Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28, 2011: another weekend at the "home"

I have been busy trying to get the tax stuff together for Jim's business. It just started at the end of September and he made no money. Even so, there is tons of paperwork to sort through. Next, I have to start on our personal taxes.

Jim was in the gym when I arrived on Friday. He was working on balancing on the edge of the mat. The little old ladies in the gym love him. They told me how he is working so hard and what a good temperament he has.

Jim has been in positive spirits since this drama began. Yesterday was the first time Jim told me he was getting bored. It's too bad that there isn't any patient there for Jim to be friends with. The people there are really old and senile. Or, the younger patients have serious mental problems. Of course, he loves all the nurses and therapy staff but they're too busy.

I suggested that I bring him some books. He's not interested in that. I brought him a book on tape. He watches a lot of TVLand and PBS.

I've gotten him to go outside with me several times now. We take a bag of fritos out to the courtyard and feed the birds. There are a gazillion sparrows nesting in the bushes around the fountain. We watch the birds and I knit.

He gets leg spasms and I have to lift his leg up and move it for him. Jim can't move his legs at all during a spasm. Just moving it a little gives him a lot of relief.

I did some stretching exercises on his arms and legs. Mostly I work on his fingers. They are stiff and keep curling inward. The OT wanted me to work with his index finger especially. His thumbs work well but the nerves for them are located higher up the spinal cord. I stretch his fingers to try to loosen them up. Jim says he can feel the finger muscles firing but they are too stiff to respond.

His legs are getting much stronger. He can kick both his legs pretty high. He wants to walk again so badly. I told him that he needs to work on his arms more. He will need arm strength to walk with a walker.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February 24, 2011

This morning I left messages to Barbara and Worth at TIRR. They haven't called me back yet.
Then I called the Aetna case worker, Laverne. She said that there had been no decision made yet. That Jim would have to be discharged by the doctor before they could give me a discharge date. So, then I called the doctor and spoke to Ray, his PA. He looked in Jim's file and there is no discharge order. He said that it would be up to physical therapy to advise the doctor to discharge Jim. So, then I called Kevin, the PT. He said Jim is progressing very nicely and that he can still do lots to help him. He said he wouldn't recommend discharge yet.

I asked Kevin if he would tell Jim the news. He did but he didn't tell Jim that he had spoken to me. Jim got someone to call me so he could tell me the news. We both wanted to make the other feel better.

I don't think Nishani at Sharpview meant to upset us. She only knows medicare policies. I'm not sure why she was so happy to tell us that she had a discharge date when she didn't. I try to think people are nice so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt this time. She just didn't understand.

I received a return phone call from Sonia Wilmore at TIRR. She is taking over for Barbara Jackson. She knew all about Jim's case and confirmed that the plan was for him to stay at the nursing facility for around 3 months and then go back to TIRR. She said that the insurance company reevaluates once a week. She said I could contact her again if I needed more help.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 23, 2011: insurance threat again

Jim and I were having a nice visit. Then, at 4 PM, Nishani, the social worker at Sharpview, came into the room to tell us that Aetna has decided to send Jim home next week. She actually seemed happy about it. She's supposed to be on the side of the patient, not the insurance company. She said that Kevin from PT said that he couldn't do any more for Jim.

I immediately went down and asked Kevin. He said that he said that he could not meet Aetna's timetable. I guess Aetna thinks that Jim should be up and walking around after 4 more weeks of therapy.

I left a message with the case worker for Aetna, Laverne. Hopefully, she'll call me back tomorrow. I will have to start the appeal process.

Jim looked like he was going to cry. He was even ready for me to go home early. I am reacting very well. I'm not crying and having suicidal thoughts like last week. I sure am glad I found a doctor and she prescribed wellbutrin for me.

I don't know what we'll do if the appeal doesn't go through. I'll have to set an alarm for every 2 hours so I can turn Jim in bed. If the insurance company doesn't provide a lot of home health care, he will have to suffer when I'm at work. He's not strong enough yet to move himself in bed. His recovery will slow way down without the intensive physical and occupational therapy that he needs so badly.

