Monthly Archives: July 2015

Who you gonna’ call…Dustbusters…….

So the saga for my brother-in-law continues. Of course it does, I’m a caregiver.

He had surgery yesterday. Finally, after 12 weeks in rehab of staying in bed with a shop vac on his behind to suck the wound into a better place. I don’t know, that’s what they tell me. It’s actually called a wound vac…but it’s a mini shop vac that stays on the wound 24 hours a day to help the healing process.

My Mom, a nurse from the ’40’s says all they really had to do was keep that wound clean and dry and open to the elements. That’s what Rosie the Riveter nurses used to do and it worked fine. Of course, because his wound is on his bottom he would have had to be lying on his stomach for 12 weeks, with his derriere on display for the world to see. So I’ll take the shop vac method. Plus, if he takes home the vac, maybe it can double as a Dustbuster.

Surgery is a resounding success. The only downside is he cannot be in a sitting position for 4 to 6 weeks. I know. Maybe solitary confinement and water-boarding would be more pleasant. But what are you going to do? The problem with these damn bed sores is that they don’t heal if you don’t stay off of them. And ironically, as bed sores, you can’t stay off of them easily if you are, well, in bed, which is where they insist he stay.

So, now the protocol is that he must be lying on his side or flat on his back at all times.

My brother-in-law is an engineer. He’s actually a rocket scientist as he worked in that industry.

His first question is:

“How do I eat?”

This drives me crazy.

Not only is it not rocket science and he is a rocket scientist, he can’t figure out how he’s going to eat.

By the way, his engineering brain wants to kill me every time I have to do something with his wheelchair or tray table and I can’t figure out the best engineering way to handle it. I’m actually on his side, when he yells at me. I am NOT an engineer. I have no spatial skills whatsoever. I can’t play pool because I don’t get it. Physics eludes me. So when he is trying to explain to me how to turn the tray table around the OTHER WAY so that the feet don’t bump into his cath bag, and I just keep shoving…well he wins the frustration game that day.

MilkshakeBack and forth we go the caregiver and the caregivee with our remarkable skill sets and loss of patience for each other’s nincompoopery (I’m absolutely positive that’s a word in the caregiving lexicon).

So when he can’t figure out that he will have to lie on his side and chew and swallow the best he can, and have as many milkshakes as nature will allow to keep his calories up, and that we won’t starve him. He will have help like he’s always had these last years, well I want to …………..say a prayer of thanks that I can help. (Not really but I wanted to look better than the jerk I am in this moment).

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

One is Silver and the Other’s Gold…….

Remember in high school this conversation, usually in the girls’ bathroom:

“Oh my God, he’s so cute. I hope he asks  me out!”

“Oh my god he IS SO CUTE!,” replied your girlfriend in the next stall.

Of course this was before you could text between stalls.

My friend Lisa, is going to her high school reunion for the first time. It’s her 45th reunion. Add 18 to that and you have deciphered the age of most of the participants with a certain very tiny margin of error of no more than a year, unless they had an unusually high percentage of child geniuses in her small upstate New York town. I feel quite certain this was one of their former conversations four decades ago.

Oddly, Lisa attended a singing event in that same small upstate New York town several months ago. She made a special effort to contact some old high school friends and voila! She was convinced by these dear, kind friends from the past to make a special effort to get to that reunion.

Since her traumatic brain injury, Lisa does not drive and no one from her high school lives anywhere near her. But these old pals from the past, whom she hasn’t seen in a very long time, have agreed to drive many hours to come pick her up and the same many hours to return her safe and sound to her home.

This has restored my faith in humanity.

Lisa hasn’t seen these people from high school in many years. She hasn’t spoken to several of them at all since high school ended. And yet, these girls (yes, I’m going to call them that) are willing to make big sacrifices to get her transported, housed and taken care of so that they can all reminisce about their teenage lives.

I have been know to comment that “high school never ends”, and not in a good way. I have seen cattiness, jealousy and spitefulness continue among high school compatriots all around me. And, of course, we see it as a staple in reality TV like “Real Housewives” of anywhere, “The Bachelor(ette)”and any “reality” show requiring contestants to compete for attention, living space, food, or screen time so they can be famous. This is high school behavior at its finest. Small-minded, petty, self-serving behavior. It might be fun to watch, but it’s really not fun to be in the midst of it.

