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  • I can do a simple thing for him if you would like. Or we can talk about it anyway. You know how to find me. I have worked with a lot of post-stroke seniors (and for that matter, non-seniors).

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    • Originally posted by Jac View Post
      Your journal has prompted me to really talk seriously to my mother about what's going to happen for her in the future when she needs to move out of her house (she has steps to every door, some of them quite steep). She's been very unrealistic about what she could get for the house when she sells, and then miserable at the prospect of what kind of place she could afford to live in. We've kind of left those conversations, because although she's thinking and worrying about it a lot, she's still only 67, working and very independent if not as healthy as she could be. So after some serious conversations with my lovely husband about what our responsibilities are (that sounds so harsh - it was really about what we want to do, need to do, and can manage to do), I called her. I was able to tell her that the moment she decides she doesn't want to work any more, she can move in here. Not ideal, we both agreed, but this is the ultimate backstop and she can use it any time and for any reason. She's not trapped any more by having no option but to work. The best thing, though, was telling her that we will pay her mortgage so she can afford to live in the place she wants to live - a 3 bedroom villa in a retirement village near to her friends. It's the first time in my whole life that I've ever been able to be heard by her. She went quiet, then said thank you.

      I hope it won't happen for a few years yet, so that she stays healthy enough to work things through at her own pace. But we have a plan that will work for us all.

      I feel tearful as I write this - it's been a big weekend for us all. Thanks for the level of sharing you do here, PB; you're helping me to be a better version of me.
      This is great. Yes, we need to have these talks with our loved ones sooner rather than later. Even though these are not comfortable discussions to have and they are very easy to put off, it needs to be talked about while everyone is still capable of making good decisions and expressing themselves clearly. You never know when something like a stroke could leave someone incapacitated. You need to get things like a medical power of attorney signed so that a loved one would not be tortured by endless invasive medical procedures. Getting a living trust set up is also a good idea and a clear last will and testament.

      Getting everything out on the table about an elderly person's wishes is important. I asked my Dad a few years back if, when the time came, he would rather go to a retirement home or have help brought in here and he emphatically said he wants to stay here if at all possible. But that might not be the case for someone else. A friend of mine's mom went to a nursing home and got so much happier and healthier just because she had things to do and people to socialize with. My Dad is not really very outgoing socially and a lot of his identity is wrapped up in the house he and my Mom built 60 years ago.

      My Dad and I took care of my Mom here until her death. And then a few years later did the same with my grandmother. Dad's house lends itself well to being used as a care facility. It is all on one level with a really open floor plan. We had grab bars installed in the shower for Mom that are still there and coming in handy again. And we have a good steady shower chair which is also now getting another use.

      I suspect one of the worst things about getting old is the feeling of losing control of your own life. Having those kind of frank talks and knowing that you are really heard and that your wished will be respected can do a lot to put everyone's minds at ease. Getting that logistical stuff out of the way and settled can allow you to focus on the personal caring part of the process.
      Last edited by Paleobird; 09-23-2012, 08:48 PM.

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      • Originally posted by zoebird View Post
        I can do a simple thing for him if you would like. Or we can talk about it anyway. You know how to find me. I have worked with a lot of post-stroke seniors (and for that matter, non-seniors).
        Thank you, Zoe. That's really sweet of you to offer. I will talk with him about it and see if he is open to the idea.

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        • I didn't know this song, but I think it's going to be a new favorite. I love Billy Joel!

          Just such a great vibe to his singing.

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          • I've had that Billy Joel song running in my head since yesterday. Some good advice in those lyrics.

            There is something so timeless about Vienna. It is the perfect metaphor. It will still be there, just as grand and elegant, when I get around to visiting it again. I'm not missing anything by taking the time to do what I'm doing now.

            This has been helping with the feeling of being a bit overwhelmed with all the "stuff" that needs doing. "You got so much to do and only so many hours in a day". There is a lot of "stuff" that needs to be done just to keep the wheels on and the cogs turning in the life of one adult human head of a household. There are bills to pay, doctor's appointments to be made, written down, and kept. There are groceries to be bought and meals prepared, served, and cleaned up after. There are social engagement that would be nice to have. There are clothes that need to be bought and then washed and put away, house cleaning. Medications need to be put out in pill containers and taken on time, and prescriptions refilled and picked up on time. There are subscriptions to renew and checkbooks to balance. Insurance policies...... The list goes on forever. And getting some sleep in between would be nice too.

