Some updates I'm sure you've all been waiting for with baited (or is that bated?) breath:
- We've now lived in Worcester for a year. We are really settled in here. We know the dog owners in the building and many of the other residents. The owners have taken over the condo association from the developer and I'm on the board. I'm only committed to the board for one year. It's been fun and interesting to help with the transition from the developer.
- I joined a gym a block from here in January. Was going 3 or 4 times a week, working with a trainer, and really feeling good. Then, ping!, one day on the treadmill my knee felt a tweak. It never fully recovered, with the tweak recurring regularly. In fact, it got worse as time went on. I've got issues with every joint on my right leg now. Knee X-ray showed arthritis and an unidentified "bony lump." MRI coming up next. Oh, and the podiatrist after that for the pain in my arch on that leg. Can you say I was "overdoing it?"
- Skip was approved for personal care attendants (PCA's) through the state's Medicaid program, MassHealth. We have them for 29-1/2 hours per week. It's our responsibility to hire, train, fire and manage the PCA's and the state pays them based on the timesheets I fax in. We had pretty significant issues with 1 of the first aides we hired. She was unreliable and we were clearly at the bottom of her priority list. She's gone now (yay!). We had an aide that Skip loved to pieces quit because she got a job as a bookkeeper. Now we split the hours across 3 women who are all related -- a mother, daughter and stepdaughter -- which is working out beautifully. When one of them can't come for some reason, they find a replacement from one of the other aides and just let us know who's coming. This is such an advantage for me. Before when the unreliable aide would cancel, which occurred at least once a week, I was responsible for finding a replacement. Sometimes the other PCA was available and sometimes not. When not, I was the fill-in, which really pissed me off.
- I am still cranky at times. In fact, for a while it was pretty ugly. I tried going to a therapist to deal with it, but I ended up not liking her style at all and after the third session, I stopped going to see her. Not sure what I'll do next. My spirits have been better of late, though I can still find my inner dark side. I think I'll reevaluate using outside help after I'm done with doctors and such concerning my right leg's many issues.
- Skip is getting weaker, but her hands still function a bit. She needs help with eating most meals, especially dinner, when she's at her weakest. She's been a bit blue lately, but then wouldn't you be when almost nothing in your body works anymore? Really, she's a tiger, and has weathered the storms of MS far better than I think I would have in her shoes.
- Skip has had no recurrences of pressure sores since her flap surgery to remove scar tissue in January 2011. Yay!
- We tried out a bit of traveling in April. First trip since early 2008. We drove down to Atlantic City for a bit of gambling, eating and shopping. We brought along the unreliable aide, so she could help with Skip's care and take her around shopping and help her play slot machines. Turned out to be a big mistake. Her younger son, almost 13, stayed with a sister back in Worcester and acted up pretty much from the moment we left. It got so bad, she was going to take a bus home one day early. She was miserable and distracted, casting a pall over the trip. So, we decided to leave a day early and drive her back. Did I say how happy I am that she's gone?
- We've decided to try another trip. Leaving for Atlantic City on Sunday. Four nights of fun await us there! We're not taking anyone else. It'll be just us chickens, with one exception. I've found a home health aide agency that will send us someone to bathe and dress Skip each day. I'll still take care of putting Skip to bed and I'll have to spend some time at the slot machines with her. But, we'll have some time just to ourselves, which will be great. Oh, and I'll get to escape into some degenerate gambling!
- We have a third dog. My sister's Shih Tzu, Dakini, has joined the household. My sister has had many changes in her life due to mold in her house and is dealing with chronic health issues triggered from the mold. She and her husband are now living in an apartment and in the process of building a new house. We love Dakini and are happy to have her here with us. All 3 of the dogs are sitting here with me on the couch right now.
Well, it's time to take the pups out for their noontime constitutional. Hope everyone is doing great! I'll send out some updates from Atlantic City.