Tag Archives: Caregiving

One Man’s Trash…is a Girl’s Night Out!

When you spend a good part of your time or life as a caregiver you find forgetting to be a common occurrence. I have classic tales about my Nana forgetting where she put her shoes, her wallet and most disturbingly…her teeth.

My mother-in-law would hide her “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” button in ‘safe’ places. Every time we went to the assisted living facility we would be ready for a game of hide-n-seek with the magic button, a button she would never push anyway.

My brother-in-law would forget where he put bills, checks and insurance papers all the time. He was actually happy when I agreed to clean up all his paperwork and just take over.

Eventually, with all this stress, the caregiver starts to be the one to forget. We all experience this as we get older. I’ll admit, it makes me panic a little. When you are too close to forgetfulness you start to think it’s a bad omen if it becomes a part of your day.

Since my caregiving has dwindled quite a bit in the last few years, I take bad memory very personally, like my brain is betraying me. I know it happens to all of us, and it is definitely a symptom of stress. But I have always known it’s a source of hilarity. And today was no exception.

As you may recall we have a very long driveway. So we put our trash cans and recycling in my SUV and drive it to the end of the driveway. A few months ago our new trash hauler required us to start using a large container for trash.

My husband’s pet peeve is that large, unsightly container defiling our cul-de-sac. So several yards before we get to the end of the driveway we pick up the large trash container,  which is tucked in the woods, and wheel it down to the end of the driveway. Then we take the trash out of my car and put it in the container.

As the SUV is my car, my husband said,

“Hey, I loaded the trash in your car. Drive me down to the bin on your way to your dinner with your girlfriends.”

“Okay,” I said.

The real culprit

I stop the SUV where the bin is tucked away. My husband gets out. And I drive away.

Down the driveway, past the mailbox, through the cul-de-sac, down the steep hill to the end of the street.

My car makes a few weird noises. Now, I’m mad because I just got new tires. And my car stinks. What’s that all about?

I turn the corner, go around the bend, there’s that noise again. I look in the rearview mirror

A fun place to take your trash!

and see the trash. I was taking the trash with me on a ‘girls night out.’

I found a driveway, turned around, went back up my street to the cul-de-sac, and I see my husband slowly walking back towards the house shaking his head in disbelief.

I’m laughing so hard, it’s silent. I can’t speak. He just looks at me.

“I was waving my hands and yelling, ” he said so plaintively. “I called your cell phone and you didn’t answer. I couldn’t believe in a nano second you forgot that you had the trash in the car and just drove away.”

He’s officially worried.

“You Just have to Laugh….”

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

 

 

 

Terrible 92’s………..

I have been steeped in getting out my book…which you will see below! And, okay, I took a vacation. But boy, do we need some laughter now, right? And it’s National Caregiver’s Month…so, you know…….the life of a caregiver never disappoints.

I was thinking about my mother-in-law the other day and how she was seemingly so content, no matter what was happening. She would read any book you gave her and would comment, “oh that was a nice book.” I used to say I think I’ll give her a copy of  “Mein Kampf” and see what she thinks. The point is that she saw the good in everything and was pretty content with her life wherever she was and whatever she was doing.

Except that one time.

She had left her stove on in her apartment one too many times and the fire department started to know her by name like Norm in “CHEERS!”.  This was not a good thing.  We bit the bullet and started to look for assisted living quarters near our home, so we could go see her on a regular basis. She lived almost an hour away, so living within 10 or 15 minutes of us seemed like a dream come true for everyone.

We found a lovely place, which she approved, sold her condo, packed up all her things, and moved all her own furniture into her new assisted living apartment.  I really hoped it felt like home. Plus, now it was so convenient I could visit her every day, my mom could visit, and my mom could bring some of her friends to visit. Plus, my mother-in-law would now be around lots of people on a daily basis and not feel so isolated.

The day came to move her in, and for the first time in the 25 years I’d been her daughter-in-law, she threw a tantrum.

“I’m not going!” she said.

“Mom,” I reasoned, “you like it there. We went lots of times and you liked your apartment, the food, the people….remember?”

