Monday, January 30, 2012

Feeling Good Monday #2

Is it Monday already? I am continually amazed at how quickly the days speed by. Often, this amazement is coupled with how little I accomplished in the days just passed. This, even with no job competing for my time.

Today's list of feel good items is chock-a-block full of big-time news:
  • I'm still working the Weight Watchers plan. I've continued to use the Wii for regular exercising and have been pushing myself to dial up the intensity. At my size, and prior slothfulness, it doesn't take too much additional effort to feel it's higher intensity.
  • We are going to sell our house! A pair of realtors came last week to look through the house and they've estimated the "go to market" price to be about 10% higher than I expected. We have a lot to do to prep before it gets listed, and, of course, Skip has to be able to get out of bed so we can skedaddle for viewings and open houses. So, I expect we'll list it in March.
  • Then we'll move to a condo! Sadly, having lived for many years with the world's handiest man (my dad), I am not in the least bit handy. I find home fix-it projects to be very intimidating and our house reflects this as it has many projects crying out to be addressed. A condo has great appeal for me because so much of the maintenance will be handled at the association, rather than homeowner, level. I get that if we want to get rid of the wall to wall and put in hardwood floors it's our responsibility. But, taking care of the grounds and exterior maintenance are someone else's responsibility. We're pretty open to the location and type of structure until we start looking at real-life examples. The key is that we're going to move a bit west of our current town, moving to the land of lower property values and much lower property tax.
  • I will start working a parttime job in March. Worked out the particulars with my former boss and I'll get started in March after I've had a chance to get the house ready to sell and Skip is out of her period of post-surgery convalescence. It'll be a sales job, marketing my old boss' services. I can work it from home for as many hours a week as I can muster and that I want to do. I 100% do not want to get back into the high-demand rat race I was in for many, many years. This will be a good way to make some dough where I can use the quarter century of knowledge I built up about benefits and benefits administration without having the life sucked out of me at a fulltime job dealing with demanding clients. Honestly, the time demands caring for Skip as she's progress further downhill just make a fulltime job impractical. For self-preservation, I need to avoid having a really stressful job on top of the care demands from Skip. That's a losing proposition for me, as I'll just fail a bit at both. (Phew! I guess I have some strong feelings about that.)
  • We've continued to have a very mild winter here in Massachusetts. I am particularly happy about that because no snow means I don't have to snowblow the driveway and I don't have to drive in snow. I am a true chickenshit in snow and, though our Element has frontwheel drive, it doesn't handle particularly well in it. Perhaps the modifications for the wheelchair have changed the weight distribution.
So lots to feel good about today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Super Duper News

Skip's infectious disease doc called yesterday. He was checking in on the status of her PICC line as she'd had to have a special flush of it yesterday. The flush worked well and the flow was back to where it should be.

While we had him on the phone, Skip asked if the cultures of her bone scrapings were done growing. The doc was waiting for them to determine the severity of the cooties and thus the length of the IV antibiotics administration. Well, the results were finally in, and the cooties aren't too extreme so she only needs a total of 2 weeks of antibiotics! Woo hoo! We're already into the second week of the IV process, so all this will come to an end soon. We've got a good routine going now, but I certainly won't miss it when the antibiotics are done.

The next question is ... how is the PICC line removed? Can it be done in the home? The insertion needs to be done in a fairly sterile environment with access to Xray or ultrasound equipment to check its position in the body. I suspect the removal is much simpler. Just pull!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Cranky Reasons #1: Lack of Control

When I first started this blog, I documented a number of things that made me cranky in my Cranky Reasons posts. Lest folks think I'm getting happy and have lost the cranky edge, I've decided to start up a new list. I'm not checking the old list, so there may be some repeats, but everything old can be new again ... not just bellbottom jeans, but my cranky reasons.

Without further ado, then, let us start with the cranky reason that's top of mind for me today ...

