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Discussion in 'General Discussions and Lounge' started by leashedForLife, Mar 8, 2018.
Congrats on getting the live-in job
1 step forward, 4 steps back -
I lost my laptop last night - after a week of short sleep on this weird schedule, i was brain-dead. I went to the ladies' rm just as the library was closing, SET MY LAPTOP behind the S/S rail over the TP dispensers "so it would be safe", & when i exited, took my backpack & my shoulder bag, but not my laptop - behind me.
They closed at 7 - i walked home to save $$, got there about 8, & didn't reach for it till about 8:30. // That's when i realized where i'd left it; there was only 1 other person on the 2nd floor when i left, a woman who'd been in the bathrm when i entered.
I got here B4 they opened the doors this morning; it was already gone when the custodian entered the room to clean. No one turned it in.
I'm feeling numb - so much is happening, this is just one more stress.
That was $1,100 - right now, I have about $150 in my acct; there was an automatic payment yesterday of $15.
I think the dark-haired woman with the navy-blue rollaway is homeless - & i think my laptop left with her. // They have no CC-TV anywhere, not even at the doors - i asked.
The past week is a blur - packing, moving, training, more packing, final weekend shifts with the F client & her kitty, more training, more packing, paying drivers, unloading at the storage unit, Uber rides with 15% off (a one-month deal) to carry items along with me to the client’s apt, & collapsing into bed, to get up & do it again.
The trainer was the client’s BFF, & she was terrific - patient & clear, tips for safety & comfort, & a wild sense of humor - a couple of times, she got both of us cackling hysterically, & the client rolled his eyes & groused, “oh my God, now there’s TWO of them!”, LOL, but he laughed, too.
It was spozed to hit 95’ F today, & I had to stay as my client is “under house arrest” per his Doc (chest congestion); I still have some books to pack, my battery-powered bike, my “horseback” core exercise machine, & some other odds ‘n ends to shift.
Tomm he goes to the office, I go to my almost-empty apt & finish up. // I have a driver with an SUV on tap, the seats are already folded down, & he did a load for me last week, so knows the start & end points (former rental, storage unit) - he will run me & the few things that won’t be stored into town when we finish at the storage bldg.
Tomm is spozed to feel like 104’ F - i’m not looking forward to the sensation. Pray for me - or just think cooling thoughts, or sacrifice a cantaloupe... any mindful gesture, I will be grateful.
Oof, it’s still 80’ in here, & the AC is on “high fan” in both rooms that have thermostats! - yikes.
9-pm, & 80 indoors WITH the air-conditioning- good heavens, i’m melting...
My new client likes my cooking - Tonight I made smothered chicken (slow-cooked in a covered skillet with onions & a little vinegar), pan-sautéed potatoes, & steamed fresh spinach.
For myself, I had the starch & the greens, but in place of meat, a split & toasted OMG sesame bagel, with a Neufchâtel spread I made myself, topped with sautéed crimini ‘shrooms. // that bagel was to die for... the spread got tomato flakes, dried roast garlic, & powdered veg stock, all organic.
It smelt heavenly & was luscious under the shrooms.
I did a 4 load wash today, the bed is freshly made, 2/3 of the towels in the house went thru the washer, & I repacked my bulk herbs / spices (bought for 35% off, thank U, VitaCost! )
For a while this afternoon, the kitchen had a heady melange of cardamom, chili powder, 3-pepper corns, orange peel, garlic, comino, & dried tomatoes.
Tomorrow (due to my driver canceling on Tues) I get another opp to MOVE MY STUFF... it should be the last load, I will take a bouquet as a goodbye gift to the landlady. // Can’t wait to be finished!
I soloed after a week of training, & while this is fairly complex care, I feel reasonably confident after a couple of weeks in the job.
The one thing that makes me a bit anxious daily is the sling of the Hoyer, a very unusual short version that does NOT support the person’s HEAD... plus he uses it with both legs together, straps crossing under both knees to be attached on opp slots.
This short-backed design makes it more likely that the person will slide helplessly out, head down, & crash, & not cradling each leg separately also raises those odds.
I always check while he’s still over the bed that he’s really secure; I pull up on the loop that runs across the outside of the sling, to get his torso to slip a few inches deeper. Still, until he’s safely in the chair (shower or power), i’m a little worried. Every safe landing is a relief.