“Why can’t I stay here with you?” she countered.

Indeed, why can’t she?  I don’t have any bedrooms or shower facilities on the first floor and steps were becoming impossible for this 92-year-old.

“Mom, you can see, I don’t have a bedroom or bathroom down here on the first floor.”

“Well, I could go live with your mother. She has lots of room and she could use the help.”

Use the help? Not use the ‘company.’ Use the help. What’s she going to do, be my 80-year-old Mom’s washer woman and cleaning lady?  This was not going well. Next, she may tell me she is going to get a job and her own apartment.

“Mom…..” I was stuck, I didn’t know what to say.

“I’m not going. I’m just not going, ” she pouted, and….not kidding….she stomped her foot like a toddler who doesn’t want to take a nap.

I took my only recourse.

“Get your coat. We’re leaving now. And no more shenanigans.”

Sometimes everyone responds to MOM.

The next day I went to visit. She told me I had to leave because it was lunch time and there was no room for me at her table.

“You Just Have to Laugh…..”

Cover by Dwayne Booth!!
Cover by Dwayne Booth!!

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

 

Medicare….not for the weak……

As I continue down this unrelenting path of caregiving, even in death, I can’t help but see the irony in statements that come my way like, ” what are you doing now that your brother-in-law has died?”

I’ll tell you what I’m doing:

“Hello, Medicare? I’ve now sent you a request for permission to speak to me as Executrix of my brother-in-law’s estate with all the supporting documents. I’ve waited the requisite 50 days for you to process it. I’ve waited longer than that because the first instructions I received were to take those documents to my local Social Security Office, which resulted in absolutely nothing, and now I have finally received a letter saying you will talk to me. Yay.

Medicare Person: What can I help you with?

Me: I’m trying to find out when a claim I have submitted will be paid?

Medicare Person: Why did you submit the claim Ma’am?

Me: Because the provider refused to submit it. They provide drugs and drug paraphernalia to the nursing home where my brother-in-law was residing at the time. They insist that they can only bill for the drugs to Part D Medicare and they have no authority to submit for the other items like IV poles, IV flushes and anything needed to actually administer the drugs.

Medicare Person (the THIRD Medicare person, because the first two couldn’t find the other conversations I’ve had and insisted that no such conversations took place). Yes, I’ve found the conversations you’ve had on April 4th , 11th, and 22nd.

Me: The last person I spoke with who connected me with you said she couldn’t find those conversations.

Medicare Person: Well, you’re both right. She can’t see these conversations, she’s in a different department.

Me: So, she couldn’t transfer me to you without wasting 30 minutes of my time and me insisting I speak to this department?

Medicare Person: I apologize for that Ma’am.

Me being Silent,

Medicare Person: Well, Ma’am I can’t find your claim. it takes 50 days to process.

Me: I filed that claim 120 days ago, and when your Medicare person CALLED ME ON APRIL

Provisions for speaking to Medicare
Provisions for speaking to Medicare

22 while I was standing in the middle of Times Square, and I popped into the closest restaurant and ordered a $12 glass of wine while on hold with your person, she told me that she was looking at my claim, it was paid to the nursing home and they would have to pay the provider. Then she proceeded to send me the wrong Medicare notices so I could prove to the nursing home, they owed the provider and the Estate of my brother-in-law was not liable for this bill.

Medicare Person: I can’t find that claim Ma’am. And so the only thing I can do is request a review.

Me: Okay

Medicare Person: I’m not allowed to request a review until 150 days has passed and it’s only been 120 since you filed the claim. A denial can take up to 150 days to process.

A missing claim is like a missing person. Maybe they went missing on their own. Maybe they are just at a friend’s house and forgot to tell you. Maybe they will use a credit card and then we can trace where they are and stop all this nonsense. But instead of waiting 48 hours, you have to wait 150 days. Imagine telling any person you’ve ever worked with that it will take 150 days to look at a piece of paper you sent them.

Medicare Person and I  then went on to discuss the many fun and esoteric ways that Medicare can screw up a claim.

Medicare Person: I know this is complicated and confusing Ma’am.