New cranky reason #1: Lack of control. Primarily, over our personal space. I first thought of naming this reason "Space Invaders," because those are the people that are the primary cause of the loss of control. People are always coming to the house: mostly nurses and home health aides. They provide valuable services when they're here, but they are providing that service here, and that's the problem. You lose your privacy, especially for Skip who, during these visits, is receiving medical attention or a bath. This morning was over the top as we had 2 RN's and 1 LPN here for more than an hour while the nurse who's an IV specialist was working on Skip's PICC line (where her IV goes in). Another was being trained and the third is Skip's case manager. And, they arrived at 7:30!

If the people are new, you never know how they'll react to the dogs going a bit crazy with barking and such when they arrive. Will they close the gate correctly when they go or will it drift open so Addy can escape? And, will they leave the house as they found it (which, admittedly is cluttered and not spotlessly clean)? The answer to the last question is often no, particularly for the aides. They never wipe the counter in the kitchen after preparing Skip a meal, they get water all over the windowsill by the sink so it's now lost some of it's varnish, they leave cabinets and drawers ajar and so on. I've provided feedback to some of them, but it hasn't helped. I'll admit I'd rather just properly close Skip's sock drawer than have to do all the work they do when they're here, but, really, how hard is it just to close it all the way? Every time I do it after they've left, I ask myself, do they leave all the drawers and cabinets open at their own homes?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Feeling Good Monday #1

The last two Mondays, I posted about how starting back on Weight Watchers was making me feel good. Stealing a page from my friend Very Josie (she has an "It's Okay Tuesday" routine), I thought I'd spend a few minutes on Mondays acknowledging those things in my life that are making me feel good. It's sort of the anti-Cranky.
  • Of course, tops on the list of feel-good items is the Patriots. They're going to the Superbowl!
  • Skip is home. This is more work for me, but I miss her when she's not here. And, she's a lot happier here than in a rehab hospital.
  • The new agency we're using for home care doesn't send aides on the weekend, so we didn't have anyone here for two whole days. While it's always great to get their assistance, it's still a welcome change when it's just us for the day.
  • I'm still working Weight Watchers. I'm obsessed with food, but in a positive way, as the program guidelines are helping me make the right choices. I've lost 10 pounds so far. And, I've been exercising using my Wii.
  • Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina. Who would ever have thought that? I am happy that the Republicans will continue to tear each other apart as they march to the nomination. And, it's possible they'll nominate some whack job who will go down in flames against Obama. If it is Romney who gets the nomination, I wouldn't freak out too much if he won in November.
Enjoy your week. Feel good!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter's Finally Arrived

Since the October Nor'easter, we hadn't had any snow up until yesterday. Yesterday, we picked up a couple of fluffy inches. Today, starting before dawn, we got more snow. All told, it probably amounted to 3 more inches. With the combined accumulation, I figured that meant it was time to pull out the snow blower.

Last winter was my first winter being unemployed. I took a look at our expenses and identified a bunch of ways to cut costs. One expense was snow plowing. I figured I could handle the driveway if we bought a snow blower. I'm not handy at all, so I didn't want a big, gasoline-powered snow blower that would need to be maintained and breakdown regularly. I found a great little Toro electric snowblower and bought that along with a long extension cord. It paid for itself about halfway through last winter. For the snowfalls over 8", it took two passes to take care of the entire driveway, but we don't get many storms that pile up that much snow.

This afternoon, when the snow finally tapered off, Addy and I went out while I shoveled paths and pits for the dogs. Then, I coaxed her into the house (for a little tiny dog, she really loves the snow) and pulled out the snowblower. This turned out to be the perfect snowfall for the first effort of the year. Not deep and very powdery. All the routines and approaches I'd figured out last year came back quickly. It was a pleasure to get outside in the clear, fresh air and take care of the driveway. And, of course, the snow blowing counts as exercise in Weight Watchers!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Longest Day

