Andy sent this to me a couple of summers ago —
I was on my way home from the UW pharmacy (it seems folks don’t get sick or need stuff on the weekend in Madison, at least according to Hil’s home health folks… hmmm) — Andy knew I was a bit stressy…. so, I get the following in a text:
A: “I think the mail carrier is having an affair with one of the girls across the street”
Me: “Lol… I hope so..”
It wasn’t until we were on the way home that I found out that Andy didn’t know that Rochelle IS the mail carrier…
He knew that Lindsey and Rochelle live across the street, but he hadn’t met them yet. He saw Rochelle deliver Hil’s mail and saw the mail truck parked across the street for a couple of hours… He put the two together and figured there was hanky-panky going on — when there was really domestic tranquility…
Things are calm and good for the moment… especially since Andy is here.. he really is (to quote Oliver, who always gets it right) the stable goat to my Seabiscuit.
This morning Hil told me she had chills — not something you want to hear from a 90 year old in poor health… She also had some blood in her catheter bag, and the combination was concerning. After a phone discussion with the official Ross nurse (i.e. Mom), I called Hil’s home healthcare folks.. wanting to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office..
The home health nurse came over about noon, flushed the catheter, took her vitals — everything was about normal. The nurse said that it was quite possible that a blood clot in the catheter could cause her to feel a chill — but, there were no other indications of an infection, so it wasn’t quite time to panic. After discussing it with her clinic, Hil’s nurse came back to draw blood..
Pro-tip.. there is a white board on Hil’s refrigerator with the numbers for the home health folks.. they work weekends, will come out and do the first line of checking, blood draws, urine samples and the like.. they’ll take them to the clinic and get results back for you — and, generally, the doctors at the clinic can be persuaded to provide simple prescriptions over the phone..
While I’m on the subject of prescriptions – Medicine Shoppe will deliver and the one on Monona has Hil’s card on file.. If you call them, give them her Dean Rx number, she might have coverage… hmm..
The home health folks just called, and we need to keep an eye on her catheter bag, getting worse by tomorrow evening would be reason to go to the ER.. which, of course, we don’t want to do..
So, keep your fingers crossed, Hil wants rare roast beef for dinner tomorrow night… I’m hoping it won’t be from the hospital food service… sigh.
Jim dropped by with treats for Hil — all kinds of yummy stuff to suck on :)…
When he was here, he said he mentioned the idea of a senior apartment or assisted living to her — and she didn’t freak out about it. She also has a book with lots of the options by her chair, so she can look at it as she’d like.. Jim knows her well enough to drop an idea into conversation and leave it at that — let her think about it and make her own decision… no surprise there.
Susan sent two boxes of books for Hil to read — they’re on the coffee table in the den — if you visit, you should check them out. There are lots of good titles..
Pro tip — Hil loves Culvers vanilla shakes… usually a small is enough for her.. to get to Culvers take Huxley down to Manley, go right on Manley until it hits Sherman (you can’t go any further on Manley) then right on Sherman and then left at the lights by the grocery store… it will be on your left.
Madison is a confusing town — don’t get lost :).
Generally, I’ve been doing pills, food and the nebulizer treatments together.. so, with breakfast, lunch and dinner she gets it all — then she can nap, read or whatever between times and we don’t have to worry about forgetting things.. She does an extra nebulizer treatment before bed..
Usually, breakfast starts at about 7 — lunch is in the noon range, dinner between 5 and 6ish and bed about 9 or 10…
Pro-tip 1 — give Hil your cell phone number and keep your phone handy when you’re upstairs or in the living room — that way, she can call you easily.. the system has worked well so far, but — remember to check her cordless phone on occasion, she’s not particularly good about hanging up. The visiting nurse knows that if she calls for an appointment and gets a busy signal, she should just come by.. Also, leave a note on the front door and leave the door unlocked when you expect her, just in case you don’t hear the bell.
Pro tip 2 — the automated vital signs machine will talk to you at 9:00 AM… be ready… Hil will need to get up, move over to the machine and get on the scale attached to it.. then it will prompt her to put on a blood pressure cuff and a finger oxygen monitor — then it does it’s thing and asks a couple of yes/no questions and sends the information to her clinic.. after that, she’ll probably want a nap..
