Squirrel !

Squirrel

I have the attention span of a flea.

Could be my historic ADHD, or it could be that I am no longer tied to a fixed time table, allowing my messy tendencies to take over my life.  Whatever it is, I’m currently:

– Cooking a pulled pork meal in the slow cooker

– Cleaning the cat’s room

– Writing this blog

– Taking a nap (seriously)

– Trying to publicize our upcoming shows

– Trying to update our website

– Calling a friend to see if she wants to go for a walk by the shoreline on Sunday

I can never do just one thing.  Never.

Meanwhile, I was supposed to get out of bed, tag some jewelry, and deliver it to our store in Salinas.  Yep.  Squirrel !  That so didn’t happen today.

Now, it’s many hours later.

– The pulled pork is done and made eight (8) different meals (I love the freezer – so much less waste).

– I just finished changing the cat’s water and replenishing the kibble (she got pork drippings earlier for dinner – I know, I’m a bad cat parent feeding her people food)

– I’ve had at least two (2) naps, as my ankles are horribly swollen since it was in the 80’s today

– The website didn’t get updated

– The original blog post that caused this stream of thought, a brilliant blog about dealing with Anxiety, never got pimped (until now, even though I’ve completely lost my train of thought about why it was so good).

– And, I’m about to sit down and make some more jewelry as I’ll be heading to Salinas tomorrow, if all goes well.  One can never tell what my reality will be vs. what I plan for it to be the night before.  Squirrel !

 

The Buddy System

 

4C9BB0E5-7F53-4E7E-91DC-64D2C3E160B1

Since I’ve been back from vacation, Herself has taking to cuddling more than ever with me.

While she was grooming me and patting my hair before I left, now she’s cuddling up with me and laying her paws along my neck, which turns out to be a very comforting gesture for both of us.

 

731E35CA-CE3E-4877-BA5A-2E659487AD1A

My very good friend and former boss, F, lost her mind in the 3 weeks or so that we were out of contact.  I came home from vacation to find her phone disconnected, and a variety of packing boxes and kitty litter boxes on the patio when I stopped by to see what was happening.  Very disturbing.

Since then, I’ve found that she was conserved against her will and for her own safety due to increased dementia or Alzheimers issues.

While this is good in many ways, ending the whole, “How do you know?” debate over when to act and when someone is safe to leave alone, I’m really struggling with the fact that F, my former boss and mentor and friend since 1988 is being disrespected as part of being conserved.

Having tried unsuccessfully to get Las Vegas Auntie the help she needs while working through the system, I can’t say what’s being done to aid F is the best way to handle things, but I can also say that she does need assistance (and supervision, when she’s hit a dead zone in her brain and is speaking nonsense), but that I’m frustrated on her behalf because she’s not being included (no matter how frustrating it may be) on things which will impact her quality of life.

In my oh-so-humble opinion.

F picked the Memory Care / Senior Assisted Living Center where she’s been moved.  The problem is that she picked it across the street from her senior center so that she could continue to go to classes and events there, and she is now no longer able to go without company or supervision.  She’s been artificially restrained to the grounds of her care home unless someone signs her out, and that seems too harsh to me.

Don’t get me wrong – her private, 1 bedroom apartment is very spacious, and sunny, and they permitted her to bring her 3 cats, so her personal comfort has been given a great deal of thought:

 

So, things are not as dire as they could be, and she seems relatively happy.

F has always been a walker and a biker, and at 82 was still driving well despite her memory issues.

Now, all of that is gone.

So, I stopped by again yesterday to take her to breakfast – we were walking the .08 miles each way – both to give her an outlet, as well as give me some much needed exercise.

The day went well, and she asked me if I’d drive her to Costco to pick up her contact lenses after breakfast (she hasn’t had any in almost 2 weeks, making it hard for her to see in detail), and also asked if I’d stop by her home to see what’s happening since P, the friend who is handling most details, isn’t keeping her informed.

Not a problem, as long as my energy lasts.  NOTE:  I live in the boonies, so every day in life now involves counting my spoons of energy, and making sure that I stop before I’m tired so that I have enough energy left to make the 45 minutes (or longer) drive home.

Second side note:  F was an incredible boss and mentor.  Always polished.  Always organized.  We used to have an ongoing joke among her direct reports that we’d get “frantic-grams” during any involved project that wasn‘t moving fast enough for her sense of necessary timing for accomplishing or completing a task.