Hoyers have killed patients, & must be used with TWO operators in any facility; I did not know that, B4 a few months ago. I have always used them in the client’s home, so was unaware that it’s illegal to run one solo, in any nursing home or hospital. // i’ve never had a partner to help with transfers, so i’ve used Hoyers on my lonesome since my 1st client, when I was 15.
That’s been over 40 years; so far, no one has been injured by a Hoyer in my care.
Yesterday my client laughed at me, for catching the bus back from the pharmacy... he was on his way home, I went to pick up a Rx, & while I walked ** to ** the store, I caught the bus back. Not only was it bloody hot & uncomfortable, I was in a hurry- I didn’t want him to arrive to an empty apt, I wanted to be there, as sometimes he needs the toilet speedily.
Needing to wait & hold it is a serious issue for wheelchair users; it’s bad for bladder & kidneys to hold urine too long, & it’s not good for bowels, either.
So yes, I checked the bus transponder while in line at the druggist, zipped out the door, & snagged a bus to go 2 blocks in the heat. No regrets - I was home in under 15-mins, & had the pills in the daily case by the time he got in. Hurrah!
He thot it was a riot, but he forgets that he rolls along in his chair so quickly, that i’d have to run to keep up - the pharmacy is “further away” for me, in travel time, plus way-more work, in the heat.
He can roll there in 2 mins flat, door to door - it takes me twice that, afoot.
One of the advantages of power chairs!
3 weekends ago, my relief PCA - who covers wkends - took ill on Sat AM, here at the apt.
It was scary, she was suddenly hit with severe vertigo, &could not stand up. I called 911 & she went to the hospital near her home by ambulance, where they know her & have her complete Med-Hx. // She is getting better, but i’m working 7 days / wk. It’s tough.
I have made a few changes -
I added an Oriental-style area rug in front of the sofa, to break up the ugly industrial indoor / outdoor wall-to-wall, which is a pale muddy beige and light brown tweed that covers every foot of every floor thru-out the apt, save the bathroom (off white tile) & the tiny kitchen, which boasts foot-square plastic tile patterned with light brown & cream “marbling”.
I threw my creamy orange-sherbet bedspread, folded, over the PVC shower chair in the corner of the living room to “hide” it, & tossed a multicolor duvet cover over the hideous black-canvas futon mattress (the frame & legs are wide flat brushed aluminum, while everything else in the room is a warm honey colored wood... blends right in, innit? // Not.),
& also added 2 throw pillows for emergency back-support, as the futon is both TOO LOW to the floor, & much TOO DEEP from edge of seat to the steeply-angled back, for anyone to comfortably *sit* on the bloody thing...
The only time it was used was as a bed, for the long-suffering BFF who usually covers weekend care, & slept on the horrid hard thing.
No wonder she got sick! — the client, who sits on a carefully tailored inflatable cushion on his custom-made wheelchair, only thot of the futon as casual seating for other ppl, & I am sure he’s unaware that it’s Godawful uncomfortable, as well as ugly.
I have been cooking up a storm, baked a rhubarb tort (2, actually - with meringue tops), made heirloom corn tortillas covered with rice, black beans, roasted corn, cheese, & salsa (plus ground beef for the client), chicken paprikash, leek & potato soup, ... all sorts.
We will go to Florida near the end of October, & stay there for a few weeks, back to Boston for a few weeks, then spend winter in Fla.
I can’t wait for Liz to get better, I miss her cockeyedhumor & her appreciative eye for color and beauty (she’s an artist, in her other life).
The good news is that Liz continues to improve - the bad news is that I am still It, 7 days a week.
I’m getting really tired, cumulatively... especially as the client wants to start the bedtime routine at 10-pm, which gets HIM into bed & relaxed, but it keeps ME up & busy until 11:30 or midnite, sometimes till 12:30-am, when I finally remove the urinal and close the bedroom door, BUT... then he wants to “get up” at 8:30-am, which means less than 7-hrs of sleep, for me.
I don’t mind him STAYING up, to watch TV, surf the ‘net, play online games, listen to music, whatever... but keeping *me* up late, when I am not needed, merely just in case, is really pushing the boundaries.
“Getting up” involves me delivering a simple breakfast with coffee, then he lays in bed & works from his laptop for an hour or two... or 3, which really frustrates me, as there is IMO no point in awakening him at 8:30 or 9 AM, if he’s going to lie in bed for 90-mins or more. Grrr.
