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avantgardener

Stroke Caregiver - female
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About avantgardener

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 10/08/1957

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  • Facebook URL
    http://www.iamlmai.org
  • Interests
    gardening (duh!)<br />antiquarian books<br />other books too<br />Charles Darwin/evolution<br />science in general<br />Victorian literature/society

Registration Information

  • First Name
    Janine
  • State
    CA
  1. Happy Anniversary avantgardener!

  2. Happy Anniversary avantgardener!

  3. avantgardener

    My how things change...but not really

    Well, it has been 2 years since Larry's stroke. Obviously I have moved on quite a bit, since I haven't been on this site in a long while. It's funny how it works - as long as I keep moving, it's like when you are swimming and your hair streams out behind you - you don't even notice it. It's only when you stop, and it swirls around you, that you notice it's there. I keep very busy, and for the most part don't give myself a lot of time to think about how much has been lost or what has changed. Larry is well...in a strange way. Since the stroke he has lost a lot of weight, and his blood pressure and cholesterol are better than they have been in all the years I've known him. Physically he is quite healthy except of course for the paralysis, and ironically he wil probably live a longer and healthier life than he would have had the stroke never happened. Mentally it's another story - he has enough brain function left to know that what has happened to him is a tragedy, and he's pretty depressed. Antidepressants did not really help, but being able to stay at home as opposed to in a nursing home has been very good and probably the only saving grace. He has two wonderful caregivers now, and I've set it up so that one of them is here from Friday morning until Sunday morning - that lets me get out on weekends and see friends and have some semblance of normal life. He would rather I was here all the time, but I need some sanity and this is the way it works for me. I've also changed my work situation so that I work primarily from home, as opposed to having to go into an office every day. My boss was very accommodating about it, and it has worked out well for all of us. I can be here to monitor what is going on, and that gives both me and Larry a certain comfort level. My job has me out seeing clients several times a week, so I still need the caregivers, but the rest of the time I'm here and that seems to work out. It took some creativity to make it happen, but I would recommend it to anyone who is a caregiver - much better to be home and have a flexible schedule than to be tied to an office where it's a continual pain if you have to leave to take care of business. When Larry first had the stroke, I think I had the idea that there would be an adjustment period and then things would be normal again. Two years into it, I realize that things will never be normal again - if by "normal" you mean that you will be the same person you were before. I will never be that person again - and that's neither good nor bad, it's just different. Larry continues about the same. He sleeps maybe 12 hours a day and does not engage much with life in general. But he's home where we can look after him, and he has a very pleasant room, and enjoys his TV, and is as comfortable as can be expected. He really doesn't want to get "better", at least not in any way that involves therapy or hard work. This is what he's settled for, and I have to respect it. I wish he wanted more for himself, but he doesn't and I won't make him miserable by pushing him in directions that he has zero interest in going. I try to take beter care of myself, and walk every day, and make sure I have time to myself. Common sense stuff. Seems to work OK, and I've adapted pretty well I think. It's not the life I expected, but it's the life I have...and it could be very much worse so I remind myself of that and try to be content. None of us ask for this or want it, but it happens, and how we deal with it defines who we are in many ways, I think. We always have choices, even when we think we don't. xxxooo ..jm..
  4. avantgardener

    wow, I am really lucky!

    I just read all the posted responses to my "anniversary' blog message...I can't believe that so many people remember me after I've been so remiss about staying in touch. Guilt! Guilt! But, so good to know that you are all here. Larry and I made it through the day pretty well. It hit me a couple of times, but the good thing about being this busy is that you just don't have time to feel too sorry for yourself. I reminded Larry tonight that it's been a year, and started telling him about what I remember of that day, but he shushed me and didn't want to hear it. I don't blame him, I'm sure that remembering how terrifying that day must have been is not fun for him. He really lives pretty much in the moment these days and doesn't seem to spend a lot of time thinking about the past. If I mention something from the old life he usually just shrugs it off. Like Ray, he's content not to strive for very much, and maybe that is OK; he worked hard all his life and now he's finally getting the rest that he needed more than I ever realized. Well, enough for now. Just wanted to say thank you again for all who have been and continue to be such dear friends. I'll check in when I can, and certainly wish that I had the time to be here more often!! xxxoo -Janine
  5. avantgardener

    Can it really be a whole year??

