Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Seeing improvements

    Ok, I'll be honest; I'm not really seeing improvements. But Margaret is, and she's spent a lot more time with Dad than I have so I'll trust her. One improvement is undeniable; he can work the phone now. He's calling her often, so they're both a lot less lonely. And he's started his physical therapy and he likes it. He's understandably grumpy that he doesn't have a TV during dialysis. I'll have to see if I can get that rectified. And he's pretty on the ball. I think the change in blood pressure medicines yesterday was probably beneficial; anyway it certainly didn't hurt.
    They still mainly sing old songs to each other and together. They couldn't remember the words to "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" (after only 60 years or so) so I tracked it down for them on YouTube. All very, very sweet.
    Continuing on that theme, I picked up a Calvin & Hobbes book at Goodwill for 50 cents the other day. It proved to be the last. The last Calvin & Hobbes ever was also achingly sweet, of course.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Captain Worst-Case-Scenario

    It's nothing, literally nothing at all. I went to Lowe's to get a new HVAC filter, and I parked right on a sewer grate. I like to think that I catastrophize less than I used to, but I couldn't help but go through the whole scenario: what if I locked the rental car, then dropped my keys accidentally down the sewer? How would they move the car to move the grate even to begin searching for my keys? What would the water do to the electronic door lock? Etc. etc. etc. On the bright side, this kind of catastrophization does lead one to hold onto his keys more tightly. So there's that. And as I say, nothing of the sort happened. Just an eerie voice echoing up, saying, "Come down and play, John!"
    Dad continues well. The nursing home just called saying that they had taken him off of one blood pressure medicine and cut down on another. I told them that he had had quite low blood pressure for years. It would have been nice if someone had asked me, or his regular doctor. But it's good that they did the right thing.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


    Dad says that they're expecting him to be in the nursing home for four months. I had some silly stuff to write about, but this knocked that material right out of my grey matter. I think they have an outsized notion about our expectations. We aren't expecting him to go dancing again; we don't necessarily expect him to be able to change his drain bag himself. We'd like him to be able to handle the cell phone, but even that is a pretty low priority.
    The big thing is having him and Margaret together. Everybody understands that at almost 94, this isn't going to last forever. So the goal is to have them together as much as possible.
    In the meantime, though, today I programmed his cell phone to speed dial and showed him how to use it, and we also left Margaret's flip phone which is easier to answer (since you just open it), and I cranked the volume of the ringer and the caller's voice on the latter. So he's a good deal more reachable, and can call out more easily. So there's that.
    He's having his care meeting Thursday, so I'll explain then what our goals are. Hopefully, we can whittle that 4 months pretty markedly.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Succinct Mazda 2 review

    The USB port doesn't work. Uh-UH!!!
    Other than not being able to listen to my IPod as I had hoped, it's a pretty kicky little car. Naggy as all get out; it doesn't care for the passenger not wearing his seat belt. As Dad never wears his, it's just as well that he won't be riding in this one. I suspect that any newer car will do this, so his wish that I get a new one may rebound on him.
    At the moment, I'm still thinking in terms of getting the old Camry as fixed up as I can, and then finding a second vehicle that might be more comfortable for Dad to ride in and easier for him to get out of. After all, he used to keep and pay insurance on two vehicles just for himself, so paying for an extra one for him to ride in shouldn't be any problem. I still have the fond hope of finding one roomy enough that Margaret might finally abandon her dangerous (it wanders the lanes with no encouragement from the driver) gas-hogging and forever breaking down old Chevrolet. A mad dream I'm sure.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rockin' the Mazda 2!

    OK, it isn't funny, but it's ironic. I finally got around to renting a car for a while so that I could put my car in the shop for a while. (Hopefully "while" = "week.") First I went to Enterprise RentACar ("We pick you up!") across the river. When they found out that I wanted to be picked up on this side of the river, interest suddenly waned. "You have to go to the downtown or Garners Ferry location for that."
    I suggested that they might want to think about the customer service part of customer service and went to Budget. Or possibly Avis. The place had both. It's near enough to my house that I didn't need them to pick me up. (I had gone to Enterprise because some online sources said that they sometimes have the Mazda 5, in which I was interested. Apparently not anymore.)
    I just decided to go cheap, so I got a Mazda 2, which is just darlin'. I went to my auto mechanic (where I had wanted Enterprise to pick me up) only to find that he had moved-- across the river. If I had known that in the first place, going to Enterprise would have been a brilliant move all along and I would have been saved from being rudish to two more perfectly nice people. Then again, they probably would have said, "Naw, still too far."
    I dropped my car at the mechanic's new location (oddly, next to one of Drinking Liberally's old locations) and walked across the river. It wasn't really that far; I walk farther than that for exercise a lot of days. Walking across the Blossom St./Knox Abbott Drive bridge wasn't nerve-racking exactly, but neither was it calming. I could have wished for a prettier day to make photography worthwhile. But it was still fun. He'll get in touch Monday with what the damage is. I'm expecting something dramatic.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Today's adventures