I tried contacting Barbara Jackson at TIRR last week for help with the insurance company. She had told us that Jim would stay at Sharpview and then go back to TIRR. She acted like Aetna had agreed to this plan. I called her again today and left another message. Tomorrow it will be one month since Jim left TIRR. Barbara's obligation to help us ends tomorrow. If she continues to not return my calls, I'll have to go track her down at TIRR.

February 23, 2011

I haven't seen Jim for two whole days! Yesterday I was so exhausted from the pain of my dental surgery that I went home and crashed.

Today it still hurts but not as much.

I hope that the case worker at Sharpview is not going to tell us that Jim will be kicked out soon. Yesterday I had an appointment with my orthopedist. He is going to write a letter stating that I am not strong enough for all the lifting required at home. My knee is a lot better but I still don't have a kneecap so I can't take the "lift with your knees!" advice.

Yesterday was the first day that I've looked forward to going home since Jim's fall on 11/24/10. Usually, I don't even want to leave the office. It just doesn't seem like "home" now that Jim doesn't live there.

Today I told someone at work about Jim's condition and I didn't start crying. Guess that wellbutrin is working for me.

Leaving for Sharpview in a few minutes......

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011: 2 less teeth to clean

Yesterday I had 2 of my teeth pulled. One had decay under its crown and the other was the wisdom tooth that was next to it. My friend, Lupita came over at 7:30 AM to take me to the dentist's office since I would not be able to drive myself home.

The dentist gave me 2 halcion pills. He said they would relax me so I would tolerate the procedure easier. They really worked. I don't remember much at all after taking them. At 2:30 PM I woke up in my bed and wondered how I got there.

I took a vicodin that the dentist prescribed. The pain wasn't too bad at all. Though I did feel drugged so I couldn't get any work done around the house.

I took another one at 9 PM and went to sleep. At 3 AM I woke up and took another one. This morning I just feel tired. I wish I could just stay home and rest. But, knowing me, I probably wouldn't rest very much anyway. I've got too many things that need to be done at home.

I have a 8:30 AM appointment with Dr Stocks this morning. He's the surgeon who did my knee replacement in July 2010. This will probably be my last appointment with him for a while. I need to ask him if I should still take celebrex. I was supposed to see him in December but I was too busy with Jim.

I'm trying to get my personal needs taken care of before Jim is sent home. I still need a mammogram and an eye exam. I put these things off because I was tired of doctors after having 2 surgeries over the summer. Ironic, isn't it? Now most of my life revolves around hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, nurses, etc.......

Lupita was wonderful yesterday. She took me to and from the dentist and got my prescriptions for me. She may have done more but I don't remember much of yesterday.
I am so grateful to have Lupita as a friend.

Thinking about this makes me so angry at my son, Andy. I used to think that Andy would be there if I needed him. But, he doesn't even call me. I wrote him an email on Sunday telling him how hurt I feel. He hasn't responded. Taking antidepressants allows me to feel anger. Before the wellbutrin I was disappointed in Andy and wondering what I had done wrong to have him treat me this way. If I spoke to him at all I was very careful to not tell him how sad he was making me. Now, I feel the anger and the disappointment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

February 19, 2011: letter

Jim's mother sent him a letter. Here he is reading it in bed. He was able to manipulate the pages pretty well on his own.

February 18, 2011: Jim's new trick

The physical therapist, Lois has been working very hard with Jim. She has him on the mat learning to roll himself around. He can use his heel to help move himself plus use his arms.

She had him pull himself forward in the chair by holding on to a bar. Jim tried it without the bar when I came in. And he can do it! Leaning forward helps him shift his weight so his butt doesn't get so sore.
The photos show how Jim pulls himself forward.