    Tomorrow is the anniversary of Larry's stroke - and though it certainly won't be an anniversary that we'll celebrate, I will definitely be marking the day. I'm proud of us both for having lived through this and come more or less out the other side. There were many days when I didn't believe that was going to happen. Looking back on the last year is in many ways like reading about someone else's life: interesting, but very third person. There's a weird detachment, especially in the early weeks and months, and if I hadn't been scrupulous about writing things down I would have no memory at all of some of those days. Larry's doing well, and although he gets very frustrated by his inability to communicate he's adjusted to his new life. I know that he does not miss going to work, and in fact I believe now that part of the reason why the stroke happened is because he was so desperate to get out of the trap of his job, which had become unbearable to him. Interesting how your body will find solutions to problems that the brain can't solve on its own. In any case, although his world is very small these days he seems content with being at home, watering the plants, watching TV and sleeping much of the day. He's at peace most of the time, and likes his routine, and I think is happy not having any responsibilities anymore. As for me, I'm stretched pretty thin but have also adjusted. It's hard sometimes to take care of everything, but there is also a freedom that I didn't have before. If I want to do something I just do it, no more consultations back and forth or having to make compromises. I'm tougher than I used to be, and I spend less time dithering about what I should and shouldn't do, mainly since I don't have the luxury of wasting time anymore. This is not the life I would have chosen for either of us, but since it's the life we have I'm making the best of it. The alternative is not very appealing. So, things are OK. Hard to believe that it's been a year. I called Larry's office today just to hear his answering machine message (which the university still has not changed!), and it was very odd to hear him speaking. I'll be sorry when they finally do change the message, though knowing how things work in the Cal State system I may have a very long wait before that day comes. In the meantime, I like to hear it once in a while - it's like looking at a picture of the Twin Towers before 9/11, that same nostalgia for a time that's gone and that I didn't appreciate enough. Presumptuous to equate our personal catastrope with something of that magnitude, but that's what comes to mind when I think about it. Thanks to everyone who has helped us get through this year. The people on this site have been wonderful and got me through the worst of the worst times. I truly would not be here without you - there were days when I logged in here instead of swallowing a handful of pills, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who can say you all literally were livesavers. Not to be too dramatic, but it's true and thanks really do not cover it, but there you are. xxx's and ooo's -Janine
  6. avantgardener

    My dear friend Joy on this site has been wonderful to me - I have learned so much from her, and the grace and dignity with which she conducts her life in the face of incredible adversity has been more than an inspiration. There have been times when I emailed her at 3AM in total despair because I could not figure out how I was going to get through the next day, and she has talked me down off the ledge more than once. I do have friends, but someone who's been through all this and can offer you something more than "call me if I can do anything to help" is a treasure. Anyone who has come out the other side and can show by example that it's possible you'll actually have a life again, and normalcy, and time to grieve, and time for yourself - they're the light on the path, and without them I'd be stumbling in the dark. Thank you my dear, sweet friends!
  7. avantgardener

    Happy new year!

