Keeping it Cool

The latest slogan around is Old is the New Cool. At 75 I agree - but there is also a hitch. Old also has powerful surprises in store and getting old is not for the faint hearted.

For the time being Jim and I are some what home bound as he recovers from what turned out to be a small stroke.

We are so fortunate - it was an infarct - a small clot - - which is now dissolving. At first he could not say clearly what he was thinking and his balance was off -- he became a fall risk.  Anyone who has experienced this knows how frustrating it is for the patient and everyone else - and how scary the question "will it get better" is.

In Jim's case - with the assistance of a physical therapist and a speech therapist who come to our house, a nurse who checks in and good doctors things are turning out well. God Bless Medicare and our health insurance.

Oh, did I mention me - as the full time Nurse Ratchett. I come free.

We have learned a few things:

Keep everything simple from cooking to household chores.

Keep laughing and stay engaged with the outside world through TV, computer and telephone - avoid the
    feeling of isolation as much as you can.

Keeping up with the treatment schedule is a challenge. 3 therapists (who come to the home), a nurse,   and an aide - plus visits outside to doctors. We can't move without consulting our calendar.  Fortunately my career includes several jobs where I organized and coordinated challenging projects - - all that experience is coming in handy these days. Everyone does their calendars differently - just be sure you have one ---and oh, yes, keep the phone numbers. My brain these days is a hot pink composition book. I write everything in it.

Order groceries - Turn back the clock to your grandmother's day and sign up for Safeway and/or Giant delivery. Fortunately we have it in our area as well as pharmacies that bring medications to the door.

Make every trip to a doctor a stop and shop trip as well. I have started to plan my routes in order to
   pick up other stuff we need. Jim has become a patient car-sitter while I dash in and out of pharmacies, cleaners, and grocery stores.

Work with the therapist - our grand-daughter helps Jim with the speech-therapy homework, our son
   added newspapers and games to the iPad for Jim, Scrabble is a great game for word recognition and
   problem solving, also cross word puzzles. Physical therapy exercises are good time fillers.

The computer is a blessing for keeping up with work and staying in-touch.

You need help. Don't be afraid to ask for it. Our family has been wonderful. Bringing in groceries, doing dishes, carrying in wood, etc. etc. One night our son proved himself a good plumber so that I could keep washing. Our daughters scan the scene and just do what needs doing. And all of them visit frequently - laughter and conversation and hugs are great medicine.

Friends too. Prayers, wonderful cards and messages, and phone calls - because I can tell you from first   hand  - - the home-bound feel isolated - not just the patient but the spouse too. Something I never fully understood before. The old saying, "not until you walk in my shoes" is very real and true.
From the care-giver's side - there is not enough time in the day to get it all done.

However - its all worth it if you keep your eye on the prize.

Maybe that's the cool in old.


Maura Mahoney said...

I loved this post, Ellouise, and the warmth that shines through your words. -- Maura Mahoney

Granny Sue said...

Well said, Ellouise, and touching too. All of us over 55 should print and keep this post. We all may walk in your shoes one day.

Hugs to you and Jim. A small stroke--Dad had one and was back to normal in very short order.