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Our new aide, so far



We had the new nurse come by with the aide for the first time Tuesday, they were here for the two allotted hours just doing paperwork. First the aide had showed up at 9AM but I sent her away; originally we were given 10AM to 2PM although they promised to look for something later, Ray doesn't even start to get up until after 10. But then they tried to move it up to 9 to 1 and I said absolutely not, way too early, for him and for me (I'm up but I like my time in the morning to myself). They forgot to tell the aide unfortunately, I felt bad but off she went to kill the two hours elsewhere. Then when we all got together, we discussed that 11 is really the earliest I'd like, noon even better; but now we only get 2 hours rather than the 4 we are allowed. 11 to 1, because she has to be somewhere else at 1:30. For some reason nobody seems to want the morning, I've found. Surprising really, but I'm not getting him up early for their convenience, or to pad their hours! The nurse said she would try to find another aide with afternoons open but didn't know how long that would take. We've been with this new agency three and a half months already, so let's figure another three and a half months at the least? Oh well, there goes luncheons with my friends this summer. It was a nice dream anyway.


The aide is very nice, a younger woman who lost her husband and has no kids. A little chatty, but most of them tend to be. As soon as she saw what an easy job this would be, she called her agency herself right in front of the nurse and asked them to change her schedule so she can come in the afternoon instead. She mentioned 1 to 5 to them which takes us right up to dinnertime but still better than the morning. I though it was all set up but there she was at 11AM again yesterday, knocking on my door. I wasn't expecting her until 1 and wasn't even dressed. Apparently the manager went on a long vacation so I'm stuck with 11 to 1 for now, not much I can do in that period of time unless I bolt out the door on her arrival. Bummer.


Since Ray wasn't even up yet I went upstairs to get him and she washed the dishes in the sink, then spent the rest of the time talking to her friends on her phone and making me put on the news so she could see the explosion in Harlem. Oh and telling me her life story, of course. I forgot that this is how it usually is. I gave her some of my fresh baked Irish soda bread and coffee, and we just hung out. Ray really just needs a companion anyway, at least she said she loves to play dominoes and Bingo so if she can get him engaged with that it wouldn't be too bad. The nurse told her she wants Ray up and walking, he's a little congested (although I think it's just his allergies). I've pretty much given up on bugging him about that, he does walk up and down the stairs but otherwise prefers his wheelchair. Maybe she'll have better luck than me.


The people from the various agencies always tell me our house and neighborhood are like heaven compared to most they see, people have dog poop on the floor and hoarded possessions to the point of scariness. Most people they see are older people living on their own, many with dementia, so you can imagine. Also most of their clients forbid the aides to use their bathroom, or if they do they have to leave the door open. I don't like it either but I can't see refusing them a little privacy in that situation. My downstairs bathroom has nothing worth stealing, except the latex gloves of course, but I hid them as advised! But while we were upstairs the first day because Ray refused to get up, she asked to use the guest bathroom up there. She seemed to take sort of a long time, but again nothing of value in there. Just old cosmetics, shampoo and over the counter stuff. Still didn't get to the spy cam, it's very complicated and I have to look it up on the web because the directions that came with it don't make any sense.


Poor Ray, I know I couldn't stand sitting with a stranger for four hours myself. He's pretty good with her so far, but I have to get bloodwork done Friday and it's during the time the aide will be here, so we'll see how that goes. I'm going to pick up a couple of McDonalds Filet O' Fish next door to the doctor, (on sale during Lent! two for the price of one) and a Shamrock shake, that might cheer him up a little.



When the nurse said Ray is very congested (the old nurse said the same last visit, a couple of weeks ago), she told him he could come down with pneumonia if he doesn't move around and cough it up. Of course because he refused to get up until after they came, they think he lies in bed all day, which isn't true. But she said it to him several times, then when we went out later to the library, and CVS, and grocery shopping, he insisted on coming into all of them with me, which he hasn't been doing lately. He's been happy all winter just waiting in the car and checking out the parking lot action. I always think of him as such a rebel but he does listen when the doctor or nurse tells him something. I also couldn't get him to take the new Vitamin D pills I got because they turned out to be really big, but then a couple of weeks ago the doctor told him his D level had dropped by half, and the consequences of low Vit D, and the next day the nurse said the same, and lo and behold he started taking them on his own. I have to do so much myself, but I can't say I don't have a little backup out there!