            I am essentially handling the majority of all this "stuff" for two adult humans right now. Like today we had an MD appt. for Dad and later today I have to go to the dentist for take two on getting my new crown on. I am gaining an appreciation for what people with children do, the number of juggling balls one has to keep up in the air at any one moment. I don't know how anyone manages to raise kids without a partner. Dad is becoming increasingly childlike. He needs to have things explained very simply and multiple times and even then the same question comes up just moments later.

            "Too bad but it's the life you lead. You're so ahead of yourself, that you forgot what you need. Though you can see when you're wrong, you know you can't always see when you're right. You're right." Thanks, Billy. I needed to hear that.

            Dad and I were at the doctor's office again today for a check up with his primary care MD. She did a really good job of explaining in plain English what is going on with his heart. Years of scary high BP have taken their toll in weakening his heart muscles so that they are just not pumping with much oomph. This was made suddenly worse by his recent bout of a-fib 150 bpm heart rate episode that landed us in the ER a few weeks back. This weakness in the pump leaves all the bodily fluids puddling down in his legs.

            She said that the good news about this kind of heart failure, as opposed to the kind caused by blocked arteries, is that there is actually a pretty good prognosis that the heart can heal and regain some of it's function as long as that a-fib fluttery heart rate is kept in check.

            Sometimes I'm right on top of everything, supremely efficient, and then there are some times I just want to sit down and cry.

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            • It's ok to sit down and cry now and again. It is a lot to manage.

              Are there some things that you can out-source, like housekeeping and laundry? Perhaps a service that will wash/fold, and then you only have to put away, and then also a cleaning service (for both houses)?

              I'm glad that the overall prognosis is good for your dad, too. It's not easy to hear and work through.

              But feeling overwhelmed (and even frustrated) as well as sad at . . . well what buddhists call a "bardo" or a specific sacred time . . . so being sad about what this bardo is right now. . . that's ok.

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              • Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                It's ok to sit down and cry now and again. It is a lot to manage.

                Are there some things that you can out-source, like housekeeping and laundry? Perhaps a service that will wash/fold, and then you only have to put away, and then also a cleaning service (for both houses)?

                I'm glad that the overall prognosis is good for your dad, too. It's not easy to hear and work through.

                But feeling overwhelmed (and even frustrated) as well as sad at . . . well what buddhists call a "bardo" or a specific sacred time . . . so being sad about what this bardo is right now. . . that's ok.
                I would like to and we have the money but Dad is still in that stubborn mindset where he is reluctant to accept help. But if I don't step in and take a load of wash out to the washroom and do it for him, he will continue to wear the same four tee shirts for months. He is still wearing shirts my Mom picked out for him and she had been gone for 23 years. I finally just sat down with the LLBean website a few weeks ago and ordered him some basic wardrobe staples like polo shirts and dockers style shorts so he would at least have some things that are not falling apart and/or filthy to wear out in public. The next thing I think I need to do is toss all of his socks, underwear and tees and buy new ones. We are talking tee shirts that have been washed so many times you could read a newspaper through them. And gray fraying socks that were once white.

                He also won't let anyone come in to clean but he won't do it himself either. I don't blame him for not doing it, he is having some pretty severe balance issues. But it still needs to get done.


                That's an interesting way to look at things as a "bardo". Yes, I think it is a sacred time. Just as the birth of a new human is sacred, the end of a life well lived is something to be considered with reverence too.

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                • Could you outsource your house, so at least you're not doing double duty?
                  I like badgers, books and booze, more or less in that order.

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                  • Wow, the last few posts are making me almost tear up. It makes me grateful that my parents have always been so open with me about their wishes and have a detailed will. I think after my grandpa's health deteriorated they weren't willing to take the chance of leaving things unsaid. It's an amazing thing that you are doing for your dad. It must be hard, but its nice that you get to spend this time with him. My dad retired last year and I try to spend a lot of time with him since I truly think it is the happiest time of his life right now. I guess it would be perfect if I gave him a grandkid to spoil, but I guess they should've thought of that when they made me an only child! 32 and no plans to have any soon do you have children?

