Story 20Jan2021: Good and the Bad

The day started hard. I had trouble sleeping, woke up early, and could not get back to sleep. But, I did stay in bed and tried to sleep.

Today was the day to determine what would happen next with Susie. We are meeting with Home Instead, an agency that supplies nursing. I was expecting this to be stupidly expensive but was I hopeful we could still bring Susie home, and I need care support for Susie to make this work. I am sure my worries about this and the fact that I was missing Susie at the house impacted my sleep and stress.

A new problem, minor, has arisen, the electric razor is not working. I think I have a dud. One more thing to deal with. I am back to blades.

I manage to read email, read the news (including my daily news summary from the New York Times), make coffee, and have breakfast within 30 minutes of my pills. I managed to shower and then dress and follow all the new chemotherapy changes. I am trying to get all the habits in place ahead of their need. I never walk without socks or slippers on my feet, also.

The trip in Air Volvo on Thursday morning, the worst day for traffic in the Portland Area, was uneventful. I pass the tests and head to Room 44A at the Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center at 3900 Pacific Highway, Forest Grove. Susie is just dressed and sitting in a wheelchair; about 10:40.

I take Susie for a ride around the facility. We make about three full tours of the place. I put Susie’s glasses and hat on her, and she looks more like herself (with the new fingernail paint that all the aids and nurses noticed and suggested they all could use the same treatment). Later, I saw Pre, the head nurse, joking and even hugging some aids. Folks are very happy here. They love Susie too.

Susie had one of her best days in weeks.

Note: Covid-19 is present at the facility. One resident has it, and the staff count is now 15 with positive tests. Five staff have recovered and now returned to work. This information is given to all the residents and emailed to me.

Susie and I hang out in the shared space and watch videos together. Then, we call on FaceTime Susie’s mother, Leta, and they have a friendly chat.

I step out and rush to Taco Bell for dinner. Again, the food tastes cheap to me, but I am in a hurry. I manage to be back before 1PM.

Erynn from Home Instead meets us. I find a place for us to talk. They cannot cover Susie’s needs as they do not have the staff to cover more than four or so hours in the afternoon. I would need to hire another agency or individually hire extra help. Also, 24-hour assistance would be $1000 a day @ about $40-50 an hour. To cover the 24-hours would require five people a day and likely not the same people every day. I would then have ten or more people in the house a week.

Erynn says I need to hire them to get coverage, but I really cannot move Susie without full coverage. I am also sure that I cannot manage this, and having ten medical people in the house will nearly guarantee a Covid-19 infection. None of this works for me. So I do not hire Home Instead. I am also offered non-vaccinated medical folks, as they are easier to get. I turn that down. That suggestion makes my head spin, and I thank Erynn for her time and see her out.

Susie is falling asleep, now placed back in her room and comfortable in her blankets. I tell Susie I can’t get her home soon and will try to work this some more.

In a pandemic, medical stuff is complicated. I also cannot have that many people in the house. My upcoming chemotherapy limits my choices. I will think about my goal to bring Susie home; it may be unrealistic.

I speak to the folks at Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center. We are welcome to keep Susie there as long as we need. They really do like us.

I kiss Susie goodbye. She is sleepy and falls right back to sleep.

Without incident, I reach home and find a pile of food and flowers on the cooler. Eric Enders and family have supplied me with dinner for two nights (and likely some lunches too). My Core ERP group at Nike IT is helping me get through these challenging days.

I take a nap and think more. I do read more. The book Dead Dead Girls is well put together, but the social justice issues it explores are hard to enjoy. It is not the book or the subject, but my mood. I read the book on my Kindle in smaller bites, which solves the mood issue.

I reheat the chicken parmesan and make the spaghetti and sauce (from a jar) that Eric supplied a bit early. I am fatigued, and food often helps. I eat dinner while watching the cold war By Dawn’s Early Light film. It is about a nuclear war breaking out between the USA and the Soviet Union. A group of terrorists captures and launches an ICBM triggering the unthinkable. Rip Torn plays the insane general urging an all-out nuclear war previewing his better-known Down Periscope and Men in Black persona. James Earl Jones plays the sane general who saves everyone by crashing his plane into Air Force One to allow the president’s ceasefire order to get through. The elected president is not on the plane, of course. The movie heavily borrows from other like films, and I would suggest the black and white Failsafe (1964) over this somewhat bloated film. The book by the same name is also great.

Yes, it was a strange choice on such a tough day, but I discovered the movie on cable and watched half of it. Just wanted to finish it. The best part was that James Earl Jones runs out of cigarettes, he smokes harsh unfiltered ones, and every one offers him lighter ones and calls out for someone to get him a real cigarette. He quit smoking but started smoking on the plane when the nuclear war started. Finally, just before he crashes the plane to save the world from full-out nuclear war, he gets a real cigarette. Not appropriate anymore, but still funny.

Returning to dinner, the food was excellent, and I have to admit I had seconds. I have enough left for lunch today.

I do a tiny bit of housework and organizing and then read and go to bed late. I again have trouble getting to sleep.

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