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I can find a lot to do in two hours. Firstly, you are waiting at the door, the aide comes in, you go out. Out where? Anywhere, shops, park, library, market, riverbank, Curves (30 minute workout). Take a novel, take a flask, take time to drink a coffee, Pick up some fruit and a sandwich before you go.Enjoy being out in the fresh air.


The aide can socialize with Ray, put him through some simple exercises, listen to music with him, dial some numbers so he can have a talk on the phone, sit in the sun with him, take him for a push in the wheelchair. She/he can get out the guitar and watch him practice or sing along. All activities are valuable as long as Ray is enjoying it.


I only had a two hour break at one stage and I used to walk around my area, drive to the beach and walk on the sand, visit a friend. The visits require accurate timing so they need to be ready when you get there. To do lunch your friend has to be at the venue, seated when you get there and be ready to order. Choose a venue where you know service is prompt as you only have two hours and that is dining time minus driving time.


It is all doable, and where there's a will , there's a way.Hope you find a way to make the most of your free time.

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I have to agree -- leave ( when you trust her of course) but my saying is start as you mean to go.... if you do not establish to ray and yourself and the worker that you are not going to be there when they are there - then you will create a whole new situation ( by accident) ... for ray unfortuanatley it is gonna kind of be like leaving a kid at daycare. but if you don't establish a pattern of leaving soon that window of opportunity will close. now for me to simply take my own advice lol.....

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Oh I know, and I will. And for all I know maybe the four hour thing will happen sooner than not, then I can really roam!


Friday will be my first time leaving them alone, I'll see how much more than the bloodwork I can cram in. I won't be farther than 10 minutes or so away, maybe it's for the best to get used to this gradually. This agency seems a lot more on the ball, so who knows, the 4 hour deal might come along quicker than I think, once the manager gets back from vacation. Since it's snowing right now, where would I go anyway? Walks on the beach are top of the list though!

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I'm just wondering if you have to pay for the aid for Ray or did you get it from an agency??? The VA paid for the one I had 2 hours a day, 3 days a week and they also stopped it when they terminated me from in home care so they could add more Veterans needing in home care!!!!

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Sue is correct, when there is a will, there is a way. Go, as soon has the aid knocks the door, you off and running. Go and do you. I get the bus, go to a shopping center, and outside of Bed Bath and Be yound, are chairs, that you can sit down and people watch. I sit there for about two hours, wonderful. Also the four hour break could happen sooner then later, think postive.



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Colleen: this will be a learning experience for you and Ray - a whole new routine, but a great time of the year to start and get some time for yourself. All your favorite markets will be offering new, fresh ingredients and you will have time to browse. Plus time to work on your garden.


And yes, you will have to adjust your morning routine, but hopefully you will get into a set schedule.


If Ray is accepting of this, it may end up being another step in recovery. Strangers bring a new flavor into the home. She will interact with him differently than you. Bring new ideas and thoughts into the mix - new interests, new routines. Different ways of looking at things. I know just having Erma in one day a week gives Bruce a break from me and new things for us to talk about when I get home. And again, a good time of year because she can get him out every day.


Let us know how tomorrow goes. Debbie

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for your sake, her sake and rays sake warn her of rays - "sarcasm " and type of humor he has and DO NOT TOUCH THE REMOTES...lol

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Oh no, I forgot about the remotes: Thanks for reminding me. That made me laugh (now I mean, not back then though). Don't think we'll be leaving her alone to play around with anything like we did Pat; We learned our lesson and Ray does have his eye on her. When I came home, they were watching TV together, then when she left I asked, she didn't go upstairs while I was gone, did she? Because she offered to make the beds and straighten up upstairs and I told her no, don't bother. Ray let me know that letting her out of his sight wasn't going to happen this time around.


It was nice to run out for my bloodwork by myself for a change, although this new doctor wanted me to have it done at the office so I had to make an appointment first. Which was a waste because they made me wait 45 minutes anyway. By then it was after 12 noon, and I had been up and fasting since 5AM. Turns out this test didn't require fasting, wish someone had let me know! Anyway from now on I told them I'm going the hospital to get it done, I can go at 7AM or any other time I want and be out in 5 minutes. Maybe 15-20 minutes total so I can leave Ray home in bed instead.