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                    • Originally posted by badgergirl View Post
                      Could you outsource your house, so at least you're not doing double duty?
                      +1


                      Paleobird, I'm soooooo very sorry that things are so difficult right now! I feel for you, and you're right. I wish there was more we could do, but at least you know we're thinking of you. Wishing you the best. There are seasons to life. This too is a season. And no matter how it turns out, you'll be able to look back with satisfaction and peace, knowing that you did the best you could in the moment.

                      Was it you who mentioned that your sister is coming to visit soon? If so, this will actually be a good help. She can get in there and whip your dad's place into shape.

                      I find when work gets busy, that push comes to shove and I just have to let some things go. Like laundry (it'll pile up), or the dishes. (I switch to paper so I can throw them out.) Maybe you can cut out some of the un-urgent things in order to save your sanity.

                      And get a housekeeper for yourself. Once you get over the whole, aaack! someone else is in my house! thing, you're just fine. It's actually very nice to come home to clean laundry, clean floors, and have the dishes done.

                      I was lucky enough to be able to afford a housekeeper while I lived in Haiti. It was the only thing that kept me sane in the crazy world that Haiti was. Work was super duper crazy, and it was such a blessing to come home to a clean, safe, haven where things were well ordered.

                      Do it for yourself, it's a good investment in your mental health.

                      And you're right, Vienna is here. It's not going anywhere, anytime soon. It'll still be here when you make your next trip over.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                        I would like to and we have the money but Dad is still in that stubborn mindset where he is reluctant to accept help. But if I don't step in and take a load of wash out to the washroom and do it for him, he will continue to wear the same four tee shirts for months. He is still wearing shirts my Mom picked out for him and she had been gone for 23 years. I finally just sat down with the LLBean website a few weeks ago and ordered him some basic wardrobe staples like polo shirts and dockers style shorts so he would at least have some things that are not falling apart and/or filthy to wear out in public. The next thing I think I need to do is toss all of his socks, underwear and tees and buy new ones. We are talking tee shirts that have been washed so many times you could read a newspaper through them. And gray fraying socks that were once white.

                        He also won't let anyone come in to clean but he won't do it himself either. I don't blame him for not doing it, he is having some pretty severe balance issues. But it still needs to get done.
                        Here's an idea: The next time you schedule a doctor's appointment for & with your dad (which generally takes a few hours at a minimum), pre-arrange & pay for a cleaning crew to come in & clean & spit shine his house top to bottom. You can do a bit of research online, Angieslist.com etc, & screen & find a bonded & insured company to do it. They'll come in with a crew, kick ass & leave without a trace, except for cleanliness & sparkle. And they won't steal or break anything, unlike some unbonded cheaper services!

                        Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                        That's an interesting way to look at things as a "bardo". Yes, I think it is a sacred time. Just as the birth of a new human is sacred, the end of a life well lived is something to be considered with reverence too.
                        Tibetan Book of the Dead, not a bad bedside read actually, despite the title, it's very interesting & not at all morbid or creepy...
                        "Science is not belief but the will to find out." ~ Anonymous
                        "Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart." ~ Gandhi
                        "The flogging will continue until morale improves." ~ Unknown

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                        • E-hugs for Paleobird:

                          [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[Robin]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]
                          I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

                          Oscar Wilde

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                          • Originally posted by Betorq View Post
                            Tibetan Book of the Dead, not a bad bedside read actually, despite the title, it's very interesting & not at all morbid or creepy...
                            We've lost a lot of people in our lives in the last few years, and the idea of the end-of-life bardo has really been helpful for me in dealing with some of those experiences and creating some peace around it.
                            “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                            Owly's Journal

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                            • Originally posted by badgergirl View Post
                              Could you outsource your house, so at least you're not doing double duty?
                              I have someone in once a month to do the heavy stuff like floors and windows. It's good because, at least once a month I have to pick up all my stuff like shoes, cloths, paperwork, etc. and get it all put away. I started having them come in (It's a couple) when I was on chemo and really couldn't keep house. Then some combination of getting used to it and not having the heart to fire them took over.

