Saturday, May 29, 2021
Saturday, May 22, 2021
|Bill gets his first COVID vaccination shot this morning|
Bill got his first COVID vaccination shot this morning.
I have both of my shots. I got them through the VA. I couldn't get Bill's vaccination shots through the VA because they said he wasn't eligible because he's on home hospice care. Does that make sense? Doesn't to me. But I can't complain too much about the VA because they are taking good care of Bill (covering all the costs) since his two strokes in January. I am SO THANKFUL for that. And they have been so cooperative when the occasional bill does find it was to Casa Tipton-Kelly. You know how it is once you have a medical event and trigger that avalanche of medical bills.
Here in Delaware we now have a surplus of COVID vaccinations so I thought I would give it a try and see if I could arrange for Bill to get his vaccinations outside the VA system. A few weeks ago I went on the Walgreen's website and signed Bill up for an appointment. This morning at 10:45 AM was his first appointment for the Pfizer COVID vaccination. Wouldn't you know it I forgot to bring identification for Bill. I have his wallet and all ID's locked up in my safe, they're not safe with Bill. He already lost his wallet at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia when he was airlifted there after his second stroke. He had no idea where his clothes were. Fortunately I was able to track them down (they were left in a bag in his ICU room) and my friend Don McK., who lives in Center City Philadelphia, went over and picked them up and mailed his clothes and wallet with all his identification to me. Thank you Don! That was a near miss. Now I don't let Bill have his wallet or cards. He's already lost his hearing aid (still hasn't shown up).
So there I am this morning at the Walgreen's Pharmacy window checking in Bill and the kind lady behind the plexiglass asks for Bill's identification. Of course Dumbo here FORGOT to bring it with me. No worries, the kind lady looked him up in their system (we got our flu shots a few years ago at that Walgreens when the VA sent us there because they ran out of flu serum or whatever you call the shot).
Bill was injected with the vaccination. We sat for about fifteen minutes just in case there was an adverse reaction (there wasn't)
Bill's sitting on the back deck now, enjoying this breezy, warm late spring day. The booster vaccination is scheduled from three weeks from now. Hopefully, I'll remember to bring his identification THIS TIME. My brain, I think I'm losing it.
Have a great day everyone!
Sunday, May 16, 2021
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, Bill will be as clean as is possible. And no more body odor.
Bill edema in his lower legs has improved. No more open wounds and leakage. No more dry scaly skin. I think this is a result of me washing his legs and feet every morning with Dial anti-bacterial soap and slathering his legs with Lubriderm lotion. And another factor is Bill walks several times a day thus getting the blood flowing to his lower legs. Whatever, it's working and we're going to keep at it.
On the downside, Bill is getting weaker. He's having a more difficult time climbing the stairs from his basement bedroom and bathroom. He used to kid me before his strokes, at how he had no trouble climbing those stairs unlike my struggle to climb those stairs. He actually goes slower than me.
His eyesight is getting worse. He can't even see to put a plug in a wall. He can't see me working outside in our backyard when he looks directly at me. He has to look sideways to see my image. That's because the central retina in his eyes is gone. It so sad when I look him directly in his eyes it's like looking at a blind person's eyes. He doesn't see me. It's heartbreaking.
We're still waiting for his new hearing aids. He lost his old hearing aids a couple of weeks ago. I thought they would show up by now but no such luck. I suspect they got flushed down the toilet during one of his bathroom visits. He's easily confused when he gets up at night for his bathroom visits.
His cognitive functions are also deteriorating. Like my late friend Bob McC., he can't figure out how to take a picture of me with my camera. He offered to take my picture earlier this week when I was working on cleaning out the shed. I was reluctant to hand him my iPhone because I'm afraid he'll drop it, he's that unsteady. But we were outside on the thick mat of grass and I figured if he did drop my iPhone it wouldn't break. No matter, he couldn't see the big white button to take my picture nor could he figure out how to get my image in the viewfinder of my iPhone. When my late friend Bob McC. had the same problem, that's when I knew Bob's cognitive abilities were gone. Same with Bill. He can't "connect the dots."
