I haven't blogged in a while so thought I'd try to give an update. We are still in recovery mode from that lumbar compression fracture last October. The acute issue is resolved. He's no longer in pain and has returned to pre-fracture condition mostly. He's still getting some outpatient PT. This may be our last week and I'm okay with that. For the first time ever, I think we've reached a point where I can walk with him by myself and manage pulling the wheelchair behind without fear of him falling. I did go and get a heavy duty wide-based quad cane. That seems to be the ticket for more manageable walking. The hemi-walker is just too cumbersome and the small-based quad cane we had was just too flimsy. This one works well.
Our main PT has been pretty good but I had a bad experience with the one who was supposed to be a back-up. She sat down with us for 5 minutes and then began peppering me with suggestions about how I could accomplish all the things I have found it hard to do--like walking with him by myself. None of the barriers I put on the table were considered valid. She could hardly hold back the scorn for me as a caregiver. That episode set me back for a good week. I was mad at her and also questioned myself. I allowed her to make me feel like the lowest life-form on the planet. She could figure out how awful a caregiver I was in just 5 minutes? Really? Without even knowing Lauren and the effect of his deficits? Without ever working with him even for 5 minutes? She worked with him another couple of times when the regular PT was gone. Then I went and requested a schedule that would only be with the regular PT. That has worked and my blood pressure is back to normal. She's the first person in all his rehab experiences who has been like that with me. Oh well, it takes all kinds to make up a world, I guess.
Lauren has another UTI. Story of our life. This one has some very resistant bacteria. He's been through one round of oral antibiotics. One of the bugs got knocked out but not the other. Tomorrow we have to go to the outpatient surgery area for the placement of a PICC line (longer lasting IV) so he can get IV antibiotics for 10 days. I get to administer those once everything gets established. I'm good with that. One thing I do feel comfortable with. These UTI's do worry me. One day there could be a bug that's resistant to everything. He's about there now.
I've spent the last several weeks in the most depressed state I've been in since the stroke. For the first time I have wondered if I need to get on an anti-depressant. I don't want to do that even though I know it might be necessary. Time will tell. I do see a therapist every once in a while. I've asked her to keep tabs on me and let me know if I'm heading down a worrisome path unaware. I don't get in to see her very often these days but I still try to check in every couple of months. Self-care has been a very important issue for me in my pre-stroke life. The American culture glorifies busy-ness to the point it is unhealthy, even deadly. I think it's easy for us caregivers to fall into that trap and give ourselves away completely to the one in our care who is so vulnerable and needy. We deplete ourselves to the point of illness or injury. I don't think that serves us or our loved ones in any good way. I can't go 24/7 without a break. I need time away from this caregiving and I have been blessed to have family and friends that help me get it. Beyond that, I pay for private duty as I can afford to get assistance with Lauren and additional time away. Next week there is an event on an evening I don't have help. I rarely go beyond the schedule but this event is one I know I will be sad about missing. So I've arranged private duty for that night and I'm going. Expensive night out? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.