I could really use that time to sleep!
I get up already tired, make & deliver his brekkie, then sit around or do random chores for an hour plus, then get him out of bed & into the Hoyer, the shower chair, the shower, reverse the process after drying to get him dressed, get him into his power chair, & he complains that it’s noon.
No kidding! —- how did that happen?... Well, let’s see, U stayed in bed from 8:30 to 10-am, spent an hour & a half in the bathroom, another 30-mins getting dressed, and it’s now noon.
Time marches on, LOL. If U want to be out the door by 11, U need to be up by 9:30 & move yer butt. It’s not rocket surgery.
I need 2 or 3 days of waking up WITHOUT an alarm, when I am rested and wake on my own.
God knows when I will get that, & She’s not telling.
Sorry to hear about that. I know what you mean about the lack of sleep though....
Adding to my troubles, I have discovered no-see-ums... or rather, they have discovered me.
No-see-ems are tiny biting flies, smaller than fruit flies, who can easily slip thru screens which will keep out mosquitoes.
They are indigenous to New England, & I have never (to my knowledge) been bitten by them, before. // My body apparently reacts violently to this new salivary intruder, & unlike my boss, who gets a small dome similar to a mozzie bite, I get swelling, intense itching for days or a week plus, and RED angry welts that can blister at the bite site, and burst.
I was getting over 4 bites on my back & neck, which were almost resolved.
I had slept with ice packs 3 nights running for my neck; the itching was down to a nagging that I could ignore. Then yesterday afternoon, I was bitten 3 times on the underside of my left upper arm, & once just above the 2 almost-healed bites on my neck. GAAahhh.
Overnight while I slept, I was bitten ON THE EAR & ON ONE EYELID.
My Rt eye is half shut from the swelling, my ear is an angry rosy pink and 3 to 4X normal size, plus the itch is intense. // I woke when I was called at 6-am for the urinal (he has a cold, we are pushing fluids & the humidifier is set for 60%), & found the bites.
I took my antihistamine, lay down with an ice pack under my arm, another lying on my neck, & a cold compress on my closed eye.
I look like Quasimodo’s dotter, & I am itching madly. I don’t dare touch them, other than to chill them; my ear is so swollen, I can feel my pulse in it.
We are going to buy a CO2 trap as would be used for mozzies outdoors. I sure hope it works.
Meanwhile, roll on, autumn! - frost is the only thing that will get RID of the flying fangs.
On Friday evening, we went out to dinner at a linen-tablecloth restaurant - the boss’s treat, to help soothe us both, after a rough week.
I had a luscious homemade gnocchi, with truffle cream sauce & thinly sliced mushrooms; it was fantastic, & I enjoyed every bite.
Unfortunately, we were seated directly under the airshaft that runs beside the staircase to the upper floor, which hosted a large, noisy, private party, with over 150 guests.
The noise of their chatter made conversation almost impossible, as my client is quite HoH, & background sound can make distinguishing words very hard.
His dinner, lobster fra diavolo over fettuccine, was okay, but he said “the chef forgot the diavolo part” - the sauce was a sweet chunky Roma, not the spicy version he anticipated. And the bartender didn’t know how to mix a Planters’ punch (half & half OJ + pinepple juices, an oz. of cherry syrup, a splash of lime juice, Angostura bitters, 2 oz. of dark rum).
He had a tall something that looked as if there was cranberry juice in it, & smelled like a whiskey sour.
We enjoyed it all anyway, & escaped just as the noise upstairs was rising to a crescendo.
Then yesterday evening, he had a major craving for Chinese, & was inspired to order from P F Chang, which was wonderful, eaten at the humble household table, & more than made up for his somewhat disappointing dinner at Towne Spirits.
My client has come down with a cold, & while other folks might take a minor URI in stride, he has serious respiratory problems which are congenital, & often struggles to breathe, even WITHOUT mucus clogging his sinuses & nostrils, & goopy phlegm in his throat & lungs.
The last 2 days, despite all my efforts, have been scary - he needed the rescue inhaler 3x in just 2 days.
