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Stroke Caregiver - female
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About RLT

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    Associate Mentor

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  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
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  1. Happy Anniversary RLT!

  2. Happy Anniversary RLT!

  3. Happy Anniversary RLT!

  4. RLT

    The decision that this was not a safe discharge was made by the people coordinating MFP. They actually brought three levels of management to our last meeting to prop up this decision. They claim that it is their licenses on the line with this discharge. They are also telling me that getting Dick readmitted into long-term care would be extremely difficult because new laws are making it so. In their opinion, I guess, I should hang on to the long-term care benefits that Dick has because they will not be available in the future. A very ugly picture is arising. Since the changes in healthcare have been taking place, the benefits to seniors has taken a substantial hit. I have noticed that my parents are unable to get certain prescriptions covered by Medicaid part D. One of drugs was Valium which is relatively cheap. My father was in the hospital again this past week. The day he was discharged they had him sign a form explaining that he was being build not as inpatient but observation which is outpatient! When I got him home he had a bill waiting for an earlier ER visit that was only partially covered when it has always been covered before. He does have a secondary insurance but they apparently did not pick up the slack. It would appear that the government no longer wants to provide the care promised to our seniors. Ruth
  5. RLT

    Now what?

    Holidays, graduations, out of town guests, kids coming, kids going, meetings, appointments…! April and May hit like a tornado and things have yet to stop spinning. As the saying goes.. the hurrieder I go the behinder I get. I didn’t even look at my computer for a month and a half and I only got a few peeks a week the rest of the time. Then – nothing! I have only one thing on schedule for the rest of this month. Now I am wondering what to do next. I have shared my journey since last fall to make arrangements to bring my husband home using the Money Follows the Person incentive program. Dick’s discharge date was to be July 11. But that is not going to happen. Our state changed who was in charge of that program in the middle of the process so there was a lot of confusion. The seemed to be willing to offer a lot up front but I waited and waited to get a commitment of how much in home assistance we would receive. In our final meeting a whole new set of people comprised those in attendance. I had all my ducks in a row with doctor appointments, VA papers filed out, home visits and PT/OT evals completed. The MFP had packets of papers prepared which explained all the benefits that Dick would receive. My minimum of in home assistance was met. It took over an hour to go through all the paperwork. THEN they tell me that they don’t think it is a safe discharge because I am the only one who is assuming full care of Dick! Why they had not been more forthcoming with that info is beyond me or anyone else who knows about it can understand. This has left me very disgusted and downright angry. I figure that it is my business and responsibility to determine whether or not Dick comes home. I have been very cautious through this whole process to not jump into something that I cannot handle. To have some strangers randomly make that decision is disturbing. Especially so when I have done my homework and determined just what I would need help with so that it would be a safe arrangement for the both of us. I did challenge them about it. Their only answer is to have at least two more people to come to a meeting and agree to assume full responsibility for Dick. I do not want anyone else to have to assume that sort of responsibility for him. I have a support system in place to help me provide Dick’s care but I cannot imagine asking someone to assume my job. When I am angry I shut my mouth. I have taken the last couple of weeks to digest this and cool down before making a fuss. I don’t want to jump into a decision that I will be sorry for later. So here I am having made the decision to bring Dick home with assistance feeling extremely disappointed. I had even done some trial runs just to see how our days would work with him home. It was hard without help but I sure enjoyed having him with me. I had begun to rearrange things to clear a bedroom for Dick. I just don’t really know what to do now. It is still possible for me to bring Dick home of course. However, I will not have all the upfront things that MFP would have provided and possibly not as many in home assistance. When my kids were little we used to go camping every year. For the rest of the family this was vacation. For me it meant doing all the work I did everyday but made a little harder. In the same way having Dick in the nursing home does not relieve me of his care. Sometimes it is just a little harder. I still have to supervise his care and often I still have the heavy care as well. I do have more flexibility it is true. But I miss out on Dick’s company at home and I have learned to dread sitting in that place for several hours every day. There are tradeoffs. Dick is extremely disappointed. Then when he is in one of his confused states he nags me about when I am going to take him home. Through this process I tried very hard to keep Dick from knowing what was going on just so he wouldn’t be disappointed. But there were three different agencies sending people to evaluate him and everyone kept telling him he was going to go home. Of course I am the one he blames. He does not understand all the background work that goes into his care. In the meanwhile, Dick’s mental condition is still up and down. He has not followed the regular progression in his memory loss. They say that more resent memories are the first ones to go. That is not so with Dick. He remembers what things have taken place recently though he cannot seem to understand whether something was yesterday or several days ago. It is things like our wedding that he does not remember. He knows we are married but even looking at the pictures he does not remember the event. I am not sure that he remembers our motor homes even. I think the thing that bothers me the most is the feeling of no one else really understanding our situation. It is easy for family, friends and even professionals to come up with what they think is the easy solution. Unless you have been through all this it is impossible to really understand all the shades of grey. So just because someone else makes a decision for me I cannot just accept it. I can see the situation from more angles. In truth I do not believe there is a better choice for Dick’s care. Dick home or Dick in a nursing home – both choices have equal pros and cons. I now stand in limbo.
  6. RLT

    Congratulations, Sue, both on your birthday and new granddaughter. Adjusting to those quiet visits takes time. I find I run out of things to talk about and I must be careful what we discuss because there are topics that cause distress. I fall back on reading books. Dick cannot follow a difficult story line unless it is familiar to him. I am able to do J R R Tolkein books because we have read them before and he has watched the movies. But when I bring in new material children's books work better. I like Patricia St. John books because Dick seems to follow her stories well. Glad to see you are getting envolved in the activities that you enjoy so much. Ruth
  7. RLT

