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winter, weight and clearing up



I am just sitting here wondering what we will do if Ray keeps putting on weight? I just sorted out his wardrobe and he can wear about a quarter of last winter’s clothes. Unfortunately men do not wear elastic waisted or loose fitting garments like women do so the change is really noticeable now. It is a pity as he has some really nice clothes he can’t wear now.


Like most semi hemis (someone who is partially paralyzed down one side) Ray has trouble getting dressed and needs his garments probably a size bigger than he would otherwise wear so they will go across his shoulders. Some of his larger clothes were bought before the major strokes and so they weren’t bought to be put on one handedly so I have to help him get dressed again. It is not good for him and is taking me away from preparing breakfast so we seem to run a bit later every day. For an “on time” person like me this is a major annoyance.


Ray was always fairly slim and for many years stable in weight. As part of his Fisheries job he did a lot of walking, along river banks, up and down mountains streams, along the seashore. As part of his later carpentry job he worked a distance from his workshop and walked back and forth collecting materials and tools. He was up and down ladders, staircases, up on the roof etc and carried heavy loads so the weight stayed off.


In the first few years after his major strokes he was busy exercising and did walk a lot with his stick, I rarely pushed him in the wheelchair back then. But after the broken pelvic in 2007 he found walking difficult and walked less and less. Now he hardly walks at all and his appetite seems to have increased again – so the weight gain happened.


On Sunday we are going to an old friend’s wedding. He is marrying a lady deacon at one of the neighboring parishes so they are getting married as part of the normal Sunday service and there will be a large morning tea as a wedding breakfast afterwards. At least Ray will get away with not wearing a suit and I will not have to wear a hat. Saves me looking ridiculous, as I am not a hat person.


The reason I started looking at Ray’s clothes was because I am trying to get the house under control again. The diabetic blister situation with all the doctors’ appointments, visits to the podiatrists etc took so much time I didn't make the most of summer. So now I have to use the short dark days to do the clearing up and throwing out I usually do in summer. Sometimes I wish I could toss the contents of the house on the lawn and only bring back inside what I really want. This would leave us with nowhere to sit and no storage space so I suppose I can't do that. But I would like to.


Since the strokes in 1999 we haven’t done a lot to the house though we did get the roof fixed, put on the new carport and get the built-in wardrobe in our bedroom. Last year I also got some painting done and that will continue again soon, our handyman is without work again so he came back around looking for some odd jobs. I am not happy with the way he left last time but tradesmen are as rare as hen’s teeth so I need to consider what I want done next.


I sent out another email asking for people to contact us with their news as even that source of communication seems to be drying up. I realise sometimes that unless I do the reaching out to people it is easy for them to forget us, after all we are no longer moving in the same circles and they don’t see us as part of their busy everyday lives. I understand that but still need to have some friends. I want friends both now and in the period “afterwards” (like after Ray goes into care if that happens) and I am alone again.


You really don’t know what you will do in the future anyway do you? I suppose the future is like another hypothetical where we say well if this happens then maybe that happens? There is no evidence, no timeline, no training courses to handle an unknown future. We just go on with the present we have and hope the future takes care of itself.


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Sue, I am dealing with the same wardrobe problems that you are only in the reverse. Larry has lost so much weight and doesn't seem to be gaining it back. He has so many nice slacks and shirts that are too big now. Dressing himself continues to be a BIG chore for him. I don't know why he thinks it is so much hard work when that is about all he has to do other than exercising. He did help me sort out our computer problem yesterday and I applaud him for that. It is the same here that unless you reach out to old friends, they no longer seem to come around. I realize they have more that they can do than Larry but I wish they would still pick up a phone and call him. One of his friends is on a cruise but he and his wife are picking us up next month and taking us to a concert. I thought that was very nice and Larry agreed to it immediately. It is truely a lonesome life when it comes to friends and activities. Our kids come around but not enough. At least you have a place where Ray can have some social life. Take care and have a good weekend.


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Sue: when Bruce first came home, he had lost almost 30 lbs. Bruce shops once a year. Everyone here knows the shoe story, but the pants story is even better. He had just bought 7 pair of new dress pants. He wore a shirt and tie to work every day. They were a waist of 38. My sister took them to her house for her husband to sell on Ebay.


I went to Target and bought size Medium, cotton pull on pants, every color they had-all neutrals. Since he is still a total care for the most part, these have worked well and I kept two in black for special occasions. Well with the no walking and limited exercises, he is back up to a size 38. He has a wide variety of pants that now fit again, but my hands are so bad, I can't button them at the waist-I use that pony tail elastic trick. You may have to consider some elastic in the waist. These from Target also come in a nice warm flannel-good for Ray right now and I did find one pair in black that look nice. Keep a couple of pair that fit nicely and keep them for good and go with something looser, more relaxed.


I, like you, am continuing the cleaning out. We have a free shredding day tomorrow at our bank and I have finally gone through every scrap of paper here, have it all sorted, filed, identified and the load ready to go to shredding. I still have six boxes of books to get through and all of our book shelves are filled, so he will have to make some tought decisions. Clothing wise I hesitate to throw anything out that is in good shape as I, like you do not know where this weight issue will go. I hate to consider selling his guitars, he'll probably never play again, but they were so a part of him; the albums and our wood stove. But think my next project will be the tools, so can put the really special stuff aside for now. Good and warm week, Debbie

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I can identify with you ladies altho' I am the stroke survivor. My husband isn't much for shopping and I do most of my shopping on the internet. I find something that fits me and then will shop for that brand and size. I am not overweight but I will only buy drawstring pants as they are easier to get on and off. I was the back-up caregiver for my mom who passed away from Alzheimers the year before my stroke. I did all her shopping, drove her to dr appts, etc etc. In the beginning I even did her wash but then ended up having her living facility to it because it was included in her rent anyway. I couldn't take her out for shopping; not only hard to get her in and out of the car but she would forgot what we were doing.


I've been the clean up of clutter and throwing away of old stuff in the past and I physically I can't do it any more. The lifting and extra steps with a walker, etc. I find it is hard being patient to wait for my husband to help me.


Sue do you have a friend or friends, maybe from church that you can bond with so you can vent on occasion. It has to be hard not being able to communicate with Ray with his mind failing. I couldn't carry on a conversation with mom either. Does God really only give us what we can handle? Sometimes I wonder. Leah

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I love the idea of tossing the contents of the house on the lawn and only bringing back what's needed! As a new caregivere I realize that keeping up with household chores takes twice the time it used to. Sue, you are such an inspiration. I'm sure you have many friends that you can talk to on the forum.

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Sue, Ladies we are all in the same predicament. Carl decided to stop wearing his dress slacks. Went to Wal-Mart and got sweat pants. Elastic waist, elastic around the ankles. I bought a couple a pairs. He's happy now that he is wearing elastic waist band. I'm happy he is not complaining his waist band in his pants are too tight.

All our friends have fallen threw the cracks.

So Carl and I decided we put faith in Spirit and Spirit has come threw. We have new friends they accept us as we are, especially Carl with his aphasia. I know it may not be the same for you cuz Ray is at a different level stroke, but faith will prevail Sue.

remembertolaugh, Jeannie:cocktail:

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