CAREGIVING: I am starting this late Sunday night. Kathy had a less than perfect weekend. There were enough coughing spells and suctioning episodes, that I didn’t feel comfortable being too far away. I also assumed that the leaves aren’t going anywhere. They can wait. On Saturday, Kathy was actually coughing hard enough for some blood to come up. The first time it happened (about a year ago) I was freaking out. Once I realized it wasn’t from her teeth, or the cherry cough drop that she had sucked on, I called her doctor. It turns out the lungs are filled with tiny blood vessels, and they are pretty easy to pop. It went away pretty quickly.
Miguel from NaviCare has helped us get supplies. One of the advantages of this type of plan is that it is all-inclusive. They even cover some of the incontinence supplies I have ordered from Amazon and other suppliers. Some of it is covered by MediCare, some by MassHealth. He ordered a month’s worth of pull-ups (like Depends) but unfortunately I told him the wrong size. They are very snug on Kathy and leave a mark on her thigh. I have plenty from the last order and I am hoping I can donate the wrong size ones to our senior center. He was able to get disposable wipes, reusable pads for the bed and zinc oxide barrier cream. He is also getting pads to go inside the pull-ups, because the briefs don’t hold enough.
The bed pads really help a lot. Any moisture goes through the top layers and stays in the waterproof area. Unfortunately, they do wear out and lose their waterproof properties. I’m pretty sure it is because I was cooking them to death in the dryer. Now we are taking them out a little damp and hanging them all around the house to dry. Miguel is having a little trouble getting the suction swabs from their regular suppliers. If he can’t find a supplier Monday I need to get them from Amazon again just to have them.
Mary Kate, our visiting nurse gave me the number of the state office of public health. I need to call them and see if they have a dental hygienist that does house calls. She said to just keep calling. This will be good practice for the health care sign up period next month. Oh Joy. Oh Joy. I was able to use the Biotene moisturizer on one of the suction swabs. Kathy seems to tolerate it better than when I coated her mouth with my fingers.
This Old Spouse
Last Monday, Irene, the physical therapist from the VNA came. She assessed Kathy’s rigidity and flexibility and I wanted some help figuring out how to do the Hoyer Lift safely. I haven’t shown any photos of that whole process because it is hard to take photos and not leave Kathy swinging in the breeze. Most days one of Kathy’s aides is here to help me put her in the lift and into her chair. But I have a hard time maneuvering her in the lift back to the bed. This old house has settled and this old spouse has to push the lift uphill to the bed. The other problem is that the lift we have has no brakes at all. So it wants to roll into the other room. Irene is trying to find out if we can get a new lift or get new wheels with brakes.
The other upcoming event will be Kathy’s first appointment with her new Primary Care Provider, Dr. Jackson. Miguel arranged it and contacted National Ambulance to pick her up and bring her home. Hopefully the weather will be nice. I am hoping we don’t have to do this often. I’m not sure what is gained. The appointment is November 5th so I still have time to be paranoid.
One thing I decided to do was to get an emergency heater. If the power goes out in a big snow storm, the house will get very cold, very fast. I’ve gone back and forth about having a generator, but I really don’t have a good place to keep it and maintain it. And if it is that bad, we will have to call an ambulance to take Kathy someplace safe. The one I ordered runs on propane and as long as I keep a Carbon Monoxide alarm it will be safe. Also there are so many gaps and cracks where the wind comes in I’m not worried at all.