Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fun Continues ...

Yesterday was a wonderful day, though I ended up overdoing eating and drinking, so was pretty much "done" for the day about 8pm.

While the aide was bathing and dressing Skip, I went down for a session of craps, with the agreement I'd be back up in about an hour to help with the wheelchair transfer. Well, it was one of those sessions when someone has an incredible roll and lots of money is won in a very short time. Yay! I was a little late getting back to the room since I had to stay until the hot roller was finished. No one minded too much when I got up to the room $1050 richer than when I'd left an hour earlier! That was fun, to say the least.

When Skip was ready, we headed downstairs and played a bit of slots and roulette for her. Shockingly, we won small amounts at each. Then we headed out for a short walk down the boardwalk. It was breezy, sunny and not too warm, so the walk was quite enjoyable. Great people watching on the boardwalk. Beyond the dunes, we could hear a live band playing reggae. I was inexplicably and ridiculously happy enjoying the wonderful moment.

We had hot dogs wrapped in pretzel dough along with a Ben and Jerry's milkshake for Skip and a smoothie for me. Skip was getting a bit hot, so we sauntered back to Caesar's (our hotel). Once inside, we played some more on a slot machine Skip really likes. Then, I took her up to the room to rest for a while before our 6pm dinner reservation. Second try for her renting The Guilt Trip with Barbra Streisand. Second time she fell asleep watching it. (To me, this suggests that the movie is as unentertaining as I thought.) I tried craps again while she rested. Not so successful this time, though.

We went off to dinner at The Atlantic Grill in Caesar's, which features a great view of the shore and ocean beyond. I had received an email from a casino host offering me some comps (complimentaries) at Caesar's for my birthday, so we chose a credit from him towards dinner at this restaurant. I had had a few drinks at the craps table and another at dinner. We both ate quite a bit, so by the end of dinner, the richness of the food had both of us feeling a bit uncomfortable. Instead of gambling for a while before the aide came to put Skip to bed at 9, we decided to buy some Tums and go up to the room and relax. I immediately feel asleep and woke up only long enough to help get Skip to bed then back under the covers I went. At 57, I guess I just can't go without enough sleep for a few nights then have a heavy meal and a few drinks. It just knocks me out.

Today is our last full day in AC. The weather is hotter than yesterday, so Skip doesn't want to spend much time outside.  She really wants a chance to shop!  Fortunately for her, there is a shopping mall attached to Caesar's called the Pier. It extends out over the ocean, so at least I'll get to look at the view while I wait impatiently for her to do her shopping. Not sure what we'll be doing for dinner, but I hope it's something a bit lighter tonight. Looks like coffee and water while I'm gambling ... no more black russians!

I'm sure we'll finish our last full day with the usual routine .... after Skip is in bed, I'll head downstairs to gamble at craps, blackjack and maybe poker, for quite a few hours. On our getaway day, we don't typically get in any gambling, because we'll want to get on the road in the early afternoon.

Just checked in with the intrepid MW, who is staying at our condo with the 3 pups. All are well. We always feel so comfortable that everything is good at home when she's there keeping our pups well cared for and safe.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

They Say It's Your Birthday

I'm sitting here in our hotel room in Atlantic City. It's my birthday. A great day with my Skip is planned. Gonna gamble, eat and wander the boardwalk ... woo hoo!

We drove down to AC on Sunday afternoon. With some traffic and a short stop to gas up and such, it took about 6-1/2 hours door to door. We got underway at 1:15pm so it wasn't quite dark when we rolled into AC. Much easier and more pleasant driving in daylight over such a long distance.

When we checked into our room, we found that the bed sits on a base, presumably to keep it cleaner underneath, so the Hoyer lift wasn't going to work as designed. To transfer Skip from wheelchair to bed using the Hoyer, you put the long legs under the bed and this places Skip's body directly over the bed. Sunday night, I had to improvise and it was successful, but not easy and Skip admitted it was scary.

We had arranged with a local home health agency to send an aide for 2 hours each morning to bathe and dress Skip and help to get her up. She and I transferred Skip without using the Hoyer. Skip's wheelchair can rise up and down, tilt and recline, so it's easy to position it for a transfer. I didn't want to repeat the scary transfer from Sunday night, so I asked the aide if she could come last night (and the next 2) to help with the transfer and put Skip to bed. She agreed! Last night's bedtime was a breeze.

At home, ever since Skip had to start using a hospital bed with special mattress to help avoid pressure sores, we haven't slept in the same bed. Bah! Well, at least here, we can share a bed together for 4 nights. And, I must say this is a hugely comfortable bed. The last 2 nights I've slept through the night without waking, something I never do at home.

Well, I'm off to meet the aide at the elevator to bring her up to the room. Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Yes, It Has Been a Long Time

Yep, over 8 months since my last post. I've been thinking about starting back up for a while, and am finally getting down to it today. I guess there are some things on my to do list that I really want to put off!

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.