    I started keeping an informal diary/journal when Larry first had his stroke, mainly because I found that so much was happening so fast that I could not remember from one day to the next what was going on if I didn't write it down. At first I wrote in it every day, and the handwriting is very dense and cramped and anxious-looking when I go back and read the entries from those first weeks. As time passed, there were days when I wrote only a few sentences, or nothing. The writing loosened up and started to look more like my usual meandering scrawl that somewhat resembles my thought process - sentences start off purposefully, but then mid-way through the letters get a bit sloppy, and by the end of the sentence anarchy pretty much holds sway. Like looking up a word in a dictionary, but becoming distracted by all the other words you stumble across that are so much more interesting (and then I forget what I was looking up anyway, half the time). Anyway. Here was my entry for December 31st: "Dear 2008: I'm still here, but you're not. Ha! I win. So long, and don't let the door hit you in the ass. Love, Janine" What a terrible year. But, despite my best efforts I have learned a lot. Patience, and humility (some, anyway). How to grow a backbone and stand up to people that I'm intimidated by, when I know they are wrong (i.e., doctors, hospitals and such). Compassion - it really is NOT all about me. My universe was pretty small before Larry's stroke, and I confess that I felt like I was at the center of it most of the time. Larry's stroke has helped me to understand the value of service to others and to appreciate the good things I have, such as being able to walk, and read, and communicate. Doing what you have to do because you have no choice really does build character and make you a stronger person - whether you like it or not, which often times I don't. But I do it anyway, and over time it does seem to become less difficult. I'm not by nature a "positive spin" kind of person. If there is a dark side to something I will usually find it, and dwell on it longer than necessary, and throw in lots of self-pity. Since Larry's stroke, I find that I am just too busy to do all of that (hilarious typo - I originally typed "busty" there instead of "busy" - in my dreams, I guess!). I've become a much more pragmatic person than I was before, and more interested in getting things done than in how they get done or whether or not everything is perfect. I don't care about perfect anymore. I care about Larry being comfortable and staying out of the ER and/or the hospital. I care about me being able to function at work and come home at night and still have a couple of hours to give to my husband so that we have some semblance of a life together. I care that my family and friends are still here and supporting us and have not deserted us, and count myself very lucky for that. I care that people with disabilities are so often invisible to the world, and I care about doing whatever I can to change that. I care that our healthcare system is so woefully inadequate when it comes to caring for long term issues like stroke, and I am not shy about telling people what Larry's stroke has done to our family and how much it costs us out of pocket to pay for his care, even though we've had insurance all our lives. People are shocked, because they have no idea that this is the reality, but they aren't shocked enough because it still hasn't changed. Larry is about the same. He hasn't had any great improvements, and I suspect that his condition isn't going to change a whole lot going forward. It's been 9 months already, and he refuses to participate in therapy programs or do anything to try to improve his lot, so at best I can be glad that at least he's home and not in a nursing "home" (death home, if you ask me). He's very depressed and does not eat much, but does perk up when I come home at night and seems happy to see me. When the weather warms up I hope I can get him outside more and that he'll enjoy the spring time. I hope that 2009 is better for all of us. Hard for me to be objective because 2008 was such an emotional trauma for us, but it seems like everyone is suffering through difficult times right now, and hoping that the tide is turning. I know I feel that way. The Chinese say 7 years of good luck, 1 year of bad - so if 2008 was the year of bad luck that should mean that we have 7 good years ahead of us, and I could not be more ready for that!! xxx's and ooo's -Janine
  8. avantgardener

    Vi, I forgot about you and your pole dance...the nice thing about having lost my mind this year is that I can be entertained by the exact same thing over and over again - it's just like hearing it all new for the first time! See, there really IS a plus side to everything...
  9. avantgardener

