Friday, July 30, 2010

Losing it

Good news: it looks like Bob will be home Monday night.

Bad news: when I called the in-patient rehab center a month ago and asked what items I should buy for Bob's convalescence, the admissions officer reassured me that the physical therapist would order those items for us and we'd go home with them. Today I found out from the occupational therapist that's true, but there are a few items that I am responsible for.

I got this information after taking most of the week off, at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday, regarding hospital supply stores that are only open Monday through Friday. For months I've been so careful to ask all the right questions and prepare as thoroughly as possible, but I got bad information.

I lost it. I stared at the occupational therapist and blabbered, "I'm the only family he has. I'm the only one here. I've been on all week. I can't take any more days off of work. I can't go buy stuff on Monday. I have to work." I confessed that I hate driving, I don't want to drive anymore, I don't know how I'm going to do this. She was sympathetic, but what could she do? She can't make these places change their business hours.

I told Bob that it's time to call in one of those favors that everyone's been offering. One of our friends who has told/written me in the last month, "Let me know if there's anything you and Bob need" will have to go to one of these medical supply stores for us. I just can't take any more time off work.

In the parking lot before I drove home, I wept, defeated. Halfway home I stopped at Jewel and bought two packets of Ho-Ho's and one of Twinkies. I ate them in the parking lot.

The Bob Update

Bob's in-patient rehab center, Glenview Terrace, is nice: far fewer interruptions, no construction going on, fewer loud announcements by speaker and Bob's on the first floor so he can walk outside more easily. Everyone there is much older than Bob and I think I'm the youngest spouse. I've seen some younger people, including a child, but I think they're all extended family of the patients.

Bob checked in at 2:00p and got there in time for the ice cream run. He enjoyed two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream (he had mine) at about 3:30 p. We napped and dozed until just before dinner time (which is 5:00p), when Bob got a roommate. His name is Jerry and he looks like he's in his 80's. He had just had a hip replacement, too, but he stayed seated in his wheelchair until he moved to his bed. I didn't see him walk, even with a walker.

Compared to Jerry and many residents, Bob is sprinting all over the place with his walker. We took several walks outside where Bob enjoyed a cigarette. Unfortunately, while there's a nice, big patio with umbrella tables and chairs and benches that look out over the pond and fountain, it's a non-smoking area. The patios where smoking is allowed have no place to sit.

Now, I'm just as anti-smoking as the next moralistic, judgmental American, but this seems downright unfair, considering that the recuperating smokers are just as in need of a place to sit as the recuperating non-smokers. There is a smoking room inside the building, which I imagine has chairs, but Bob likes going outside for some fresh air, albeit, air he's about to pollute with cigarette smoke.

Smoking is an addiction. Hiding the benches and chairs ain't going to make difference here, folks.

I asked Bob if he wanted me to pull a chair out, but he said no. I decided to back off the whole issue when Bob made clear that he likes standing up as a break from being seated in his bed. All right, maybe it's okay then.

I'm going back today with freshly baked brownies for the nurses (and Bob). I'm hoping Bob isn't in Glenview Terrace for too long because I'm ready for him to come home, where I can visit him by just looking across the room!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hospital recuperation

I arrived at 10:30am. Bob was dozing. A nurse came in and said, "Before you fall asleep, let me check your vitals." So he woke up for that, but he looked exhausted. He confirmed that he had had no sleep last night from the pain.

After that, I gave him a scalp massage and managed to get him doze off again. A knock on the door came five minutes later. Dr. Wolff, the internist, chirpily introduced himself to a very, very drowsy Bob. He stayed only long enough to ask a few questions and be annoying.

I lay down next to Bob and he dozed off again. After 20 minutes a VERY LOUD AND VERY LONG CODE BLUE ANNOUNCEMENT woke him up again. Then he gave up.

After lunch, at one o'clock he finally gave in to his sleep deprivation again. His eyes closed and his breathing grew heavy. Then the person came back to pick up the lunch tray, waking him up. He dozed off again for about three minutes, when the nurse anesthetist stopped by introduce herself and just ask how he's doing.

Christ on a stick! I didn't remember it being quite THIS impossible to get some sleep in a hospital. I am now sitting outside Bob's room to stop anyone from entering who isn't either scheduled, requested by Bob or responding to Bob's own Code Blue.

But it's now 1:40pm and the physical therapists are coming back at 2:00. Imagine me crying.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Surgery Today

Bob's hip replacement surgery is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. today. Until then, no food, water or cigarettes. What are the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal for a person who usually smokes two packs a day? I'll have to research it.

