Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stealing Some Time

Saul went off to Chestnut Hill College to take care of business for a few hours yesterday morning before the semester starts on Monday. They had scheduled him to teach a course in web design (Dreamweaver) twice a week from 8 to 10:30 p.m. without his knowledge until a contract came in the mail a few days ago. Since his stroke last year, he had let them know that starting classes at 8:00 a.m. and then teaching until 10:30 p.m. was just too strenuous a day, but apparently no one remembered that when the catalog of courses was set. While he was gone, I caught up on some housework, some computer work, responded to some email and spent some time on the phone with my friend Roxy. While we were speaking, Saul called to say he was on his way home and wouldn't mind having lunch out. We have been enjoying our former status as dinks (double income, no kids) this week by taking long lunches together between work and caring for Mom. I asked Roxy if she would like to meet us somewhere between our homes for lunch and we all decided to have lunch at Blue Sage, a vegetarian restaurant we all positively love. Lunch was excellent as usual. Saul and I shared a beet and pumpkin soup with wasabi cream. He had the Farmhouse Cubano sandwich and I had the El Fino Wrap. Although I am trying to cut down on carbs, the chocolate panini dessert is one of my favorite dessert combinations of all time and I have learned to make some pretty spectacular ones as a caterer for eleven years. I reveled in every bite of it. Life is worth living and ignoring putting on a few extra pounds because of desserts like this one. We had a delicious and leisurely lunch for two hours before heading back home to crank out some more work. I took a one-hour nap and awoke to talk with Ari on his cell phone as he headed home from work.

Mom was not in a good state yesterday. She drank orange juice and ate oatmeal through a straw, but at least she sat at the kitchen table. Before we left, I made her a smoothie with a vanilla yogurt, a bottle of Ensure, and a few home-canned peaches. She had finished it in the kitchen by the time we left for lunch and immediately went back to bed. Saul made the mistake of giving her medication before she had her soup last night and she refused to eat more than a few mouthfuls before heading off to bed. No amount of pleading or browbeating could get any more food into her, nor could we find any way to encourage her to sit up a little longer even to watch the game shows she always loved on t.v. Watching t.v. jut seems to annoy her now. Someone from Abington Hospital called to follow up on her since her hospital stay for dehydration. The woman to whom I spoke was really not equipped to answer the difficult questions I was posing and felt that the geriatric assessment was the best course of action under the circumstances.

Saul and I stayed up late last night because I had not had a chance to finish watching the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics that we had recorded on TiVo and Saul joined me after working on the computer for a few hours to see the parts he had missed. A little before 4 a.m. Mom buzzed us on the intercom. She said she was choking, but she sounded okay. I ran to her room as quickly as I could and found that she had taken off the bra she was wearing under her clothing (she has been sleeping in her clothing for a long time now, but has begun wearing her sneakers into bed as well and refuses to let me remove them) and had disconnected at least one of the three contacts to her heart monitor which set the receptor monitor beeping in a very annoying fashion. She was not really choking at all. I had to go back and get Saul, who has been dealing with the mechanical aspects of the monitor. We spent the next hour replacing all the contacts, twice, while on the phone with a very helpful employee of the monitoring organization. After the second set of contacts and rebooting the system twice, the infernal beeping continued. We were advised that a new monitor receiver would arrive in about two days and that there was a "silence" button that we could press. We were advised not to unplug anything or the whole process would have to start over again from day one. About five minutes after we were back in bed, Mom called again to say that the beeping had resumed. We all decided to try to ignore it and went back to sleep. Saul got up about 8 a.m. to make sure that Mom had some orange juice and found that somehow, miraculously, the whole thing was back online and was happily chugging along silently. I stole an extra hour of sleep.

Mom drank an Ensure straight this morning, but did not touch her oatmeal all day. She moaned through most of the time she was in the kitchen chair, but said she was not in pain, nor could she explain why she was moaning. Her nurse called to say that he would be later than his scheduled 9 a.m. visit and would be here between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Saul and I had 12 p.m. dentist appointments and had to leave before he arrived. Mom was very unhappy about having to get out of bed to sit in an easy chair near the door to wait for him, but we were delighted to have a valid excuse to get her out of bed. I spoke with him on her cell when he arrived and he said all her vital signs were perfect again. He suggested that he alternate with a psychiatric nurse when we discussed the upcoming geriatric assessment and I agreed. Saul realized that the physical therapist had not come last week, and Eric realized that the physical therapist, who was on vacation, did not realize that Mom had been sent home from the hospital within 24 hours of being admitted. He told us that physical therapy would resume next week.

After our satisfactory routine dental checkups, we stopped at Produce Junction in Hatboro and continued on to Wegman's in Warrington, where we shared a bowl of soup for lunch. Mom had not touched her oatmeal, but had eaten a yogurt we had opened and left on the table and had finished a large mug of herbal tea with milk from the morning along with one medjool date. She will not eat two and I am hoping that she is eating a few of the fresh grapes and blueberries I leave on the table, but I am not sure that she does. Saul keeps a count of a package of graham crackers that she keeps in her room and finds that she has occasionally eaten one. The home health care aide came today also, so she was sponge-bathed and in clean clothes when we arrived home. The aide had piled her dirty clothes and towels in the laundry room neatly and I washed and folded them. Mom would not let her change the sheets, but she was put on notice that that would happen the next time she came. Mom likes the woman and I think she will let her do what she is supposed to do.

Our friend, Faith Rubin, had called earlier in the day and we had arranged to meet for an early dinner. We were joined by our friend, Larry Shipper, and all of us met up at The Cheesecake Factory in Willow Grove Mall. Larry offered to go along with us after synagogue on Saturday morning to visit Saul's Mom who has now been in assisted living at Lion's Gate in Voorhees, NJ, for almost a month, the amount of time his sister Rif said they recommend avoiding contact while the resident adjusts to the new lifestyle. We will call Lion's Gate tomorrow to see if we can visit.

Mom had a bowl of soup for dinner when we returned, which she again insisted on drinking through a straw, took her medication, and went immediately to bed. Ten minutes later, we awoke her to sing "Happy Birthday" into Beth's voice mail. During the day, Mom had remembered that it was Beth's birthday and had asked to be included when we called her. Beth called back later this evening to tell us she would be joining us for Shabbat dinner tomorrow evening. She turned down my proffered cheesecake for her birthday cake, but when pressed, said she would like a coconut cake. I had concocted a great recipe for a three-layer coconut cake a few years back when I hosted a black and white party, and it has been a family favorite ever since. If you would like the recipe, you will have to request it in a comment.

It is now 11:30 p.m. I don't know where the time goes when I sit down to blog. Saul is still plugging away on his computer also. I hope we get to sleep for eight hours tonight. I can make do with less if I can catch cat naps during the day, but Saul really doesn't function as well unless he gets them uninterrupted.

1 comment:

sabasenders said...

The monitoring unit for the heart is Cardionet some information is available at,10801,83996,00.html
I will not be teaching the night course and all is, so far, well. ;-)