Being Waited On Hand & Foot


Christmas tree 2013I have been gone most of the day. Al went to Day Program and I had to go to the doctor because last week I was outside helping with leaves and it gave me the start of an infection.

I had a little trouble getting my prescription although I get this infection every fall and spring as long as I live in Indiana. The doctor didn’t want to fork over the script because I wasn’t bad enough yet.

I explained about Al and how I could not afford to be down one day and didn’t want to wait until it got bad. Finally he gave in. I had to go to the Pharmacy and pay my monthly bill and fill the new script. I then had to stop at the camera shop as I needed a piece I didn’t have. I then definitely had to go to the grocery store as I can’t get out on weekends when Al is home.

So by the time I got home and put all the groceries a way I had a half an hour before Al was to arrive. This day went fast but yet I had that time frame for thirty minutes to do as I wished.

I was so shocked and very pleased that two ladies from M.S.A. web site, who I am honored to call my friends. Connie and Bonnie had both left me messages on Facebook and Connie even called me. They were worried about me as I hadn’t posted all day.

I didn’t mean to worry them but to be very honest except for my daughter and my best friend no one questions my where-a-bouts or calls to see if I am alright; so I was pleased as punch.

After I spoke to Connie I played around with my camera. I took a photo of our tree and then doctored it on a photo program. So here it is, my play-time project.

When Al got off the bus he didn’t want supper. I am starting to get used to those words. He wanted to nap. I imagine he was tired. He didn’t seem like he had a good time at his party but I am thinking he was just too tired to talk about it.

I changed him and put him in bed. When he gets up I will offer him supper in bed, served like a King. I will not work so hard to transfer him from bed to recliner and back any longer. I hurt my neck and back muscles because he is just too weak to help.

I think he will be alright with it. He was in bed all day yesterday after breakfast. I got him up and fed him and washed him up and then put him back in his bed. I just made sure I turned him every two hours and sat him up off and on. He got waited on hand and foot. You know, I could handle that myself for a day, being waited on hand and foot.

Older Verses Younger


Lionel Rumi ice skating

I went to see Al today and it was a nice visit. I took him a chocolate milkshake. Plus his meats are now pureed. He ate everything. He struggled with his carrot slices so I told him after I saw him beginning to pucker up to just use his fingers. Finger food are getting real popular I told him. He smiled at me and then was able to eat them.

I had picked up my mail today since I didn’t do it yesterday. In there was a little magazine geared towards seniors. I started reading it after lunch was over and Al decided to pick sports on the TV. There are very few sports I enjoy watching except ice-skating.

One of the articles I was reading started me to that crazy thinking again. Oh no, watch out. Her brain is loose again.

I have noticed that women outlive men by an average of five years. We as a country are living longer and yet younger people are having the heart attacks sooner. They suffer from injured knees and backs. Older generations are a little bit healthier. Yes, I actually wrote that.

Older generations worked harder than we do today. People younger than me work less hard than even I did. Could this have anything to do with more medical issues? Well maybe, but I have no proof.

Where the older generations worked the land, built their own homes, ate out of the ground, we buy boxed foods, meats that are processed and sometimes not even grown here. We take more vitamins to supplement our need to lose weight.

Did you realize that you can now go through a drive-thru just not for food, but for even more?

You can bank through a drive-thru, visit the deceased through a window while wearing shorts and a tank top. You can order groceries online. You can visit your doctor online.

Shopping from the internet has saved us many steps, and much time so we can spend more time working out and getting toned. You can take a pill for just about everything. The morning after pill, arthritis pills, jells to add more excitement to your love life.

Cook a complete meal in a microwave. Push a button and let a robot sweep your house with it. You can text, email, talk on cellphones that never leave your side. Use a remote to change channels on every TV in your house.

Take your computer with you. Order credit cards on-line, have packages picked up from your house. Leave your windows closed and flip on the air conditioner. We as a whole have at least one car and a truck, motorcycle, bicycle or gulf carts.

Why go to the vegetable patches when we can pick up in pretty plastic containers and clear cellophane anything we need at our grocers. We can hire someone to walk our pets. We can hire maids to do our Spring cleaning.

Nannies for watching our children. Church on the TV.  I could go on and on, but I won’t bore you.

Is the reason that the older generation is living longer and the younger generation has old people medical issues because we have become too laid back?

I May Have To Move Outside


I am never going to plan on nothing happening anymore, even if we do not have appointments or any health care providers coming in. Never again, until taking care of Al is completely done.