He stayed in his chair for a long time on Friday since he didn't have as much pain. I even got him to go outside into the courtyard. I tell him that just staying in his room is boring. But, actually it's depressing to me and I bet it is to him, too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 17, 2011

We went to the meeting at the home. They just wanted to talk about Jim's care. The social worker told us yesterday that he might have to go home as early as this Saturday. Now she said it will be decided next week.

I was up all night worrying and so was Jim. I left a message for the social worker, Barbara at TIRR. After she didn't call me back for several hours, I called her back. Her associate, Sonia answered and said Barbara was out today. She didn't have any answers for me. She advised me to call the clinic at TIRR and ask about his appointment with Dr Wenzel. They were supposed to call me. But, at least they did make an appointment already - April 5th. Hopefully, Jim will be ready to be readmitted by then.

He is working so hard during phys therapy. He really is getting stronger. I hope the insurance company will allow him to continue to get better.

I am so exhausted from 3 months of constant stress and worry. But, there's nothing to do but to keep on keeping on.

February 17, 2011: I don't know what to do.

I'm at a total loss. What do I do to get ready for Jim's homecoming? Am I supposed to go on leave of absence, work myself to death taking care of Jim and Mom or figure out a drug to overdose on?

It's difficult to want to keep on living when life is so crappy.

Barbara Jackson, our case worker at TIRR, told us that we had great insurance. That Jim would be able to get stronger in a skilled nursing facility and then go back to TIRR before he would be sent home. But, Aetna already wants to send Jim home. I left a message for Barbara. Maybe she can help us.

The tears are flowing today despite antidepressants. Life is just too hard.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 16, 2011: Insurance companies rule our lives.

Today I spoke to the social worker and case manager at Sharpview. They think that Aetna will try and discharge Jim very soon. He has only been there for 3 weeks. But, he still needs maximum assistance. So, according to insurance logic that means he should be discharged to languish at home.

I can't move Jim by myself. He needs a special airbed that raises and lowers. He needs a hoyer lift to get put into his wheelchair. And he really needs daily physical and occupational therapy. Not to mention catharization and a bowel program...

I don't know why the insurance companies just don't hand out suicide pills when they pull this stuff. I don't know how I will be able to care for Jim at home. I guess Aetna would let us have a home health aide a couple of days a week. Maybe they'd let him have a physical therapist come to the house occasionally - with no equipment, of course.

The sad thing is that he is actually getting better and progressing slowly. But his progress isn't fast enough for Aetna. All the doctors and therapists have told us that the recuperation period is at least a year. In the past TIRR used to keep spinal cord injuries for over a year.

The staff at TIRR told me to take one day at a time and not to buy a special van or install ramps in my house. I guess they were totally wrong. I'll have to scramble to get these done before Jim comes home.

Tomorrow we have a meeting at Sharpview. If Aetna doesn't kick him out this week, then we will have to face this threat every week from now on. There is an insurance review every week.

The good news: I am not crying and totally distraught. I am very upset but I'm not just feeling numb.

In 2 years Jim will be eligible for medicare. If the Republicans leave medicare alone, then Jim will be able to get better care. Insurance companies require big jumps in functionality but medicare acknowledges the smaller steps in between. I guess that's why skilled nursing facilities are just full of old people. Private insurance boots out the younger people. Who says we don't need national health care?

I don't see the senior citizens rallying to repeal medicare. Medicare works and it is a national health insurance program. Who would be crazy enough to sign a "repeal the health care bill petition?"

February 16, 2011: better

I just started taking wellbutrin yesterday. It probably is too early for it to work but I feel better. Last night I went home, ate dinner, watched TV, chased a cat and did some paper work. I even knitted while I watched TV. This is quite an improvement in my behavior. Last week I was a weeping mess.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15, 2011

Today is Tuesday. I work until 5 PM today and then just go home. It's too hard to go to see Jim on Tuesdays. I wouldn't get there until 6 PM and I'd have to leave at 7 PM.

Yesterday I saw a new doctor, Dr Giray. She gave me a new prescription for wellbutrin to supplement zoloft. Hopefully, these medicines will allow me to function better.

