Friday, September 14, 2012

First Outing

Dad had his first appointment outside of rehab yesterday morning.  BOY was that an adventure.

Mom came to my house at 7:00 to make it to the hospital at 7:30.  I was outside witnessing my “unauthorized swimmer” … so showed the little froggy to her and we were on our way.  I was even a good mommy and made the kids some eggs and toast as well – bonus for them – however not enough bread for me, so I just made something for them.   I thought I would grab a bowl of cereal, however never did.  We were a few minutes early so I opted to go to Mc D’s for a biscuit sandwich.  It was HUGE.  They usually have normal size biscuits, this one seemed extra fluffy!  Oh, well – it was VERY filling.

Off to the rehab hospital to find dad sitting at the nurses station.  As he’s a fall risk, if he’s out of his bed, he’s supposed to be at the station to make sure that if he falls, someone will be there to avoid the fall – help him if he slips or something.  I’m not sure.  Anyway, they had him up and going at 5:30 for this appointment… had him bathed and shaved and fed so he could leave.  He ate ½ a grilled cheese sandwich and most of an ensure juice… getting better, getting better! 
7:45 the transport lady came up and was getting him situated to get on the van, so mom and I went to the car and pulled in behind the van…. And waited… and waited… and waited.  I think it took them a while to get the next gentleman ready to roll.  Anyway – we got on our way and headed over to his appointment.  I think we got there at 8:30 or 9:00am.  One lesson learned bring a urinal – they don’t have those at Dr’s offices (or anything similar)  Good thing is that there are “preparations” made in place for this issue if it occurs.

Anyway – sit in the Dr’s office, fill out paperwork, muddle through drugs, amounts, things like that that really – we have no clue when he’s in there what the heck they give him.  So, I tell the nurse point blank – they sent paperwork over, I wonder if it’s in there.  Yep, low and behold it’s in there – more meds than we even knew about!  There was a page and a half listed.  Is it really that much?  Not really, but I guess it has the “just in case” and the “as needed meds as well… and included the “motility” drug he’s on.  It’s not Zophran, it’s something else that isn’t necessarily for nausea, but getting the gut moving.  Another discovery from this place is that narcotic type drugs will slow the whole GI track down and wouldn’t you know it, the day he was really nauseated and didn’t d a lot of PT due to it was when he had his pain pills 3 times – one at 9am, two during PT and one that night.  AND he’s not getting sleeping meds at night, he’s getting pain pills.  He could hardly sleep last night with the anticipation of this “field trip”.  More concerns on how it would all go… where he would go… what would happen.

What else we discovered on this trip is that getting around in a wheel chair that is not your own, and not maintained properly is really a pain in the butt.  I’m thinking the one he’s using is super old and the left foot rest of the dang chair hung out about 7” father than the freaking chair.  So, the only way to get in through doors was take the chair, rub the left foot rest along the door to shove it in where it should be.  Goodness.  ** more to come on this freaking foot rest**  BUT I got him in, into the room and woven through the TIGHT configuration of chairs that really didn’t seem so tight until trying to maneuver them with a chair.  Eye opening.

We got into the meeting with the doc and she’s thinking that most of this is the pain pills, wanted to do an upper GI test with barium swallow to see what they could see as some of the issues with things getting “stuck” has been there since before the stroke and could be exacerbated by said stroke.  Really, it was left up to Dad at that point and he turned it down.  He can always have it done at a later time.  Right now the nausea is seeming to ease up with the motility drug and if we can get him off the pain pills, the rest could resolve and we’ll be in like Flynn (where does that saying come from?)!

