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Unexpected Outing



I know that I just posted a blog this week but we had such an unexpected day that I just had to share.


Yesterday was an extremely busy day for me. I had Physical Therapy in the morning. It didn’t take that long and I figured I could fit in an hour and a half visit with Dick before my appointment with my back specialist. When I got to Dick he was asleep. I rarely try to wake him because waking him suddenly leaves him especially confused. Gradually I got him to wake up but he was nearly unresponsive. I could not get him to eat or even respond yes or no to simple questions.


Yet again he was sitting in soaked pants and had obviously not been changed since the night before even wearing the same clothing. This is one thing that I find so difficult to deal with. I don’t care if he says he doesn’t want to be changed. It is a matter of basic cleanliness and health. I was able to get the aide to shower him.


I was beginning to be pressed for time to make it to my back Dr. but something made me think it would be a good idea to take Dick along just to give him a change of scenery. I took him out in a wheelchair and tossed him into the car. This was the first time I had used the wheelchair recently assigned to him at the home. Throwing that around was even heavier than the chair Dick has at home.


It took a good hour before I started to see some “life” come back into Dick’s eyes. He was baffled at to what the Back Doctor was treating. Part of me gets so frustrated that he does not understand that my back is so bad because of the lifting I do for him. He doesn’t seem to think I am working that hard or that backs can be damaged. In the end I believe he understood what we were trying to do at that appointment. The bad news is that the Dr. is recommending surgery for both my back and neck. I’m not so sure about that.


Next we rushed nearly to the Maryland line where I had to have adjustment to my CPAP. I have recently gone through a sleep study and amongst the many other sleep disorders I am being treated with the CPAP. In the beginning I guess there is a lot of trial and error. I found that he was not able to grasp this whole concept other than the machine was suppose to help me breath when sleeping and he is still very interested in having one for himself. Now that I have learned more about CPAPs I am amazed that Dick did not continue using one after his initial hospitalization. It seems his vascular dementia would not be as bad if he had enough oxygen at night. He understands that and asked frequently if he could get one. But then after we left he constantly asked what we were doing at that lat place.


It was time for me to take him back to the nursing home next. I was exhausted. I stopped by McDonald’s for a lunch for him to eat when he got back. He liked that quite a bit and he gave me only mild troubles when I tried to leave.


By 6:00 this morning I woke up in extreme pain from lifting Dick and throwing his wheelchair in and out of the char. I have gotten little done today and I hope that at least I can do so “to dos” tomorrow. I did not even get in to visit Dick today because I simply do not feel safe driving at times. That means I MUST get in there tomorrow.


I am thankful that Dick did so well going out for a while. I just wish there was a way of doing that where I would not be left in such pain.




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I know how very difficult it is to have to turn his care over to others, but in the long-run we all know that when it comes to the physical, mental, and emotional breakdown of your own well-being it's something none of us can do forever. We weren't built to handle that kind of strain on our bodies forever. My day is coming, probably sooner rather than later and I'm trying not to look that far ahead, as I know I will have a tough time making the decisions you have had to make. Hang in there, and know that you did what you had to do to preserve what's left of your own health and sanity.



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Ruth, I can only say "take care of yourself". It sounds like you might be doing too much considering the health issues you have. So, take care, and just make sure they are taking care of your spouse on your visits.



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Ruth, I feel for you. Back problems

is not picnic, recently my sciatic nerve acting up I couldn't pick my foot up to get into the car. Putting heat on it helps for me, maybe it can help for you. remembertolaugh, Jeanniebean :cocktail:

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Ruth, here we have wheelchair taxis. If you plan a few hours out with Dick maybe work out a pick up plan, so the taxi picks you and Dick up at point A, drops you at point B, an hour later picks you up at point B, drops you at point C etc.


A friend of ours did this for a couple of years with his wife, once a month, whole day out. It took some budgeting and programming but it worked for him and lifted the guilt of her complaint: "I never get out of here."


You could also maybe take someone else with you to help you with the chair. Trev lifts Ray and he lifts the chair, he has a good strong young back.


Nice to see you sharing your life with us again.



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Ruth: like you there are days when I just can not deal with the WC and Bruce's is custom and breaks down into four pieces. But in and out of the truck and by stop #3 I am exhausted and I certainly do not have the physical issues you do. Bruce is a realtively easy transfer in and out, I just have to deal with the right leg and some days it is so tight, seems like I will never get it in or out. Institution WCs weigh up to 60 lbs without anyone in them. While I applaud your determination to get Dick out, please do keep in mind what that involves. I also purchased the light-weight WC just for travel-weighs about 20 lbs, but it is not heavy duty: you must have good driveways, sidewalks, handicap ramps.


There are options, like the battery operated chairs that can be loaded onto a hitch-carrier, or even WC access vehicles, where he drives right up into the vehicle. I looked into several early on that I had seen at Bruce's Rehab and have the numbers. Most were used SUV's and not too expensive. That is just something worth considering for the future.


However, I can not tell you how happy you made me, thinking just get Dick showered and dressed (again I am sorry it took you to get the basic care done for him) and out of that place, even if just for appointments. You had your guy with you. You know any cognitive stimuli is good for him, however temporary. I can read in your blog your happiness at being able to do this. I know how tired you were and for next time, maybe just lunch from drive-thru take out, for a treat for him, at a local park or beach, in the car. In the early months I used to do this with Bruce, or transfer him out and picnic on the tailgate of the truck-just one transfer.


Rest up. Please take care of yourself. Debbie

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Debbie, You are right about the weight of the wheelchair from the nursing home. It is much heavier than Dick's (which is still a challenge too hoist into the car.) I had been considering a power chair for a LONG time for Dick but put it off because I wanted to encourage him to walk as much as possible. Now things have changed. Since he is in a nursing facility 1)the power chair is unnecessary and therefore 2) last month I downsized from our mini van (read this Dick and teenage girl transportation vehicle!) to a smaller sedan that cannot have even the tow hitch to put a power chair on the back. Little by little I am learning to move on with my life and make purshase that are right for Ruth and not everyoe else. Besides I no longer have a car payment!! Yippee.


This trip was difficult because I made the decision on impulse. I had not planned on taking him out that day. These days an outing is often just a drive around in the car so I do not have to do a lot of lifting. The reason I took him out was because he looked so bad and was not even responding to yes/no questions. I was concerned but didn't have time to stay with him there. I also hoped the outing would revive him (which it did).


It sure was worth ever ache and pain though. He improved more than hoped for and I really enjoyed having him with me. Change though he is he is still my honey.


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