Sunday, November 10, 2019

Independence Week

Last week's entry was just prior to my parents' departure for the week. It has been an interesting time with both good, and bad, along the way.

With my caregivers changing, I had a few shifts with people that either don't come frequently or just started. One evening, with two of these helpers back to back, I started feeling uneasy and went through training situations in my head. I remembered having the same scenario frequently when I lived on my own in college. However, God saw me through those times as well as this week without trouble.

Thursday, I had my final college class for the year. It had been scheduled for the previous week, but got delayed due to snow. It was a cold morning, but the EMS students were great with excellent interaction and everything went well. All that was left were two appointments in the Des Moines area on Friday.

First, my regular checkup with  my pulmonalogist. My wheelchair has a feature that when I tilt the seat beyond a certain point, it locks out the drive option. When I go more upright again, the drive function is restored. It has been acting up a little the last few weeks, but nothing major. However, as I sat up in the van in the doctor's parking lot, the drive function on my chair wouldn't unlock. With cold breeze blowing in, I tilted again, sat, turned my chair on/off, but no luck. Finally, after several minutes of repeating the process, I was allowed to drive again.

The appointment went well, and I was soon at a library at another Des Moines suburb. I was selected to join a task force to check that people with disabilities in Iowa are living as independently as possible. I had joined one meeting by phone, but this was my first time in person, if I could get inside.

My chair once again wouldn't allow me to drive to exit the van. However, it eventually relented again and let me get into the building. I was joining late, but found a parking spot among the attendees. Lunch break finally came and I joined the line to the pizza. With one small bump, my drive option was again locked out and it wouldn't return. The other committee members with mobility aides navigated around me, but eventually my assistant had to push all my 500 lbs back to my place.

As I sat listening to the meeting, my helper stepped out to call the wheelchair company I use. All technicians were busy though, and won't be able to help until Wednesday. When the day was complete, I had to get pushed onto the van lift, into my spot, and then the reverse when we returned home.

Such is the quad life some days. I'm very thankful for having caregivers both new and experienced that are able to go with the flow. I was at least able to manage without my parents needing to assist. This week may primarily be from in bed, but I'll wait and see what comes.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Late Vacation

My parents like to get away and go on trips to various locations around the U.S. and sometimes into Canada. They usually go out in early fall, but weren't able to due to my nursing shortage. However, they are planning to leave later today for a few days away.

With October having so many open nights, we didn't know what to expect for November. Mom was determined to take a trip though, so we planned ahead to get evenings covered with someone that could stay with me. If nothing else, my parents thought they could at least do multiple one-day trips around Iowa and be home for the night shift.

A few weeks ago, my nursing agency's scheduler contacted me. A nurse who helped a few times several years ago would be available just for November. He worked well to my memory, so he had a refresher night Friday and worked last night. That means I only have two nights with nobody scheduled and my parents can be gone most of this week.

I'm thankful they will be able to get away for a few days and explore new areas. However, I'm also wondering how the week will go. For the last year, I've noticed I'm becoming more reliant on caregivers that can easily move me around. My grandparents and aunt do very well when they're here, but moving me around in bed isn't an option.

Either the bed, me, or both have changed that I need to be in an exact position in order to do much. If I'm not, my neck, trach button, and mouth start hurting. I have been thinking of ways to minimize movement in the evening so I can stay properly planted. I believe I have a plan, but I'll only find out with testing it.

In any case, it should be an interesting week in the quad life. I'll be using my Amazon Echo to remind me of household chores and try to keep track of groceries. I'm not fond of getting out in the predicted temps, but I hope they will increase as days get closer. As always, only time will tell what God has in store for another week.