I have a personal steamer (Mabis) for opening his sinuses & lungs,
his room at night has 60 to 65% humidity constantly,
he’s taking a cough suppressant that helps liquify mucus, 2x per day,
I offer to help him blow his nose frequently,
& even percuss his lungs by slapping his back & sides with my cupped palm,
I am pushing fluids every chance I get...
& still, periodically, he’s gurgling, coughing, & short of breath.
Since I wrote the above, he’s out of bed, showered, dressed (as quickly as possible, in the sauna of his West-facing bedroom :tongue lolling & panting heavily: ...), & in his power chair.
Once again, just after the shower, he had a coughing spell that left him breathless, hacked up clear foamy phlegm, & needed the rescue inhaler. That’s 4X in 3 days.
I am very concerned; so much so that I cancelled my Dr’s appt for 2:30 this afternoon with my PCP, which I had waited to get for 3 weeks (when of course, he was healthy, dammit), as I am afraid to leave him for about 2 hours - the time it would take to go to Medford, see the doc, & get back, via public transit.
I just can’t feel comfortable leaving him solo for that long, in case he has another coughing /choking spell, or needs the inhaler urgently. He cannot use it solo.
I sure hope this resolves quickly, he is getting exhausted by coughing, & I am exhausted by worry & nonstop caregiving. 7 days a week is tough.
Greetings from cloudy-but-comfy Florida!
We’ve been here about a week; thankfully, after the seasonal move, Liz is covering weekends, so I’m officially working 5 days a week again.
The 1st thing that strikes U when looking about the area is that poverty is highly visible, widespread, & common. Poor houses with bad roofs, fences of wood scraps & bits of wire, tarpaper covering broken shingles or siding, etc.
The local prostitutes walk along the side of the road, “looking for rides” & wearing skimpy polyester skirts & heels.
We are in a comfy double-wide mobile home, in a well-maintained trailer park, with gardens, scattered trees, driveways to park on each lot, etc - but a quarter mile away are houses that are a few steps above “shack” status.
Outdoor burning is permitted, so some residents burn their household trash rather than pay to have it collected. Outdoor dogs, behind fences or chained, are sadly common.
There is a CVS within walking distance (3/4 mile); a large Publix market is less than 10-mins away by car, & sharing that complex, a great family-owned Italian restaurant, & a hair salon.
Very close by afoot, is a bodega catering to the local Latino folks, & a tiny shopping plaza with a few rundown storefronts.
I will post a few photos as soon as I can retrieve them from my e-mail... I am still getting used to palm trees fruiting in side yards, banana trees outside of glasshouses, & skinks racing along the deck banisters.
The local black vultures are impressive - enormous wingspans, & a marvelous command of gliding flight.
Good luck in your new state!
Yeah, good luck. Please post updates and picture, FL just came up in a conversation the other day when talking about maybe moving to a different state in the future (we are in CT), these insights are super interesting.
We are in the Lakeland area, Tampa Bay is over an hour away by car -
but there are plenty of local resources, a large mall w/in 20-mins drive if we want to stroll & shop or go to a different restaurant, & so on.
Organic foods are a bit of a challenge, staples such as org milk are at Publix, but organic cheeses are in very short supply, & organic ethnic foods (Parm-Reg cheese, for ex) are practically nonexistent.
The cost of living is much lower, but my Mass. med-insurance does not travel across state lines; any Rx, Dr visit, etc, will be out of my pocket.
But the weather has been lovely, warmish days & cool nights, & so far, we’ve turned the heat on for just one night plus the next day. The humidity is high enuf that he’s breathing easier w/o a need for an ultrasonic unit.
I am sure I will need a humidifier for Jan / Feb, tho, & have been shopping for a suitable 1 to 2-gal, ultrasonic, UV-light model.
I wanted to ship my nice Della 2-gal with the humidistat, but The Boss said if we need one, we’ll get one... & of course, has done nuthin’ to find anything similar.
It’s 11:40-pm local time, & i am sitting in my bathing suit in the dark, on our deck, with my feet in a kiddy wading-pool filled with 3 10-qt buckets of cold tap water. // I’m dam*ed tired, i’m cranky & hot & sticky; it reached 81’ F inside the house at 2-pm today, & that was NINE hours ago.
At 6-pm, I opened every window & even propped both doors open, with fans running on high in 4 windows to pull the cooler outside air in, but in 6-hours [it’s now midnight], it has only fallen from a high of 83’ F to 81.