    Ruth, Dick too obsesses about things on the floor! He wants me to stop what I am doing to pick up a tiny speck. Drives me nuts! He also likes to direct my vacuuming. The other thing that Dick does is fuss about how the bed is made. I can only imagine that it is throwback to military days. I have learned to say "no" when I am busy. Eventually he gets over it! I again praise you for the commitment and energy you give to swimming. I love Fred's suggestion for the powder situation! Ruth
  8. RLT

    Debbie, I applaud your strength in letting Leo go. Bruce's saftey and your peace of mind have top priority and Leo just was not fitting the bill. The good news about having test come back with bad news is that you can now take steps to "fix" things. Please do take care of yourself so that the damage can be reversed and your back is strengthened. You may have to remind me to do this later but do put yourself first sometimes. It is far too easy for us to pour every ounce into our loved ones and neglect ourselves. Sounds like Bruce has earned some gold stars! My daughter brought a gold star balloon home the other day and I think Bruce could us one tied to his WC! Ruth
  9. RLT

    Ruth, I think that certain concepts are broken by stroke. Dick never has voluntarily exercised and unless I stand over him and force him he will not do anything with a therapist. After his heart attack in 1974 he drove himself to walk five miles a day then began running part of that! So, the drive used to be in him. He cannot grasp the improtance of exercise now and never will. A disclaimer here is necessary: his "never will" is now due to his dementia. There are some ways that you can get informal exercise though. With Dick it was putting on his socks. For months it was a daily fight with him. Once he had accomplished the task once, I knew that he could do it. So I began refusing to put his socks on. I would hand him his socks and walk away. At first it took him 30 minutes but over time he learned to do it quicker. But those 30 minutes meant that he was wiggling and struggling - translated stretching and exercise. The success with the socks instilled in me a stuborness to force Dick to do everything he could for himself. If he wanted it bad enough he eventually achieved it - like walking into the kitchen! Ruth
  10. RLT

    Kelly, Just reread what you wrote - you have gone way beyond the call of duty! What you are feeling is really false guilt. I think everyone who is a primary caregiver does this and that is why the first rule of caregiving is to take care of yourself. Personally I believe that you need to place your husband and children as I higher priority as well. Your mother is not likely to like the change and that is understandable because change is frightening especially when the individual cannot control it. In all relationships, people tend to lash out at the person that they are closest to because it is safest. Control is something our survivors are forced to give up and they will manipulate the areas that they can. It sounds like Mom is doing her best to manipulate you with a sense of neglect. Often the stroke damages a persons ability to empathize. They become the center of their own understanding and really have difficulty understanding another person's problems. So you have a complicated ball here. As you mother gets to know her caregivers and gets used to the new routine things will get better. My husband is now in a nursing home. Yesterday I did not get my usual welcome when I went in the room. Since he has aphasia it took a while for me to find out what is going on in his head. It soon surfaced that he was mad at me! I never figured out why. I have been doing this for over 7 years and have learned the quickest way for me to deal with this is to take a hard stand. He can be mad at me but I will not stick around while he does it. I told him that he should be thankful that I was there and I was doing my best to give him the best care possible. I also reminded him that he could stay mad at me but I would not stick around for it. Yesterday all it took was a walk around the perimeter of the nursing home and he changed his song. There have been times I have had to leave for the day. When he was home, it looked more like me going in my room and shutting the door for a while. This approach always means his anger/bad mood is short-lived AND I don't get mad in return and feed back into an unpleasant scene. I agree that treating her matter of factly for now is your best plan. If she doesn't kiss you, go ahead and kiss her. Ignore the things you can and don't stick around for her temper tantrums. You may well feel like a shmuck doing this so it is time to give yourself permission to have a life and to have some respect. Go ahead and treat yourself to something special as a reward for all that you have done! Ruth
  11. RLT

    Julie, Where do you get Larry's hearing aids? We would never be able to fit Dick for one at this point sadly but I take care of my parents too. Both really need them but look to me to initiate. Ruth
  12. RLT

    Glad to see that you back up and running, Sue. Ruth
  13. RLT

    Sue, In a very real way the change in your life when Ray had to move out of your home is as big as the change of stroke. If we cannot find other people who are at that same stage it is all too easy to feel isolated. I have yet to find a support group that addresses the new set of responsibilities and challenges that come with a spouse in a nusing facility. I found myself pulling inside myself. So, I assigned myself as an official shoulder to cry on. As other individual are admitted to Dick's nursing home I often find family members crying in the hallway. I have yet to have anyone turn down a hug! I guess that is what keeps me coming back to StrokeNet as well. I am sure that there will be other people who are looking for someone else who has all ready walked this path. There is a book out call "Creating Moments of Joy" I find that if I face each day trying to spread a moment of joy to a family member of resident I am the one that walks away with a jolt of joy. It doesn't change the situation, just my attitude. Ruth
  14. RLT

    Fred, You are an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for taking care of our soldiers too. It is a pet peeve of mine that our men give so much to us only to be forgotten. Dick served in the Korean War which they completely skip when teaching history these days. My girls have learned more about what our soldiers did in Korea from their many friends from Korea than they ever did in public schools. Ruth
  15. RLT

    Ruth, You are amazing! I am so much a spare of the moment type that I find it hard to stick to a schedule. You inspire me! Ruth