Thursday, November 15, 2012

November Already! And it's half over...

This last two months have just flown by! Work has been extremely busy. I’m missing my mom like crazy and the closer it gets to the holidays the more intense it’s getting. I saw a lady at work today who had on a sweater exactly like the one I bought for my mom’s “last outfit.” It made me sad to see it. I had bought my mom’s sweater in Kansas City and really hadn’t thought about seeing one like it here. Oh well…

Ron went to the doctor yesterday and his A1C hemoglobin is 5.6 which is remarkable. Of course, he controls his diabetes with insulin so I’m not sure how well in control he’d be without the insulin. He eats pretty well – we still have Meals on Wheels bringing him lunch and most days he will eat most of what they bring. With his short-term memory problems I have to sometimes have a discussion with him about why I want him to eat what they bring. Sometimes he saves part of his lunch and eats something else. I also had to hide some of his medications from him. He wasn’t overdosing on purpose but he was forgetting that he’d taken them or was forgetting that he’d asked me to change when I gave him something. For instance, he takes Melatonin to help him sleep. He was taking three 3mg tablets and we ran out, so I bought 5mg tablets. I told him that I would be giving him two tablets in his bedtime pills instead of three. In addition, he takes one 1mg Xanax pill at bedtime (he used to take two of them but with the addition of Melatonin, he had a hard time functioning the next day), which I also put in with his bedtime pills. He forgot that he asked me to add those into his bedtime pill dispenser instead of having to take them separately so, unbeknownst to me, he was taking not only what I gave him, but another dose as well. That meant he was getting a total of 20mg of Melatonin (he took two and I gave him two) and 2mg of Xanax because I gave him one pill and he took another. On top of everything else, he was not taking the right pills at the right time of day. He has a pill dispenser that is divided into days, and each day is divided into four compartments. He takes something four times a day. He takes the day’s pills out to his chair so it’s there for him to remember to take them on time. So, for Monday he takes the section out and then takes his pills throughout the day. Somehow in his confusion, he took his daily pills and then thought he hadn’t taken something so was taking the next morning’s pills on top of everything. That was double blood pressure medicine and double Parkinson’s medicine – on top of double Melatonin and double Xanax. It’s a wonder he even woke up the next day at all.

For three days that week (Oct 31, Nov 1, Nov 2), Ron fell each day. The first morning he fell backwards in the bathroom and shattered the tank to the toilet. I did finally get the water to the toilet turned off but not before it flooded the bathroom. I had to have my son-in-law help me get him off the floor. He didn’t even realize he was wet and he’d been sitting in water for about 20 minutes. He couldn’t figure out how to get his prosthesis on. He didn’t realize his prosthesis wasn’t even totally on. He was really out of it. The second morning, I found him on the floor of the bedroom, at the foot of the bed with his back against the wall. Once again, he hadn’t gotten his leg on completely and couldn’t figure out what was wrong and how to fix it. I had a little bit of trouble getting him up and helping him get his clothes changed but not as much as the first day. That night, I was not a happy camper when I took his medicine away from him (I’d figured out by then what he’d done with the Xanax and the Melatonin). It wasn’t until the night before that I’d figured out about the double-dosing of the morning pills on top of the bedtime pills. Friday, he fell in the kitchen and didn’t tell me about it until one day this past week. I saw the bruise for the first time Sunday and I honestly don’t know how he didn’t break his hip. He has a bruise about four inches wide and at least 12 inches long.

I was seriously ready for assisted living for him but after I ran the numbers, I decided that no matter how bad he is, I can’t afford for him to go to assisted living right now. I don’t have a lot of debt, but I do have a car payment and student loans. Then, there is rent, utilities, medication (which is a killer), medical premiums, medical deductibles, medical co-pays, etc. and I’m easily beyond what I bring home. Medicare does not pay for assisted living so all of the expense would be out-of-pocket. He’s not bad enough to justify “full-scale” nursing home and I don’t want to do that. As long as his medications can still be regulated and his short-term memory doesn’t get any worse and he can continue to take OK care of himself at home, I’ll continue to keep him there. If I come home from work and find him on the floor more days (or find that he’s fallen more days) than he hasn’t, then I’ll be forced to make a decision that I don’t want to. My lease is up in February and I don’t know if I’ll have to sign another of go month-to-month. We’re good tenants. I pay the rent for the next month by the middle of the current month.

But… On a good note… I surprised him with tickets this past Sunday night to the Aerosmith and Cheap Trick concert in Wichita. Even with all of his problems, Ron will always love music and he was a rock ‘n roller back in the 60s. He didn’t enjoy Cheap Trick so much but thoroughly enjoyed Aerosmith. I had his best friend take him and it was so funny. I asked Chuck if he’d mind going if I bought the tickets and he said he would. Earlier last week, Chuck called Ron and asked him if he wanted to spend the day and hang out, and maybe take in a couple of movies. Ron thought that sounded like a good idea so he started planning the whole day. He wanted to see Flight and Sky Fall. I told him he might want to take his wheel chair just in case he got tired of walking or whatever (knowing that he wouldn’t be able to walk as far as he’d need to walk in to the concert venue with his walker) and at first he told me he didn’t think so. Luckily the weather turned cooler with rain in the forecast so I told him that Chuck would rather push him into the movie than take the chance that he would fall trying to get out of the weather so he agreed. Chuck picked him up Sunday morning and off they went – with Ron planning the whole day.

Chuck plays music for his church so that’s where the day started. After church, Ron was saying that they could see Flight at 3:15 and Sky Fall at 6:45 and just have about 30 minutes to kill between movies. Chuck had to tell him there was a slight change in plans and that he could pick only one movie to see because they had to go downtown. Ron hadn’t wanted to go downtown (not sure why since he wasn’t driving) so when Chuck told him what was up, he was stunned. He’d given up the idea of going because I told him the tickets were too expensive. I managed to get handicapped seating in the $49 price range (after taxes and handling fees, the total cost for two tickets was $121), which was a stroke of luck. The online ticketing agent didn’t show any cheap handicap seats left so I called them directly to see if there were any and they had some in their system. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gone because the online tickets were over $100 each. I love my hubby but the wallet would not have let him go.

He’s still talking about how much he enjoyed that show and his day and he can’t believe I went to that much trouble for him. That really warmed my heart. He gets out so little that it just felt good to surprise him. He’d like to do something nice for me but really, what can he do? He asks me what he can do for me and I don’t have any answers except for him to try to maintain his current level of independence.

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Ours will be a small dinner with just Amy and Rex. Keith will come up Friday with Lindsay. She has to work a double shift on Thursday so we’ll do dinner with them on Friday sometime. Ron wants ham; I want turkey. I’m cooking. Guess who is going to win? Maybe I’ll do a small ham on Friday for him and Keith.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Happy Thanksgiving!
How frightening that Ron was medicating wrong like that--hopefully you two have a blast at the concert and things get better with him properly dosed.
I saw Aerosmith years ago--Steven Tyler did back flips across the stage. Somehow I doubt he's still doing that...

thisisme said...

Hi Teresa. I hope that you are finally feeling much better. It sucks when you feel rough, doesn't it?! That really must be such a worry when Ron keeps falling like that. I'm so pleased that he enjoyed his wonderful surprise that you lined up for him.
Look after yourself, and have a lovely Thanksgiving. I know what a special time it is for all my American friends x

orchid said...

Dearest Teresa,
I really hope you are feeling better now.
I am so sorry to hear your husband's situation. I hope the coming lovely Thanksgiving will making all your family happy☆☆☆
Thinking about you, my friend;
Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*