Life has continued to become a popularity contest, and not in a good way. What else would you call a host of mudslinging, bully tactics designed to make your opponent look bad in the eyes of the student body…oh a political campaign, that’s right.

I am one of those few lucky girls who even after 40 years of  high school,  still regularly sees my high school girlfriends who are a rock solid foundation of support, fun, and constant joy in  my life.

That my friend, Lisa, has rediscovered the possibility that old friends could be ‘gold’ does my heart good.

This, of course, did not exempt any of these 60-something women from having a big internet powwow in the last few days about whose old boyfriend will be showing up and which of those might be single and a possible “love connection.”

I imagine those ladies in the girls’ bathroom this weekend when they see their former flames saying:

“Oh my God, he’s still so cute, I wonder if he’s single?”

“Oh my God, he is cute, and he has his own teeth AND HIS OWN HAIR?!?!?”

See, high school never ends…….no, really, it’s true. If only you knew that when you were in high school.

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

Happy 99th Birthday, Marie!

Today would have been my mother-in-law, Maire’s 99th birthday.  In honor of all our great and hilarious times spent together, here is my tribute to a great party gal!

Please click on the link to see my StorySlam tribute to Marie!

 

 

 

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly…….

I have been trying for 3 weeks to get physical therapy for my brother-in-law. He is in rehab but has to stay in bed for healing purposes. My argument is that there’s no reason he can’t be doing upper body strength training and exercise to keep those muscles from getting weak.

I asked five different people and everyone was going to “get back to me.”

This is what happened when I was in the rehab center and  they actually did:

Nurse 1: “Gee I don’t know about therapy ,let me go check. I’ll come back and tell you.”

Nurse 2: “Well, we are nursing. You will have to talk to Physical Therapy. Go downstairs to the Physical Therapy room and ask for Kelly, she is the Director.

So downstairs I go. In the  Physical Therapy conference room are 5 people. They all have name badges. I talk to the one wearing the name badge ,”Kelly.”

Kelly 1: ” Well, let me look at the register. ”

She doodles around on the computer for a few minutes.

Kelly 1:”Hmmm.I thought I could tell you why your brother-in-law is not getting therapy, but I have no idea. I’m going to have to talk to my supervisor.”

Me: “Okay. I’m going back upstairs, you can get me there. By the way, who are we waiting to talk to?”

Kelly 1: “Kelly.”

Me:(very slowly and deliberately,so I get this right)”But…. aren’t…. you……. Kelly?”

Kelly 1: “Oh there are three Kellys.”

Great. Back to my brother-in-law’s room I go. I am greeted there by Nurse 2.

Nurse 2: “I found out that your brother-in-law doesn’t qualify for therapy.”

Now this is where they expect me to say, “oh,okay.” I don’t do that…… not ever, never. I say things like:

Me: “Why?”

Nurse 2: “I have no idea, I’m nursing.”

With that dandy tidbit, in comes the Social Worker, Courtney, one of the first five people I asked about physical therapy.

Courtney 1:  “We just had a meeting with Kelly(presumably Kelly2) and she said he doesn’t qualify for therapy.”

Me: “Crazy question here….why?”

Courtney 1: “Well because his surgeon said he can’t get out of bed into a chair yet.”

Me: “I know, I talked to the surgeon’s office and they don’t know why you translated that into, ‘he should turn into a useless vegetable with no muscle mass until his wound heals.’ Which is why I had the surgeon’s office call you to say he could have physical therapy of his upper body in his bed.”

SpicyNurse 2: “Oh yes. They did call me. That girl on the phone was rather ‘spicy’ demanding that he get physical therapy and that they never said he couldn’t have it.”

Spicy? Really, a doctor’s office wants their patient to get some appropriate care and that’s spicy????

With that I look at Nurse 2, she looks at Courtney 1, and well, there we are, in a spicy conundrum.

Me: “Get him therapy, now. I don’t care how many Kellys it takes.” Wondering if that was spicy enough to get something done.

That was yesterday…..waiting for a spicy response any minute now.

“You Just  have to Laugh…..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski