with the dressing and undressing but has improved. A lot of his problem has to do with this cognitive ability, which is noticeably deteriorated since his strokes, but he tries which I have to give him a lot of credit. God bless him.  Because of hi

Death Of First Love

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Young Dessie around the time I met him (I've always had a "thing for cute nerdy guys in glasses)   "Do you play pinochle?" I looked up from where I was  lying in my bunk, while reading  a book in the Army barracks at Fort George G. Meade circa 1991 to see the spectacled cute face of fellow soldier. From 1960 to 1963 I was stationed at Ft. Meade in Laurel Maryland working at the National Security Agency. My questioner had recently arrived from a one year tour of duty at Shemya,, Alaska; the closest United States location to Russia. His name was Dessie. We both were in the Army Security Agency whose purpose was communication intercept of foreign powers.  I told him that I didn't play pinochle but I was willing to learn. He asked me to join him as a partner for a pinochle game with two other of our Army comrades who were in the barracks that evening. Thus began a regular occurrence, playing pinochle several times a week to pass the time by.  We were both eighteen ye

A Profusion Of Daffodils

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Daffodils, daffodils, daffodils! One can never have enough daffodils. The first spring we were here, I was aghast at spring when I realized that we didn't have one daffodil to greet us with its dazzling yellow sunshine harbinger of spring greeting. That first fall I made amends to never let that happen again, I planted a few hundred daffodils. The next spring those few hundred daffodils looks like a drop in the buck on our almost one acre of land here in our development (we have one of the largest lots in our development of 3/4 acre lots). Every year since then (2008) I have planted more and more daffodils. They are especially hard to plant in the fall because of all the other growth. A few years ago I started to plant in the spring. Yes, I broke that cardinal rule, "one does not plant spring bulbs in the spring." Well, I do folks because I want to know where the "holes" are. I buy already potted daffodils in the spring, then transplant them in those "holes

Wednesday's W

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  Hey folks, taking a break from my Nurse Ron life and posting a different kind of blog posting. This one I stole from Ur-Spo of Spo Reflections.  I've always like these kind of posts because the information gives you an insight into the blogger's personality and life, something which I always find interesting. Here goes: What's top my mind - concerned that I might not survive caring for Bill. My biggest fear is that I will die before Bill. Lately I've been so fatigued, I can hardly move. Of course a lot of this may just be my imagination. I hope it is anyway. Where I've Been - to the VA Outpatient Clinic in where I received my second dose of the COVID (Pfizer) vaccine. I have my proof of vaccination card and now I'm ready to travel. But I'm not going anywhere as long as I'm Bill's caregiver. What I'm watching - MSNBC usually, which is in the background when I am writing a blog such as this or cooking in our kitchen. However, since the Trump S

Fading

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Bill and Me Christmas 1976 (?) Finished up the last of digitizing our old slides and 8 MM and VHS videos to a flash drive and posted to You Tube. Some degradation of picture quality from so many transitions to new forms but the essence remains the same. This photo from Christmas 1976 (I think) of me and Bill at our home on Naudain Street In Philadelphia. Bill and I no longer look like this, we're almost unrecognizable now as we're fading out at the end of our lives now. But here's a photo memory of us for the ages long after we're gone. It's appropriate that this old photo is fuzzed out. That's the way Bill and I are now as we near the end of our lives. Bill has somewhat stabilized but he still needs help dressing, showering and with the bathroom (had another "accident" this morning). He also needs help with his medications, eating and direction. Some good news though, his edema open sores have healed and I don't have to dress his legs any more. Hi

Stimulating The Economy

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  Last week we received our stimulus payments of $2,800. After today's news, that payment is just about gone. Over the weekend I discovered our downstairs (basement) bathroom did not have a sewage pump but instead a sump pump to pump the sewer waste from the bathroom to our outside septic.  We've lived here since 2007 but have rarely used that basement bathroom. I have my own bathroom of my bedroom which is the master (of course) bedroom. Bill chose for his bedroom a small room off to the side of the utility room in our finished basement. He likes rooms without windows. I like rooms with a lot of windows. Just another total difference in preferences that Bill and I have. Bill didn't like to use the downstairs bathroom because the waste had to be pumped up through a sewer pipe to our outside septic tank. He almost always used the  upstairs bathroom in our bonus room on the second floor. Now that he's incapacitated he has difficulty climbing those stairs to the second flo

The March Winds Blow Cold

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Bill on the lookout waiting for the trash trucks this morning   Cold, cold, cold and windy this March morning here at Casa Tipton-Kelly.  Bill is at his usual spot on this trash pickup day. Every other week is recycle pickup. Wouldn't you know it, today is extra windy.  Our neighbor's trash was packed as it usually is (they have two young daughters) and this wind blew open the top of their trash can so now we have some their trash in our yard. I've already picked up some on this cold, cold, cold and windy day. Oh how I long for some warm days. I've had enough of the cold.  For the second year in a row we didn't receive any significant snow here in southern coastal Delaware which is just fine with me. I'll enjoy the snow I see on TV, I don't need to experience it especially since I fell on the snow and ice a few years back and tore my left leg quadricep muscle. That leg hasn't been right since but I walk again for which I will be forever grateful. Bill co

I Feel Good!