I went after my appointment to visit Jim. He was in PT and sitting on edge of the table. He looked really good - his back was straight and his shoulders were back and he was balancing himself. He said he just "found" his lower back muscles.

We played "Hello Kitty Rummikub" after his PT. It's a kids' game and has thick cards that he can actually pick up (he slides them to the edge of the table to get a grip on them.). Then he got back into bed with the help of Claudia from PT and the CNA, Rachel. I worked on straightening his fingers for a while. Then fed him dinner, brushed his teeth, etc.

The shift change started at 3 PM. It was 6 PM and the CNA hadn't come in to check on Jim yet. I pressed the call button and Julianne came in. She could barely speak or understand English. She didn't know how to use the draw sheet. She almost pulled the bottom sheet off the bed trying to move Jim. She usually works on the other side of the home. I feel sorry for her patients.

I was just about to leave and Jim showed me that the holder that I made for his TV remote was missing. I looked all over his room for it. Then I gave up and rigged up another handle with elastic, a bandage, part of his boot, velcro and carpet tape. I didn't get home until 9 PM.

Mom was already asleep. But, she must have gotten up 3 times to go to the bathroom before I turned my light off at 11 PM. She can't possibly be getting a good night's sleep. It's no wonder she goes to bed so early.

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 13, 2011

The nurse Kathy woke us at 5 AM to start Jim's bowel program. It went well and only took a little more than an hour. We went back to sleep. Then we were woken up at 8 for Jim's breakfast.

I turned on CBS Sunday morning. We used to always watch that show together on Sunday mornings. I used the draw sheet on Jim's bed and pulled Jim over to make room for me. We snuggled together. The nurse, Ami came by to give Jim his meds. She seemed all disturbed that I was in bed with Jim. I had to get up before she would come into the room.

I insisted that Jim be gotten out of bed today. His CNA, Sonia said she didn't know if she could do it. I told her that I would help. They get the other guy, Ernie out of bed every day. She didn't know that she could use the lift to put Jim into his chair.
We got another CNA, Delores and put Jim into his chair.

I bought him a new pillow to try out on the seat. I bought it at Interior Fabrics on Fondren. It feels like it's full of gel and is really comfy. It worked for Jim for a while.

Jim was supposed to get his hair cut at the home on Friday. I was told that the hairdresser would come by and get him. I finally went to her room and she said that she was waiting for me to bring him. She wasn't very interested because the first haircut at the home is complimentary.

I went to CVS and bought a hair clipper set for $16.99. I gave Jim a haircut all by myself! I think I did a pretty good job for the very first haircut that I've ever done. His left side looks better than the right. But it's not bad.

The photo included is Jim eating lunch right after his haircut. His fork has a rubbery handle so he can grip it better. He fed himself about one third of his lunch before he got frustrated. So I fed him the rest. He really needs to do as much as he can by himself.

It was a beautiful day so I told Jim I wanted to go outside for a while. There's a nice front porch at the home. He said he had no interest in going out there but he went because I went. He wheeled out into the sunshine and saw the front of Sharpview for the first time.

When he was at TIRR he had no interest in watching TV. He's started watching the news and PBS at the home. I rigged up the TV remote so he can turn it on and off by himself. When I left him on Sunday evening he wanted to watch Masterpiece Theater. So, maybe he'll be interested in the outdoors after a while.

Honey came by to visit for a little while. Then Laura and Kevin came to visit. They brought eggrolls! We talked about our cats and told each other jokes. It was a nice visit.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 12, 2011 PM

Jim and I are in his room in the nursing home watching "Married with Children" on TVland. Jim never got out of bed today. His bowel program got screwed up again so he didn't feel well. So, I get the honors tonight.