Wednesday ...
  • Up at 6:15 to get ready as the nurse was due at 8 to admit Skip to the new visiting nurse agency and, more importantly, to train me to administer IV antibiotics. Yes, your hero, her Crankiness, has to perform the twice-daily IVs.
  • Turn Skip, make coffee, take out the dogs, and so on. Get dressed as I figure I should make an effort to meet the nurse for the first time in street clothes and it's pj's every day thereafter. (Today, I graced the nurse with my leopard print flannels.)
  • Nurse calls at 8 to say she is on her way but has to stop at the office. She'll be here at 9.
  • I dust and vacuum the bedroom, do some other random cleaning. Throw in the first of 4 laundry loads for the day (lots of sheets and blankets came with Skip from the hospital. Gotta clean those cooties off.)
  • Nurse calls again. Yada yada yada. She'll be here at 9:30.
  • She shows up at 9:30. Meets dogs out in the front yard. She likes dogs (a plus). Immediately makes a positive impression as she's warm and friendly. I love her professionalism, her knowledge, and she trains me very well on the IV, primarily by not taking over but letting me do it with her observing.
  • She leaves around 11:30. Phew! I've got a job interview at 3 and still have to bathe Skip (no aides yet from the new agency), feed her, feed myself and shower. Finally get out of the house just in time to arrive at Starbucks for the interview at 3:01.
  • The interview goes well. Really, it's not too much of an interview as this guy works for the guy who was my boss at another company for 11 years so I'm a known quantity. It's a part-time sales job I can do from home. Will know more details soon.
  • Home around 5 with a mocha frappucino for Skip. She's in fairly good spirits; still happy just because she's home and not in rehab.
  • Skip has slipped down in the bed a bit. I pull her up.
  • Do as close to nothing as I can for an hour plus.
  • Feed Skip dinner at 7:30. She's pretty weak and we're having a sesame noodle dish (the noodles are hard for her to manage) so I literally feed her. The dogs stand at ready beside her so I can give them lit bits of pupperoni treats.
  • More laundry. Dishes.
  • On to the second IV. This time solo. I get out the instructions and follow them end to end. Got some bubbles in the line, how I don't know. Worked very hard to flick them out of the line (research online after the IV was started told me the small bubbles are not a big problem). Finally got the IV started. Was supposed to take 2 hours but it went on quite a bit longer. Fiddled with the drop rate to speed things up a bit. Finally done around midnight. Off to dreamland.
  • At 2:50am, Skip wakes me up because of a problem she's having. I hate being awakened in the night; fortunately this happens infrequently. However, I hit a very low, highly cranky state. It's 62 in the house and that is cold! Spend about 20 or 30 minutes taking care of Skip. Adjust the alarm from 6:15 to 7:15 to make up for lost sleep time. Addy says, well Mom as long as you're up, why not take me out? Man, it's really cold outside! Then, back to bed. Out pretty quickly.
This morning, the 7:30 nurse visit turned into a 9am arrival (are we sensing an unwelcome trend?). Still no home health aide scheduled. Spoke to scheduler; she just got Skip's info on her desk this morning. Grrrrr. They don't have aides on the weekend!! Grrrrr. Can't wait to drop this agency like a hot rock and go back to the folks we've been using for years when the IV process is done (our prior folks don't do IV's for some reason).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

So the Skipster is home. The ambulance pulled in the driveway about 8 o'clock last night. We got her all settled into bed and after the EMT's left, I let the pups out of the crate to run in and love her up. They were delighted to see her.

While she was in the hospital, they started her on her a twice daily IV antibiotic regimen. But she's going to need 2-4 weeks of the antibiotics. She could have gone to rehab and had it done there but we've been that route and we'd both rather not have her go through that again. Instead, we opted for home infusion. Foolishly, Medicare doesn't pay for home infusion, but they will pay the freight for a patient to stay in a hospital or rehab setting to get the IV. Fortunately, Skip's Medigap coverage covers a portion of the IV antibiotic medicine, so we won't have to pay too much to save Medicare thousands of dollars for the rehab stay.

