Friday, March 9, 2012

Vacation and "vacation?"

Since I can't remember when I last wrote here I can only assume that I did not write about the Costa Rica trip.  February is really a blur in my rear view mirror right now.

I' share some of my favorite pictures from Costa Rica--which was a FABULOUS trip!  It met or exceeded all my expectations.  I have many more pictures but these are some of my favs and I don't want to stress your bandwidth!

If you ever  had a notion to go to Costa Rica go with Caravan.  They are the greatest!  We stayed at wonderful hotels, traveled around the country in airconditioned, leather seated style and went on so many great side trips--on boats up and down rivers, seeing wildlife, to volcanoes, to plantations, it was all amazing!  The food and tips for restaurant and hotel staff are all included in the already low price.  Our guide was fabulous and funny.  I felt safe, secure and comfortable the whole way.  It was wonderful.

Now I will only buy coffee from Costa Rica, will search out bananas that are from Costa Rica, etc.  I will do what I can to support that wonderful country.  How can you not like a country that got rid of their military about 70 years ago and used the money to build schools and provide national health care to their citizens?   AND, their number one industry is they preserve a large percentage of their country for the benefit of the birds, animals and flora that lives there.  Wonderful!

The week after I got home from that adventure I set off on another adventure of a lifetime.   I went to Westerly to Zoe and Co and got fitted for bras!   Sue Gardner came with me.  We had adjoining dressing rooms.  It was rather funny--my ample bosoms and her 'minus numbers" boobs....and we turned out to be the same size!   32!   Of course the cup sizes were a bit different!   We had a good laugh, I bought a bunch 'o bras and then we went for lunch. 

So, now, for the first time since fifth grade, my boobs are right where they should be.  It took awhile to get used to the tightness of the band around my chest...I had been wearing 34's for years.  Now it feels perfect. 

The next week I left for my Putnam adventure.  Wini left a day early as she had a very early morning flight on Wednesday, so I went up there on Tuesday.  Took Bob out to the Golden Greek for dinner so Wini could finish packing.  When we got back she was gone which might not have been the best thing.  He had said goodbye to her, told her he loved her and would miss her and all, but when we got back he was confused about where she was, etc.   I had to keep telling him where she was going and when she would return.

The next day he called me Wini and didn't ask about her again until she called that night and he got confused about who he was talking to on the phone, who I was, etc.

This would go on every day.  Some days were better than others as far as what he remembered about his life.

In the meantime, I was busy cleaning out his room, going through all the boxes that remained in there.  I was very happy to find his original will and testament, the original of the Power of Attorney he  had assigned to me.  This enabled me to go to the banks and FINALLY get the financial information I needed to complete the application to Westview for him.

I was able to pull out items that he loved, could relate to and left those for him to see, touch, read in his room.  Got his bedding all cleaned and went through his clothing and got rid of stuff he can't fit into anymore.  In short, his room was totally cleaned.  This, of course, was a change and even though he liked it and appreciated that he could move around and use his whole room, it still was change and he had some trouble adjusting. 

Not that he was aware of all the "stuff" he had in his room, but I did reassure him that I was going to find people who would want/benefit from the stuff that I had removed.  He was happy to hear that.  When he first packed up these boxes that he had in his room and in the cellar, he had carefully categorized them:  family stuff, Aspinock stuff, St. Mary's stuff, Troop 21 stuff.  Wini had thrown the monkey wrench in the works when she insisted that I go through every piece of paper with him.  This approach stalled the whole process and led to some items being removed from the collections. 

It's all good now.  I have five boxes of material that the Town Historian is taking.  Peter Johnston came and hauled away four legal boxes and two huge garbage bags of stuff to be shredded--old checks, IRS stuff, medical stuff etc from 10-15 years ago.  Brian and Pat came up and hauled away loads of trash.  It was great having all the help from the family.

I was like a shark while I was up there, kept moving and moving.  Every time I sat down to rest I thought of something else I could do.  I cleaned the house (minus Wini's room) from stem to stern and hoped that Wini would accept having the cleaning lady come every week. 

I bought a hand held shower system and Peter installed it for me.  I worked out a good shower routine for Bob...I helped him shower twice in the time I was there.  He looked good and more importantly, smelled great!  I would wash his hair and the first time he showered he scrubbed at the spot on his temple where he had the cancer removed and caused it to bleed.    So, after that I decided I would wash his head.  He took care of the rest.  Getting in and out of the tub is tough for him, but he has a grab bar to hold onto and that helps.

Bob and I enjoyed watching the Huskies play twice, he really got into the Notre Dame game.  He went to bed early and napped, so he could get up for the 9pm start.  He and I kept getting confused by the stupid uniforms the Huskies were wearing that night and more than once we found ourselves accidentally rooting for Notre Dame, who were wearing blue!

I got him over to the dentist to find out why he kept bleeding on the pillow at night.  I had to throw out three pillows that had blood all over them.  Turns out he had found an old pair of dentures in his room and had "mismatched" the old top plate with the new bottom plate!   He had also been wearing the dentures to bed and was chewing his lip in his sleep....he had a laceration on the inside of his lip.  We threw out the old dentures and figured out a procedure to insure that he didn't wear his teeth to bed.  Hopefully his lip will heal.  I had him rinse with salt water a couple of times a day to try to get it healed up.  That's an old remedy he could relate to---he always had us rinse with salt water for all kinds of things, if you lost a tooth, if you threw up, etc. 

We had fun during the week, we went out to eat a few times and I even went with him to church.  He enjoyed the meals I prepared for him and praised my cooking.  He always was appreciative of good meals and always thanked my mother for her meals.  His mother wasn't such a great cook I learned, so he really loved my mother's cooking.

I would love to be able to say that when Wini came home she gladly accepted my offer to have the cleaning lady come in more frequently.  No.  That she and I set an appointment with DKH's Homemaker/Home Health Aide program to get someone to help them with transportation, cooking, bathing, etc.  No. 

I had told her that I didn't want her to shower Bob is not safe.  I told her I would come and help him shower until we could get someone in to help him.  She refused. 

Monday I am bringing the boxes to the Town Historian and will take Bob and Wini out to lunch.  I'll try again to get Wini to accept the house cleaning services every other week--Bob has plenty of money to pay for this and for DKH services.  I will try again to get her to stop stalling and set up an appt to meet with the DKH people.  

If I am not successful with these important tasks, when Bob goes to Dr. Botta on the 20th I will be going with them and will be telling Dr. Botta my concerns.  Wini needs help and if she can't/won't accept it, I don't think it is safe/healthy for him to remain in that home.  They both need help now in order for him to stay there. 

We did deliver the application to Westview and they did call me to confirm that they had accepted it.  Bob does have enough money that he could do private pay for a decent amount of time...which must boost his name on the wait list.  The Millers never thought we would get any inheritance anyway...I don't care if we have to spend it all...we aren't going to "cheap out" on his care, just so we can get some bucks down the road.  We don't think that way.

I have to say that spending that time with my Dad was a mixed experience....we had fun--he can still be very funny; we shared some experiences--watching the Huskies; taking walks in his yard and in mine and we just relaxed and enjoyed each other.  On the other hand, I learned how much time and attention and work he needs to be safe and healthy and I don't think Wini can do it alone. 

This last bit is what has caused me to lie awake at night....and I can't afford to lose sleep and get run down...this affects my health.   BTW,  I lost six pounds in the week I was at Bob's. 

Something has to give....