I enjoyed the fashion show and luncheon today. It was nice to see everyone and I didn't cry all day! (But then I had upped my dose of zoloft.) Lots of friends hugged me. They tried not to ask me questions and I appreciated that. I went down to the vendor and stash sale. I wanted to buy something but nothing interested me. What I want is NOT for sale anywhere - I want my husband and my life back!

I did some exercises with Jim. His right leg is getting strong. The left is slowly catching up. The recuperation time is so long. The surgeon told us to expect it to take at least one year or more. It's only been 2 and one half months. It seems like a lifetime already.

Lupita brought Mom in to visit Jim. She hadn't seen him since November 24, 2010. They were happy to see each other again. I told Mom that she could be Jim's roommate and then I could take care of both them at the same time.

It's 10:45 PM and Jim is asleep. The nurse gave him a sleeping pill about 30 minutes ago. I wish they would give me one, too. I hate to waste my free time sleeping. Finally, no one needs me and I can veg out. But, I know I need my sleep so I guess I'll take a couple of melatonin. I've set my alarm for 5 AM so I can take care of Jim.

February 12, 2011: A dose of normal

I'm going to the ASG Houston fashion show today. I will get to see the friends that I haven't seen since before Jim's accident. I hope that I can make it through okay. Hopefully everyone will be too busy with the show and luncheon to ask me lots of questions.

It's really hard for me to talk about Jim's accident and our drastically changed lives. I easily burst into tears. Despite what people say "letting it out" is not helpful. I've cried enough by now. It's not at all helpful to cry anymore - it only deepens my depression.

After the ASG event I will be going to visit Jim and spend the night at the "home."

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11, 2011 PM

I'm home early tonight. Jimmy and Lupita showed up at the nursing home around 4 or 5. I was going to work on the taxes with Jim. Since he had company I decided to come on home.

I was afraid to leave actually. I'm so depressed. When I'm not with Jim I have a difficult time functioning. Depression is a kind of paralysis. So, it's another thing Jim and I have in common. (that's a joke.) But I seem to be okay so far tonight.

I was crying when I got to the "home" today. The CNA Florence just couldn't believe I was crying. She asked me what happened. OMG! I was at a nursing home visiting my paralyzed husband. Isn't that enough?

People love to tell me that things could be worse. That makes it all the more difficult. Why would thinking about more horrible crap happening make me feel better? It's irrational.

I'm going to a psychiatrist on Monday. I need better antidepressants. I've been taking a low dose of zoloft for years. My regular doctor has been prescribing them for me since my old doctor died. I need something stronger. I need to be able to function.

I'm pretty proud of myself for finding a psychiatrist and making an appointment. It's not all that easy to find a shrink who will take insurance. I'm doing my best to take care of myself so I can continue taking care of Jim and Mom.

February 11, 2011: Too Much for One Person

Yesterday morning was my son Kevin's and my brother John's birthday. Kevin called me from Tokyo at about 7 AM yesterday so I could talk to him on his birthday. I told Mom's sitter, Martha to remind Mom that it was John's birthday and to call him.
I left and drove through heavy traffic and got to the office a few minutes late. I called Andy to remind him that it was his brother's birthday. We spoke for a couple of minutes. Andy never asked me about Jim. He wanted to know what I was doing for myself. I told him that I was planning to attend a sewing event on Saturday. Then he told me about the rings he bought for Nina and himself. "Life is great" he said and wanted me to agree with him. I told him that sometimes it is. I didn't want to have this discussion again so I told him that I had to start working.
I worked until 2 PM and then I had to leave to go to the dentist. The dentist said that I have decay under one of my crowns and bone loss around the tooth. I said okay to go ahead and schedule its removal and replacement with an implant. But, then he asked me about my family. I just lost it. I started crying and couldn't speak. I passed out a couple of my cards with my blog address. If people are really interested they will check my blog. It is just too painful for me to discuss my life.
I drove to the nursing home to visit Jim. I was so tired by then. I haven't been sleeping well and I just have so much to do. I fed him dinner. Luckily the good CNA, Lolita was on duty so I didn't have to do everything by myself. We put on his night boots, pulled him up and turned him in bed. I made him more sugar free lemonade and filled up his pitcher. I couldn't stop yawning - his room is warm and stuffy because he is always cold. Jim wanted me to stay and take a nap. But I just wanted to get home. It would have been a very expensive nap since I would have to pay Mom's sitter for that extra time.
I got home and spent some time with Mom. She went to bed and I checked my email. My sister-in-law, Dawn sent me a terse note that she was angry that I hadn't told Mom to call John on his birthday. I went down to Mom's room, turned on her big light and woke her up. I dialed John's number and put the phone in her hand. After she spoke to her son for a couple of minutes she was done. I've been angry at my brother. Andy spoke to him a couple of days after Jim's accident. He told me that John said he was happy to speak to someone "sane." So, I haven't bothered to speak to John since then. But, yesterday I took the phone and wished him a happy birthday. We spoke for a long time. John listened to my problems. I guess it felt good to him to talk again. It was nice to feel connected again. But I need a lot more help than that.
I'm faced with a future of caring for 2 invalids by myself. Isn't life "great?"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February 9, 2011: AHA!