    Coumadin

    Well, here I am again. Things have been pretty up-and-down for the past month. Larry landed in the hospital twice - the first time because he was having atrial fibrillation, and the second time because of a bad reaction to Coumadin, which he was given as part of the a-fib treatment. The Coumadin caused Larry to have internal bleeding, and he ended up with a major hematoma around his kidneys. The hematoma pressed on the kidneys so that he couldn't produce urine, and of course that is not good. To make a very long story short, he was in the ICU for 3 days, then in the hospital for a week, and finally sent home on NO blood thinners (not even aspirin), and a note in his chart that he can't tolerate them. Duh. Since the hospitalization, which was right before Thanksgiving, Larry has had a lot of trouble bouncing back. He is sitting in the wheelchair twice a day, but only for about an hour at a time, and he looks uncomfortable the whole time he's up. He doesn't want to go for walks or go outside, and seems to be uninterested in doing much of anything. At least he's comfortable when he's in bed, and is enjoying watching football on TV (which he hardly ever did before the stroke). I'm trying to get him off as many of the medications as I can; I don't feel like they are helping him much, and I think he's over-medicated, given that he was on a dozen different things at one point. He's down to 3 daily meds now: Pravastatin, which has gotten his cholesterol from 280 to 170; Sotolol for the atrial fib (which seems to be working); and Zolpidem to help him sleep. He's off the anti-depressants, which were not helping him, and off the BP medication (he doesn't need it, now that he's lost 60 lbs), and definiely off blood thinners! I found out that Coumadin was originally marketed as rat poison, and I can well believe it. It is nasty stuff. We had a great Thanksgiving, with 20 people over for a fabulous dinner that Larry's daughter and sister cooked. I just stood back and watched the masters at work - they are amazing cooks and I don't even play in their league. So much so that I've decided to make Mexican food for Christmas - I don't even want to try to follow the turkey that those two cooked up. It was wonderful that everyone came to us, since we can't travel, and I think it was good for us both to have a lot of company and all the excitement. Judy and Cynthia (sister and daughter) made it very easy for me; all I had to do was set the tables and pour the drinks! They have been so good to us through all of this, and I'm really lucky to have them in my life. And now we are heading into the home stretch for Christmas - again - already! Where has this year gone?? I'm sure I don't know. We've adjusted as well as we're going to, I think - things won't ever be the same, but they're not insurmountable, and life is moving on. The next few months will be challenging as I get Larry's retirement settled, and get his Social Security in place, and all the stuff that has to happen. Believe it or not, he is STILL collecting full salary and on sick leave, which will finally be used up on February 10th (no wonder the State is bankrupt - teachers may not make much, but their benefits are amazing). Once that happens, he can collect disability insurance and other things, and then formally retire in April 2009 when he turns 66. A ton of CalPERS and Social Security paperwork, but I'm getting through it. Looking forward to Christmas, and then to saying goodbye and good riddance to 2008! I'm doing OK. I feel like I've come a long way, and like there is still a long way to go. I'm getting from one day to the next pretty well, but can't say that I feel like I'm living a life at this point - my life is really Larry and making sure that his needs are met, and that's just the way that will have to be for a while. Those vows turned out to be serious business! I go to work, and come home, and do chores in the evenings and on weekends, and go to sleep, and do it again the next day. Just like everyone else - I don't feel sorry for myself; I know that I'm lucky that I can continue to work and maintain some semblance of normalcy. I have dear friends and a great family, and a lot of support; more than many people have, and I'm grateful for that. Life really does go on, and that's maybe the biggest surprise out of all of this. At first I felt like the world had come to a stop, and then I figured out that it was just me, and then got myself moving again, and found that the world hadn't stopped at all - I just dropped out for a bit. Now I'm trying to get back up to speed, and although things will never be the same again there is some normalcy and routine now, and that's very comforting. I hope all is well with everyone here, and I'll try to check in when I can. xxx's and ooo's ..jm..
  10. avantgardener

    Remember me??

    I'm embarrassed by how long it's been since I've written here. Insert all the usual excuses - no time, too busy, etc. etc. - all are true! I guess the real reason is that I've come out the other side of the initial craziness, and am not feeling as needy as I did at first after Larry's stroke. Weird as it may seem, all of this has become a routine, and although I would never have chosen it, this is our new life and we've adjusted. It's been 7 months since Larry's stroke. Seems like a lifetime ago! I was a totally different person B.S. than I am A.S., and Larry is too, and somehow we have managed to make it all work. Larry is still about the same - pretty much total paralysis on his right side, no speech or writing, and confined to a wheelchair. Still, there are a lot of good days. He gets up in the chair and we go out, or we go into the back yard and water the plants, or just into the living room to watch TV. He likes being at home, and doesn't seem to want more out of life, so I respect that and have stopped pushing him to go to therapy appointments or improve his condition - he doesn't want to, and I can't force him, and that's not how I want it, but it's not about me! I'm glad to have an outside job that keeps me in the "real world" for most of the day. Aside from needing the money, I also need the time away from the aftermath of the stroke. As much as I'd like to be able to care for Larry myself, the reality is that I would be totally depressed and frustrated if I actually could. Jean is so right - caregiving is not for sissies! I count myself so fortunate that I have a solid career and can afford someone to come in during the day so that I can continue to work. I like looking after Larry at night and on the weekends, and I'm grateful that Cecilia manages things when I'm not here. That breathing space is the difference between sanity and craziness for me. So, I hope everyone is well, and that I'm forgiven for being quiet so long. There just are not enough hours in the day, and I end up not logging on at home for days on end. I promise not to disappear, but surely do wish that I had more time!! xxxoo ..jm..
  11. avantgardener

    Remember me??