F was worried about her stuff – (even though she’d agreed that the stuff left behind was to be sold to help her raise some much needed money) – and she was frustrated about how slowly the workers were moving, dragging out the time involved in getting her home ready for sale.

So, I agreed to take her on both errands, knowing that I had signed her out until Noon and had to have her checked back in by that time, or I’d be getting a call.

Upon arrival, F was concerned her patio gate wasn’t locked.  She was upset that she found a box of Fenton  glass collectible shoes outside.  Ditto her doll chairs, where her teddy bears used to reside.

 

[P, the person stepping up to handle F’s affairs, is excluding Fran from progress updates, leading to F’s level of upset from not being kept in the loop].

So, we went through the house and she found all of her dirty laundry had been left behind, along with a few family pictures that would be of interest to no one else.

We also found 12 pair of contact lenses left behind, so that eliminated our need to go to Costco, as my energy was running down.

After packing F, the laundry and the family pictures up, we left her condo and returned to the care home.  No fuss.  No arguing.  Just very matter of fact.

Yes, F was using the wrong words to describe things (I’m in trouble and kept locked up because I “wander”, not because she is a champion “walker”).  Similar words, but with very different impact when used improperly.

Also:  Her doctor is an evil man who ordered her confined to her new care home.

Plus:  The police won’t let her leave her care home.

There is nothing keeping F in her new care home beyond the prison of her own mind, and her law-abiding personality for trusting those in authority.  She has a natural respect of those in charge.

F is confused, which is normal for people with dementia, but she’s also cowed (not her original personality), and not at all combative.

IMHO, F should be involved more in having her questions answered and her mind put at ease, but P does not appear to feel that’s reasonable to do.  P does not see the disrespect with which she’s treating F, making her frustration with the process worse.

I have no answers, as I know what happens when one care barely function (like Las Vegas Auntie), and is left alone to play in traffic without consistent adult supervision.

For now, I’m just concentrating on the buddy system for ensuring F gets out and about to enjoy life while leaving the heavier burdens in others hands to address.

Hopefully, things will level out given time.

 

 

Spoons

I can’t tell if I’m lazy or tired.  I can’t tell if I’m the source of the problem, or if forces beyond my control are holding me back and limiting me.

CE39087D-0814-4328-B541-D23B7916A388

Every day, it’s a challenge of positive thinking and trying vs. very real exhaustion and pain, plus limited financial resources.

Today’s the day my 2016 taxes were supposed to be done in order to comply with the law and get my refund.

Well, I missed that deadline.  Despite working on my  taxes with great intent since December.

…Is it my old nemesis, Laziness?

…Is it my “You’re not the boss of me!” reactionary thinking?

Today’s spoon theory above is contrasting with the, “Achievers do this” meme, below:

30972E1B-5A5F-4912-A7E8-902C3C1C64C7

While I know I’m willing to embrace change and fail in order to make progress in my life, I’m finding I have zip for “staying power”.  While I do accept full responsibility for my behavior, what does that mean in the bigger picture of my exhaustion causing me very real dollars in terms of handling my responsibilities?

No idea at this point, but since I’m sitting here writing a blog instead of getting on with life, I’m voting for some sort of laziness and ennui bolstering my very real exhaustion as demonstrated by the spoon theory / battery life poster:

F637DAFD-4A92-431C-81C3-32B88CAA1218

When you’re on vacation, there are distractions to keep your adrenaline pumping and driving you to keep up.  At home?  When I’m chilled and trying to find my motivation?  Nope.

lol_designs_feat-1024x580

Today has now become a new chance to clean up an old mess or failure.

 

Tarpon and breathing

During our snorkel tour in Belize, our tour guide, Omar, took us on a side trip to see and feed the tarpon.

Unfortunately, I found that I was no longer able to breathe and lay on my stomach AT ALL.  I’m sad to say that I couldn’t last more than 30-45 seconds on my stomach, so my attempt at feeding the tarpon was wasted, but it was still great to see them swimming and see others try.

So much of our lives with COPD is spent on the sidelines that it’s important to not forget to TRY.  There is joy in the trying, even if one fails.

Being competitive, though, I was relieved to note that I wasn’t the only one who could not feed the tarpon.