Me: I understand perfectly, everything you’ve told me. It’s not complicated or confusing to me, it’s just crazy! (Yep, I really did say that).

Medicare Person: Well, I know it seems complex, but we train for WEEKS to process this, so it would be harder for you to understand.

WEEKS? WEEKS? I’ve been dealing with Medicare for 25 years. And in all your weeks of training, the best you guys have ever given me is ridiculous, arbitrary waiting periods to process claims, a myriad of departments who don’t speak to each other, wrong information that has cost me precious time, and heartburn without the doughnut, wine or deep-fried food I deserve to go with it.

So glad your weeks of training have made you an expert.

I didn’t say any of that, I just got out my corkscrew and toasted the Universe for the never-ending supply of blog posts!

You Just Have to Laugh…………

© Cathy Sikorski 2016

Want a Laugh? Call the VA……

Although my caregiving duties have changed some, I still, like many a dutiful daughter have to deal with issues of the elderly.

As I warned you a few weeks ago, my Mom is steeped in a battle with the Veterans Administration.  They reneged on her insurance about a month ago. This insurance is for widows of Veterans. My mother was placed on this policy 15  years ago. She’s used it for all her health needs since then, until that  fateful day when they discovered their error. For points of clarity, my Mom was put on Insurance Plan A and should have been placed on Insurance Plan B.

As you can imagine, in the world of government bureaucracy, this is no easy fix. Nobody knows what to do or how to repair this problem.

What they do know how to do is create all kinds of havoc that sends little old 87 year-old ladies into shock and apoplexy.

They have begun to  take back all their insurance payments over the last year or so, thereby causing my mother to receive bills from all her medical providers day after day after day.  You may not know this about the elder generation, but if they get a bill, they pay it. Case closed. Even though these bills will eventually be paid by Insurance B, this generation can not abide being beholden to anyone, especially their doctor.

After yet another three and a half hours on the phone with fwo divisions of the Veterans Administration…Insurance A and Insurance B customer service, and  DEERS   (Defense Enrollment Eligibility System) a department from the Department of Defense, I had my Mom actually hear a customer service rep tell her not to pay any bills until this is resolved.

The first guy was named Kirk. He asked me if I had spoken to him three days ago. I assured him I had not since I was out of the country.

“Hmm” he said, because I ‘m sure I had a call from some lady about this same problem, which I never heard of until this week.I guess Insurance A is running a review of all their insureds to see who is on the wrong program…hahahha..”

Yeah. Hilarious.Oh, and by the way, I think my mother may have inadvertently started this shake down of widows from the VA about a month ago.

Person number 2 , after our second 20 minutes on hold, was David. He, too, was flummoxed by this account of our woes and told us that he could only suggest we call DEERS, because It looks like DEERS needs to confirm that my father died on October 10, 1961.

Person number 3. after a very brief 10 minute hold was Bill. Bill was ever so kind. He could see that this was a grand problem. He couldn’t understand why the two insurance companies,under the VA would not accept a death certificate (yes, my amazing, organized- with-every-shred-of-paper-ever-touching-her-fingers-Mom has  a death certificate from 1961). Then Bill searched the records and said because the ‘incident’ (meaning my father’s death on active duty) was so long ago they would have to put in  a request to …you guessed it….the Veterans Administration, to confirm my Dad’s death.

One more transfer to another department of the VA, with a lovely 20 minute wait to Stuart.  It was almost taking as long to explain this journey as it was to be on hold, but explain it I did. And, this is a true story, mind you, while searching the data base of all the information under my Mom’s name and my Dad’s name, I think Stuart thought he put me on hold. Alas, this is what I heard in his exasperated voice:

Only I KNOW the ANSWER...she said.
How do you spell “Cluster$#!!

“What a cluster fuck!”

Yep, I burst out laughing, ’cause well, yeah…indeed.

The journey continues with me filing some documents they’ve asked for, waiting for a confirmation that my Dad has been dead for 55 years to come from the Veteran’s Administration to my Mom, so that we can then send it to the VA insurance.

That’s how it has to be done they tell me. The VA can’t send it the the VA, the widow has to do it. And at least a few more weeks of comedic material for a blog called..