    I'm embarrassed by how long it's been since I've written here. Insert all the usual excuses - no time, too busy, etc. etc. - all are true! I guess the real reason is that I've come out the other side of the initial craziness, and am not feeling as needy as I did at first after Larry's stroke. Weird as it may seem, all of this has become a routine, and although I would never have chosen it, this is our new life and we've adjusted. It's been 7 months since Larry's stroke. Seems like a lifetime ago! I was a totally different person B.S. than I am A.S., and Larry is too, and somehow we have managed to make it all work. Larry is still about the same - pretty much total paralysis on his right side, no speech or writing, and confined to a wheelchair. Still, there are a lot of good days. He gets up in the chair and we go out, or we go into the back yard and water the plants, or just into the living room to watch TV. He likes being at home, and doesn't seem to want more out of life, so I respect that and have stopped pushing him to go to therapy appointments or improve his condition - he doesn't want to, and I can't force him, and that's not how I want it, but it's not about me! I'm glad to have an outside job that keeps me in the "real world" for most of the day. Aside from needing the money, I also need the time away from the aftermath of the stroke. As much as I'd like to be able to care for Larry myself, the reality is that I would be totally depressed and frustrated if I actually could. Jean is so right - caregiving is not for sissies! I count myself so fortunate that I have a solid career and can afford someone to come in during the day so that I can continue to work. I like looking after Larry at night and on the weekends, and I'm grateful that Cecilia manages things when I'm not here. That breathing space is the difference between sanity and craziness for me. So, I hope everyone is well, and that I'm forgiven for being quiet so long. There just are not enough hours in the day, and I end up not logging on at home for days on end. I promise not to disappear, but surely do wish that I had more time!! xxxoo ..jm..
  12. avantgardener

    Not a newbie anymore

    It's been really busy around here, and I have not had much time to write. The days seem to get away from me, and are gone before I know what happened. Larry's been a bit under the weather the last few days - nothing serious, but the heavy duty antibiotics that he's had to take because of his recent urinary tract infection have wreaked havoc with his system, and not to give too much information, but if I say that it's been a purgative experience for him you will get the idea. We will both be glad when he's finally done taking them tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm concerned that he may still have the infection. Again, I hope I am not giving TMI, but his urine smells very strong and is cloudy. I called the Kaiser "visiting nurse" today to ask her to come out and see what she thinks, and also to check on the catheter bag, which leaked all over the floor last night. I left messages for her all day, starting at 7AM and ending at 8:30 PM, and never got a call back. I'm pretty disgusted - there's no accountability at all, and no consequences if she doesn't call me back, and in the meantime here we are not knowing what to do and totally at her mercy. If I haven't heard from her tomorrow I will need to get Larry to the doctor, which is always a major production for everyone. Boy, is this frustrating sometimes! Larry's son Eric and his family were here yesterday evening, and we had a chance to celebrate Eric's birthday together. That definitely perked Larry up. He always likes having visitors, and so do I. Since we don't get out a whole lot it's nice when people come to see us. Cecilia marinated chicken that we (as in "Eric") grilled, and she also made a Chinese noodle dish that she told us is traditional for birthdays - long noodles for long life, or some such thing. It was very good, and everyone enjoyed it. Our granddaughter Lea liked slurping up the noodles and ate quite a bit of it; definitely a hit. Lea is 18 months old now has learned how to jump, and we had fun watching her show off her new skill. Instant entertainment! Today we are back to having contractors in the house again. The rooms that we left carpeted when we did Larry's bed/bath remodel are just not working out; moving the wheelchair on carpet is exhausting and is starting to really bother my back, so I finally decided to go ahead and get the laminate floors put in the other rooms. I can't afford to start having back problems, and I worry about Cecilia too; she doesn't complain, but I know it's hard on her as well. Fortunately the contractor had a cancellation on a big job and can fit us in right away; I was expecting it to be mid-October at the earliest before they could start, but they began pulling up the carpet today, and I am not sorry to see it go. The wood floors underneath are actually in decent shape, and if not for the wheelchair it would make sense to re-finish them, but I don't think they would stand up to the wear and tear the way that laminate does. In any case, it will be at least a week until it's all done, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it finished. After that I will see about painting the rest of the house, and then I can exhale and relax for a while, I think. My mom is home from the nursing facility after her stroke, and doing very well. Luckily it was mild in comparison to Larry's. My sister Barbara is living at her house for the next few weeks while her (Barbara's) house undergoes renovation after the flood disaster that they had - a hot water pipe burst while they were at our house the night of Larry's party. Barbara has been wonderful, and has been looking after Mom, cooking and cleaning, and making sure she's OK. Larry (we are both married to Larrys, which gets confusing) is staying in a hotel in Thousand Oaks, where they live, since he works too far away to make staying at Mom's practical, so the two of them really have a lot going on, between Mom's issues and their house. You can have 2008 as far as I'm concerned - this has just not been a great year! At least we can hope that all the trauma and bad stuff happened this year, and that we're done with it. My friend Mavis called me today because she has a friend whose father just had a severe stroke and she is totally lost as far as what she needs to do. Mavis asked if I would call and talk to her, since she's going through a pretty tough time. It was strange to be the one doling out advice, and it made me realize that a lot has happened since April 22nd - I'm not a newbie anymore. We were on the phone for about an hour, and although most of what I had to offer was just moral support, I think I gave her some good practical advice too. It was nice to be able to give something back to someone after all the help I've gotten from so many people, and strange to realize that it's only been 5 months since Larry's stroke. In many ways, it has literally been a lifetime ago! So, that's all the news. I hope all is well with everyone. xxxoo -Janine
  13. avantgardener