So, appointment now ‘over’ with no real outcome, but with some more knowledge and suspicions that the pain meds are causing some issues with nausea.  Good enough for now.  He’s eating… he’s improving… as long as it keeps improving, we’ll keep moving forward.  So, we offer to have him go outside to sit in the warmth … it had warmed up nicely, but with the Coumadin he’s not to be in the sun, so we put his blanket over his legs and parked him with legs in the sun to warm and body in the shade.  Worked out well and he warmed up nicely and enjoyed the fresh air.  He did comment that if he could stand up, he would pee in the bushes… I told him I would do it, I’d lock his knee and help him do it.  He passed.  Can’t understand why… hahaha – would have been a sight, eh?  Ha!  Well, the transport issues are something else with rehab hospitals.  I think it took a full HOUR for him to get his ride to come get him, however, the sunshine did him good and we took the opportunity to trim his nails while outside and not having to worry about where they all flicked J  Do what you can, right?  So manicure in the fresh outdoors!  Talked with Linda too – so it was a win/win all around! 

After transport got there, I was wheeling him down to the van, headed down the little ramp and that stinkin’ left foot rest came OFF… dragging poor dads foot, tipping us forward just a hair… scared both of us, but neither freaked out.  I held it there while the nurse tried to reassemble… I finally had to tell her to just lift his leg so I could get to the bottom as it was hard to hold him on the slope!  Thank goodness he had a seat belt on just in case!!  Whew, close call, my wheelchair drivers license has been suspended until further notice!

Back to rehab – by the way it’s now 12pm… talked with Richard, his case manager.  The date is still set to the 25th and Mom is going to be tested on what she can and can’t do to assist with him movements as she’s NOT strong.  I’m scared that she won’t be able to do what needs to be done… but we also have a week and a few days of rehab before he goes home, so pray his stamina improves and we graduate to a walker during the day… so we can be assured that with minimal assistance he can get up and to the bathroom, car, etc..

That’s another thing… they give you lessons on how to do these things, but there is no practical “training” of “how to get in a car” … there are stairs, but there is no CAR in there.. I guess you just practice with a chair and when it comes to a car, you figure it out?  I don’t know.  There is no shower, no shower stall, no shower chair – well, there may be, I haven’t seen them, however.  You would think you would have a dummy car set up with a seat to try to get into without bonking the crap out of your head, a shower to get in and out of… practical things.  Things that will make our break you when you get home.  I wonder if they even teach them how to get up after a fall if that happens… how to recover if the worst happens… you get to the chair and miss… now what?  Do you know how to roll just right to get to XYZ position to get to a kneel, then a stand?  Hum… makes me wonder.

Ok… back the adventure.  Dad was pretty set on just going to bed, but they told him it would take an hour to get him his food.  I knew dang good and well if he went to bed he would rather sleep at that point rather than eat… so I asked if we went with him, would he go to the dining room.  Yep.. so mom and I went to the dining room and got his lunch with him (we didn’t eat)… and sat and chatted while he ate.  He ate an small bowl of beans  - my thoughts were – yes, protein!!  I did tell him every time they rolled him he was to toot a little J  He ate about a ¼ portion of meat, a little of his roll dipped in the gravy from his potatoes and ½ a bowl of pears.  Doesn’t sound like much, but for him, it’s a HUGE improvement!  He did opt out of PT for the rest of the day as he was exhausted from doing the whole transport appointment thing… and with that, we rolled on back to the room, stopped at the nursing station to ask for an assist on transfer to the bed and a change in clothing.  I fully expected it to take  while, but low and behold they were coming in right after us to get him settled. 

By that time it was 1pm.  WOW – one appointment now equates to a full day.  They’re in for a BIG changeup in lifestyle.

So next week, mom goes in for family training one day (Tuesday) and I go in later in the week for the same thing – and we can both be there for that one.  AND next Tuesday we do a true evaluation if mom is able to do the heavy lifting/helping that will be necessary to let him come directly home.  What happens if he can’t come directly home, you ask?  Nursing home with therapy there… that is a dreaded one.  The thing that will let mom have him come on home will be him to assist more and her to be able to help enough to not strain either one of them.  The options are home rehab where someone comes to the house to help dad every week day for his therapy - less “toys” to work with and less of their tools available.  Less pressure for dad to get up and attempt to dress and do the things necessary to leave the house too…. So it’s good to have it out of the house…. But can they do this?  Can they manage?  Scary prospects.  I’m “on call” for a while.  I’m working on seeing when we bring Robert out… and really just holding our breaths right now…

New "Short Bus" Moment!