Today, the shower gal came and gave him his shower. He cried the whole time and his usual wanting to die was the subject. There was nothing she could do to turn himself away from this conversation. His brain was in cement and could not be broken.

The other day when we had the chaotic episode at Wal-Mart, he did buy one of his more expensive cars, and has been bugging me all weekend that he wants another one. I have said no, only once a month for the big cars, only the tiny cars in between, and I am not even sure how I would take him to get one either, as I don’t want to have to take him to any store for a while, or at least until I forget about getting pinned in in the parking lot.

This is Al’s room. It is filled wall to wall and floor to floor. Every nook and corner is taken. Things are hiding behind his recliner, behind his dresser and tables and his closet is totally filled, with little space for his clothes. Coca cola is even over flowing into his bathroom on the walls and corners. He has one shelf on another wall I didn’t get a photo of that he has filled to the max with now his car collection.

Al has no thinking process of these items. All he knows is he likes them and wants everyone that is sold. Pretty soon, I am going to have to move outside!

Today, he had the appointment with the doctor, and I needed some batteries for his flashlight. Why, I don’t know, but he has to have the flashlight at nights. It is a tiny magnum flashlight that takes four AAA batteries, and I only had one. We stopped at the Dollar General store and then he did not want to go in. Darn it! I locked the doors and raced as fast as this old body could go, in, get the batteries, pay, and out. Gosh, my hair now looks like I ran a marathon, and my cheeks are rosy in color. Man, I am out of shape!

Then we went close by and grabbed a sandwich and of course a diet coke. This time he went in, but not before falling against the car once, and then when we were inside, he fell into the counter where you order. People may have thought that I was the town drunk’s wife! Next we stopped at the pharmacy and got yet another prescription called in for Al.

All this time, I had it planned to the letter T. It was a full circle. Al only had to get out of the car twice, once to eat, and once to go inside to the doctor’s office. I raced in and got the medications, because I knew they were ready, and locked the car and took my keys. I think I was gone about five minutes.

Then the doctor. Oh wow, what a trip this was! I had told Al he was having lab work done, but when we were at the little receptionist window, she told me the doctor wanted to see him first, and I had previously told him we would not be seeing the doctor today, just labs.

This confused Al way too much. He started crying and when we were called back to the doctor’s rooms he was still crying. He reached out to the doctor and took a hold of his doctor jacket and said please help me. I don’t want to live anymore. God doesn’t care about me because he won’t let me die, and no one else cares either.

The doctor is looking at Al and then at me and back at Al. I said now you see what I deal with at home 24/7. We do have good days, but what you see here, are the normal days. The doctor made a big boo-boo. He told Al that PD does not cause this much pain and he sort of chuckled a little. This ripped Al apart, because now to him, his doctor didn’t believe him either. I always believe him, I am not saying that, it is just I can not do anything to help him anymore as a sister, except to guide him and love him.

Al went on a crying binge. He took his glasses off and wailed nice and loud and begged for death. The doctor continues talking and says that he believes that Al has some kind of auto-immune problem on top of his PD, maybe, and he just wanted to see him first, before he went forth with the labs.

I am not sure what he thought he was going to gain by seeing him, but he did get an eyeful today. He wrote out two new prescriptions for Al. Two things Al has never taken before for  pain, and then told him to go get the lab work done.

Al and I leave that area and go to labs and the lab girl comes and gets his blood. Then Al gets his coat on with great slowness and with my help, and we get out to the lobby, and I set a new appointment for next week for a recheck on these new medications he is starting today, and the lab lady realizes she had two papers for blood work,instead of one, and she needed to poke him again.

Call me what you want, but I threw a tiny fit. I said this is great, he is crying his eyes out, is in too much pain, and now you want to give him another needle. She went over to Al and explained her error, and he just got up and walked with her. I don’t know where his mind was, but he didn’t seem to mind another stab.

After this ordeal, we had to go back to the pharmacy to get the new prescriptions filled and I promised Al he could get a diet cherry coke back at the fountain, since he could not stay in the car this time. There could be some waiting since it was not a refill. He was all for the coke so he didn’t fight it.

We got them in a very prompt manner, because this pharmacy is just the best all around in town, and then we came home. I got out and got all the goodies out of the back seat, and as I always do, I hurry to the house and unlock the door, and drop the stash, then race back to the car to help Al in, but this time was different.

I go back out the door and Al is pointing to his hand with his other hand. He is just standing there not trying to walk. I look really close at the situation to see what is going on, and Al’s thumb is in the door. He had shut the door with his thumb in it.