    Adjusting

    It's been a pretty good week, all things considered. I'm still a bit sore from the surgery, but nothing major, and I've been able to go back to work with no problems. I feel a bit guilty about how much I liked being in the hospital - maybe it's because they wouldn't let me eat, so I didn't have to put up with hospital food! I lost 10 lbs, which means I'm down about 50 lbs now since Larry's stroke, and I feel wonderful - I suspect now that the gallbladder problem was creating symptoms for about a year that I didn't realize were there. My energy level has gone way up since the surgery, and I don't have the "tired all the time" feeling that I had before. I think there were a lot of toxins in my system because things weren't working right, and now it's starting to go back to normal. My mood is much improved, and I don't feel nearly as overwhelmed as I did before, so I guess it's good that all of this came to a head when it did. Larry had a good week too. He's been very interested in watching movies on his DVD player, and when the stroke first happened he was totally not into that at all. If I go in to check on him at 2AM, he is usually watching a DVD. I think it's good for him, not only for the stimulation, but because operating the whole TV/DVD system is quite complex and must make him think his way through it. I've also come across him reading books several times - or at least looking at them - last night it was "The Notebooks of Charles Darwin", which is not exactly light and fluffy. I don't know how much of it he is getting, but he's at least trying to read and I find that very encouraging. Cecilia continues to be a godsend to us. She says that she has worked for people before us that were not very nice, and I think she wasn't treated very well. I think she is wonderful and try to make that clear to her, and the more I show her how much we love her the more she opens up and wants to help us. She does a lot more than her job description says she is supposed to do - I love coming home to an immaculate house and all the laundry done every night (that's more than I ever used to do!). I don't know what I would do without her, and Larry seems to like her also - a big step for a very private man who was getting pretty crotchety in his old age! She really takes great care of Larry, and of me, and I try to tell her every day how much we appreciate her. Larry's kids made up a big gift basket for her after she helped out so much when I had my surgery, and she was in tears over that...she really is a sweetheart, and not having to worry about what's going on when I'm not home is such a huge relief. There are still issues, of course. I do not like how angry I get sometimes with Larry - small things set me off, and sometimes I yell at him when I think he's not trying, or when he shrugs and doesn't seem to care. That is not the person I want to be, but I get so upset that I can feel myself losing control. I try to just walk out of the room for a while to cool off, but it doesn't always work. I also find that as I'm becoming more independent by necessity, I'm becoming less tolerant. I used to be pretty deferential when it came to the roles in our marriage, and that was OK because I'm old-fashioned and liked the idea of a man having his work and me having mine (my mother, who burned her bra in the '60s, would die if she heard me say that!!). Now that I'm forced to be more self-sufficient, I find that I can do a lot more than I thought I could. Tonight I took apart the pump to our big backyard fountain, cleaned it out and got it running again. While I was on a roll, I also cleaned the pump to a smaller fountain that had quit working. They both work fine now, and I feel quite proud of myself for figuring it out and not caving in and calling someone. On the other hand, I did have an exterminator out this week when I found a wasp nest the size of a grapfruit up under the eaves when I came home from the hospital. There are some things I am not going to touch no matter how empowered I may be trying to feel! Larry would have dispatched it in 5 minutes, but I'm just not going there...they were crawling all over the outside of the nest, and it made my toes curl up just watching them. I do believe that you should call professionals for some things, like doing your taxes, trimming your trees and killing wasps...so I concede defeat on that one. Larry's still boycotting therapy. I have stopped pushing him for now, I think we are both worn out about it. I'm angry that he won't do it, but it is HIS life after all...if he doesn't want to do it, I can't force him, and maybe it is not my place to try. I don't know what I can do to help him at this point. Should I leave him alone and let him enjoy his remaining years as best he can? Or should I keep pushing him when it makes us both upset and seems to go nowhere? I don't like giving up, but feel like this is a battle I can't win. For now I am stalemated...I'll give it a few weeks and try again, and see if he's more amenable to the idea; if not, then I don't know what. Frustrating. So, I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend. I know I'm looking forward to it. I'll try to get Larry out for a long walk and maybe dinner out, and that will be good for us both. I'm going to paint the little bathroom again (for the 4th time); maybe the color I chose this time will work. So far I am 0 - 4, and the bathroom right now is a sort of battleship gray color with white trim (it looked green in the picture!). I'm bought a lighter green this time, and what seems to be a pretty, warm orange, and I'll try those...when all is said and done I'll bet it ends up back to being white! -Janine
  14. avantgardener

