Everything Takes More Planning

Almost everything I do now takes more planning than it did before, more awareness of the steps to make it happen and of the way space does or does not accommodate doing it at all. I say this not to whine or complain, just noticing how things have changed for me.

I never paid that much attention to how physically disabled people navigated their world. Oh, sometimes I’d notice Braille dots on signs or would see the blue signs with little white wheelchairs for special parking that seemed to be ignored by many in parking lots anyway. Bathrooms had maybe one stall larger than the others, usually with a broken latch or without toilet paper. Restaurants and stores had everything very close together and I never thought how someone in a wheelchair, or on crutches, or using a walker would get around.

But I notice that stuff now. And before I do anything or go anywhere away from home, I have to plan it out – and some things just don’t happen because they’re not feasible.

My complex is very conscious of mobility issues and the need to accommodate them, yet the doors to the public bathrooms and the trash areas don’t stay open when we use them. And the threshold to the main door is hard to manage on my own; I need someone to give me a push to help me get through.

When I go out to an appointment, I wonder if I can use the bathroom. Is there a special larger bathroom or stall with grab bars? How tall is the toilet? Will I be able to stand up by myself if I use it? The one at home is very tall and I have lots of bars to help me stand. Last week at the doctor, I had major trouble figuring out how to get up. So the alternative is to stop drinking and don’t take diuretics several hours before leaving home so I don’t NEED to use the bathroom at all.

The only store I’ve been to since August is a fancy grocery store near my complex, with wide aisles and helpful staff. But I think about places I used to shop regularly and know that I couldn’t manage them now; aisles are too narrow and cluttered to accommodate a chair and even someone using a walker would have difficulties. I don’t have to be able to go everywhere, but I do need to know what I can and can’t do.

I’m also very aware that people using mobility aids are slower and need more assistance – and that other people around them are impatient and in a hurry. We hate to cause traffic jams and be in the way but we really don’t have a choice, and we need you to be patient with us. And if we tell you we don’t want to go out somewhere, know that we have good reasons to be wary. We need to know how it will work, and that we can be part of the outing while not causing problems for you.

And you need to be planning, too. Do you know how you would get up from a fall, especially if you live alone? Have you thought about getting one of those Med-Alert systems? Do you have a cane or a walker in a closet or know where you can get one on short notice? Do you know if your doorways are wide enough for a walker to get through? Do you have grab bars up in your bathroom? Think about it.

Image credit: Photo 135922392 © Grejak | Dreamstime.com

All Manner of Things Shall be Well

If you know me at all, you know I’m someone who values organization, structure, and order. My brain is wired for this and it’s where I’m comfortable. Being a librarian, especially a technical services librarian, was a perfect fit. Chaos offends and sometimes scares me because I don’t know what to expect, so I can’t be prepared.

Well, I haven’t been prepared for much these last months. I do like the structure of knowing when I have therapy, and knowing when meals are. But I can’t plan next steps for therapy. It happens when it happens, whether I’m ready or not. The therapists know and have a plan, but my body will do what it will do or not do and they adjust accordingly.

Friday I go home, and I’ve been planning out what needs to happen, moved, opened, sorted, tossed, etc., as though that will help me be in control of it – but I’m not. This is another thing that has to just happen with some guidelines and milestones on the way. The MDS coordinator told me today that I’ve planned this all out more than some of them in the business can do, but that I need to be careful not to go overboard and talk myself into panic if I leave something out.

It’s going to work. I can go home and it will all be fine. If there are things left unplanned, we’ll work them out as we go. I use the royal “we” here because it’s mostly me, but I promise to ask for advice and help instead of getting just stuck in a panicked place. My brother is helping figure out the details of legal stuff needed to get my car sold. Me, the reader of fine print, didn’t catch a bunch of important things, but he did.

I’ve learned to live in the moment even if I was stressed at not knowing what was going on. Hmmm, maybe I didn’t learn it all that well but I lived it. I can do it again. No panic needed. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich)

Care Plan Meeting

My meeting was scheduled for 1:30pm today in the front conference room. People who I was expecting were the head of therapy, dietician, director and assistant director of nursing, and the MDS coordinator, plus me. Who actually showed up? Me, therapy lady, and MDS person. The dietician was off today and we never heard from the nurses, which was disrespectful at best.

The meeting wasn’t actually as helpful as I thought it would be, primarily because tomorrow is my home evaluation visit; Therapy will know more about what I need to be able to do to be safe there than we know now. But I asked a boatload of questions anyway. No target discharge date was given; that may be available after tomorrow’s home visit.

Devices and tools including grab bars, wheelchair, walker, shower chair and other things but not the AFO shoe device I need will be ordered by therapy for me and delivered here, then moving down with me when I’m discharged. I want to be able to just use a walker in the apartment but have a problem getting from my bed to the bathroom without wearing my shoes. Either I adjust to transferring to a wheelchair and using that, or I have to put on my shoes at, oh, 11pm when I have to pee.

Therapy is going to let me look at bed rails to see if they would work without my needing an adjustable bed. The patient next door to me has some in his room, or at least I think they’re the same thing, and if so I think they’ll work. But I’m hoping they’ll let me try them out at least overnight so they can order them for me if needed. Way cheaper than renting a bed if it can help me sit up easily. I won’t know until I try – and I’d rather not have to rent a bed (and get sheets for it) if I have other options.