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2016

Gimme some sugar…………

I have found the Fountain of Youth, or so the news tells me.

For the last three or so years, I was trying desperately to get a medication removed from  my brother-in-law’s med list. The medication was called Metformin.

Larry was put on the medication to keep his blood sugar under control. One time…ONE TIME…when he was in the hospital or was having a particularly difficult medical time, he had a blood sugar test that was way out of line.

His doctor decided that he would put him on Metformin and keep an eye on his blood sugar just to make sure it wasn’t an aberration.

It was an aberration.

Every time he was admitted to the hospital in the last  years of his life, which was at least a dozen times and because he was on Metformin,  a drug used for diabetics to keep blood sugar under control, he had to eat a diabetic diet.

Larry hated a diabetic diet. Diabetics hate a diabetic diet. But Larry wasn’t a diabetic and about the only thing he enjoyed besides smoking and honey or sugar in his tea, was eating. None of which were permitted on a diabetic regimen.

He also had to have his blood sugar tested. This they did by pricking his finger before every meal. He despised that too. He couldn’t do it himself because MS robbed him of dexterity. Poking and prodding had become a daily occurrence in so many ways. Adding one more prick to the pile just…well pissed him off.

With each hospital admission, I would request that they review the medication list and his daily blood sugar and try to get him off the Metformin. In the meantime, he had to stay on that god awful diet and be prick insulted.

I won’t lie. I’d bring contraband into the hospital. I’d bring sugar for his tea. I’d bring hoagies and Peppermint Patties. Yeah, I did it. Sue me. If I could find one less thing to make his life miserable, I would do it. Because, by the way, he was NOT diabetic. Oh that.

I lobbied for that damn Metformin to go away with doctors in hospitals, doctors in nursing homes, doctors in rehab centers, and doctors’ offices. I even got some doctors to agree.

But here’s the rub.

Once a drug is on your list of meds at a hospital and you go back to the same hospital again and again, they never change that drug list. I’m pretty sure it takes an Act of Congress to make that change. Pretty sure Congress hasn’t agreed on anything since the 1800’s.

I went so far as to  change hospitals and was successful for a few days, until they decided he needed a heart healthy diet. It stopped the pricks (in so many ways) but he still couldn’t have sugar in his tea.

She could be 100 years old!
She could be 100 years old!

Yesterday, on a long drive to the airport during rush hour, I heard Robin on the Howard Stern show (yes, you now know one of my dirty little secrets….I love Howard) report that a new drug may help us to live to 120 years old!! Howard loved that idea, if you are lucky to be healthy and enjoy another 50 or 60 years.

This miracle drug is…………..you guessed it…………….Metformin. If you can navigate your healthcare or you want to live in a world of pricks.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

© 2015 Cathy Sikorski

 

 

One Man’s Trash or When the Saints Go Marchin’ In………….

There are karmically times when you know you are too distracted. Of course, you don’t usually find that out until karma hits you over the head with a two-by-four.

Yesterday, I had a massage, which although meant to be therapeutic, was also supposed to have the added bonus of relaxing my head, neck and shoulders which love to tie themselves into knots on a weekly basis.

I was feeling pretty zen as I left the masseuse, and then my mind took over.

“Okay…now I have to go to Wawa, get lunch for my brother-in-law who despises the nursing home food. Then go to his old apartment, get his mail, pick up his hand braces talk to the management about closing up his apartment, and get to the nursing home before lunch so he eats the lunch I’m bringing and not their swill.”

For some strange reason, as I get back in my car, I decide this is a good time to clean out all the extraneous trash. I have a cup from the masseuse, who gave me water, I have a napkin with a peach pit in it, which was my breakfast on the go, and some WalMart receipts that I no longer need sitting in the cup holder. I gather up all these items, throw them in the big bin outside the store and drive away. I’m feeling very superior, as I now have a tidy driving space, not like all those other slobs driving around!

On the way to my brother-in-law’s apartment, I remember that I’m passing the post office and need stamps for my daughter’s bridal shower invitations. A quick yank of the car into the post office parking lot, and I reach into my purse for my debit card. No card.  I take everything out of my purse, go through every pocket in the purse, take everything out of my wallet. No debit card.

