CAREGIVING: Sometimes the biggest reward from taking care of Kathy is a smile. Just knowing that she is enjoying something makes me feel like it is worth it. Since she can no longer really speak it isn’t easy to tell. Almost always it is something simple. I wet her lips with cold water. Clean her teeth. I give her a taste of fruit juice on a swab.
Kathy has spent weeks in her hospital bed, looking at the ceiling; or at the television. When she is in her wheelchair we sit and look out the kitchen screen door or sit in the living room where the air conditioner is. This weekend I was finally able to roll her outside onto our deck. It sounds simple, but for Lehndorff Engineering it took a few tries to do it. It was almost like the old days. She really seemed to enjoy it. We both snoozed a little. And Marty liked having us both where he could see us.
We have an old atrium door that goes to the deck. The opening is narrower than her small transport chair. I hacked together two different ramps with some scraps of lumber and thought I could wiggle the chair out the door. I tested it with Pat, one of our aides, but she nearly went flying on her face. The chair was just a little too wide. Or to quote Maxwell Smart, “Missed it by that much.” What I ended up doing was adding a fixed brace to fold the chair in a few inches. That made it narrow enough. Then I broke down and actually bought some new plywood to make the ramp instead of trying to use all the crap that has been in the basement for the last twenty years. The section that goes outside is removable to keep it from rotting or getting too slimy.
Marty helped with inspections.