They were beautiful to see, though.  What a great adventure !

Adventures

vs. Reality.

243E57DE-D0D3-42DF-A5DD-B9B45D9DE4DF

This is my cousin T in Harvest Caye, Belize.  She’s one of the strongest, most determined women I know.

When I arranged for T to participate in the cruise with other cousins, a spouse and friends, I knew she was a tough cookie, dealing with a bum leg that she’d refused to amputate, despite the fact that the broken ankle had led to bone failure as it deteriorated, and the fact that T is in incredible pain each day.

When I found her in baggage claim in New Orleans, she was very much as you see her now, with a bad leg due to a hip replacement on her left, and a failing leg on her right, with the bonus addition of 3 broken toes !

But, like the rest of the stubborn cusses in our family, T is nothing if not resilient.

054F2A8D-511C-421C-99C8-A112AA5F7E2E

So, I thought I’d arranged a handicapped-suitable reef tour boat, with a swim-up dive platform and easy access on and off the boat when swimming from the shore off which we’d be moored.

You know, something like this:

 

No such luck !

Instead, I’d chosen a tour that changes its itinerary based on the whims of the winds and current, and we ended up going out to the reef on a speed boat with a rickety ladder for climbing on and off the boat.

DA6B291E-DDF1-4FB8-9575-299FED7B5436.png

It wasn’t until AFTER we got on the boat that we’d found the itinerary had changed, and that we’d be climbing on and off the side of the boat from the moveable (and rickety) ladder, and that we’d be traveling about 30-45 minutes at high rates of speed to get to the snorkeling sites chosen for that day.

Roh-oh…

So, I took off my baseball cap and used it to cover my nose and mouth, ensuring that the speed of the boat didn’t cause the breeze generated to steal my wind.

I also tucked my body as far forward as possible, under the covered part of the boat, to stay out of the breeze.  No way did I want my choice to snorkel causing breathing problems or even a risk of a cold or pneumonia.

The bouncing of the boat was hard on my body, but our captain was good and kept the bouncing to a minimum.

Once we arrived at our drop off point for the guided reef swim (NOT what I’d agreed to)  to begin, T and I stayed behind on the boat while the Roomie swam off with the tour.

62F7855F-009B-4561-94A4-E3FAD9184E71

The captain and his crew could not have been nicer or more considerate to the two of us remaining on the boat.

He rigged up a life preserver and a rope for both me and T to hang on to the boat while snorkeling, and I’m glad he did as I did not have the strength to fight the waves and stay near the boat without assistance.  Just too much energy was needed, and the waves were too strong.

AF21956B-78D0-40E1-99CB-EB26D0053373

When it came time to get back on the boat, the three (3) crew members assisted us both on and off the boat so that we didn’t hurt any of our existing handicaps worse than they already were.

We swam at two stops, where the boat went ahead of the stronger reef swimmers to be able to meet at specific points for anyone ready to climb back onto the boat, and then we went off to a third location where the boat stopped to allow everyone to swim with the manta rays and nurse sharks.  (Being tired out and a big chicken, I stayed on the boat during that stop), although my for er Roomie loved it.

 

At the end of the day, I love snorkeling, BUT…  I’m still afraid of deep water and big fish (thank you Steven Spielberg and JAWS), but it was a great day where we all got sunburned, at least a bit.

Heading back to our cruise ship, I retired to a cabana in the Vibe beach club area, to hide from the sun while warming up and taking a nap.

It doesn’t matter how much or how little energy I have to do any of the planned excursions – any day at sea is the best kind of day for me.

972439F2-3F17-497D-B60D-DCEF3AA7FD2E

 

Do they know?

 

3743C458-B4A1-4BDA-AA5C-0255E91BE569

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say all that’s on my mind, and I’m stumped.  No one wants to be a Debbie Downer, but the passing of others from our lives, regardless of how on the periphery they may have been, is something that should be dignified by others notice.  Others consideration.  Others contemplation of what awaits us all when we finally retire from this mortal plain.

I started the day with a reference to “Cadence” in a beautiful story about Sam in a coffee shop named Cadence.

5F66B51E-48BB-4BD5-BDC0-67C7CF208BF2

Silly me, I had hoped it was about my former employer, a software manufacturer named “Cadence”, and I eagerly looked into the story about Sam, envisioning someone talented working  as part of the kitchen staff of my old employer, now relocated to somewhere in Utah.

