Friday, March 12, 2021

Balancing

 

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 came home from the rehab hospital.

During my walk today I was thinking how much our life has changed. Even though Bill is home now our life will never return to what it was before Bill had his stroke on January 14th. Actually, he had two strokes. When I found him passed out on the kitchen floor January 12th, that was also a stroke caused by his a-fib. 

I think I was assuming that during Bill's rehabilitation he would soon return to what he was before. Now I know that's never going to happen. Bill is very weak. He will never be the man he was before his stroke. His mental capacity is diminished (today he was having trouble figuring out to access his e-mail again). Bill tries to do what he did before his stroke like gathering the trash once a week and putting it out and bringing back the trash cans. He managed to do that today but he still can't dress himself or take a shower by himself. He can take off his hoodie and or shirt but can't figure out how to put them back on. He also can't change the dressing on his leg, which needs to be changed daily. He also can't make a meal for himself nor keep his medications straight. I am so thankful that he knows who I am and is not in pain. Again, I cannot stress those two things, he knows who I am and is not in pain.

When I thought I had lost Bill in January after his stroke, I realized my life had just experienced an earthquake. I just could not imagine my life without Bill in it. Now I realize I was think of the Bill before his stroke. Now that he is at home, I realize he will never be that Bill and my life is not the same. This may sound unfeeling but I can imagine my life now without Bill in it because most of the old Bill isn't in my life now. And for Bill, his life, as he knew and enjoyed it, will never return. And that frustrates him so much. I wish I could make that right for him but all I can do is tell him I love him, care for him, and give him as much leeway as possible for him to try and do what he did before his stroke. 

He can still see the weather patterns on his iPad. He enjoys sitting in our sunroom and now that the robins have arrive, and some daffodils have burst into yellow bloom,  he knows he's here for another spring season. This weekend we can both be aggravated by the annual change from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time. Life goes on.

One thing I greatly miss though is my part-time job at the hotel. That job provided a perfect balance to my life in retirement. Twice a week I got to interact with my co-workers and guests in the hotel. Working at the hotel, provided both a service to my employer and the guests of the hotel, gave me a sense of self-worth that isn't the same as my caregiving. I miss coming home at 11:30 PM at night on Mondays and Thursdays, and calling Pat and regaling him with my hotel front desk experiences. Now I'm home all the time, except for the daily ride to the local supermarket or thrift store. I don't think I could ever retire permanently. I would go crazy.

In two weeks I get my second COVID vaccination shot. Maybe, just maybe I can resume my quarterly visits with Pat. I'm quite sure we can return to Palm Springs next February. Hopefully I can visit Pat in his new penthouse condo in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada this fall. I think I have Bill convinced to spend a week at the hospice center (home like setting) while I take that respite from my caregiving.

One day at a time folks, one day at a time.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ron,
I much admire the honesty of your post, concerning Bill's condition. He is a shell of what he was, with little or no quality of life. Please do not sacrifice your own health and existence in trying to recreate what has vanished, as you observe. As I observed in a comment to a previous post, a friend of mine was in the same situation as you in regard to her mother whom she kept at home and fought endlessly to keep alive. In retrospect she sees that she damaged her own health with no benefit to her mother. As I wrote, moving Bill to a hospice for his final days is, if very hard, the best solution. Roderick

"Tommy" said...

Ron,

You are admired by many as the writer of the previous comment stated. I hope all goes well for Bill and you as y'all progress

Tommy

Ron said...

Roderick,
You're right, Bill is a shell of his former self. He has always been busy with his projects. Now that he can't do anything he is so frustrated. He does enjoy my company and our regular routine of a daily (or two) ride. He feels bad that he needs so much help but I don't mind helping him dress and changing his bandages and administering his medications. One difference between your friend who took care of her mother who she fought endlessly to keep alive, I am not doing that. That's why we decided for home hospice care. We're making what time Bill has left peaceful. We're very lucky Bill isn't in pain. If and when Bill has another episode where he passes out (those were strokes he had before), we're not going to extraordinary lengths to keep him alive. Sounds harsh but it is the best solution for all involved. Thank you for your comment.
Ron

Ron said...

"Tommy",
Bill and I had another good day today. Each day that we have a good day like today, is a big plus. We count every day like this as a gift. We are so lucky compared to so many others in this time of COVID who don't have the benefits we have. We are both very thankful for our good fortune that we can spend our time together during Bill's final days.
Ron

Ur-spo said...

one day per day remains a most sensible way to do things.

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