Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Slowly, ever so slowly

One of my friends after this recent episode said: “maybe this will teach you to slow down”.

Somehow I’m not very optimistic in the long run, but temporarily it has done a very good job of slowing me down against my will.

I have always thought it a bore – and very egotistical of the person – to describe their day minute by minute, however, if it perhaps gives comfort to someone in the same position, maybe it’s worth it. Thus, for those of you dashing hither and yon with no impediments, read no further: those of you who have been there and done that will nod in agreement and a very few may remember when needed.

I found nights in the hospital varied, sleeping better right after the surgery and whilst still slightly medicament-imbibed (would have preferred champagne or a good glass of red mind you) than when trying to adjust to the new sling. I swear they slapped it on my Friday night after working hours knowing that there would be nothing that I could do about it until Monday, by which time I would be – if still unhappy –perhaps more resigned. This one supposedly keeps my shoulder in a “neutral” position – they neglect to say that you may well die of strangulation by one of the straps or on a lesser scale of sores caused from either the rubbing on the skin or the folds in one’s clothing - although I am not terribly delicate, my skin is –they appeared to be surprised by the redness when I showed them but I find it hard to imagine I am the only one that has had the problem.

But, back to nights: the weekend wasn’t a barrel of laughs, I’d be tired and dozing by 20:30, then I’d think – no got to read some more and would make it ‘til 22:00, take my meds, turn off the light and be promptly be wide-awake.

So yesterday rolled around, the doctor showed up after business hours and said that I could leave – and left it up to me as to when. Since M was standing there I was able to ask her when the best time was for her and we decided just after lunch leaving me a leisurely morning to “pack” (tooth brush, tooth paste and accumulated magazines might not really seem like packing, but there was also the book, the computer, etc.).

The night ended up being “one of those” – when the nurse made her rounds just before midnight I watched her go along the four beds of the other side before coming back around on my side carefully checking name plates and status of the patients. When she arrived at my bed I waved. She stopped and went and got a mild sleeping pill and I finally got some shuteye.  Unusually they didn’t start making the rounds until after 7:00 this morning so with the exception of someone calling out around 4 am I got to sleep in!

And so we arrive at the slowly, slowly. By 10 a.m. I had had breakfast, taken a shower (on my own I am more than happy and proud to say, even getting the dreaded sling back in place), brushed my teeth and washed my face. By 11 am I had gotten our local free newspaper from its’ box outside the front entry (was a bit worried about being harassed for walking through the front door in my nightgown and robe, but no one blinked an eye) and taken them back to my friends (it is the small things that give great pleasure) and walked up from floor 0 to floor 10! I later told one of the nurses that if she needed a physical fitness program that there were 220 stairs in between ground floor and the top floor to which she replied that she had done it once and was red in the face. And then they wonder when I laugh at their “can you walk up two flights of stairs without being out of breath?” question. Yes I did stop on floor 6 and walk out to the bank of elevators overlooking the new building., but didn’t stop otherwise. Probably the reason my “oxygenation” figure never reads lower than 97%.  Took the elevator down however for fear of tripping in the stairwell: we all have our problems.

“Packed”, lunch, which comes earlier in a hospital, dressed (and had to have help as due to the new sling can’t use the hand to help as too far away) and was glad that younger son S was there as we ended up walking out to the entry when M couldn’t leave the car.
Home , S graciously –and again more than competently – shampooed my hair (may the gods that be remember this!), I laid down to rest and napped for an hour (all the stress of the day you know) awaking just before he went back into town.  Coffee home alone, a lovely skype chat with my former housemate – the first in ages as her chemo was really rough on her – a couple of phone calls, a visit from the neighbor – with homemade soup - M’s  return with mail, flowers and one of my favorite cheeses, skype again with my lovely sister K (ok she is in theory not a blood sister but we elevated her status years ago because as a sister-in-law one couldn’t find better and since she has none of her own… occasionally I get weird looks if I say my “sister” then later say she’s married to my brother).

Now I’m more than ready to go have a snack and call it a day at 8 pm.

Slowly, slowly goes quickly, quickly.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The definitive answer…

To the toilet paper quandary of “over or under”
Recently one of my friends presented the statistics and arguments concerning one of the most widely – and heatedly – debated questions of all times, i.e. “does one put the roll in such a manner as to have the sheets coming over, or coming under”?

Wheeler's patent

I can now give a very good reason for my stance of “over – always”!
I defy anyone to take a few sheets off of the roll with one hand if said roll is “under” –
In the hospital the whole roll ended up on the floor and the following picture depicts just how convenient it is when the roll is in the “over” position!

On the same subject – I am fast becoming an expert on “how to live and survive with only one good arm”, so although hopefully none of you will ever need these tips, I will share them anyway as a means of preventing your having to use them!

If a right-handed person finds themselves in the position of not being able to use said right arm or hand, guess what – you can survive.

My handwriting is now clearer than formerly – actually legible - as I need to really apply myself; my left hand is fairly good at typing – at least anything that the left hand always types; my eating skills with the left hand are not quite so good, but of benefit to the cats as tidbits do end up on the floor; I have re-discovered my thighs – I can actually squat to retrieve something from the floor and so on.

But there are valuable tips as well:
Make sure that you always have at least one of your husband’s – or in my case grown son’s – shirts available. Two or more are better as that allows for a change of style. They are the only things that one can actually put on one arm, wrap around one’s body and still button in front – also the fact that the buttons are left facilitates the process. Make sure that you always have a couple of stretchy, knitted sweaters on the slightly too large side, again one puts on one arm, wraps around and buttons. Note, one can dress oneself – it only takes 20 minutes instead of the usual two. Saturdays and Sundays are easier as I allow myself to wear jogging pants with an elastic band… also helps preserve the two pair of pants that I can actually close the buttons on without aid. And yes, using one’s teeth to secure scarves or the like is totally allowed.

Tired of the dangling hand? A good old-fashioned wooden spatula inserted underneath the arm of the cloth sling helps immensely!

The same spatula becomes a handy place to drape the strap of whatever needs to be carried thus allowing one to use both hands!

Then there are the magnetic and pincher “sticks” acquired for fishing things out from behind the washer and dryer years ago – they come in very handy when one drops the telephone, it splits and the batteries go promptly under the nearest sink/radiator or other distant item.

I may well discover other tips for dealing with my current handicap – and will surely share them.

Meanwhile, it’s Sunday, it’s snowing and I am safe and secure inside.