Today was a VERY full day and that story merits its own post. I'll share that tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm just waiting for Skip's evening infusion to finish so I can go to sleep.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Still Home Alone

Just a quick update as I've got to run out shortly...

The docs decided to keep Skip in the hospital while they had some results, but wanted to get more growth in the culture. They started her yesterday on twice a day IV antibiotics. She had a mild allergic reaction to this antibiotic in 2007, so they're giving her Benadryl beforehand as they really want to use this particular one.

She called this morning and before she even gave me an update, I knew from her voice that she wasn't happy. The resident had come in this morning (trailing along with him 5 students) and told her that the culture is growing very slowly and so she likely would not get out today.

It's funny how quickly routines can develop. Since her first full day in the hospital, I've spent 3 or so hours with her each day from late afternoon into the early evening. While there, we look over the menu and order her dinner. This way, I can feed her. Since she's lying partially to one side, she can't get in a position where she can feed herself. Yesterday, she wasn't feeling that great and was practically falling asleep most of the time I was there. I think it's mostly a combo of the Benadryl and antibiotics that are making her feel crappy. So, we held hands and I watched tv while she drooped.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Good News. Bad News. Cautiously Optimistic News.

Good News. Skip's surgery went very well. In fact, they didn't have to grab donor flesh from her thigh to fill in the gap where the scar tissue had been. Not sure how they filled it in, but there's only one incision so no second site to cause pain, worry about, and have to heal.

Bad News. On Saturday afternoon when I was visiting, an infectious disease doctor came in. Not a good sign; they don't just visit to make nice-nice. Turns out the small wound actually had a tunnel that had gone down to bone and, while open to the world, the bone had gotten infected. We were glad the infection had been found so it could be treated rather than increase unchecked, but the news filled us with dread. After all, when Skip had the monster pressure sore two years ago, the bone infection she had then landed her in acute rehab for 28 days of twice daily IV antibiotics. Further, my understanding is that Medicare will not pay for IV administration in the home. Instead, you have to be in the hospital or rehab to receive it (to me, this makes no sense. It has to be much cheaper to have a visiting nurse come and administer the IV in the home rather than pay for all the trappings of a hospital or rehab setting.).

We were told that the bacteria was being cultured and, until the culture yielded results, they didn't know what the right next steps should be. It could be as easy as treatment with an oral antibiotic or as bad as IV antibiotics.

The potential of further hospitalization to treat the infection sent Skip into a tailspin. The plastic surgery residents told her she'd need to stay in the hospital until the results were known and a game plan devised. She was quite depressed while we waited 24-48 hour for further word of the culture results. The infectious disease doc stopped by yesterday afternoon while I was visiting to let us know the culture still hadn't yielded results.

Cautiously Optimistic News. This morning, Skip called me and she sounded surprisingly perky. Apparently, one of the plastic surgery residents had stopped by to tell her that the culture was in and it looked like it wasn't a superbad bug and treatment would be oral antibiotics. And, it was possible she could go home today; the release decisions are made around noon, so she'd get an update this afternoon. She was in great spirits as a result. I, for one, want to hear what the infectious disease doc has to say about the infection first, but I am cautiously optimistic for the simplest way to resolve the infection.

We'll know more in a few short hours.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Good News