Understandably I have been kind of busy for the past couple of months. Besides taking care of Jim and Mom I have been grieving. Yesterday I was trying to understand the grieving process. It must have percolated in my head last night while I slept.

I have been so upset that Andy hasn't been at all supportive of me during this tragedy. I listened to his accusations that "I was too negative" "I eat junk food" "It won't happen to me because I take care of myself" etc. etc. I would try and defend myself to him. My "AHA" of today is that it isn't about me at all.

Andy is grieving too! But he is stuck in the first phase - denial. He has always liked Jim. He told me that he was happy that I had someone who loved me and took care of me. The new reality is that I have to take care of Jim. This new reality sucks. Andy is dealing with his grief in his own way.

Before Jim's accident Andy was having a wonderful life. He fell in love with Nina and he was so happy. He'd call me and tell me all his good news.

All of a sudden on November 24, 2010 Jim had a catastrophic accident and the family dynamics changed. It has been incredibly difficult for Jim, for me, for Mom and now I realize for Andy, too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 8, 2011

I took this photo of Jim in his room yesterday. He is doing a "weight shift" in his power chair. He is supposed to tilt back for at least one minute every hour. This shifts his weight so he doesn't get pressure sores. It works in that his skin is intact. But he can never get comfortable while sitting in this chair.

February 8, 2011: Stages of Grief

It's Tuesday and I'm back in the office. I am able to feel like my life hasn't drastically changed while I'm here. I don't have the need to tell people about Jim's accident so much anymore. I think I did it before because I was trying to make it more real. The first step of mourning is denial. That is so painful. It's a kind of numb feeling. Then you go to bed and you are all alone. That jolts you back to reality with a vengeance. In my own way I was trying to move on past that step.

My son Andy thought I was being so negative because I had told the waiter at Riva's about my husband. Now I see that it was actually very positive. I was trying to move to the acceptance level. But, unless he actually reads my blog, Andy will never understand that. It was such a difficult conversation when we last spoke. It just started my tears back up. So, I haven't called him again. I texted him but I haven't heard back. I sure could use his support.

Luckily we have friends who come visit us and offer their support.

Here is a link to good description of the stages of grief. It talks about death of the person. I think the same stages apply to mourning the end of a way of life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011: Don't lie to me!

I will leave to visit Jim around 11 this morning. It will be nice to spend time with him when he is out of bed. He had to stay in bed all day Saturday and Sunday because the nursing staff can't get him comfortable in his wheelchair. It's important that he spend time out of bed every day. It exercises his back muscles to sit up. He can do fine motor work when he is sitting up - like play games. Being bed bound slows his recovery.

