We are still basking in the newness of our home. It is again such FUN to cook. It has been a long, long time since I've had a kitchen where I can move around, have a pantry and can choose which counter I want to use when I have a task to perform. We had our first family cook-out Saturday and it was fun to have the family here. (Even though we did have a scare with my sister-in-law.)
We had quite a week last week. I just read Sue's blog and surely understand her situation with the incontinence issue. Poor Bill. We went to a local grocery store that has a wonderful deli/salad bar area Monday. He had already "taken care of business" so I felt pretty comfortable in doing so. Of course he had to use the bathroom which is quite normal when he starts to eat. (I haven't yet been successful with the suggesting he use the bathroom before we eat. I always get the same response, "I don't have to go.") We ate in a more private area, however, it was further from the bathroom. We weren't quite finished when he said he needed to go to the bathroom. It never dawned on me what he needed to do in the bathroom, especially when I asked if he needed to have a bm and he said no.......Well, he went in and a little later came to the door and said "I just **** my pants." When I looked at the floor it was not contained in his pants. I told him to go back in and I went to the care and got the extra underwear and a clean pair of shorts we'd just picked up at the cleaners, came back in and a manager was standing at a check-out close to the bathroom. I approached him to explain I needed to get in and his response was that he was glad I came because they didn't know who he was or exactly what they needed to do. So.....for the next 45 minutes I worked at cleaning him, the floor and his clothes enough to get him out and the groceries paid for and escape the store!!! I suppose at one time I would have been mortified at the situation, but you know after awhile we become numb and it is just another situation that needs to be tended to.
That was Monday - and it was an indication the week was going to be interesting...By Thursday Bill had full-blown diarrhea. You remember how it was when your kids were about two or three and had diarrhea? Well.............it's much, much worse with a grown up. I decided I had to give him an Immodium, and I didn't even care what the meds interaction might be. I called the doctor, left the message and gave him the pill. Up until Thursday he hadn't felt bad, but by Thursday he said he didn't feel good. I got the call back from the nurse and although his doctor was out we did make an appointment with the PA on call. The only thing she could come up with was a connection between the sushi he'd been eating and the diarrhea. She did give me the go ahead on the Immodium. She called Friday and said she'd spoken with his doc and they'd decided it would be a good idea if he had the Cipro that had been suggested due to a bacteria crab may carry. (He has a new favorite sushi - blue crab). The treatment was easy - one dose of Cipro 500 mg. I love my new washer. Bill loves white shorts. We could have had a major, major disaster last week. Instead we had NO stains on his shorts. It's fantastic.
I had a call from the Caregiver Support Coordinator last week. She is such a dear, dear person. For some reason she couldn't find a form they needed completed for me so we did it on the phone. One of the questions she asked was "if you had help caring for your husband, how many hours a day would you need?" For the first time, without hesitation I told her "four hours". I just read Sue's blog and must admit that additional care does seem to require additional help. I'm going to the doctor today because I am so miserable with my shoulder and back. I don't know a solution other than rest and some rehab. Resting my shoulder and back is going to require assistance with Bill - an option he will not be happy with, but an option I need, none the less. I hope she finds a way for a respite time before December. As the need for care increases I know it's more important that I realize if my husband was in a facility there would be 4 or 5 of me a day to do the care. AND they would work eight hours a day and work five days a week. They wouldn't do the laundry or the cooking or cleaning. Those are the raw facts. We love our husbands and have committed to care for them. However, we will need help and should be willing to admit and take action toward that end. I've learned, too, not to make any comments around anyone anymore. The very first words to come out of others' mouths is - Ann, isn't it time for you to give in and have Bill taken care of in a facility?......
In the words of my dad, "God is still good." The days might not be as bright as we would have imagined, but there are blessings all around us if we look for them. We are enjoying our home, and Bill is showing a desire to do more for himself. Even on days when he doesn't want to shave himself, he will do it. Yesterday he took his first shower standing up since his strokes. Yes - in almost four years he has never stood up to shower. What a blessing that was, and how exciting to see yet one more accomplishment. Oh, if only he could remember how far he has come!