I ran faster than a bolt of lightning, down the ramp to the car, and jerked that door open faster than you can say Monkey’s Ass, and looked at his thumb. Al is not crying now, I think he is in shock. Blood is starting to drip, from where it got a piece of his skin, and the nail it blue already.

I am thinking what do I do, what do I do. Is this considered and ER trip? I ask Al does it hurt, and I am sure if Al could get by with it, he would have slapped me silly for that question. I tell him we are going in the house so I can clean it and examine it, and we need to walk as fast as we can, but that didn’t work. Al’s walking was no faster than any other time.

We got in the house and went straight to the kitchen and I ran cold water over it for a few minutes, then I examined it. It wiggled, it was lightly bleeding, and the thumbnail was becoming deeper blue. Since the bleeding had almost stopped, I wrapped it in a band-aid, and had him take one of his new pills for pain.

He is now laying down but right before he drifted off, I took another look at the band-aid. I did see blood but none seeping through. I asked him how it felt and he said fine. Wow, if that would have been my thumb, fine is not the word you would have heard me say, but let’s let him rest. I get no nap or rest today, as it is almost 5:30pm, and he will be awake in forty-five minutes for his supper, but yet that is enough time for a quick cat nap, so talk to you all later tonight.

 

Delicate Situation


How do I tell a story without being gross, or making you want to run for the bathroom? I am not sure, but I will do my best to say each phrase delicately.

Al is my brother, in case you new blogger followers do not realize it. Al has Parkinson’s and is mildly mentally challenged. He is also a heart patient. I have been caring for him for almost five years.

In the second year of caring for him, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He has gone through many changes in these two years, the latest being urinating in his undies. Here lies the issue of yesterday and today.

I go to a local pharmacy that takes Medicare, and we purchase a gadget called a Texas Catheter. It is very similar to a regular catheter, except it has a condom like look and feel that attaches to the outer part of a man’s private area, instead of a tubing being ran inside. There is a bag that attaches to the leg and a tubing attached to that to let the drippings flow from Al to the bag.

Now, I am sure that most of us are grown ups here and have seen the male specimen. We know that it can do tricks, by hanging low or hanging high. I say this with much blushing!!!

Now picture this, 2012, as Ma would say on The Golden Girls. Bathroom, Al sitting down on the shower chair, sister, me, sitting down across from him on another chair. Cuts open the cover for the bag and the cover for the attachments. I look at poor Al’s eyes and tell him I am soooooooooo sorry, that I have to be with him in such a delicate situation like this, and I will hurry as fast as I can, and if I hurt him, please say ouch!

I put my surgeon’s gloves on and I look at Al’s body part, and ask myself how am I going to get this tight-fitting rubber piece over something that is looking down at the floor and not standing at attention.

I think, tick tick tick tick, and I tell Al, well bud, here goes nothing, but I did not mean actually nothing, because by the tenth time of trying to get this stupid thing on, and it flipping back at me and reminding me it was not going to listen, I had probably made a naked spot on his skin where once there was hair.

The sweat was pouring off my brow and I could feel Alvin holding his breath. It was like doing a delicate operation with no knife. FINALLY, I get the little gadget in place. I attach it to the bag on the leg, and I have him stand up so I can see how it fits when he moves and then sits. We go through these motions a couple of times.

I am disappointed that the tubing is not very long, not giving Al much space, but it was all in place, so I quit. I wet a wash rag and wiped Al’s arms and back down where he had sweated from fear of losing his man hood, then peeled off my gloves, tossing them in the trash, and go to my own bathroom and cool myself off with a shower.

Now all this happened yesterday, before he fell in the early evening, so when he gets up from his nap, he tells me it rolled off. I said what rolled off, and he points to his umm,  his personal area, and says, that! I thought, oh my gosh, it was so darn tight, that his whole thing fell off. I was castrating the poor guy and didn’t even know it! He says that he placed the bag in the trash. I said alright, I will call the pharmacy and tell them this is a disaster for the two of us, and ask if they have any suggestions.

After the fall and checking him out, I go to start supper and guess what is lying in the kitchen sink, THE BAG. Oh how sick! It has been in my sink, quick, get the bleach and a new pair of rubber gloves!!!

I take care of all that and the area is now all sterilized, ready for supper preparation, but I have now lost a bit of my appetite. I go to the computer for a bit, so I can forget the memory of my poor sink, and then later go back to do my duties. I did a load of laundry after supper, and discovered that each pair of undies and shorts were at different levels of wetness, so when the timing was right, I had to tell Al that he would have to wear the depend briefs from now on, and he didn’t say too much.