How can this be? I just had it at Wawa? Oh crap. Did I put it back in my purse, or was it still in my hand when I threw away the trash? Oh crap. I start to pray: “Dear Saint Anthony, come around, something’s lost and can’t be found.”

I don’t even get out of my car, thinking, I’ve got to get back to that trash bin before they empty it or some other superior feeling keeper of a pigsty pours their left over Big Gulp on top of my trash. I’ve got exactly four minutes to get here (I timed it on the way).

AnthonyDear Saint Anthony come around something’s lost and can’t be found. You can say that a lot in four minutes,

When I get to the Wawa, there’s a space right in front of the trash bin. And, of course, a guy sitting in his car watching me. Ugh. Don’t care, I’m goin’ in!

I look in the bin and cannot believe my eyes, The bag is completely clean. The only trash in there is mine and my debit card is sitting right on the top. My first foray into dumpster diving felt so good, I wanted to do a victory dance. But I refrained, that guy was still watching me.

I must’ve been good today. Karma and St. Anthony my new BFFs.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

Winner, winner, Jack Daniels for dinner? If only…………..

The beauty of sharing a sense of humor with the one you are caregiving for is beyond measure.

My brother-in-law has been in and out of rehab and the hospital for 8 months now. It has been a rocky road……and not sweet, like the ice cream. But he has turned a miraculous corner and although, still in rehab for a few more weeks, I have confidence that he will finally be returning home and will be relatively healthy for a good long time.

Since he has come so far, he is finally taking an interest in his daily life and activities that eluded him while desperately trying to get healthy. And he’s funny again. He is entertaining his healthcare workers, and any one else who walks in the door, which, of course, I love.

On my trek to see him yesterday, I took my Mom and husband as we were then going to have dinner with a friend who lives close by the rehab center. It takes us an hour to get there, so we decided to take advantage of being in our friend’s neck of the woods.

A half hour before we left, there appeared some calls and one message on my cell phone from the rehab center. The nurse stated that my BIL had a few lab work issues, but if I didn’t get back to her today, we could discuss it tomorrow. As I was on my way down there to see him, I thought: Okay, no big deal. I did return her call, but she was gone for the day.

When we arrived at his room, his bed was stripped and  his wheelchair was empty. That is always a panic button for any caregiver. Where the hell is my brother-in-law????? At the nurses’ station, the nurse tells me that they sent him to the ER because his hemaglobin was so low, he might need a transfusion.

“You couldn’t leave a message that he’s at the hospital, that I just passed on the way here, so I could stop there first?”

No answer.

Off we go to the ER and they usher us into his room. There he is joking with the nurses, and, feeling relieved that he seems okay, I say, “well, yet another hospital we get to check out. Whoopee!”

This is how I know he’s ever so much better overall: “Well at least, it’s  not a Friday night!” he says.

Classically, for the last 8 months, we have gone to the hospital without fail on a Friday night. I told him my husband was getting jealous of our date nights.

jack-daniels-551052_1280Then he turns to the nurse and asks, “can I have a Jack Daniels with that Percoset?”

Then he goes into a litany:

“So now I’m going to miss my dinner. I told them at rehab, “hey, what about dinner?”. Then I come here and I’m asking them, “where’s my dinner?” But no, no dinner. And you know they’re going to screw around, and no food or drink until they decide what to do with me. And then they are going to  tell me I’m fine, because I feel fine, but then what about my dinner?”

onion-rings-274123_1280See, all of this is a sure sign that all is well in brother-in-law land. If his focus is dinner, dinner, dinner…………….he’s in great shape. You caregivers know what i mean.

In the spirit of kind caregiving and true sympathy to his plight, I say:

“Well, okay, now that we see you’re okay, we’re going to take our friend out to dinner! See you  later!”

He bursts out laughing. Yay…………

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

© Cathy Sikorski

Is your Plug Male or Female……..

Today’s tale is a bit vulgar….but I find honesty to be the best policy.

