Friday, August 24, 2007

Clouds, Stars and Sky

About an hour ago I was on my back porch, having my last "commune with nature" for the day - by which I mean that period of the day before I sleep. And "commune with nature" is my husband's euphemism for me sneaking out to the back porch to smoke.

I've noticed a disturbing trend of me taking an electronic game (Yahtzee or Solitaire) out with me, but then I concentrate on the game, and don't do much observing. So for my last peach cigarette of the "day", I forced myself to put down the Solitaire game and look at the sky.

The temperature reached 107 F here today, but there were some nice clouds in the sky.

Tonight, I looked up and could not tell if there were a few wispy white clouds in an otherwise clear sky, or a sky full of clouds only broken up by the light of the waxing gibbous moon showing through the thin spots. Then I saw a patch of darker sky with no clouds, as shown by the dozen or so stars twinkling. I came to the conclusion that it was a little of all of my possibilities.

There were no trains or cars that went by, so it was relatively quiet - except, of course, for the chorus of "dueling crickets and tree frogs" with shows every night.

I love small towns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday Madness

DH was late getting home from his morning errands. Late as in 2:00 pm. I usually leave for work around 1 pm ... I only start work at 2:45, but if I don't get there by about 1:30, I might as well park at Walmart and walk (not a good idea in the heat and humidity) or call a cab (financially unfeasible). He got caught behind an accident on Hwy 70, and didn't even get the shopping done. So we piled the whole family (we homeschool) in the car and they dropped me off at work at about 2:30. I even put on make-up today just to keep from looking at the clock so much.

About work? I think I need to start another whole blog for that one, called something like "CMA" for (Cover My A$$). I work at a residential/teaching facility for adults with MR/DD (mental retardation/developmental disabilities), in one of the homes with the lower functioning, less healthy "individuals". The people used to be called "residents", then "clients"; "individuals" is the latest in a long line of pc terms for the "individuals" who reside at the facility.

Today was frustrating because I forgot to take my Effexor (an anti-depressant). Why is someone with chronic depression working at a facility such as I do? Well, my depression is caused by a chemical imbalance and handles quite nicely with medication, thank you. And I guess we were too busy for me to have much time to think about not having taken my med earlier in the day. Then there was the arriving much later than usual thing.

Thirdly, in the past couple of weeks, when the certain set of staff that was there today was working, one certain co-worker, who has the same rank as the rest of us that have been there, has 'taken over' the paperwork. Why is this a problem? We have 7 residents in our 'cottage' and four staff. She has always assigned herself one and everyone else had two. Two is quite doable, but one is a breeze.

At mealtime, there is quite a lot of preparation of the food trays that are sent up from the kitchen. Most of the ladies require thickened liquids and food that is chopped, ground or pureed. The food comes up prepared (unless the kitchen has made a mistake), but we handle the drinks. On a good day, we have pre-thickened drinks which is cause for mild celebration. But it gives a lot of extra work, so in the past several months, it has been the custom for the person who had the 'kitchen' to have only one individual to bathe and assist. But this woman has given herself one individual whether or not she had kitchen. And she doesn't do a whole lot in the miscellaneous cleaning department either.

Why not bring this up to our senior staff? Well, our senior staff, this co-worker of which I am writing and one other staff are thick as thieves and will shortly all have the same days off. When I brought it up to the senior last week, along the lines of having kitchen and one individual, she said, "I (or was it the royal 'we') think that's not going to work anymore." I'm going to try one more time tomorrow, and if nothing happens, then I will go over the senior's head to the supervisor. *sigh* I hate conflict, but I'm not willing to be walked all over anymore.

Not that this has anything to do with anything, but my 'senior' is pregnant, so she won't be able to do any lifting for nine months or so. While I am happy for her, if you can't lift in our cottage, you don't belong there. This is important because most of our individuals are in wheelchairs and require either a platform lift or sling lift and pedestal bathtub for bathing. Some are unsteady on their feet and require two people to transport.