Also, Hil’s good friend Denise is now in hospice — Linda is with her and reports that Denise is comfortable today, resting with her cat by her side.. I hope Denise passes peacefully —
That’s all from Madison today — it’s a beautiful day here — the visiting nurse should be here soon, then lunch. While Hil naps, I’m going to run out to the store for a couple of things…
After the election excitement last night — and company all evening, you’d think she’d be exhausted — and, she was tired, but she did well today..
Linda stopped by this morning — with sad news about Hil’s long time friend Denise — Denise has had stomach cancer for a long time and has been moved to hospice.. the doctor is thinking days, not weeks at this point and Denise’s son is on his way into town tonight.
Hil met Denise when Denise needed an English tutor — Hil says that they didn’t make much progress doing that, but they had a common love of playing cards (Hil taught me to play Gin Rummy as a child.. probably the same week she pierced my ears.. 🙂 ). Denise came over to visit early this week and the visit was quite welcome and wonderful — I’m so glad Hil got a chance to see her dear friend..
After lunch, the girls from across the street came over to keep her company, so I went out for a couple of hours and didn’t have to worry about her.. it was very kind of them to do so.. They’re a fantastic couple and quite fun to be with — I know Hil enjoys their company…
Before I left, the social worker came over to introduce herself — she seems like she has a good handle on the services and options for Hil — She left information with us about housing options in case she needs to move someplace more supportive, meals and the like — and Hil seemed to be reassured to have the information and likely to order the equivalent of meals on wheels once her “staff” has returned to our day jobs..
While I was gone, the occupational therapist came in — at least an hour later than the appointment they made with Hil this morning… grr.. we gave up on her — But, the good news is that she got Hil up and around today — Also, an automated device was delivered and hooked up that will prompt Hil to have her vital signs taken and will automatically send them to her doctor… kind of a cool device.
It may be a stroke of genius putting it across the room –although, I think the placement was accidental — this way, Hil will have to get up to attend to that task… and getting up is a good thing..
Pro tip — the thing will go off at 9:00 AM every day and ask, in a creepy electronic voice, for her vitals.. don’t be scared the first time it does this..
Since this is a personal blog, I’ll use it that way today.. It’s easier to write here and link to Facebook than to put it in a long status update…
I’ve been in Madison for nearly a week — (it will be a week tomorrow) — I took the “Notebook of Power” from my amazing cousin Emily on Thursday — and Emily went home to her very patient family on Friday…. and eventually they sprung Hil loose from the hospital on Friday… I was quite grateful to have Kris and Brian around to get her settled in…
Pro tip — INSIST that the nursing staff either send prescriptions to the pharmacy at the hospital OR fax them to your own pharmacy well before discharge. I missed that detail and, as a result, had to beg a pharmacist at a just closed pharmacy to fill a whole bunch of new prescriptions for Hil — it was a Friday night… eek…
Hil is seeming to gain a little bit of energy every day, but not a whole lot… she’s moved between her chair and the couch twice since she got home — and I’d have liked that to be much more often… she tried last night and couldn’t quite do it — she’d had a lot of visitors and was pretty tired.
She’s on a bunch of medications and breathing treatments, which are actually quite simple… I’ve also mastered dumping the “You’re-a-pee-in” say it out loud, it sounds like “European” purse — i.e. her catheter bag…
Hil has a wonderful set of friends who will come to hang out with her so that I can go out for a while and not worry about her… last night Linda came over, Jim is here today — tonight Rochelle and Lindsay from across the street will come to watch the elections.. Rochelle said she’d come over for a while tomorrow… They’re a wonderful group of people who love Hil and appreciate her unique personality…
The game plan so far is that I’ll be here until Sunday — Andy is coming down to visit and cook — and, as it turns out, take me home… My mom… the Master Nurse of her generation (they all say that Mom, so accept it) will come in to take over for me on Sunday. I’ll leave mom’s car here — and Mom will be here until Emily and her family come back for their Thanksgiving tradition — and Mom will come back if needed (and I’m thinking she will be needed.. ).
Oliver is planning a weekend visit the weekend before Thanksgiving — which will give Hil someone else to talk to — and Mom a bit of freedom to do her own thing… and Jane said she could come in early December if needed… and, if she’s not needed I’m sure she’ll be appreciated :).
A note to all of you who are going to visit — I got new mattress pads (thin, down feather beds) — BUT… you NEED to keep your bedroom doors closed, or the cat will be naughty… and, it’s not going to be fun doing that laundry.. I’ll put notes up on the doors to remind you —