  Time for some smiles! Currently I'm reading a biography of my favorite female singer, Dinah Washington. I'm always amazed and impressed with people who have a natural talent whether it be in signing or another field like art.  I have no talent like that.  James Brown had talent. Mick Jagger has talent. Frank Sinatra had talent. So many singers who were born with that talent.  Another thing that always amazed me was that so many of these people who have that natural talent for singing had such chaotic lives. Dinah, one of my all time favorites, was a mess. Married seven or eight times, unpredictable and eventually dying of a drug overdose. How many of our natural talents die of a drug overdose? I knew Janis would die that way. Jimmi Hendrix, Jim Morrison. Keith Moon, Any Winehouse. So many, so much talent lost. But you know what? I think we all have some kind of talent, in our own way. Unfortunately my talent doesn't and never has earned me a lot of money. But I'm happ

Daylight Savings Time And Other Meandering Thoughts On This Sunday

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  This morning I had to endure the twice a year aggravation of changing all our clocks due to the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.  I love clocks and have way too many, but this is the time of year that I wish I only had one clock.  I think I have at least fifty timepieces to change. Some change themselves but most of my clocks I have to change by hand. And wouldn't you know it, no two are changed the same way. Because I only change the clocks every six months, at least half of them I forget how I changed them. Clocks are not like typewriter keyboards, standardized but someone went out of their way to make no two the same. As of this writing I've only changed about half of our clocks, I still have to change the one in my car. That's one I always forget. For some reason I have a mental block on that clock. Two of our clocks are high up on the wall. Bill usually pulls out the ladder and changes those times but he can't do that now because of his stoke and weakness and

Balancing

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  Pat's new penthouse condo in Hamilton, Ontario Bill's hospice nurse made her weekly visit yesterday. Using a hospice nurse is so much better for Bill and me than the previous home health care aides who were bombarding our house. They meant well but their visits were just too disruptive and not solving anything. When I had my leg surgery, my home health aide worker came in and changed my dressing, that was a big help.  Bill's just came in, filled out paper work, took his blood pressure and too often recommend that he go to the local emergency room immediately because his blood pressure was too low. That didn't work for our well being. I'm glad I changed his care to home hospice. The last few days we've had spring like weather here at our home in coastal Delaware. Bill's been out every day taking a walk. I also got in a couple long walks (over a mile) which does wonders for not only my health but mental well being. Something that needed renewed since Bill ca

Waiting For Bill's Hospice Nurse

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  Bill's leg wound dressing by Ron Right now we're waiting for Bill's hospice nurse to arrive this morning. She visits us once a week, usually on Fridays.  Since I decided on hospice home care for Bill, this is a much better option. Previously we had home health aides arriving here several times a week, sometimes two at a time, which was very disruptive. I'm sure they were just doing their job but with two consecutive visits which told us to go to the local emergency room right away because Bill's blood pressure was too low, I decided that home health care wasn't working for either one of us. There was no practical improvement in Bill's condition other than his day was disrupted (mine too) with no tangible result. With his home hospice care, she only comes by once a week, checks on Bill's condition and provides practical help. For instance, Bill's right leg was seeping clear liquid from his edema. She immediately ordered an antibiotic that was sent t

My New Normal

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  Bill waiting for trash pickup last Friday, his big event of the day. Bill now brings the trash cans back, a job he used to have before his accident, thus bringing his life somewhat back to normal. Here at Casa Tipton-Kelly we're pretty well settling into the new normal.  No more staying up all hours of the night. I used to go to bed around 12:30 to 1:00 AM. Two nights ago I went to bed at 8:30 PM and slept through the whole night. I do get up early, usually around 5:30 AM.  First job in the morning is to change Bill's dressing on his right leg. He has edema on both legs. That means his heart isn't pumping enough blood to his lower extremities. His right leg began weeping (seeping clear liquid) shortly after he returned home last month from rehab. His hospice nurse recommended dressing his leg wound. She also prescribed an antibiotic. Both measures seem to have stemmed any worsening of Bill's edema. The wound is still there but not as bad.  Every third day I have to he