Instead, I found some old writings about a coffee shop, located I know not where (yet), and in reading other blogs by the author, Shannon, I read about “George”, a seemingly homeless or very much marginalized man who was struggling with stomache cancer and no meds to help him eat, way back in 2016.

I know it’s silly to want to know what happened to George, as the odds are against him still being around, but these are the things I wonder about.

Yesterday, I went to my Better Breathers Class, and I found that a woman I’d enjoyed meeting with once a month for the last 2-3 years had also passed.  Linda Sloan was quite a character, determined to enjoy life despite her situation, and I heard about her two cats every month.

Now having it confirmed that she had passed, I wondered about the two cats and how they were doing.  I tried to track down her obituary and that of Hiroko, who passed at the end of February.

While Hiroko’s husband and she were mentioned in a Florida obituary from 2006, upon the passing of her father-in-law, there was still no obit for Hiroko.  Her husband had stopped by to let her respiratory specialists know of her passing, but there’s still nothing in the newspapers to alert the wider world of her former chiropractic patients and friends about her passing.

Linda’s obit, unfortunately, was even sadder after I’d found it.

484E7B0A-45A8-48A7-BFE9-315BA9F3C5D8

No mention of friends, family or cats.

I don’t know which is sadder – the news blackout with no obit, or the very plain notice of Linda’s passing, without regard to her origins or any loved ones left behind.

Just a bit melancholy today, despite smiling at George’s dire circumstances and his upbeat outlook on life way back in 2016, “Oh I’ll be alright now!!  Got me some medicine to help me keep my food down!”

Our world is a snapshot of us convincing ourselves everything will be ok.  Regardless of the realities we face, we are resilient in our stubbornness.

 

Mimi

A874CA8B-6FF7-4BD1-8C64-0062C6313FA8

As I wrote last week in, Burning Bridges, I have zero patience for being needlessly frustrated.  After being told I couldn’t have my preferred and necessary prescription to breathe, and after being told that my pulmonologist, an expert on my breathing situation, was no longer allowed to treat me, I booted the HMO to the curb.

Then, I ran into car trouble and money trouble, compounding the tight budget issue, but I wasn’t worried about it as I can go without my meds if I’m careful.   I also choose to have an extra month’s supply on hand in the event of an emergency, as I know how often things hit the fan in my vicinity.  So, I’m using my emergency supply this month instead of refilling my medications, saving me at least $400 in out of pocket expenses.

Today, we’re 33,000 feet in the air when my VoIP internet based phone rings, freaking me out, as well as the woman beside me.

We all know we’re supposed to have our phones and devices in “airplane” mode for safety.  Mine was.  The problem, instead, is one of manners versus safety.  Because I was signed on to the airplane wifi, my VoIP phone was working as it should and ringing.  But, I couldn’t stop it ringing by declining the call to send it to voicemail – my only option was to answer it or let it ring.

EF931A60-2B77-4599-87CD-0F59408C3247

There wasn’t a “decline” button anywhere to be seen, so I had to endure panicked and angry looks from the woman next to me who knew darned well that no one should be getting calls, as the phone kept ringing and ringing…  Guilty.

I knew we were safe and I wasn’t doing anything to endanger lives or interfere with the safe operation of our aircraft, but how do I explain that to the folks around me?

Luckily, the call eventually went to voicemail, where an Ernestine-like woman from my now terminated health plan was calling me to ask if I was ok?  If I needed help in ordering my medications?  If I needed financial assistance in affording my medications?

It was all I could do to leave her a polite vmail later in the day, after arriving in Tampa, to explain that I was no longer a member due to their program denying my prescriptions, ignoring my written complaints, and that I found it ludicrous that she’d try and help me find a way to afford my medications when they denied me the long-established drug benefits in the first place.  Heck, I’d still be a member if they hadn’t tried to rework and deny all my long standing medical care choices and requirements.

Mimi and her team of pharmacy compliance specialists may be good at their jobs, but if they hadn’t debated my doctor’s prescriptions in the first place, Mimi and company wouldn’t need their roles in the second place.

Hoping that I won’t get anymore unwanted calls while traveling, I still swear by the VoIP phone service via the ipad as the best way to save money on telephone and messaging costs.