I feel terrible for him and am not even drinking water in front of him. Soon I'll go to the gym for a workout. I'll also get breakfast and totally hydrate. One of us needs to be able to think clearly.

We were so disappointed that his surgery was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. I thought surgeries were always early. It's not so bad to go from midnight to 8:00 a.m. without anything to drink or eat (or smoke), but from midnight to 3:00 p.m. the next day? Damn.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My 44th Birthday

Today is my 44th birthday. We were going to have a party tonight (I love when my birthday falls on a Saturday!), but we made the difficult decision to cancel my 44th birthday party cookout because my husband is having hip replacement surgery on Monday. Oh, this summer has sucked. And it's not over!

On a positive note, since I remain on the candida diet (eating only produce, animal protein, legumes and nuts), here are some of my current favorite healthy foods:

olive oil
garlic
salt (don't say it)
almonds
cashews
freshly cracked black pepper
avocados
water with a little lemon juice
baby carrots with peanut butter
grilled onions

Fruits are off my favorites list. They now taste too sweet to me. I'm missing out on all the summer fruit this year, but I really don't mind.

Just trying to think of something positive to think about.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I failed

It's the easiest way to not feel like a failure, but I failed anyway. I had an appointment to donate blood this morning, but I'm not going. I failed to drink water and hydrate.

As I posted last time, it's not easy for me to give blood. Maybe it's because I only weigh ten pounds above the minimum requirement for giving blood, which is 110 pounds, or maybe it's because my body is just weak and unstable. But if I haven't eaten well and pushed fluids for 24 hours before giving, donating blood is difficult for me.

I forgot to drink extra water yesterday, so I'm going to be a no-show today. I have failed.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Give Blood

LifeSource Blood Services is hosting several blood drives this month in the Chicagoland area. It's summertime, which is a time of year when it gets hard to track down regular donors, yet the need for blood never stops. If you are physically able to give blood (over 110 pounds, older than 17, not pregnant and don't have a condition that you know makes you ineligible), please consider giving.

I weigh 120 pounds and giving blood isn't easy for me. I talk to people larger than I am, especially men, who report never having a second's discomfort. They don't experience light-headedness, weakness, stomach cramping or nausea. Nope, not a bit of it. I envy them.

So why do I give blood every two months when I risk all these symptoms every time? I think it's because giving blood is an absolutely guaranteed way to save a life. If your blood tests as safe, you can be certain that you are helping at least one person and maybe up to three. When I give blood, I don't feel like a failure. When I give blood, I feel like my life matters and that feeling, however fleeting, is worth a lot to me.

Anybody else?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sex and the City, Part Two

Before I saw Sex in the City II, I imagined writing a long, insightful post about it. Instead, I came out of the movie not feeling much of anything. Then I forgot about it.

But I made a commitment, so here's as much energy as I feel it deserves. This movie took a stab at showing that motherhood is hard, every married couple is different and gets to make their own rules and getting the "sparkle" back in a relationship isn't easy. But it missed an opportunity to comment on immigrant workers, showed three women in their 40's and one in her 50's trying too hard to look 30 and was full of so many bad puns, I was wincing ("This isn't an intervention. It's an inter-friend-shun.") The ridiculous costume changes didn't bother me nearly as much as the hyper-self-absorption of Carrie and the way her friends prioritized her relationship angst over their own self-preservation (Miranda is working to keep Samantha out of an Arabian jail and Charlotte and Carrie are talking about a kiss with Aidan?). I know the TV show was always centered on Carrie, but the TV plotlines didn't have someone's dire circumstances competing for airtime. This movie took the Carrie-focus too far.

The biggest missed opportunity of this movie was the chance to show women aging gracefully. When your 40-something body looks like it's been over-exercised and starved to fit into size 2 clothes, it's time to switch from a sleeveless sheath into clothes that flatter your body, rather than contain it. All those scrawny (yet sagging) upper arms looked painfully worked out and the clothes didn't look comfortable at all. I'm 43 (44 later this month) and I felt a bit insulted. Is it not okay to look middle-aged? Samantha has been a champion of high self-esteem all along. Was it all based on her youthful looks? How disappointing if her unflagging confidence falls apart when she can no longer pass for 40.

But I doubt we'll have to witness that since they'd be crazy to make a third film after the sad showing of this one. And now I'm done, having spent way more attention on this film than it deserved.