It's not all bad news around here. Bill isn't in pain and his other bodily functions work fine (thank goodness). We've been having a glorious spring. Bill spends a good deal of the day sitting on our back deck. He likes the feeling of the sun on him. Once the weather gets hot though, he won't be able to do that but now it's fine because the weather is cool and brisk.
Another piece of good news is that t he mask mandate will be lifted here in Delaware on May 21st, this Friday. I know what I'm going to do, take a trip down to the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk for a nice walk with the salt breezes of the Atlantic Ocean caressing my weathered, stressed, caregiver face.
Monday, May 10, 2021
|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 childhood, whisked away from her Cinderella like chores and step-mothers at only sixteen years of age when she met my father.
She left school in her senior year and got a quickie marriage in Maryland in 1940. I was born the following year.
This was during the World War II years and my father was a cross country truck driver (he failed his draft induction because of a childhood brain injury, was stuck in the head with an ax . . . no kidding). "Pop", as we called him, was frequently away for weeks at a time delivering vital supplies across the country while leaving my Mother to raise three small boys a year apart in age (I was born in late 1941 and my two brothers were born in 1943 and 1944).
When the war ending my father cross country truck driving days were over and he began a job as a welder. No privileged childhood here savings funds for "the boys" to "go to college".
My Mother's job was raising me and my brothers while my father catting around (another whole story that perhaps I can go into a future blog, stories my Mother only told me after my father passed away). One day she had a confrontation with him about setting new rules for the family. Turn the family finances over to her (he was spending almost all of his money on other women) or she was going to leave him. And stop the tom catting around. My father was a handsome and charming man physically large and well endowed and thus very popular with the local ladies and he knew it, and they knew it. He loved the attention the ladies gave him but he loved my Mother even more and so he changed his ways and settled down. Of course he was never too fond of me nor my brothers. My youngest brother eventually became his favorite but overall, his three kids were an annoyance to him. He could just as well have done without us. I remember one Thanksgiving dinner when me and my brothers were teenagers. Out of nowhere he put down his fork ladened with turkey gravy covered mashed potatoes, took one slow look around the dining room table and said "I must have the dumbest kids." Where did that come from. But that was Pop. Never one word of encouragement, ever. Never.
Now my Mother, she urged me on, always. I didn't want to take typing in school because it was a "girl's class". She said "You're not wasting your time t taking study hall, you're going to learn something you can use in life!" And I took TWO YEARS of typing, eventually earning the award as Best Typist In Class (from Underwood Typewriter company, and I still have the medal to prove it and I'm still typing to this day like right now).
In elementary school I hated spelling. I'm still not great at spelling (I've always had trouble spelling archetict and still can't) but she would sit me down at the kitchen table and with a wet dishrag on her right hand, we would go over each word in my third grade spelling test I was having the next day. Each time I would spell a word wrong, she would hit my left ear with that stinky, wet dish rag. Talk about getting the mule's attention with a two by four.
Also, when I was only ten years old she got me a job that I didn't ask for. She said I was going to be a paper boy. Heck, I wanted an allowance and to hang out with my friend's at Guinta's Drug Store after school. Oh no, she had different plans for me. She contacted Mrs. Linderman, the local "paper lady", and I was soon delivering about sixty Philadelphia Evening Bulletins every day after school, on Saturday and Sunday those HUGE Sunday papers which often took two trips. Initially I was resentful that I was "made to work" but eventually I realized that this was one of the best "career moves" she could have made for me. For the next five years I delivered newspapers until I quite in ninth grade because I thought I was too big and old to ride a bike. Remember this was the Fifties, and in America only kids rode bikes. We weren't Europeans like in Amsterdam Holland who rode bikes in droves. I remember seeing those newsreel images of adults riding bikes and though "how weird is that?" I certainly didn't want to be like that thus I gave up my bike route and took over my Mother's job cleaning offices after work. She left her office cleaning job to go to work at a new Pepperridge Farm frozen foods plant that had opened nearby. I remember how angry she got when she found out I was making .55 cents an hour (this was The Fifties after all) and she was only making .45 cents an hour. She asked her former boss why her 15 year old son was making more than she did and she was told "Because he's a man." Ah yes, the Glorious Fifties. Boy was she angry.