While at the tag place today (can you say “procrastination”?), I decided to do the unthinkable and prepare for my bank trip that is MONTHS overdue to cash some checks.  I fill out all the paperwork and low and behold that took about all the time needed for my number to be called.  I received a bright new shiny tag for my efforts (mine is now obsolete - as is a lot of things in my life!).  So... I had through a fast food place to grab a bite to eat, and head to the bank.  I pull up - quite proud of myself having filled out the deposit slip and everything AHEAD of time... she takes my stuff and then returns to the window with a very puzzled look and a request for me to "fix" the date on my slip.  I had written 9/14/65!  hahahaha - talk about HABIT when you write a date, eh?

 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Updates from Rehab

Well, all the siblings have gotten mom’s update about our adventures this week.  Trips to car repair places, drives up to Macon to visit Daddy-o in rehab.

 

It was really nice to meet his Physical therapist and get some more info on his leg/hip and the issues he’s been seeing there.  He’s had a lot of hip pain and they have x-rayed him to make sure it wasn’t broken or damaged in any way.  It’s not.  Mostly it’s “low tone” issues.  Now, I have heard all those terms when dealing with the preemie boards and Cerebral Palsy issues, etc.. so if you don’t get what I’m talking about holler and I’ll fill you in.  Basically his muscles are just what it says – having low tone – they’re too relaxed and letting his hip socket sort of “slosh around” which is not good for a hip.  Add to this, since he has limited movement/mobility in that leg, he’s NOT moving it enough… and after hearing that I looked him dead in the eye and said “hum, you need to MOVE more”… ha!  Gary said we should come to PT and tell him that as well – “move more” hahaha.  I told him we weren’t allowed to go to his PT sessions or we would come and be his cheer leaders.  This, as you read in mom’s update (well, only if you’re one of her kids) was got us invited to his PT session today.  Yeah – we finally get to see what he’s up to in this PT stuff.

 

Now Gary also updated us with his accomplishments and the fact he had moved more than 30 feet with minimal assist.  He’s not holding him up; he’s simply pushing the left foot forward as Dad’s hip/low tone isn’t getting the job quite done yet on pulling that foot forward.  He also said he was a “super star” in rehab and always doing as he’s asked and not complaining or quitting.  So these are all great things to hear.

 

I’m not impressed with the reactions to his nutrition at this point… and the fact that I’m sure he’s down a little more in weight and only being given broth and Jell-O when he really needs the energy to get the muscle and strength.  However VERY happy that someone finally listened that it’s the SMELL that is doing him in, nothing more.   The nausea med is one that melts under his tongue – Zofran.  So they are finally listening and it seems to be having the desired effect.  NOW we need Dad to speak up and ask for it when he’s going into OT as its’ right next to the kitchen and he commented that his stomach starts to do flips when he smells all the foods.  We’ll see if he’ll start to do that – I think once you get to feeling ill, there is no going back… but maybe this will work for him.  Time will tell on that one.

 

Oh, and he’s off his Coumadin as well lately – I guess his levels were too high there for a while, now he’s in therapeutic ranges, but he’s not on it… so they will wait and see what the doc will do about that issue.  I asked about Plavix, but was told it’s not a thinner, it’s an anti “stick together” med, so it doesn’t reduce the amount of cells, just discourages them from clotting…. So an ant clotting factor, but not a thinner.  I don’t get why it not be an option, but that’s up to the docs to decide which will be the best for his situation.

 

Other than that, Dad gets a field trip to see the gastro person tomorrow – I guess they want to rule everything else out as he’s having such issues with eating… then again, I am highly opinionated and hear him when he says the smells make him want to hurl.  It’s been consistent since the stroke.  He does not do well with strong smells.  I guess mom will have to figure out what smells trigger him when he gets home.

