Tonight would have been my regular work night at the hotel. I do miss my bi-weekly job working the front desk at the boutique hotel in Lewes where I've been employed since 2007. However, since Bill needs my full-time care, leaving him alone for anytime at all is out of the question.
Now that we don't have the home health aid workers calling and visiting every other day, we're able to settle into a routine, which is the goal of both of us since Bill's accident and his decline in health.
I've had a call from a clergyman connected with the hospice program we're under as well as a call from a social worker. We don't need that help right now. Tomorrow we meet Bill's nurse for the first time. She is the person I will call if Bill has another "event" like the last time he ended up in the Emergency Room. No more Emergency Room visits.
We're already cutting back on Bill's medications and what medications he has we're not renewing when they run out.
Our regular routine consists now of me getting up around 5:30 AM - 6:00 AM in the morning. Sometimes Bill is still in his recliner chair (where he sleeps) or he's upstairs in the sunroom, like he was this morning.
Every third day I help Bill with his shower. He needs me to undress him, and get him in the shower. It's always a challenge to get the water just right in the shower. This morning there was a blast of cold water and did I ever hear it from Bill on that one. YOW! Of course Bill doesn't want to take a shower at all, he never was one for personal hygiene. But as long as I'm taking care of him, a shower at least every three days is the rule.
Perhaps the hardest part of the day is putting those special stockings on him for the edema in his lower legs. Bill hasn't cut his toe nails in years and now his toenails are like eagle talons. Then the stockings themselves are so tight. And now his right leg is weeping, and one open wound about the size of a half dollar which I put a gauze pad on and elastic band around.
Bill still get confused with his Depends and his yoga pants. Sometimes the Depends are down and the yoga pants are up. It's a cognitive problem. Anything that requires connecting the dots, confuses Bill. He struggles to understand but usually fails. I spent about a half an hour showing him how to press the "ON" button on the warming pad for his lap, but he just doesn't get it. Part of the frustration is he still doesn't have his new hearing aid. His old one was broken while he was in that rebab facility where he spent two weeks. Next week we have an appointment at a local hearing aid center. Finally, I won't have to keep shouting at Bill of going up to his left ear to talk to him, a relief for both of us.
Daily now Bill exercises with his new size 14 Crocs and walks outside down around the cul de sac in our neighborhood. Daily we also are a ride (or two) either going to the local supermarket or my favorite thrift store. Bill especially likes sunny days. We've had a lot of rain around here lately but today was sunny and mild.
Bill usually goes to bed early around 7 PM. I used to go to bed at 11 or 12 at night but now I go to bed around 10 o'clock and I am exhausted.
This morning I talking to my younger brother, who has his own serious health issues, for advice on how to navigate my new normal life here. John was and is the care pastor of a large southern fundamentalist Baptist church in Greenville, South Carolina. He and his wife took care of our Mother during her final years. I sympathized with him and his wife while they were taking care of our Mother but I never realized just how much effort it does take to be a full-time caregiver. One thing I am so thankful for though is that Bill isn't in pain. Also, he knows who I am. I don't know if I could manage taking care of someone who didn't know who I was. Sounds uncaring but that's the way I feel.
I see the first signs of spring with the green shoots of daffodil bulbs all around our property here. Another Spring is on its way. Won't be long until I'm riding our John Deer zero degree lawn mower butching it up mowing our almost one acre of backyard.
Life goes on folks, even as some lives end.