TIRR wouldn't admit that his recovery time would be longer if he were to leave and go to a nursing home. I understand that TIRR is prevented from keeping patients long enough to recover by insurance company regulations. But, there is no need to lie about it. Barbara, the benefit coordinator at TIRR, said it would be best for Jim to spend time at a nursing home to get stronger. In reality, it is not best for Jim but best for the insurance company. He is not receiving the nursing care that he needs in his paralyzed condition.

I absolutely HATE being lied to. Of course, I understand that Jim could not continue at TIRR. It's too expensive. Just say it - he needs to stay but we (TIRR) are not allowed to keep him. That's the truth.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 6, 2011

I spent Friday and Saturday nights at the "home" with Jim. There are just not enough nurses and nursing assistants to take care of everyone. At night there is just one nurse for the floor. Jim is supposed to be turned every 2 hours. It's not happening. I would turn him when I'd wake up. Last night I was so sound asleep that I wasn't much help.

Friday night I set my alarm for 4 AM so I could help with his bowel program. It took until about 6 AM. Last night Jim woke me up at 3 AM because it started early. So, I was up until around 5. Poor Jim hasn't had a full night's sleep since he's been sick. I came home to sleep tonight.

I got home at 6:45 and Mom was already in bed. I don't think she understands time anymore. Tomorrow I'm not going to see Jim until around 11:30 AM. I have to work on Jim's business taxes some more. I took a bunch of his papers in over the weekend and we worked on it together. But, there are still more papers at home.

Mary and Rod came to visit us today. It was a great visit! They even brought snacks and a pizza. I feel better tonight. I think spending time with friends helps me feel more normal.

I'm torn between spending every minute with Jim and thinking that I need to try and live more normally. Jim isn't as sick as before. But, he still can't do anything for himself.

This morning he called for help and no one answered him. I finally woke up and found his CPA, Florence. His call light was on for over 30 minutes. She also hadn't bothered to bring in his breakfast tray. After she finally came into the room, I had already turned Jim and made him comfortable. I told her to get his breakfast. She brought 2 bowls of cereal - raisin bran and frosted flakes- and toast. Great meal for a diabetic! I found out that she was supposed to bathe Jim yesterday. I spoke to her about it and she said that he was having therapy when she was ready to bathe him. That was 2 PM and her shift ended at 3 PM. I insisted that she give him a bath today.

I don't know why some people won't just do their jobs. It's just easier - people are happy, you actually earn your salary and your day goes by quickly. Some of the nurses and CPA's are very good. I always feel safe leaving Jim in Lolita's hands. Somehow, she always gives Jim great care and doesn't rush through his room. She even fed him dinner today even though I was in the room. That gave me the opportunity to gather my stuff together and able to go home early.

Guess I'm rambling now. Time for a full night's sleep without interruptions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

February 4, 2011: Iced in!

Houston is covered in a layer of ice. No pretty fluffy snow here. Most of the freeways are closed down. I know Jim doesn't want me to drive in the ice. But, I worry that the nursing staff can't get in to take care of him today. I tried calling his room but no answer. I sure wish he could get the use of his hands back so that he could answer his own phone.

Lupita is willing to come watch Mom but she lives kind of far away. I may call Magda later and just stay with Jim tonight.

At least the power and internet are working today.

Kevin called from Japan. He hasn't heard from Andy either. I hope Andy hasn't gotten involved in some weird religion. There sure are lots of strange ones in Houston to choose from. I thought he had gotten past his addiction problems. I think religion can take advantage of people with addictive tendencies. I suppose religion is preferable to drugs or alcohol.

Andy said that he only wants to be with positive people. Maybe if Jim recovers fully or almost fully, he'll want a relationship with me again. Of course, I'll forgive him. I'm his mother. He has abandoned me during the greatest crisis of my life. I'll never be able to forget that. I guess I just want to blame something for his desertion. Maybe it's not religion or drugs. Maybe he really never grew up emotionally. That would be the saddest thing of all.

Since the internet is back up I should go work on the books for Jim's business and on our taxes. Yuck!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 3, 2011: lonely

It's just no fun to get off work early anymore. We got off at 3 PM today because of the coming winter storm. I came home instead of visiting Jim. I didn't want to get on to the icy roads.

