Sunday, October 25, 2015

I miss my Life Mate.....

What a weekend! 

Around the middle of last week, Gary started complaining that his right leg/hip was hurting.  Getting in and out of the cars was painful for him, in fact, often coupled with screams of "ouch"!  By Thursday evening, he was complaining bitterly and it appeared to be more than just a slight pain.  On Friday, I called our new Primary Care Physician's office to make an appointment for him to go in. Since our insurance became valid on 10/1, it was nice to know we are covered. We had just received our cards and I looked at Gary's for the first time.  there was a name of his primary care physician, but no phone number nor address. 

So, I logged on to the Aetna website and attempted to log in.  Of course, it was a log in where I could not use my normal log in and password due to, I had forgotten the log in info.  After going through a series of "forgot login" and "forgot password" agony, I finally accessed the proper log in for Gary.  After retrieving the phone number and address, I called for an appointment.  Upon telling the operator that I was a new patient and that I was calling to make an appointment with Dr. XX, she promptly said, "there must be some mistake.  He is not taking new patients and is retiring. You will need to call your insurance and have a new primary care physician assigned and then we can make an appointment."  I asked for the names of other physicians in the same practice and ensured they were accepting new patients.

I logged back on to the website and changed the physician.  I called back to the practice and was told that there were no appointments available that day and that if we wanted to come to urgent care, they work with no appointment. Bingo!  I wrote down the hours of the Urgent Care and decided I would take Gary on Saturday morning. 

Later that afternoon, I was still at work around 5 when Heather texted me that Gary had gotten worse and he struggled getting into the massage chair and fallen back into the chair but was not injured further.  I made the decision to take him to urgent care that night.

I drove home, picked up Gary and headed to Urgent Care. After filling out mounds of paperwork while Gary sat in the waiting room reading aloud all the signs out the window, he was ready to be seen.  The medical assistant gave me a couple of "you poor things" before we saw the doctor.  Gary is very sweet but very irritating.  Several times during the check in, sitting in the waiting room, going to the bathroom and changing clothes to see the doctor, he yelled out of pain when he moved the wrong way.  The nurse cringed at his volume.

Once the doctor joined us, she realized she was dealing with a patient who repeats everything he hears.  So, every time she said, "Does this hurt?"  He responded with a parrot like phrase.  With my help, she moved his body into 50 different contortions and he did not express pain once.  He lunged, squatted, bent at the knees, etc.  She deduced that he did not have any broken bones and that he had a muscle-skeletal thing.....said to give him ice and heat for 20 minutes each and take anti-inflammatory.

Saturday came and went with several rounds of heat and ice.  It basically did no good.  Every time he needed to get up to pee, poop or move, he needed help.  He yells in pain but I didn't want to take him to emergency to only be referred to a Primary Care Physician, so I decided to call Monday morning and report increased pain and demand an appointment.

I decided not to even try to go to church on Sunday.  We stayed home all day and I assisted him in walking anytime he needed to move.  He forgot everytime that he would be experiencing pain when he moved, so I had to watch his every move.

I know in my heart that this weekend was a precursor and a preview for what is to come.  I get angry and sad within seconds of each other. I rage when I have to repeat myself more than four times...sometimes three.  I am not good at being a caregiver no matter how hard I try.  Gary thanks me frequently and tells me how thankful he is that I am here and tells me how sweet I am. I feel so guilty because me feelings are quite different.  I just want to run away but know that I cannot do that.  I feel so alone.

I want my old life back.  I want to be carefree and go see a movie, get my hair done, go out for dinner and take a vacation.  I want my husband back....I miss our old business conversations. I miss his tender touch.  I miss my lifemate.  The guy that is here is mostly needy.  While I still love him, it is very difficult.

Only God knows the plan. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A "more-better-than-good" Haircut

Getting Gary's haircut was something I was dreading today. Perhaps it was previous trips to the salon where he talked incessantly and the stylist did not understand.  Or the time he told the stylist she had nice boobs because she was leaning over him to cut bangs.  Well, today was different.

I chose to go to the same salon as last time since I remembered nothing negative and only some quiet Facebook time while I waited.  We walked in and checked in using Gary's name.  The same woman who cut his hair last time heard us and said, "Welcome back, Gary.  My name is Gloria, do you remember me from last time?"