This morning, I called the Pharmacy and explained the issues, and she said she had longer tubing, that would help Al to move better, therefore the little attachment would stay in place.

To bribe Al to get him out of the house, because I had told him prior, that we would not be going anywhere today, and it is hard to change what was once said, so I knew that Arby’s was having a deal today on their new sandwiches, Turkey sandwiches. A great deal, free! Also, Dairy Queen was having a buy one blizzard get another for ninety-nine cents, so I ask him if he wanted to do these two things, plus ran back over to the Pharmacy. He jumped at the opportunity for blizzards, well not jumped, but did say yes.

We go and get the sandwiches, then go to the Dairy Queen and got the blizzards and then went to the park and ate in the shade on a bench. He is a slow eater compared to me, so after I was done I snapped these photos. After Al was all done, we went to the Pharmacy and picked up the longer tubing, and then I remembered that he needed a new electric razor, so I also stopped at the drugstore and bought one for him.

We go back home and we head to the bathroom. I am explaining to him that this will work much better with this new longer tubing, and since I had one day’s practice with the attachment going on correctly, this would be a breeze today.

Soft tears started flowing from his eyes, and he told me he felt like a little kid. I said that I understood, which I really did, but this old disease was trying to pull one over on us and we had to stay ahead of it.

He took his clothing off, while I put my doctor gloves on and I once again asked myself how was I going to get this on something that was not looking up.

It was no easier for him or me than it was yesterday. He was crying, and I was sweating tears. After several attempts and no progress in works, and no extra hands to help me, and having pulled the last hair I could get by with without being hit, I gave up. I told Al this is the pits, we can not make it work, and I am not going to have you suffer for this, when the bag of briefs was setting right beside us. He shook his head, and he, himself, yanked that nasty rubbery piece off of himself, and he threw it in the trash. I put all the clean items back in the bag that it came from at the store, so now I have all these little gadgets lying here that can’t be taken back. Texas Catheters anyone?? LOL

Doctor’s Visit


constipation

constipation

I took Al to the doctor today to get results and make any changes to medications from his blood work. After he did his comparison from two months ago, we then began to chat about Al’s present problems, his Parkinson’s.

I left feeling sort of lost and confused and unloved. Yes, unloved by the doctor. LOL I felt like I could be in charge of anything at the doctor’s office. Everything I asked, his response was what ever you want to do. Really? Anything? At that precise moment, I had a splitting headache that started building fifteen minutes after I woke this morning,  precisely when Al got up. He started this bright, sunny day off with tears and cries of pain, coming from all over his body. Now would probably not be the correct time to let me have full reigns over the prescription pad.  LOL

The doctor observed Al in action with heavy tremors, and major tear attacks, snotty nose running to the floor, and asked Al what he wanted to have happen, and Al stated he wanted to go to a nursing home. The doctor looks at me and says, if that is what he wants than you should do it!

I changed the subject for a moment, and asked him why he could not give Al big time medications, that really would help dull his pain, then maybe he would not feel so bad and be so darn depressed. His remark was constipation. What? Yes, constipation. The types of medications Al has been taking for pain so far causes the increase of constipation. So then I sort of snickered and said that his entire family has dealt with this his whole life. Al was born without the sphincter muscle. This cute little muscle lets you know the correct time you need to head to the bathroom for poop duty, and when you don’t have one, you have to make a schedule for yourself to go every day at a  certain time, to try to train the body. Constipation was our family’s middle name while I was growing up. After supper each day, I heard, Al head to the bathroom and sit until you produce results! Boy, those were the days, but they all flooded back once I started to care for Al, as we have to do the same thing, and now with his obsession, I am trying to untrain him, and now I learn constipation can be a problem. Which way do I go, which way do I go!!!

I told the doctor that if he didn’t give Al some grown up medications I was not going to be able to care for him any longer, and he says, what ever you want. In the end, he gave Al and increase of one of his pain medications and introduced him to another one more in tune for his leg pains.

We went to our pharmacist and ordered the medications and ate lunch at the back counter, while waiting for them to be filled. The pharmacy is so sweet. They have known Al and me since we were five, and when the medications were ready they hand delivered them to us so Al could take one of each right there.

After that scene was over, we came home, and I think Al was beginning to feel a little bit better. He walked a half-inch faster than usual. I sure hope they help. I helped him get settled and he is now in his recliner watching television until the precise minute has arrived to take his nap.