Skip had her flap surgery yesterday and it went well. A quick recap of the day:
  • Got up at 5:15 to get the day going. Aide came at 8:15 to bathe and dress Skip. We left the house at 9:45, right on schedule.
  • Arrived at BWH at 10:30. Admitting saw us at 11:30 and then a few minutes later, we went to the pre-op area. They transferred Skip onto a gurney and I got her changed. The pre-op nurse asked a million questions. The OR nurse came in and introduced herself and asked more questions. The residents came in and enthusiastically said "hi." The plastic surgeon came in and marked Skip's right side to make sure the surgery was done there. The anesthesiologist came in and asked the same million questions then started up an IV and took Skip off to surgery at 12:30.
  • I went up to the family waiting area. Nice! They gave me a pager like you'd get in a restaurant while waiting for a table. There were carrels with computers for surfing the web, tables for comfortable eating, separate areas with overstuffed chairs, consultation rooms for private meetings with surgeons and, best of all, two separate rooms for tv watching. This left the main waiting room free of the constant tv noise you'd often find in this setting.
  • At 1:30, only an hour after Skip was whisked off to the OR, the surgeon called to say everything had gone well. Great!
  • But there was still more waiting, as I didn't get to see Skip in recovery until 4pm. She was still a bit sedated, so was quite mellow and sweet when I saw her. I should say here that I'm so glad we live in the times we do because there's no need for us to hide the nature of our relationship in settings like a hospital. I tell everyone that I'm Skip's wife and know that informs folks immediately of our family connection and legal standing in case of important health decisions.
  • At 6:30 or 7:00, a bed finally became available and Skip got transferred up to her room. A bit after 7, I knew she was definitely fully with-it because she started to get a bit cranky. They gave her the first bit of pain medication since coming out of surgery and she started to feel better after that.
  • She sent me home at 8:30. Wow! It got cold and windy during the day. Looks like we're actually going to have winter here in southern New England after all.
With everything going swimmingly in yesterday's surgery, I expect Skip will come home on Monday. The pups and I will be glad. While it is nice here at home to have some peace and quiet, it'll be good to have Skip home. I know she is getting good care at the hospital, but it's nothing compared to the kind of care and attention she can get here when she's gone past the initial phase of her recovery.

I'll go in to the hospital this afternoon to visit. I expect feeding herself will be a real challenge for Skip, especially as she can't fully lie on her back yet, so we'll order her a good-sized lunch while I'm there and I can help her eat. Unfortunately, I won't be able to stay and watch tonight's Patriots game with her. Watching the game alone just won't be the same; the dogs won't be as responsive to my growls when bad things happen and cheers when it's good. A small price to pay to have Skip's pressure sore cleaned out and on its way to a good healing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This is one of those rare days when there's no one coming to the house for Skip. No nurses, no aides. Just us chickens, chillin'. We're taking advantage of this quiet to help Skip calm down a bit before the surgery on Friday. She is getting more nervous as each day brings us closer. I'm not sure which is bothering her more, the surgery or the time in the hospital afterwards.

So, Skip has asked me, in the interests of soothing her, to do some things that I hate doing but are important to her. Tops on this list is putting out bird seed. Next will be packing up the things she wants to bring to the hospital. Normally, I'd do that on Friday morning as that's my style, but Skip is most comfortable doing things in advance. It'll help her obsess less about what needs to be packed if it's all taken care of today.

Even being nice and doing this stuff, I'll still have plenty of time for myself to relax, exercise and put up some items on eBay. Sales have really lagged since Christmas and I need to put some items up that will bring in some dough. Gotta love that chillin'.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Feeling Even Better

Today is the end of my second week on Weight Watchers. The online tools are just great, especially the Plan Manager that tracks food eaten and activity. It has a huge database of foods, including prepared dishes, so even items that I don't prepare can be more easily tracked than in the old days when I had to rely on a small pamphlet of points values.

The thing that makes me feel best, though, is that I finally hooked up my Wii yesterday and used it yesterday and today for exercising. A looooooong time ago, I unhooked it to lend to a friend and never set it back up when she returned it. I originally got the Wii thinking that Skip and I could use it together, but she doesn't have enough functioning in her hands to easily operate the controls, so that was pretty much of a bust. So, I bought the balance board to use it for exercising, and that's what I'm using now. For me, I particularly like the aerobic and balancing exercises. My balance is poor, I believe as a result of my Meuniere's disease (an inner ear problem that occasionally causes vertigo), so it's good to have tools that can specifically work on its improvement.