**crying** I’m so hot & irritable, i want to either bawl like a 2-YO or slap the repairman out of bed, & tell him to fix the blasted thing or replace it entirely - right NOW.
OUtdoors, it’s about 75’ & tolerable, altho the humidity is high, but calf-deep in cool water while sitting on a cast-steel chair, i’m OK.
The AC has been broken for 4 or 5 weeks; they have repaired it 4 separate times, then it works for a day, or 2 at most, & it dies again. // So far, they’ve recharged it with coolant [TWICE], replaced the compressor, the coil, a different coil later in order to replace the piston which came with the new coil [don’t ask], found & soldered a pinhole leak in the copper line then drained the system of coolant & established a vacuum in order to ensure that no solder droplets or flux was trapped in the system then recharged it with coolant a 3rd time [all that took over 3-hours on Wed afternoon, & it was dead as a doornail by 2-pm on Thursday]...
It’s been Hell. To boot, the makers of the 3-ton AC unit claimed we had no warranty, when in fact that unit is fully covered for TEN YEARS - & it’s just exactly 9-YO. // They had to reimburse us for over $2K in parts & labor. Nyahhhh!
We are approx a month out, from our return to Boston - & we’ve JUST gotten wheels!
our faithful steed Rozinante, the crip-mobile [ramp-equipped van] had to go in for repair shortly after we arrived - we flew in on Dec-7, & IIRC, the van began knocking loudly [...under the floor, behind the passenger-side ramp door] right around the 14th of Dec.
It turned out to be a damaged strut which had to be replaced, but when the mechanic tipped it on the lift to access the Rt side, THE GAS TANK BEGAN TO LEAK ONTO THE SHOP FLOOR. It was rusted out, & needed to be replaced
WHen he phoned the firm that originally customized the van, THEY WANTED TWO GRaND FOR THE TANK, ALONE - which is maybe what the whole van might be worth. That’s ruddy blackmail, IMO - but as handicapped vans are all generally retrofitted custom jobs, the parts are often unique, & this welded sheet-steel tank was designed to fit under the floor in a slot, among the pipes & tranny.
It wasn’t worth splashing out 2K to buy a gas-tank; they decided to get a new-to-them van.
My client & his BFF, plus his ever-helpful mechanic buddy, Bill, hunted high & low for a used van in decent shape. // No dice; they looked in Fla & Mass both, zilch. So our boss decided to bite the bullet, & get a FROM THE GROUND UP, STANDARD PARTS, MADE FOR THE PURPOSE handicapped van. // This was not cheap up-front, but parts will be easy to get, & labor costs will be lower.
We have named the new cripmobile [my client’s term, not something i made up!] “Black Beauty”, BB for short. She’s lovely - rides great, wide doors, low to the ground, VERY long ramp with a nice gradual slope, built-in 4-point safety restraint system in the floor for the wheelchair, back-up camera with audible alerts for potential collisions, & more.
Look up the 2014 MV-1 if U’d like to see her specs & photos.
It’s now 12;45 AM & the cats up the street are in a noisy stand-off with an adult opossum, who is growling, hissing like a punctured tire, & snarling at the cats [she “owns” NINE CATS, & lets them all roam freely around the neighborhood, despite the heavily traveled streets flanking our park on all 4 sides].
The possum has been ferociously defending her or himself for a half-hour, already, & i just do not have the energy to go over there & break up the confrontation; I’m going to go indoors & try to sleep on the sofa, with all the windows ajar & the [shredded screen] storm door as my only barrier between me & the outside world.
The rips in the 30” x 30” screen are over half the width & height of the screen panel - it’s as useless as tits on a bull, & even the housecats could easily pop right thru the gaps, let alone mosquitoes, palmetto bugs [native roaches], & other uninvited guests.
To hell with it - i’m going to [try to] sleep.
Love reading about your life. We are having our third storm in as many weeks.
The wind is horrendous particularly if it rains as well
Really amazing buildings. Thank you for sharing
I actually went all the way back to the beginning of the thread, and I think I will read them all this weekend. Brilliant writing, some posts make me laugh, others are sad, but that’s life... thanks for sharing, Terry.
I have nothing to send but kind thoughts and total respect to you Terry, and I take my hat off to you for your patience and tolerance of life in general. We think we have it hard sometimes but...