Good grief! We had a birthday lunch at my office, and there was carrot cake. I love carrot cake. And this one had NO nuts. It really was quite delicious. So delicious that I had the highest number I’ve ever seen – 200+, that afternoon. Did I jump on the treadmill? No, I took a nap. Oh well, I see my doctor (ARNP) later this month and I’m guessing I’m getting closer to Insulin. I was initially petrified of Insulin. After reading ALL the blogs that I read (and I’m having a hard time keeping up with everyone…), I’m not near as petrified as I was when I was first diagnosed. For some unknown reason, I originally viewed Insulin as failure, and that’s stupid. I’ve been on thyroid medication since I was 18, this is the same. I don’t make it – therefore, I need to take it. IF/WHEN it happens, I will still be petrified but – the OC is so darn cool and so helpful and so informative, that I know I can do this when the time comes.
Meanwhile, my dad is doing great. I hate that he’s in a nursing home but – he’s happy, he’s content, and so, all is good. He’s close enough, 10 minutes, that I can drop in, have a short visit and we enjoy seeing each other. I’ve found that 30 minutes is enough of a visit for us. He’s happy, I’m happy, I can’t ask for much more. This weekend a cousin and his wife are making a four hour drive to come up and see him. My dad is thrilled and looking forward to the visit. He does continue to ask, “What’s his wife’s name?” but that’s okay. I will ask them to tell him their names when they go – and all will be good. My dad gets upset when he forgets someone’s name. That’s sad. This week he got a phone call, and he cannot tell me who called. He said the person was perturbed that he didn’t know who they were. I’m perplexed, I don’t have a clue who it was and so, I’m going to ask that they (the nursing home) not take any more phone calls for him. Whoever it was said something like, “Oh, you know me.” Well, he doesn’t and is very frustrated that he doesn’t.
Meanwhile, I’m doing the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in a nearby town next weekend and have raised over $1,600. I’m shocked and awed that my relatives and friends have contributed so much. My mother died of cervical cancer due to her lack of having regular pap smears. It still makes me angry that she didn’t go to the doctor but, she didn’t know. I tried to tell her, but it didn’t work.
The temp today was in the 80’s. This is unreal for NH.
Go Red Sox!
This is one of the very best articles I’ve read about visiting a nursing home. It was written by Donald Murray (Please take the time to click on the link and read about this wonderful writer) and published in the Boston Globe on 9/28/2004. I’ve made copies and give them to people in our office. I truly feel it’s a wonderful article/column. (Hopefully, I’m not breaking any copyright rules by copying this.)
NOW AND THEN
Making the most of a nursing home visit
By Donald M. Murray, Globe Correspondent September 28, 2004
I used to be uncomfortable visiting a nursing home. Will the person I visit recognize me? Will I be able to understand what the patient says? Will the patient be able to understand what I say? What can I say to someone finishing a life in a nursing home?
I’m not uncomfortable anymore. Twice a day, I drive out to Kirkwood Corners to visit Minnie Mae. She didn’t want to suffer dementia and need assisted living — and I didn’t want her to leave home. It wasn’t a matter of choice. She needed more care than I could give her. Simple as that.
I have learned many lessons that work for me. Other people do it differently. Sarah Marschner spends so many hours visiting her mother at Kirkwood that she may grow angel wings. I admire her dedication, but long visits would not be right for me.
Keep it short. I visit twice a day for 5 to 15 minutes. Long, coherent conversations are not possible. And the attempt exhausts Minnie Mae, who feels she should entertain me.
Don’t hover. You can see patients looking fearful when visitors hover. Where will she go next, what’s she trying to do now, what will she do next, what should I do to make her stop flitting? I pull up a chair that puts me on the same level as Minnie Mae, cross my legs, smile, and make my body say, “I’m relaxed, you be relaxed, too.”
No inquisition. Don’t start a visit by asking, “How are you? Did they lance the boil? Could they find your shoes?” Patients may not know but think they should. If they can’t answer, they feel as if they have flunked a test.
Put the patient on the sidelines. Peggy and Ed Drouin taught me that the three of us could have the normal conversations the four of us have had for years about hockey, politics, religion. Minnie Mae watches and joins in if she wants to. No pressure on her. If she has something to say, she’ll say it.
Touch. Some of the best visits we’ve had have been silent. Minnie Mae explores the new galaxy to which she has been assigned. I silently rehearse my novel. But we hold hands, speaking by touch, grip, stroke. We are not alone. We are together even though she lives in Kirkwood Corners and I live in our new condo.
Don’t play nurse. The staff knows better than you how to help Grandma get to the toilet, dress, and cut up the turkey slice on her plate.
Don’t follow the patient’s logic. There is no logic, no trail to follow through this dark forest. The loved one doesn’t need intellectual understanding but needs love, comfort, caring, support.
Don’t correct what they say. What difference does it make if Mother has really not come back to life in Kentucky, if we are really not on a plane trip to London for the CIA, if we don’t own a pack of strawberry dogs that need to be fed?
I have found, to my surprise, that there is something pure about our visits. We are not worrying about the trivialities of our former life: Does the car need to be washed? Is it time to change the bed? Which TV show should bore us tonight?
We are together, touching. All our other problems have fallen away. We are here to comfort each other and share the life we have lived together for 53 years.