All in all, I feel better both physically and mentally. My energy is good. My spirits are very good. Being more thoughtful and deliberate about what I'm eating is giving me a boost. I am very happy about starting up Weight Watchers again.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pre-Op Plans

There's a lot to be accomplished before Skip's surgery since she'll be bedbound for 6 weeks following the procedure. She got a tooth pulled early last week. Then there was the pre-op appointment at Brigham and Women's Hospital on Friday. We followed that up with a BBQ dinner out. She'll be going to her MS clinic next Thursday. She needs to see her neurologist so he can do a write-up for Medicare as part of the request for a new wheelchair.

Fortunately, we also have some socializing to do as well. We typically have dinner with my mother on Saturday nights, so that's where we were last night. My brother, his wife and their oldest daughter also joined us. That was fun. Today, we're getting together with old friends we hardly ever see since they moved away to Cape Cod about 10 years ago. We're meeting halfway between our two homes for dinner. On Thursday, it's on to see another couple that we love very much for dinner. Since they bought a vacation home in Maine a few years back, they're not around much on weekends, so we don't get to see them very often.

For Skip, who only gets out about once a week, this has been quite a whirlwhind. I guess we're getting 6 weeks of outings crammed into 2 weeks.

Some thoughts about the pre-op appointment. The nurse who met with us spent two hours going through everything to prepare for the day before and day of surgery. She was great. Skip and the nurse, Patty, bonded immediately on their Irish background. She was very professional, knew her stuff, knew what was important, but also was very caring and warm. A tech came into her office while we were meeting to draw blood and perform an EKG so we didn't have to wander around to different offices, with a wait at each one.

There is a stark contrast between this hospital and the hospital where Skip had day surgery in 2007. MW (Skip's aide) took her to the pre-op appointment, so I don't know what went on there. But, when we arrived at the day surgery admissions, there was no assistance whatsoever offered to help Skip get into a gurney and ready for the surgery. I had to manhandle her onto the gurney and change her into a johnny without benefit of any hospital staff assistance. This was completely consistent with all our interactions at this hospital. Skip was admitted there in 2004 for kidney stones and there was no one to help the nurse transfer her into the hospital bed following her admission. I had to help get her to bed. Tests -- they never had any device or people to transfer a disabled person from wheelchair to examining table. Patty at BWH told me I wouldn't have to do anything on the day of surgery except to make sure Skip was safe and everything was to our satisfaction. She told me when we checked in for the surgery, the "transfer team" would show up and take care of everything for Skip. How great is that for both her and me?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

High Maintenance Girl

When you read the title of this post, you might have thought I was referring to Skip, because she often can be very high maintenance. But, so can the two dogs, Ruby and Addy. In fact, we have a saying for when all 3 of them are in high maintenance mode together: "needy, needier, neediest."

Addy at 6 months. I really should take photos of her now to show her much longer hair. (All these photos taken by MW, Skip's aide, who is totally besotted with these pups.)

Last night was Addy's turn. I went to sleep around 11pm. Addy started whining around 1am. I don't wake up from the whining, Skip does and then has to wake me up. I finally got tired of Skip bugging me about the whining and got up and took her out. It isn't all that uncommon for Addy to go out in the middle of the night. Ruby is smart enough to "take care of business" before going to bed but Addy, despite being almost 2, hasn't got that down and about 1 in 3 nights she whines to go out in the middle of the night.

What is uncommon is a second bout of whining. At 3:30, Addy whined and whined. And I finally, with much crankiness, got up. Turns out, all she wanted was a drink of water! Grrrrr.

Admittedly, though, regardless of what any of them do, I still love all my high maintenance girls.

Bonus Content: when I looked through the album that had the photo above, I found this great series of something I've seen acted out countless times since ...

