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My Aunt Going Home

Jan 16, 2010 - 17 comments

Well, for those of you who know me, you know  it's been a tough month for me because of the mishap my aunt had on 12/22/09 - it's not over yet.. We had a "progress meeting" on Thurs at the rehab center where my aunt is being "held hostage" -- so she thinks......and it was decided that she would be ready to go home in 2-3 weeks.

I went to see her again today and her ONLY agenda for me was to "get me out of here" -- okay, I'm on a mission now....because she fully intends to go home in 2 weeks, not 3.......

Well, I've got to back up.  There are a lot of things that have to be done before she can go home and "guess who" gets to do them!!!  

We have major cleaning to be do in her house -- yeah, that might be my fault because I haven't insisted that she let me do it when I go to see her, because she wants to "visit", not watch me work......well, that will have to change and I already told her that.......

Okay -- my "winter neighbor", Deb, arrived in the Sunshine State on Wed......but before she got here, she had offered to go with me to my aunt's, to keep me company on the hour and 1/2 journey AND to help get the house ready to be "lived in" again........

The thing here is that my aunt has 2 cats --- now don't get me wrong, I love cats or almost any animal -- but I also HATE cats because they have to have litter boxes and if the litter boxes aren't cleaned properly, they STINK. No arguments, please -- I've had cats and I *know* that if the pans aren't cleaned right, they stink. End of subject...

My aunt has a neighbor who works in a vet's office, has dogs and cats and is SUPPOSED to be coming daily to feed the cats and clean the boxes -- well, she does come feed the cats, but she doesn't clean the boxes properly.  She ONLY scoops out the hard poop clumps and doesn't go to the bottom of the litter box to get out the "pee coated" litter -- it just cakes in the bottom of the pan.......and STINKS...yes, it does -- don't argue with me... lol...there's nothing worse to me, than cat pee........ .Anyway, after a couple of days, the cats won't use the dirty pans, preferring to use the carpet -- of course, it's cleaner....what would we expect??

Okay, so I picked Deb up at 6:00 this morning and we began our day....first the long ride to get to my aunt's; then we really kicked into gear..Deb started on my aunt's bedroom and bathroom, concentrating on the "cat issue" because the smell just drives me up the wall.........I opened as many windows as I could and turned on ceiling fans, etc to keep air moving.  

While Deb worked on the master bedroom and bath, I began working on the living room -- I took my vacuum along, so we would have one for each of us...no time to share here.......lol

Everything was covered with cat hair -- no it's not ALL from since my aunt hurt herself, but most is.......Anyway, Deb and I made great progress -- yes, we did, even though I only got 3/4 of the living room done and there are still stains on the carpet......I even ended up taking down curtains in the living room because of the cat hair.......well, it was time anyway, because I'm not sure when the last time they may have been taken down and washed - if ever.  Well, they got washed today and even stayed in one piece----- when we left, both shears and drapes were back at the windows.  

Anyway, as Deb was cleaning the bathroom, we noticed a lot of things on the very cluttered counter that were dusty and obviously hadn't been used in a long time (remember, we are dealing with a 91 yr old woman who doesn't throw much away) and it's not polite to just throw away other people's things.  So while we visiting my aunt, I mentioned that there might be a few things on the bathroom counter that hadn't been used in a while and maybe should be thrown away.  She said "what things".  I said "oh just bottles of lotions, creams, etc".......She said "well, I guess maybe -- if you think some things should be thrown away, just do it"........Deb and I just looked at each other and grinned.  We have permission....

On the way back to my aunt's, we had to stop for cat litter and a new litter pan (we thought one leaked, realized that it really didn't, but the "gunk" (cat litter/pee) was so glued to the bottom that Deb couldn't get it clean and "stink free".  When we got back to my aunt's, we prepared the new litter pan, then attacked the bathroom counter -- remember, we had permission......Actually, we didn't throw away a lot -- just a few things that obviously weren't going to be used.  Then we cleaned the dust off the things we kept (if I go there later and find they aren't being used, I'll still toss them) and scrubbed up the counter....when we got done, it looked SO much better......

We ran out of time today, so I'll need to go back next Sat and finish it off -- my darling Deb has offered to go with me to help.......I could accomplish this myself, but you've no idea how much easier it is with a "sidekick", especially one who is willing to just dig in and do what needs to be done, without "invading" someone else's space........

In 2 weeks she comes home-- and I've got to arrange for home health care and whatever other "services" my aunt will need, plus finish getting the house in order AND try to keep my job at the same time -- yep, I'll have to be off some days; AND I must say that I'm not getting a lot of support at home.....in fact, I'm actually getting quite a bit of flack for all the time I have to spend away from dh...  OH WOE IS HE........