                              Originally posted by Jena View Post
                              Wow, the last few posts are making me almost tear up. It makes me grateful that my parents have always been so open with me about their wishes and have a detailed will. I think after my grandpa's health deteriorated they weren't willing to take the chance of leaving things unsaid. It's an amazing thing that you are doing for your dad. It must be hard, but its nice that you get to spend this time with him. My dad retired last year and I try to spend a lot of time with him since I truly think it is the happiest time of his life right now. I guess it would be perfect if I gave him a grandkid to spoil, but I guess they should've thought of that when they made me an only child! 32 and no plans to have any soon do you have children?
                              No, I don't have kids. Nor does my sister. My Dad would have made a wonderful Grandpa but he has been doing that on an honorary basis to the little kid who lives on our dead end street. Showing him how to set a gopher trap and all kinds of other cool stuff.

                              Originally posted by lissee View Post
                              Paleobird, I'm soooooo very sorry that things are so difficult right now! I feel for you, and you're right. I wish there was more we could do, but at least you know we're thinking of you. Wishing you the best. There are seasons to life. This too is a season. And no matter how it turns out, you'll be able to look back with satisfaction and peace, knowing that you did the best you could in the moment.

                              Was it you who mentioned that your sister is coming to visit soon? If so, this will actually be a good help. She can get in there and whip your dad's place into shape.

                              I find when work gets busy, that push comes to shove and I just have to let some things go. Like laundry (it'll pile up), or the dishes. (I switch to paper so I can throw them out.) Maybe you can cut out some of the un-urgent things in order to save your sanity.

                              I was lucky enough to be able to afford a housekeeper while I lived in Haiti. It was the only thing that kept me sane in the crazy world that Haiti was. Work was super duper crazy, and it was such a blessing to come home to a clean, safe, haven where things were well ordered.

                              Do it for yourself, it's a good investment in your mental health.

                              And you're right, Vienna is here. It's not going anywhere, anytime soon. It'll still be here when you make your next trip over.
                              Thank you, yes, it is a season. Natural, but kind of snowy and cold nonetheless.
                              Yes, my sister, the cleaning fanatic is coming tomorrow so everything is going to get cleaned within and inch of its life. She is seriously anal retentive about that stuff. I am just going to let her do her thing.

                              Originally posted by Betorq View Post
                              Here's an idea: The next time you schedule a doctor's appointment for & with your dad (which generally takes a few hours at a minimum), pre-arrange & pay for a cleaning crew to come in & clean & spit shine his house top to bottom. You can do a bit of research online, Angieslist.com etc, & screen & find a bonded & insured company to do it. They'll come in with a crew, kick ass & leave without a trace, except for cleanliness & sparkle. And they won't steal or break anything, unlike some unbonded cheaper services!

                              Tibetan Book of the Dead, not a bad bedside read actually, despite the title, it's very interesting & not at all morbid or creepy...
                              I have a good one that I trust. See above. The problem is Dad leaves stuff all over the place and then gets upset if it is not right there. Although these days he doesn't remember where things are half the time anyway. Having a cleaning crew to blame losing things on might be kind of good.

                              Originally posted by Sigi View Post
                              E-hugs for Paleobird:

                              [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[Robin]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]
                              Back acha, Sigi. Thank you.

                              Originally posted by Owly View Post
                              We've lost a lot of people in our lives in the last few years, and the idea of the end-of-life bardo has really been helpful for me in dealing with some of those experiences and creating some peace around it.
                              I have read The Book of the Dead. In fact I have a copy around here someplace. I should find that. As I recall the concept was about transitions from one state to another being honored and respected not fought against or resented.
                              Last edited by Paleobird; 09-25-2012, 08:52 AM.

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                              • Just stopping by to say hello. Took a quick look at some of the posts and felt like I was stepping in where I don't belong, LOL... In any case, have a great day!
                                Start Date 9.24.12
                                Starting weight 285ish ( scale is acting funny so I don't trust it, but 285 is close )
                                CW - 271 pounds
                                First Goal - 255 by 2013
                                Main Goal - To be healthy for my family... I have an awesome family.
                                Other Goal - to get off some medications
                                Final goal - to get to about 180 pounds by 2014
                                NEW GOAL - When I can start a new journal called "Your dad is not so fat!"

                                Your Dad is So Fat

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