As my faithful readers know, I, with no training or inherent skills, have become a wheelchair repair expert over the last few years. I was able to get a different BIL (code for brother-in-law) to transport the humungous wheelchair to the rehab center, so disabled BIL would be able to get out of bed every day. By the way, there is no service, or transport that will take an empty wheelchair…well….anywhere….you have to find your own way to get it there.

One day, I’m walking down the hall of the rehab center and the physical therapist is manually pushing the electric behemoth with my BIL in the chair.

“What’s up?” I ask her.

“Oh my God, I’m so glad you’re here. No one can figure out how to get this operational.”

Because it had been a month since my BIL was even in the chair, and memory issues are a part of his disease, he was of no help either. In 2 minutes, I had everyone  operational and instructed for the forseeable future.

Then we went home.

I stayed with my BIL for about 6 hours that day. As happy as he was to be back in his apartment, he was feeling insecure and squeamish and not ready to be alone. I arrived home in time for an 8:00 PM conference call.

At 9:00 PM my phone rang.

“Hello, Cathy, this is the caregiver.”

“Hey, what’s up? Is he okay?”

“Oh, he’s fine, no problems. But we can’t plug in his wheelchair. It seems like a piece of the plug is missing that connects to the battery. So we can’t charge the chair.”

UGH. He needs that chair. He needs to be out of bed and as upright and mobile as possible to have a life where he goes to meals, talks to friends, plays SODUKU on his computer.

“Okay, I’ll come in the morning and look at it.” I must’ve been very tired. I’m still not a wheelchair repair person, what was I going to do?

Before I left the house, I called the wheelchair repair people, who told me the only thing they can do is order an entire new charger which would take 3 weeks.  When I asked what he’s supposed to do in the meantime, wheelchair repair guy thought for a minute or two (really??? no one has ever asked you THAT before?) And told me he could look around and see if they had a loaner charger, but that would take a day or two.

As I set my hair on fire in protest (only in my mind) I went over to my BIL’s apt. examined the plug and set off for the rehab center. I checked his room, as they had just cleaned it, we called down to housekeeping, I went to the nurses’ station, therapy rooms, front desk and had the social worker call the ambulance transport to look for it. No dice.

I went to my book club and my French Class. Mai oui…..I do some things for my self!

Then I returned to his apartment, there was the charger plugged in. But as my engineer BIL told me, truthfully, it was smoke and mirrors. It wasn’t charging at all. I showed the plug to him and hoped he had some brilliant insight. Nope. So I said to him:

“Well, you know what Nana would say?” She had a fine adage for problems when something would just not fit into a hole.

“Yep,” he nodded, “put a little hair around it.”  Yep, that’s what she always said.

Luckily BIL is a fiscal conservative and only used 3% of his power that day.

We then had the brilliant idea to call some local durable medical equipment providers and one dear soul sent me to Interstate Battery. As I was leaving with high hopes and the battery, my BIL said:

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but as an old man would say, I think you’re pissing up a rope!”

So with those axioms under my belt and a big huge 24 Volt battery in my arms like a newborn. I went to a big, ol’ manly grease monkey, full-of-testosterone battery warehouse.

And this is where the Good Samaritan works when he is not out on the road rescuing.

Keith worked for thirty or forty minutes to rig this battery charger so I could use it. The first thing he asked me is if it’s a male or female plug. I considered my Nana’s advice, but that didn’t lead me to any conclusion. I suppose I should have been able to deduct the answer, but I panicked and just looked as cute as I could. In that environment, I was a shoe-in.

By the way, there was never a missing part. It had been so abused over time by pulling it out by the cord that it basically pulled the charging plugs too far down into the casing.

Keith told me he has a few friends in wheelchairs and he sees this all the time, where they can’t get timely repairs and no one seems to care. He told me to just ‘Pay it Forward.’ I told him I try to do that, and he said, “well then, now it’s coming back to you!”

Sometimes…..”You just have to SMILE….and laughing never hurts, either.”