BUT -- there is good news in all of this ---------- my thyroid meds seem to be about where they need to be and I'm so happy that I actually have the energy I need to get this project done....yes, I am tired tonight -- I have a right to be.  I got up at 4:30 this morning, left home at 6:00, drove an hour and 1/2 there, then the same to get home -- in between, I spent hours cleaning, laundering, etc, plus the time visiting my aunt --- oh yeah -- I have a right to be tired because I had a long hard day --  the good thing is that I didn't "crash" by lunch time.......I am making progress here ---I'm just so happy that I now have the strength to get through days like this........yay for me.........

Now, I'm off to bed because I have another long, hard day tomorrow -- my own house needs to be put in order... cleaning, laundry, groceries, etc............I do have Monday off for MLK holiday, but will be working 10 hr days the rest of the week to make up for it.  Yep, I think I even have the energy to do 10 hr days again.........Oh since I HAVE to take Monday off -- I'm going to "play" with some friends that are visiting from "up north" -- watch out flea markets, here we come................LOL

Thanks and love to all my friends.............
Barb





Update on My Aunt

Dec 26, 2009 - 14 comments

Well, the past few days have been something else, for sure.........As I posted in my journal the other day, my 90 yr old aunt fell backward into the bathtub and has a gash in her head, that required 3 staples and she has 3 compression fractures in her vertebrae.  The incident in itself was hard enough to get through, the past few days have really done a number on my stress level.

Of course, yesterday was Christmas and because I live an hour and 1/2 away from my aunt, I did not go to see her, but my husband and I had gone on Christmas Eve and exchanged gifts, etc.  Yesterday, I cooked Christmas dinner; planning to eat at 5:00 pm.  Cleaned house, and baked/cooked pretty much all day, but was feeling pretty good -- well, my daughter and her new husband (married in Sept) and their children (both from previous marriages) were among the guests.  Well, my daughter has this totally disgusting habit of being late for everything.........I'm actually surprised that she made it to her wedding on time, but I doubt she would have if there hadn't been others pushing her along.............Okay, you got it ---- they were late; so here I am with dinner all cooked and ready to put on the table -- getting colder by the minute and the other guests here ready to eat... Of course, my dau had a ton of excuses as to why they were late ---- really all she needs to do is get started a few minutes earlier.............how hard is THAT???  Oh, I should probably say here, that she gets this horrible trait from her grandmother --- my MIL.......my husband often talks about how they were ALWAYS late for church and had to walk down the aisle to their seat AFTER the service had started, with everyone watching them; or being late for ball practice, etc...........

Okay -- got through yesterday, slept fairly well, last night, got up this morning all chipper and ready to go help move my aunt from the hospital to the rehab center------- if only I'd have known how it was going to go, I might have chosen to stay in bed !!!  Anyway, I went straight to the hospital so I could be there when the doctor came in, then I'd know exactly what was going on, when she was being transferred, etc., THEN I would go to her house and do some things she's asked me to do, get things she will need, etc...........yep, I had it all planned and even hoped to be home around mid afternoon..........oh my, I'll never make that mistake again.........

I got to the hospital about 9:00 and the doctor had not been there yet, so I thought we were "good to go" -- doc would come soon, we'd get release orders  and MY plans would all work out........well, I guess for some reason that I don't know yet, God didn't like MY plans for today................

First off, the doctor didn't show up until around 1:00 this afternoon, but when he did, I thought things were going to fall into place.  He said that he was going to do the release order, which would be done in 5 minutes, the ambulance would be called to come pick up my aunt for the transfer, I would go to her house................not so.  

Shame on ME -- after the doctor left, I remembered that I was supposed to talk to him about some sores on my aunt's bottom that *I* thought looked like the beginnings of bed sores........So I had to wait for him to get done with the people he saw after my aunt, so I could catch him and get him back to look at the sores......well, he spent well over 30 minutes in that room and when he came out and I mentioned my aunts's sores, he said "I'll be right back" and took off........About 30 minutes later, I asked a nurse when the doctor was coming back and she said "he's not, he said he was going to get a nurse" --- well, THAT nurse was right there, why didn't he grab HER??  Anyway, she told me that *I* had misunderstood and that the doctor was NOT coming back.  I was beginning to get a bit upset, when here he came saying he'd had to do something else, but was there to look at the sores........I was right -- they are the beginnings of bed sores and the doctor said he'd order a special ointment for them because the skin was still intact and if we treat them NOW, we might prevent more problems.  THEN I found out that the nurse had seen them this morning and done/said nothing to anyone -------- how can this happen? Didn't she KNOW those were the beginnings of bed sores and would need treatment?  *I* have no medical training and I recognized what they were.  Or did she just not want to bother.  In my opinion, it's the latter.......my aunt has had some really excellent nurses since Tues evening, but the ones she had today just acted like every thing they had to do, was just unnecessary "chores".......Whenever, we'd ask for something, we'd get the nose in the air, with the "eye roll" and a big sigh --- this was even when my aunt needed help getting off the commode or getting it emptied..She had to sit on the commode once for over 20 minutes after she was finished and the nurse was close by, seemingly not doing much.

Anyway, the doctor said he would order the ointment, fill out the paperwork and we would  have her out of there in no time.........Well, an hour and 1/2 later, no one had come to start prep for moving her, so I finally went to the nurse and asked when?  She said "oh, she's not going today"......I said "EXCUSE ME?".  She said "oh no, there's an issue with a prescription for narcotics (pain med) and the doctor won't be back until tomorrow morning, so she will be transferred tomorrow"........I nearly lost my cool --- WHY would they leave us sitting there for all that time without coming to tell us that?  I'll NEVER understand that one.......

Okay, so I decided that since we weren't going to move her, I'd go to her house and do the things she wanted me to do, pack up the things she would need in rehab, then come home; get up in the morning and make yet another trip  back tomorrow for the transfer........then I considered just spending the night at her house instead of all the driving, but alas, none of that would happen.......

I went out to get into my truck and it acted like it was going to start, then didn't............oh no -- here I am in a city I'm not real familiar with, a vehicle that won't start and my hubby an hour and 1/2 away........Hubby walked me through a couple of things that HE would do if he were there -- they didn't work.  Well, we do know my aunt's neighbors and the man is a mechanic ---- okay, I called them -- both of their cell phones, neither answered.  We have emergency roadside assistance on our insurance policy so I called them --- was on hold for over 20 minutes....Then hubby said "just forget it, I'm leaving home now and will be there in about 2 hours".........Oh my, after the day I've had, now I have to wait another 2 hours for help.......

While I was out there by my truck with the hood up, a young man -- by his name tag, he was a hospital employee -- came by and asked if I had trouble.  I explained and he said "the hospital has a way to help".  I said "how do I get help?".  He said "go the information desk, they will get someone".  So I did as he told me, but the lady at the desk said "NO, we don't do that"........so I went back outside to wait for hubby.  The young man came by again and asked if I'd inquired and I told him what the lady said.  He said "you must complain to administration because they have a portable charger and could have helped. She just chose not to"........

Well, there was a gentleman that I'd seen in the hallway different times throughout the day near my aunt's room.  I had gone inside the hospital one more time because the wind had picked up and it was getting cold.  I said a prayer, asking if help could come to me soon because I was tired and didn't feel well.  As I walked across the lobby, I saw this gentleman that I'd seen throughout the day, coming toward me.  He had heard some of the difficulties we'd had during the day, so he asked if my day was going better.  I then explained my CURRENT dilemma and as he asked questions, we were walking toward my vehicle.  I told him I even had jumper cables if I could find someone willing to help, but I didn't know if my cables were long enough because of the way I was parked, so I got them out and we looked.  *I* thought the cables would be too short.  *He* said, "I drive a gold chevrolet and it's parked over there (pointing); I'll go get it".  So he came back in a couple of a minutes and sure enough, the cable was just a tad too short.  We looked over the situation and decided that if he backed up and came at a different angle it might reach.......Yep, I prayed again.  Anyway, he got a different angle and a bit closer and YES, the cable "just" reached -- it was taut but it reached............As soon as I turned my key, the engine started and I just threw my hands in the air and cried "THANK YOU"...........I really was crying because I was SO grateful.  I asked the man if I could pay him and he refused.  I asked if there were something I could do for him.  He took out his wallet and as he handed me his card, he said "this is what I do for a living" then he began to get back into his car.........I looked at the card --- he's a senior pastor at a rather large church in the area...........Did God answer my prayer??? You bet, he did.......

So, as soon as my engine was running, the gentleman who helped me pulled away but he stayed in the parking lot until I'd pulled out.  Then I called my hubby to tell him I'd been rescued.  Of course, he was already on his way, but was only about 20 of the 70 miles he had to go, so he turned around and came back home.  *I* headed straight home -- could not chance going to my aunt's and not being able to get started again to come home.  Hubby told me to come home and he'd put a new battery in tomorrow.  I said "why can't I stop to get a new one on the way, Discount Auto installs them for free, then I'll be ready to go again in the morning?"  At first he said "no, HE wanted to do it" then he called me back and said I should go ahead and get one.........So -- I now have a new battery and pray that everything goes better tomorrow........

Oh, I have to mention -- as I was coming home, northbound, I noticed that the southbound traffic was backed up for approximately 5 miles -- if I had had to wait for my hubby to get there to help me, I would still be waiting...........