I came back out to the kitchen and noticed I had gotten so wrapped up in Al, that I had totally forgotten to pick up my own medications for my diabetes that I had called in yesterday. This caused me to have to call in and let them know that I would definitely be in tomorrow for them before they closed.

Now I am resting, but my head feels like a teflon skillet is on top instead of the cast iron skillet. Maybe I will just mosey over to the living room couch and take a little snooze when Al does. It can’t hurt me, and it may help.

I have an appointment to hear options about placing Al this coming week. Placement has been moved from the back burner of my brain to the front burner, but I can’t help hoping that the right medications could produce a bit happier brother, and if it does, I can deal with the rest of the crap, no pun intended. LOL, and if it doesn’t, at least I am working on the placement thing.

Three Strikes, Almost Out!


This morning started off bad again. Please do not say I have no patience, I do, and besides, many of you say I have a lot of patience, but this full-circle talk is starting to test my patience.

Al was quiet this morning when he got up, which is a bad sign to me in the first place. No wave of the hand and no smile. I think maybe his tremors have kept him up too late again, as I snuck in and checked on him at three am and he was still up. He is taking prescription sleeping aids to help him sleep past the tremors, but obviously, they do not work.

After his breakfast was over he came over and sat on the couch near me. He began by showing me a new bruise he had on his leg. Actually, I could not see it, even when he pointed to it. I had to get up, turn the over head lights on and then I saw a new bruise the size of a pea.

This went from the bruise to two hours of crying and the negativity of his life. I heard that I want him out of the house. I want to live here alone. I don’t care about why he has Parkinson’s. I won’t make the doctors fix it. He can’t do anything anymore. He can’t make his bed. He can barely walk. This list was so long, I don’t have enough fingers to count the remarks he made.

I once again, and I don’t know how many conversations we have shared, told him all the good things that he should be thankful for. He can walk, he says not good. He can feed himself, he says too slow. He can still use the bathroom, he says he struggles. No matter what positive thing I said, he found a way to throw it back at me. I couldn’t take it anymore, and went to my bedroom, and this one time I slammed the door. Yes, it is still on its hinges! It gave me a release. It freed me of my wanting to go out and slash my worst enemies tires! It saved me from digging in the winter garments for my old set of ear-muffs. It felt so good. As I slammed my door, I heard him exclaim, see, you don’t care about me, you left me sitting here alone. I ignored it and laid my head down on my pillow. I knew that it would welcome my company and wrap itself around me.

It became lunch time, and I had to pick-up medications again at the pharmacy. Since this is Al’s favorite place to eat, I planned on eating here also. Here is a photo shot I took today while we were eating. I mention this place so much, I thought maybe you wanted to see what it was like.

As we were walking back to the lunch counter, Al was pretty buckled at the knee. I reminded him to stand as tall as he can so he won’t fall, and this brought more tears, and a loud what did I do now? I didn’t do anything? I asked him to lower his voice, and we did make it back to our seats.

I told my son about it earlier this evening, and he said as long as Al can do it, let him be. I got on the defense immediately, explaining I didn’t want for Al to fall and I felt I needed to remind him. Son says, I am taking away his manhood, that Al feels like I am bossing him. I have thought this over tonight, and can’t decide if I am right, or son is. I hate to see Al fall, and if I don’t say anything and he does fall, will I feel guilty? Should I just let him live his illness in peace, and stay out of the voicing concern areas? I don’t know yet. What do you think? I understand my son’s view, and I get mine also.

So, my son and family came down to grill out. Everything went well. Al didn’t want to eat outside. He prefers the table, because his nose is an inch from his plate now, which makes it easier for him not to spill food, so I let him eat alone, but turned the TV on for his company. They stayed for a short time afterwards, and then decided to head for home. As they were gathering left overs and children, Al was already struggling to get up off of the couch, and before they were all out of the door, he was gone, back to his room.

Do you have any idea how this makes me feel when he does this? I have had to deal with this now for almost five years. I know what all the doctors have said. He has transferred his feelings for dad straight to me, so he doesn’t see me as a friend, more of a boss, even though I try hard to guide gently, and not sound bossy. The way he makes me feel though, is that I am not worthy, period. Only others are worthy of his time. I have been working on getting rid of this attitude of him not wanting to be around me, and actually, I am not too much better at it than I was five years ago. I still have room for growth so maybe one day I will finally accept this for what it is.

So this was our day. Looking forward to meeting my pillow once again, and starting everything all over again tomorrow.