© Cathy Sikorski 2015

“You really don’t have to be young to find a friend in a teddy bear.” -Rachel Newman

I have become sort of immune to authority figures in the world of medicine and insurance. My friends would tell you my immunity started long before caregiving. My older brother, Chip would say I made my self the authority figure right around 5th grade when I would tell my Mom what Chip wanted for lunch. My baby brother Bill would say, “Cathy doesn’t have any problems with authority, as long as she is the authority.”

Okay, fine.

I’m bossy and pushy when I need to be.

But sometimes I am surprised by the far-reaching influence of my bossiness.

I was grilling the nurse in the hospital about the details of my brother-in-law’s discharge. What day were they thinking? What kind of meds would he need when they sent him home? Did they know I had a 24 hour notice rule, so that I could set up his at-home caregivers? Would they call the insurance company to confirm the need for ambulance transport since my brother-in-law was non-ambulatory?  Would the case manager call me so that I could give her the time of day that transport would work best for the caregivers as well as his meal time at his facility?

My brother-in-law was so used to this diatribe, that every once in a while he would chime in with a: “Yeah, when can I get out of here!” emphatic remark. He liked looking bossy, too.

His hospital roommate, a kind and gentle Teddy Bear of man, whose family had quietly visited with him just a few hours earlier and had now left, was patiently listening to all of this. We had exchanged greetings earlier. He was very soft spoken. Even his young grandchildren were very quiet and respectful. He didn’t have his television blaring, like my brother-in-law usually does.  He didn’t pull his curtain shut or ask for privacy. He didn’t call his own nurse for any assistance during this time. But he was clearly awake, aware and watching all this broo-ha-ha.  He seemed to be taking it in with great interest, but just stayed calm and quiet.

After I had hashed out all the details that I needed to make the exit from the hospital as smooth as possible for my brother-in-law, I noticed that his roommate called the nurse over to the side of his bed. She very graciously went over and asked if she could help. Before he could say another word, she cautioned him that she was not his nurse, but if she could help she would.

He looked at us, and then looked up at her with pleading eyes and said ever so softly: “I, too, was wondering when I could get out of here and go home.” Then he looked at me, and I swear there was a twinkle in his eye  that was a dash of courage, but still a Teddy Bear, asking for his own reprieve. I’m pretty sure he winked back when I gave him the thumbs up!

“You just have to Laugh…………”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski

 

Nailed it……………

I am getting a mani-pedi tomorrow.  First, ballroom dancing and now mani-pedis. Who is this so-called caregiver? But I have to because I’m going to a Masquerade Ball where I can use my new and improved dancing skills.

This brought me to the conclusion that my brother-in-law could use a mani-pedi himself. I just can’t get him to the salon. No one will transport him in his humungous wheelchair if it is not a medical necessity. Now actually, it is a medical necessity. Because he is diabetic, he must have his nails taken care of as a function of keeping infection and fungus away. The podiatrist will come to his apartment and take care of feet, but not fingernails.

Conveniently, there is a salon in the building where he lives. After 6 months in a rehab nursing home, wanting to feel clean, and groomed and just as much  a regular guy as possible, we made an appointment for my brother-in-law to get a haircut and a manicure at the salon in his building.

Sorry.

The manicurist won’t cut his fingernails. They are too hard to handle and she’s afraid of hurting him or cutting him. Albeit, she is supposed to be a professional manicurist. She suggests I get the visiting nurse to do it.

I text the visiting nurse. This is our text conversation:

“Hi cathy…We r not allowed to cut nails due the (sic) the risk of infection with diabetes..Sorry :(”

“Thank you for telling me. Do you know what other people do?”

“A podiatrist for the toes and I guess they do the fingernails themselves.”

I know. Already you are saying…………but Cathy, if he could do it himself you probably wouldn’t be asking this question…..to a nurse.

I can only come up with two possible solutions:

1. Pretend he is a bride and make arrangements for a personal manicure on his “wedding day.” I know some manicurists will do that. They may require an entire bridal party, but I’m sure I could get my mom and sisters, maybe some nieces and girlfriends to show up.

Or

2. See if I can get him a mail order bride that is a manicurist.

Either way the word bride seems to be the answer to my problems.

“You just have to Laugh…..”

©2014Cathy Sikorski