There are a total of 7 staff members in my cottage, or more correctly, my side of the cottage. OK, one is pregnant-that makes 6 who can do all the work. But wait, two are mid to late 50's and often have complaints of stomach or joint problems - that makes 4 who can do all the work. But wait (and you don't get Ginsu steak knives with this offer), one has talked constantly for at least a month of a needed operation and how she doesn't have insurance and how she never eats - so take it down to three. But wait, one of our staff is an instructor for the crisis management system under investigation for use at the facility, so she is hardly ever there - make that two staffers left. That would be me and a younger woman who has been there for about 2 weeks. It takes at least a month to feel comfortable with the work required.

There has got to be a better way.

Since my family had to come and pick me up from work, it was really nice to have my 9 and 10 year old sons get out of the car and come up to hug me. My 4 year old daughter was asleep in back of the car. It was 11:00 pm after all. The alternative was to work until 7am and all the kids to wake up earlier than to which they are used (I'm too tired to worry about correct grammar, but I still hope that is right). But my "individual", so named because I have been assigned to her care nearly every day since I started work in that cottage has an ILP (Individual Life Plan) annual meeting tomorrow and I plan to be there, to make suggestions as to her future year's plan. She is like a sister to me almost - about 5 years older than me, about my size and height and a LOT more capable than most people give her credit for. She doesn't have much family to speak of, at least not that are allowed to visit - as she was placed in the facility by court order due to verified family abuse.

Anyway, DH pointed out that it is "very late" and as I have a full day of homeschooling and working tomorrow (and the next 3 days after that), I better toddle off to bed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dear Diary ...

Dear Diary,

I'm feeling guilty. My husband seems to have one medical issue after another, and I'm feeling caregiver's burnout.

A couple of months ago, he needed his gallbladder out. His dad took him to the hospital while I stayed home with the kids. They left at 7 am and were supposed to be out around noon. The afternoon wore on and I heard nothing. Finally they came in the driveway and DH handed me a bag and said to go put it in the garbage, that he had thrown up on the way home.

As it turned out, the hospital did a few things they weren't supposed to, didn't do a few things they should have, and hubby's throat closed up, his breathing and heart stopped. They got him back, stabilized him and SENT HIM HOME, gallbladder and hiatal hernia intact. We have a lawsuit on them and apparently now their lawyers are talking settlement.

We wound up taking him to Lexington a couple weeks later, where he did have his gallbladder out. Some of the sludge or a stone had apparently already gotten loose and made its way into the bile duct leading to the pancreas. He developed pancreatitis, which necessitated a second trip to the hospital. He stayed the weekend, and the kids and I stayed in a motel instead of driving back and forth every day.

So we get home and things go well for a couple of weeks.

This last Friday, he developed a bad earache. I had volunteered to work over in my home at the MR/DD facility where I work, but it turned out they didn't need me, so I went home at the regular time. Saturday morning, DH went to the ER (his 5th trip in 3 months). They told him he had a spider on his eardrum, which had bitten it. The doctor said it wasn't a black widow, but they were not sure what kind of spider it was. They're sending it somewhere and we'll find out in a couple of days. In the meantime, he has some ear drops.

I want to be a more loving, caring wife and mother. I do. But I'm tired. I work outside the home and he watches the kids. DH could have a well-paying job (he is a wizard with computers), but his bipolar disorder is not under control and he always manages to lose a job after a week or two. We also homeschool our 3 children, and I have wound up doing the majority of that. When I'm home from work, he wants a break from the kids ... I understand that. About the only time I get to myself is driving to and from work. Sometimes I have considered taking the scenic route there or back.

When payday comes, the family piles in the car and we head to the bank and someplace that has groceries (usually WalMart). Then the kids want a toy, and DH usually 'needs' something for the computer. I felt guilty buying some mascara for the exorbitant prince of $1.99 last time.

I don't think my Effexor is working anymore ... at least not like it used to.

Somehow this will all work out.