She remembered us and gave me a "you poor thing" look as she helped him in the chair and asked him if she could give him a more-better-than-good haircut.  He answered with his signature "yeah, yeah, yeah!"  She used his phrases "more-better-than-good" and "yeah, yeah, yeah!"  multiple times throughout the haircut.  She asked him what was most important to him and he answered, "my wife".  She winked at me.

I asked her name again and made sure to implant her face firmly into our life as she is a keeper.

As we checked out, she looked at me and said, "you are doing very well."  I thanked her and we left. 

He looks pretty normal at first glance.  That is what concerns me.  If I don't keep him right beside me when leaving grocery stores, he often trails along behind, holds up traffic and smiles and waves at people as he goes by.  My fear is some day a road-rage driver who doesn't understand will run him over with their vehicle.  Hopefully, I can be vigilant and God will continue to watch over his safety.

Yesterday, his Adult Day care called to say he would be coming home in different clothes as he had a two-way accident.  He stayed the rest of the day but came home in brand new jeans and someone's high school gym shirt.  Apparently, they keep extra clothes around for such events.
However, where are his underwear, jeans and golf shirt from the morning? Hopefully they didn't just hand them to him when he left and didn't tell the driver what it was....if he left them in the van on the last stop of the weekend....and its 100 degrees outside....well, that won't be very pleasant.  Is that a nice way to phrase it?  That could be a very crappy morning for everyone on Monday!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Where are we going?

"Where are we going?" I am not sure what Gary is referencing, so I don't answer.

"Ada, where are we going?" 

"Gary, we just came home from the store and its rainy and cold outside so we aren't going anywhere."

"When are we going home?"

It was a Sunday afternoon and we were experiencing our first real rain of the year and it was chilly in Anaheim....chilly means 65 degrees....Gary and I ran out to the store to buy pasta to add to my chicken soup.  He was reading any sign he saw on the road.  At first it is funny, but it can get pretty irritating.

When we came home, we sat in the living room to watch a movie.  I gave us large glasses of water so we could clean up the innards before eating our soup.  He kept asking, "where are we going?"

"Gary, what do you mean?  We just got home! He replied, "what do you mean, we just got home?" 

"Gary, we live here.  What are you talking about?" 

"I just asked WHERE are we going?  Where ARE we going? Where are WE going?  Where are we GOING?" He got increasingly louder and more irritated with each version.

This line of questioning including pleas to go home continued for about three hours.  We had dinner and then retreated back to the living room where it all started.  As soon as we sat down, he picked up the cup of water and looked at the writing on the cup and read from the text on the disposable cup "Where are we going?"  All that time he had been reading the cup just like he does on the highway.

I felt relieved that he was reading and silly that I had not realized it earlier.  However, he still had issues believing that we live in the house that we do. I told him many times before bed that we lived here.  I pointed out all our furniture, the dog and many personal items around the house.  He finally settled down by bedtime and accepted that we were spending the night. 

These events and many others lead me to think about many things.  Did he really like the old rental house that much?  Is he even talking about the last home we lived in....what is he talking about?  He can't answer those questions.

Will there come a time when he has to live somewhere else and he thinks of this place as home?  If those days come, will he remember me?  Will he call out in the night for me? 

Incredible sadness overcomes me in those thoughts.  I know the depths of that sadness so I try to calm my thoughts and search for the positive.  I remember the 28 good years and all our adventures.  I will remember for him and share those stories with his daughter and grandchildren.  Will they ever want to hear them? 

Today the Governor of California signed a bill to make it legal for a person to chose the die if they are terminally ill.  I think this is against God's law.  I don't know intimately what suffering is like, so maybe I would change my mind.

At least Gary is still happy, for the most part.  He is not suffering as he seems to have accepted that he needs a lot of assistance.  I shave him now, help him shower and get dressed.  If he picked out his own clothes, he would resemble an old tourist in Florida who came down for the winter....dark dress socks, tennis shoes, plaid shorts and a polka dot shirt.  For now, that is ok.  Some days I tire from lack of patience and anger.  Other days I am numb.  It is hard to say which days I prefer....knowing that I am alive since emotion runs so strong or numb since it doesn't hurt.  Neither was a choice I made. 

That is the hard part.