I know there was a reason my aunt was not moved today AND that my vehicle wouldn't start when I needed/wanted it to -- I just don't know yet what that reason was - maybe it saved MY life or maybe it saved my husband's life, maybe there's a reason that my aunt needed to stay in the hospital for another night. I don't know, but I thank God that we are all safe.  

I can say without a doubt that even though I've always been a "believer" -- today made my faith even stronger.  

I'm off to bed now, so I can get up and make the trip again tomorrow.  If it's meant to go well, it will.  

To All of my Friends........

Dec 23, 2009 - 5 comments

I want to thank everyone who left me notes/messages today -- I posted my mood this morning early because I knew I was going to have a hard day and wouldn't be able to be online.  You can't imagine how I felt when I logged on to see all the notes and messages.  It makes me feel so special and I can't tell you what your caring means to me.  

Please forgive me for not answering each one individually........because they are all SO important...........you'll never imagine.......

Necessarily, my mood was pretty vague because I had limited information about my aunt.  But now that I have a bit of time before I totally crash for the night, I'd like to take this opportunity to fill you in on some of the details.  

First off, this lady that is my aunt, is one of the dearest, sweetest people I have ever known, but technically, she is related to me only by marriage -- her brother was my stepfather -- the man who raised me from the time I was 3 yrs old and who passed away in 2000.  I have been very close to my aunt for many years, but especially so since my husband and I moved to FL in 1993.  Her husband passed away in the late 70's and they had no children.  When we moved here in '93, the relationship that I had with my aunt truly blossomed.  Since then we have spent many happy days together and as her age has limited her abilities, I've become sort of her "keeper" even though I don't live close enough to see her daily.  I take her to get her groceries, see her doctor(s) and whatever else she needs.  I call her on the phone no less than every other day, but often every day, to make sure she is okay.  

Well, yesterday, I called her -- "routine" call - really no such thing.  She didn't answer the phone, but that's happened before.  She's 90 yrs old, doesn't move quickly and if she happens to be in the bathroom or something, she just can't get to the phone.  Not to worry right away, I call again in a few minutes, but within 15 minutes, I panic...........this is what happened yesterday.........

Anyway, turns out that she had showered, fell backward into the bathtub, cut the back of her head (3 staples) and has 3 compressed fractures in her vertabrae.........She has stage 4 osteoporosis, so at her age, they won't do surgery, but they did call in an orthopedic surgeon.  They will fit her for a brace to keep her back straight and she will be in a rehab center for at least 8-10 weeks...........

Let me back up --- yesterday after I couldn't get her and called the neighbor, who in turn called paramedics and called me back, my husband and I left for the hour and 1/2 trip to the hospital.  This all started shortly after 5:00 pm ET yesterday......Hubby drove that round trip -- thank goodness because I don't think I could have made it alone.....I dropped my totally exhausted body into bed about 1:30 am this morning; then I got up at 4:30 am, showered and took off again for the hospital to make sure I didn't miss the doctor.......I spent about 7 hrs there, then the hour and 1/2 trip back home, getting here about 3:00 pm.  

I can't go into the stress involved in the day -- but after I got home, I did some house work, wrapped gifts -- oh, forgot to mention that we are/were supposed to have Christmas dinner at my house -- yep, the original plan was that I would go get my aunt tomorrow morning (Christmas Eve day) and she was to spend several days with us while I'm on Christmas break...........

I have very mixed feelings right now --- a lot of you  have read my posts in which my pcp decreased my thyroid med based on TSH (0.01) when actual thyroid levels were =< mid range.......he sent me straight to "hypo he//" and just last Friday, my endo increased my dosage --- unfortunately, that's not long enough to get the full effect from it, so I am totally exhausted and I know this is going to be a situation that's going to consume me for some time.  

Tomorrow, we will make the hour and 1/2 trip back to the hospital to celebrate our Christmas with my aunt at the hospital and plan to do Christmas dinner as planned, except we will be missing a VIP.......Tomorrow, my husband will go with me and hopefully he will drive........ oh yeah, he better............I have to get up in the morning, do some cleaning, wrap some more gifts, etc -- how horrible is it, that I get tired just thinking of it........I'll take my "blankie" an try to snuggle up/sleep on the drive...........

THANKS TO EVERYONE ------- you are my heroes..............



Uploading Photos

Nov 29, 2009 - 3 comments

Well, I finally got the photos from my daughter's Sept wedding and I've been trying to upload some of the them, but MH doesn't seem to want to let me.........I get the photo and click to send, but it just keeps saying "submitting" and after a while I get a message that says it "timed out".  I've uploaded photos before and never had a problem.

Does anyone know why I can't get the photos to upload?  Is there a special format or something I need to use?  I'm trying to send them as ".jpg" files.