Possible 6 inches of snow on Monday; the aide is due back but I'm not going out anywhere either way. St Paddys Day so will be watching the parade on TV as usual, while snacking on my Irish soda bread with lots of Irish butter. Maybe if I'm lucky she won't be able to make it due to the weather, I do like to enjoy an Irish coffee while I also enjoy the festivities. And Ray likes to stay in bed to avoid them! Whatever, she has been accepting all the food and coffee I offer her so far, even though I know technically she's not allowed. As long as she lets me listen to the bagpipes and drums we'll be OK.

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Colleen: so glad day one alone went well, for all of you.


You are a Nurturer - there is nothing wrong with offering some of your treats. Plus it sets up good vibes. And Ray seemed to do very well. Good news all around.


Another snow storm - the winter that will not end - LOL. Enjoy your St. Pat's - wear your green. And do let us know how this next week goes. Debbie

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I'll be wearing green and celebrating my Irish heritage. St Pat's was my Dad's birthday so we always celebrated that too. Sadly he died in 2000 but he is always with me in spirit.

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Fred I just realized I never answered your question, so sorry! We have VA coverage but don't use it for anything right how, it's just my backup plan. And a very good one too, I might add! I made sure I covered all our bases in the beginning, before Ray came home. Maybe you could look into something like we have?


Ray has Medicare for most of his medical needs, with Medicaid paying his co-pays. I know my SIL in Georgia has Medicare AND Tricare AND something else too, mix and match. I had kept him on my COBRA until he turned 65, I wasn't anxious to wander down the welfare path. But as it turned out, the in-home social workers fixed us up anyway, so his aides and all the rest are through Long Term Managed Care, which is Medicaid. It's based on income so you can see if you qualify, you don't have to be totally broke. It's the same branch that would take care of him if he ended up in a nursing home. It is to their financial benefit to push in-home care over SNF obviously, but they do realize the caregiver needs a break or they will break down themselves and be of no use to them or the patient. Right now I'm approved for 12 hours a week, but they can approve up to 20 if necessary. It's totally my decision to take less time at this point since they only have AM time slots available.


Long Term Managed Care is technically forever, although there is a yearly visit by a nurse to recertify and make sure we still need it. My main reason for in-home coming around is if anything happens to me, I need someone who knows Ray and our situation, and can jump in and watch over and make decisions until I am back in action. It's such an easy gig for them, I just ask them to hang around and watch TV or play games, and not to clean or cook or oversee meds or any of that other stuff. It's a big adjustment for us after being totally on our own except nurse visits for over a year now. The new agency was sort of horrified that we hadn't been getting anyone in, in such a long time. I do realize it's good for Ray to have someone else to interact with, I just hate having people in the house and worrying if they're stealing or whatever. Once i get to know this woman a little better, maybe I'll relax and enjoy my time off.


I've been fibbing to Ray, when he complains about the new aide (as he does loudly just before her arrival): I tell him that it's this or the nursing home. And that she's there to spy on us and report me to her boss if he seems unhappy in any way. It seems to put things in perspective for him and he calms right down. Hate to do it but hey, it works for those last minute temper tantrums! And when I came home the other day it was nice to see how happy he was to see me again. A good reminder for him how good he has it. He seems to like her OK so far; for some reason I thought they were looking for a male but probably just as well we got her. He holds back a little with his yelling when it's a woman!


Have a great St Paddys Day everyone!!

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Colleen: there were days I had to tell Bruce the same thing. In the early years, I would have Cathy come and I would go upstairs and sleep, take a shower. Fortunately the upstairs is well away from the main house and like you, I was around just in case. But once the bathroom was finished and Bruce could transfer OK, I was off.


I certainly understand why you do not want anyone messing with your kitchen. But let her do up any dishes from lunch. And in time I hope you move on to a little bathroom cleaning and linen change. Laundry. Those are biggies for me. I do feel pampered when I get into clean linens and I did not have to change them!


Stick to your guns. Stay safe tomorrow, enjoy your parade and treats! Debbie

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