 

Speaking of home, we’re making some minor changes to the house to accommodate both Mom and Dad – I’ll get some feedback from dad on placement of the grab bar in the shower.  I have Steve coming out to install that as it will take some bolstering between the shower and the 2x4’s in the wall (inserts aren’t right against the 2x4’s and I remember this from when we took our shower out).  I’ll quiz dad on how he thinks he can do getting in and out of the shower with just a handle on the right as he enters the shower, or if he would be more comfortable with one just outside the shower door that would go from wall to floor as well…. that one we can wait on a bit more, as we can have someone there to assist until we can better assess his strengths and weaknesses in that area.  For now mom is leery to make any big changes until we find out just how much will be needed when he gets home.

 

And so, the Saga continues.  I’m trying to get on a schedule and the $%^&*  schools keep messing with me!  I had Liz’s schedule down pat… Monday’s and Wednesday’s she had practice until 5:00pm, Tuesdays/Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm.  So, I was planning on getting her at 5:00 on Monday and then heading to Dad’s..   Yeah, that got shot to heck… she is now out at 5:30 M/W  AND to add insult to injury, she’s also switched back to afternoons on T/Th to boot.  #$%^&*() freaking schools don’t think we parents have anything better to do that adjust our schedules constantly?  Really?  The child needs her own car, but the husband (yes, I’m talking about YOU Butch) wants her to work for it.  Something about responsibility.  Ok, I really think she’s responsible.  She gets good grades, she does what she’s supposed to do 99% of the time – she’s just not actively seeking a job, but really?  Isn’t working at school and maintaining a 90% GPA (with advanced classes) for her ENTIRE high school career enough to qualify you as responsible?  REALLY?  Sigh.  So I really think a car is for MY sanity more than for her enjoyment.  But, hey, what do I know… I apparently am the only one sweating when I can’t get in touch with her after school after she texts me with an “I’m coming out in just a second” from someone elses phone and I can get in touch with NO ONE to tell her to get her own ride home… ½ hour later the hubby leaves work to get her… really?  I’m more of a “drop everything and dash out there” type… he’s more of an amble out there apparently.  Sigh.  My sanity is seriously on shaky ground right now and having that extra worry out there just isn’t helping.

 

I DO have Angela with ONE make up test happening tomorrow; however, I think I can make that one without issue…. Or so I say.  HA!  My boss told me about a class being held on the 27th… I told her I could promise her nothing…  and really I can’t promise anything at this point.  Who knows what will happen tomorrow that will pull me away?  I can’t tell ya.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Projects and plans

Time to show you whats on my agenda. First up:



Recognize this table family? Yes it's mom and dads the rail is broken so in considering removing the rails and tiling the top and painting the bottom.
Next up:



This is my $15 chair from Salvation Army. Dad cut put a new board for the back. Now to pull off the seat and the back, sand it a bit, re-seal it and put a fun color on it with better padding.
Next up:



HUGE frame street find (yep picked the garbage!). Considered making a BIG bulletin board. Have some cork board from another thrift shop run... Still debating.
Next up:



Street find (yep garbage again) it needed some TLC and some glue with clamps. That was ax imploded. (Hum wonder what that sentence was to be? Cell phone auto correct did me wrong!) Now to paint or just shine it up and sell it? Hum...Tempted to tile the top and use it for plants.
Next up:



A donation from my MIL. still debating what I'm doing with it.
Next up:






My nifty $5 find today a folding rolling cart. I can see this in a bright cheery yellow!!

Project



My next project. An antique ironing board. I'm in LOVE with the architectural feel to these and honestly NEVER thought I would find one!
And Linda will be happy to hear there is no paint in this projects future.
I also have. A cute wood chair to redo. AND do you guys remember the round coffee table? I think it will be painted and the rail removed AND a tile top put on it. Mosaic style. What do you think? Pictures to come in those in the "before" mode as well.

Odds and ends



Cool mushroom at M&Ds house

Cooler lacy mushrooms @ work

My bulletin board @ work. Yep, I did this. Shoulda been a teacher. Naw, doesn't pay well enough!
Detail in the motivational sayings:



This was accomplished on my "work avoidance" Friday ;)



Hahaha. I need this sexy beast for my car !!