I have so much to do at home but I just sit around and play on the computer. Playing games takes my mind off of missing Jim. Maybe I need more antidepressants. I have every right to feel blue these days but I need to keep on with the rest of my life.

It's so much easier at the office. The office is the only place that my life has continued to be "normal."

I feel so alone. Mom is not much company anymore. The aricept hasn't helped her much. I need to take her to a new doctor for more help. Her current doctor, Nowitz, won't prescribe home physical therapy for her. I think she needs a little exercise to keep her mind alert. I was going to find her a new doctor but I was feeling burned out of medical stuff in the Fall. Of course, I had no idea that I wouldn't have the time for it later.

Oh crap. The storm has begun. The cable went out. I hope I can at least post this entry.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 2, 2011: Groundhog's Day

I had to go to the dentist today for a tooth that has been bothering me. The dentist thinks I'll have to get it pulled and get an implant. I haven't been taking such great care of my teeth lately - little busy with other HUGE problems.

I got to Manor Care by 3 PM. Poor Jim was in his room sitting in his manual chair having a lot of pain. His call light was on but no help was coming. I wheeled him down to the physical therapy room. The therapists were quick to adjust him in the chair. He probably would have had to wait another 30 minutes at least until the shift change of the nursing staff was complete and someone would check on him. He has absolutely NO natural cushioning so he gets very uncomfortable sitting so long. I had his CNA (certified nursing assistant), Lolita feel how bony he is. She thought something had happened to him, maybe in his childhood, that caused him to have such a bony butt. That's just the way he is built. I wish I could donate some of my derriere fat to help him out.

Jim was able to open his cell phone and press a speed dial button after I strapped it on to his hand and put the bluetooth in his ear. He called his parents to wish them a Happy Groundhog's Day - a goofy Carpenter tradition.

He also was able to press the button on his bed controls and lower his head. That will help him make his own adjustments. I put a strap on the TV remote and put it in his hand. He was able to turn the TV on and off all by himself. I told him that "my baby is growing up" but he can't leave me like children do when they become adults.

We played one game of Hello Kitty Rummikub. I just couldn't resist buying it at Walgreens. We used to play rummikub with Jimmy and Lupita every weekend. This game has thicker cards that Jim was able to pick up. Plus, the cards are just so cute.
He's graduated from the toy cell phone that I bought him. It would light up when he pressed a button. I think that it really helped him get strong enough to use a real cell phone, bed control and tv remote.

I fed him dinner. I had to leave soon thereafter. I wanted to get home before the roads got icy. It never got out of the 30's today. It might even snow tomorrow and Friday. I hope I will be able to get to the home during this cold weather.

I got to work late today. The power went out and it was too dark at 6:30 AM to do anything. Then I had to pick up Mom's sitter, Alberta at the bus stop. The bus was late and she was freezing. There were lots of traffic problems because many of the traffic signals weren't working because of the rolling power blackouts. I may leave later than normal tomorrow so that the roads will have a chance to thaw.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1, 2011: Better now

The crying bout is over. I know that I have plenty of reason to cry. It's just that it strikes at weird times. I'm best when I am with Jim. He seems pretty upbeat. Maybe he's just holding it in for my sake, like I hold it in for his.

I've put in a call to my old therapist. She helped me through my divorce several years ago. I wish I could just blog and not have to pay for therapy. But, it's just not enough.

It's time for me to leave the office. I feel like I have no home to go to. The house is just not home without Jim. Oh crap, now I'm crying again.

February 1, 2011: What the hell?

I'm at work today and I just can't stop crying. It is so stupid! I have work to do and health insurance to earn.

I called Jim a few minutes ago and one of the nurses held the phone for him. He's doing okay. So what the hell is my problem? I just had to close my office door so people won't see me crying. Nothing has changed. Maybe it's because I know I won't see him today. Life is just too hard right now.