If something goes wrong after I get home – if I realize I’m not really ready to manage being there – I will have an option to go back here for additional rehab. Of course, I’d rather not. Once I’m home, I want to be able to stay there. I could hire home health or visiting angels, and will have to hire someone anyway to help me with showers, laundry, and things I haven’t thought of yet.

I did have some comments for the missing medicine people but they’ve already been relayed by the MDS Coordinator. Namely, I’m getting inconsistent doses of Trazodone; that needs to be checked and corrected. The timing of my Lasix second dose is way too late in the day to be practical, and they really REALLY need to stop giving me Miralax except when I ask for it.

I’m sick of this place. I’m ready emotionally and mentally to move home. I’ve been gone seven weeks today and that’s the longest I’ve been away ever. Of course I say that every week and it keeps getting longer, but sometime hopefully soon it will stop and I can go home.

Family Visit This Weekend

My wonderful sister-in-law Cece came for a visit this weekend, and it was sooooo nice to see her! She was last here in July helping me pack up umpteen boxes of stuff to give away before my move. Saturday afternoon we mostly sat around chatting, first in my room and then outside on a porch getting some lovely air. We ordered take-out Chinese food from Liang’s for dinner (yumm!) which was a delicious break from institutional food. She spent the night with an old childhood friend from Houston, went to church with them this morning, and came back about 3pm for some more visiting. I took the walker for a stroll around my “neighborhood” which is about 80 feet (I think) so she could see my walk, and she brought me dinner from Whataburger. More Yumm!

I’ve asked Cece and my brother to come help me move home when my discharge date comes, which I’m guestimating to be in another 3 weeks. I’ll know more about timing after my Care Plan meeting tomorrow. But I’m definitely thinking about going home more, and what I either need to know or know how to manage. Putting shoes on in a big part of that. Yesterday I managed to get the left one on after 25 minutes, but the right one was impossible. Something must be done, because doing it myself would require 3 hands and I only have two. I did some online research and found something that I think will work. It should hold my shoe securely while I wrestle the AFO splint and foot inside. I’m going to ask therapy to include this device in the list of aids and tools they get me before I leave.

I spent a lot of time today with my legs elevated because legs and feet are super puffy with water retention. The nurse wrapped both legs in Ace bandages for compression, which should be removed before I go to bed. But since they gave me a diuretic about 6pm, I’m sitting on the bed with my shoes on for as long as possible; I know I”ll have to go to the bathroom at least once soon, and I also know I can go to the bathroom on my own wearing shoes instead of the stupid green gripper socks. I hope I’ll be able to find someone to take them off when I’m ready to actually try to sleep.

I have a busy week ahead. PT and OT every day. Care plan meeting on Monday. Home Assessment visit on Tuesday. Haircut on Thursday (yayyyyyy Malorie for making a nursing home visit!). And rest. I need to remember to rest. It’s also part of my healing – that and seeing kitties on Tuesday.

To Do Lists With Lots of Things

How To Write A To Do List That You'll Actually Stick To

It’s been a rocky month or two, food wise. Oh, I know all the things to do. I just don’t want to do them. I want to eat things that have no business being in my house but inexplicably are. Well, of course there is an explanation: I bought them. A year ago I wouldn’t have been tempted by them, flying high on successfully transforming my eating and my body. But that’s come to a standstill and I’ve been up and down the same few pounds – which seems worse when you weigh every day than it probably actually is.

So what’s going on? I’m stressed on multiple levels. And I’m comparing myself to friends or even strangers in my Facebook weight loss groups who are doing great. I know it’s not a competition and that comparisons are odious. We’re each on our own journey with ups and downs that don’t match up with another person’s ups and downs. But it’s depressing to see them doing well when I’m not. There are a couple of options: eat better, own up to what I’m doing and stop beating on myself, stop following the Facebook groups if they are making me nutty.

But mostly I think I’m bored. I’m really, really bored. I’m tired of wearing masks and staying alone, but I’m also not quite ready to get in groups and party. I’m tired of eating the same foods all the time. No one is making me do that, I can make different choices, but I’m not doing it because same is easy and I know how to fit those foods into the calorie allotment I have each day. I’m ready for a vacation from work which I haven’t had in longer than I can remember. But I don’t know what I’m going to do with it other than not go.

I like lists and structure and plans. So I’m making some to help me move forward and feel in control.

Things Already Done or Scheduled:

  • Unfollowed the two weight loss Facebook Groups until after Easter; will reassess then
  • Threw out snacky food in the house
  • Made haircut appointment
  • Scheduled Mah Jongg group lunch and game day
  • Scheduled landscape designer visit tomorrow to come up with redesign plan
  • Scheduled Pain Management procedure for SI joint injection and right knee nerve burn

Things to Do in the Next Week:

  • Work out menu options for meals that can be swapped out.
  • Eat three different breakfasts and three different lunches during the week.
  • Make a date to go to visit my brother at the ranch in the next month.
  • Schedule times three days a week to go to the gym.
  • Schedule a session with the gym staff to get oriented on new equipment.
  • Check the April calendar at work and decide when I can take three days off to make an extra long weekend.
  • Weed closet of clothes and jewelry to take to consignment shop.
  • Take 2 boxes of papers to be shredded.

Other Things To Get Done:

  • Call electrician to fix broken outlet and check out porch ceiling fan
  • Get front exterior faucet fixed
  • Buy and plant flowers in pots for front of house
  • Talk with TIAA to rebalance portfolio
  • Clean carpets
  • Take cats to the vet for shots