    Surprise!

    Well, I was right - I shouldn't have asked what was next! I haven't been on this site for a few days, because I had unexpected gallbladder surgery on Tuesday. We were having dinner Sunday night and I was suddenly in excruciating pain; I had to call 911 after 3 hours when it still had not passed. It turned out that I had gallstones and pancreatitis, so the gallbladder had to go. The surgery went fine, and they sent me home yesterday afternoon. I'm sore now, but all things considered I feel pretty good, and I can go back to work Monday. Cecilia stayed here at the house with Larry the whole time, and it was so good to know that everything was OK here and that I didn't need to worry. She is an angel, and we are so lucky to have her as part of the family. I still can't believe that we found her on the first try - I expected to have to go through several caregivers before finding one that worked out. Some things do go well. We had to take Larry to the ER at 4AM today; his catheter became totally blocked and nothing could get out, and he was in a lot of pain. He has a UTI (fortunately mild) and they changed the catheter and sent him home with antibiotics. He seems fine now, no fever or any problems. Mom is doing OK after her stroke; she'll be in a nursing home for a few weeks, but then should be able to go home. She is going to need a lot of help, though, and can't live alone anymore. She is VERY unhappy about that, but it's to the point where it's non-negotiable and she's going to have to make the adjustment. My sister has been wonderful looking after her and making sure she's being cared for, and I feel bad that I haven't been able to help much, but I think she understands. So, I am hopeful that there won't be any more drama for a while. I've had enough. I'm going to rest for the remainder of the week, and then get back into the normal routines on Monday, and hope that nothing ELSE happens any time soon! -Janine
  15. avantgardener

    Ann...that is so funny...I got what sounds like the exact same survey the other day - it had questions that I can't remember now, but one was "who do you miss the most"?, and my answer was "Larry, before the stroke". It's true that it feels as though he is gone, and someone else is here in his place. The hardest thing to get used to is the way he "yells" at me now. He would never have done that before unless were having a huge fight, which was almost never. It really gets under my skin, and hurts my feelings, although I know it's not really him talking. I feel so despondent sometimes! It is hard to deal with this at this best of times, and when the stress levels go up for whatever reason there is just no resiliance left in me. On the other hand, it takes a lot more now to get me upset than it used to. Small things really do not matter very much when I think about the BIG things that have happened to us. I guess that helps...it's not much of a trade-off, but OH WELL. Thank you, Asha - I thought it was Jean who had that great suggestion, but was not sure and too tired to go back and look. There are some amazing resources out there if only you can find them. xxxoo -Janine
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