This series of photos shows a scenario that is played out almost daily between the two pups. Ruby has a piece of rawhide she's chewing. Addy comes closer. Ruby holds her head up, perfectly still, Addy moves in and takes the bone without resistance from Ruby. Addy chews on it for a minute and then discards it ... fun is over for her now that she has stolen it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Flap

As those who have read my blog for a while know, Skip has been bothered by pressure sores on her butt off and on for the last 2 years. The first one, that lasted from the fall of 2009 until May 2010. It was huge and got so deep it exposed bone, which eventually became infected. That whole horrible scene included 5-1/2 weeks in the hospital and rehab primarily to administer IV antibiotics for the bone infection.

So, once that wound healed up we thought she was done with those troubles. Unfortunately, some months later, a small irritation started up on top of the area on her butt where the monster wound had been. This irritation slowly but surely morphed into a real live small wound that has resisted all attempts to get it to heal. Finally, her wound nurse recommended Skip try out the wound center at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston. She thought they might recommend flap surgery.

Well, that's just what they did. Apparently, large pressure sores that heal often leave in their wake a lot of scar tissue. The scar tissue makes the whole area more unstable and prone for sores, making it likely that Skip would continue to have them there pretty much continuously.

The surgery would involve removing this scar tissue and replacing it with donor tissue from Skip's thigh. The procedure doesn't take too long, just a few hours. A typical hospital stay following the surgery is 3-4 days. Then, Skip will be transferred home via ambulance (so she doesn't have to sit up) to spend the next 6 weeks in bed. The long bed rest is necessary for proper healing. Only about half of the flap surgeries performed succeed but those who are compliant with their bed rest have much higher success rates.

Not surprisingly, Skip is very nervous about this surgery. I would too, in her shoes. But we're both confident this is the best approach to help her, ideally, live sore-free going forward.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Off to the Dentist

I took Skip to an oral surgeon today to have a tooth extracted. We were there for well over 2 hours, but it all worked out very well. The dentist used novacaine rather than anesthesia so it took quite a while for the numbness to really set in, which accounted for most of the time we were there. The extraction itself only took about 5 minutes.

For a while, we were on a bit of a hiatus for Skip going to the dentist because we couldn't figure out how to get her transferred into the dentist chair. Up until about 3 years ago, I would use our "pick and plop" move for the transfer: put Skip's wheelchair beside the dentist chair, grab her upper arms, pull her up out of the wheelchair, swivel her around to the dentist chair and then plop her down. It's been so long since I've done that, as I tried to remember the steps, I couldn't believe I really did that move multiple times in a day for every transfer, day after day, for many years.

So, anyway, as I was saying, Skip had to stop going to the dentist for a while as we tried to figure out a new way to get her into the dentist chair. We finally realized that putting a twin sheet folded in half under Skip in the wheelchair could work like a sling to lift her with. We first tried it with MW, Skip's intrepid aide. MW is strong and very tall for a woman, perhaps a bit taller than me and I'm 5'11". She stood at Skip's head, me at her feet. Picking up the four corners of the sheet, we were able to transfer her safely into the dentist chair. Woo hoo! MW has had 2 shoulder surgeries since then, so we hornswaggled my brother into helping out. Today's transfer was absolutely the smoothest ever. The dentist's assistant even commented on how it was the best she'd ever seen.

We filled a Tylenol with codeine prescription on the way home and Skip took one even before the novacaine wore off to try to minimize the pain. After an early dinner, I put her to bed. When I came in from doing the dishes, she told me her tooth was bothering her and I suggested she try to sleep. Shortly after assuring me she couldn't fall asleep before 11, I heard her light snoring. It's 9:30. Sleep well, Skip!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Feeling Good

It's day 7 on Weight Watchers and I'm very happy I started back on the program. I've experienced a definite improvement in my outlook, going from pessimistic to optimistic. Using the WW program gives me some control over a bad situation. I felt like I was just going to continue gaining weight and getting further out of shape, compromising my ability to be a good caregiver and impacting my longevity (I now realize at 55 that I won't live forever!). Losing weight and getting active helps to turn this 180 degrees -- taking care of Skip and, most importantly, taking care of myself.

It feels great to be doing something positive for myself.