She went on to work at Pepperridge Farm for the next twenty-five years, eventually becoming the sole breadwinner for the family after my father took "early retirement" at fifty-two years of age because he thought his job making trailers was "too stressful." Pop went on to live another twenty-eight years, puffing on his pipe and lamenting his back luck in having the dumbest kids in the world, dying at age eighty of lung cancer after being told for years to stop smoking.
After my father died in 2000, my Mother seem to have lost her purpose in life. Her "boys" were now adults with their own lives and families (yes, Bill and I were and are a "family" even if he didn't pop out some kids). Her best friends were her cats "Miss Mollie" (the calico in the picture with her at the beginning of this post) and rusty, a big orange tabby. Eventually my middle brother, the one who hates me, came to live with her after he divorced (big surprise, how could anyone live with him?) Over the next several years he pretty much poisoned her mind against me and at the end of her live she was pretty much distant to me. Eventually she went to live with my youngest brother who lived in South Carolina because my middle brother couldn't take care of her as her health and mental condition declined.
I wasn't with her when she died. I wish I was but maybe it wouldn't the made much difference since she was not the same person I grew up with. I think it's fair to say at best she was confused about our relationship and at worst, she probably thought I betrayed her because she was living with my youngest brother and not at her home in Pennsylvania with her cats. But she could no longer take care of herself nor could Middle Brother take care of her. My youngest brother had his mother-in-law live with him and his wife for twenty-nine years before she passed and he was and is a care pastor of a large Christian Fundamentalist church in Greenville, South Carolina. both he and his wife and one daughter who lives at home with them, are very caring. My Mother got the best care possible in her final years for which I will be forever thankful to my baby brother and his wife the rest of my life.
So there you go folks, some off the cuff remembrance of my Mother this Mother's Day 2021. I remember the good times and the bad times but I will always be thankful that she was my Mother because I truly believe I could not have had a better Mother in this world. Now my father, that's a whole different story. I've often wondered what kind of person I would have turned out to be if I had a father he cared about me, nurtured me, encouraged and most of all liked me. But it was not to be. That's probably why you'll never see a post from me on fond memories of my father. Oh you'll see a post about the "other memories", his cruelty and indifference and selfishness. Maybe, lately I try to keep my blog upbeat but those old memories keep creeping in. Those memories of him that to this day cause me so much resentment. But that resentment if offset by my Mother's kindness during most of her life to me before Brother Two's influence and how she raised me to be the person I am today.
Thank you Mom. Rest in peace.
|Me and Mom and Pop - about 1986|
Monday, May 03, 2021
|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 thanks that I have Bill here at home to care for him and make his final days comfortable and enjoyable. And most important to let him know he is loved. The "bumps" incurred because of misunderstandings because of communication problems. Bill has profound hearing loss. His short term memory is just about shot. And his eyesight is getting worse (macular degeneration). Sometimes I get tired of constantly repeating myself because he doesn't hear and can't remember what I said. I think I've corrected that problem. It's all a learning curve folks.
Now that I have extra time I can finally clean out our garden shed from items that Bill thought was necessary to keep Casa Tipton-Kelly running smoothly. Do we need three weed-eaters? No. I hate them because they're gas operated and kill my back when I operate them. We even have a compressor taking up space in that shed. That goes. Question is do I attempt to sell it or call Just Junk and have it disposed of? We also have an extra screen door (in case we need it) in the basement. That goes. Believe it or not we also have THREE gas powered leaf blowers. They all go. I bought a new electric leaf blower that operates MUCH easier than those pull rope gas blowers that take multiple tries before they start.
I'm still trying to decide whether to advertise my garage cleanup items on our local NextDoor app or just bite the bullet and call Got Junk? I know how I'm going to rid of all those mouse poop pellets in our garden shed, with my new leaf blower. Of course I'll wear a mask whilst doing said chore.
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