    Today has been a lot less stressful than yesterday, fortunately. Most problems came from my regular life, because I cook for several days' meals in advance, and today I was out of lunches and dinners. Cooking days are a little stressful, double cooking days moreso and days that would be stressful anyway, well just guess.
    First thing, somebody called from the nursing home about Dad's pacemaker. He has a pacemaker and a monitor, but nobody seems too worried about either; it was just put in as a safety measure because of his somewhat irregular heartbeat. The problem was that since there isn't a phone line in the room, they might have to put one in for the monitor to work. I gave the lady the name of Dad's heart doctor and clinic. A little later, I heard back that if the monitor had a USB connector on the side, it wouldn't need the phone line. Unfortunately, the monitor was at Margaret's and she wasn't up yet. So I told the lady I would check and get back to her.
    At a more reasonable hour, I checked in with Margaret and she said it was OK for me to come look at the monitor. A USB connection! So I left a message to that effect at the nursing home and that I would bring it this afternoon. (Isn't my life exciting?)
    I also needed to bring out my powers of attorney for them to make copies of and we wanted to bring Dad more clothes and a phone he might have less trouble with. I had visions of seeing a movie tonight, so I also asked my brother William to drive out behind us so he would know the way and the codes and so he could bring Margaret home. All was successfully done. Vegan shepherd's pie was made for lunch, I took my walk so I might start getting less grumpy ANY minute, and turkey chili with quinoa has been made for supper. "A Night At The Opera" is on the horizon. Dad continues pleased with the Lowman Home. Not such a terrible day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hopefully in English

    Hi, I'm a little fatigued. Hopefully this doesn't come out in Esperanto or something. This morning, the social worker at Baptist Hospital called and said that Dad would be going to Lowman Home this afternoon. She also said that he would be doing dialysis in Irmo relatively near the nursing home and that they had changed his days to Monday, Wednesday Friday. Therefore, the hospital was giving him a short dialysis session this morning. I pointed out that he didn't have any clothes and suggested I bring him some and she thought that a good idea.
    So I called the nurse's station on his floor and they said he would be gone a couple of hours. I asked if it was OK for me to leave the clothes in his room and they said yeah. So I called Margeret and asked her to get his clothes together. Meanwhile, the dialysis facility called and asked me to come do Dad's paperwork so he could start Friday. I said no problem but explained the clothing situation. I went to Margaret's to pick up the clothes and set off for the hospital. The lady from dialysis called, having remembered to tell me to bring his insurance cards. So I went home to get his insurance cards and on to the hospital to drop off his clothes.
    At the dialysis facility, I signed my time more times than I have since the last time I had to do this, then called the nursing home. I suggested that since my Dad was due there this afternoon, they might want me to sign some stuff. Not surprisingly, they did. I signed my name again enough times that there should have been a pile of traveler's checks involved, but there wasn't. They did let me keep the pen, though.
    She showed me his room and then we went back to the office to find out when or whether Dad was coming when the ambulance drivers brought him through the door. So he got all set up in his room and the ambulance folks went away when Dad asked where was his walker. I called the hospital and asked and they said that they still had it. So I went back to the hospital, got his walker, went home, fed the cats, fed me quickly, picked up Margaret, and headed through rush hour traffic back to Dad.
    Speeds in the fast lane were a heady 5-10 mph, but at least we were moving, and we got there eventually. The facility doesn't have phones in the room, but my sister has gotten Dad a couple of Tracfones over the years and I was able to find one with both a regular and a car charger. Unfortunately, it's a little tricky, so he may have trouble either calling out or answering calls, but it was the best I could do.
    Anyway, he's in a superb place, in a nice, large room. He'll have physical therapy twice a day. He is very glad to be out of the hospital and already likes the food better. The staff is kind and caring. On the whole, we're well-pleased.