Monday, December 26, 2016

Keep on Keeping On to the New Year

Today, my sister had her first shower in about three months. I had bought this shower chair that slides from one side to another. The hitch was getting her on the chair.

To get on the chair, she had to slide from her wheelchair to the right side. She is partially blind to the right. Add to that all of her practice to move is to the left, her strong side. Subtract from that my stubbornness. Add to that she was scared to do it. She wound up on the floor. She almost made it but a change in plans caused her to move back to the wheel chair which can move even when locked. It wasn't a fall. I held her weight and lowered her.  Good thing I had mopped the floor with bleach previously.

I retrieved the trusty lift. It had never been used; much less put together. The instructions were who knows where. Good thing I had read them and remembered the advice to use petroleum jelly to get the mast of the lift to slide into the base.  But she was lifted to the shower chair within ten minutes.

The shower took about two and a half hours. I did not time it. This includes the time lost moving her to the shower chair and for getting my sister dressed and our daily exercises to work her right side. It normally takes about this long to get my sister together. Besides having the remote to the satellite for the television in the living room marinate in diet mountain dew; everything is going well. Most of the remote works. Hopefully, the rest will work as it dries internally.

Even though my body can be quite creaky, I have been fairly strong in helping my sister. It comes in handy being of good pioneer stock. My sister has the strength, just not the balance. Add to that some of the weird things her right side can do. When moving from the bed to the wheelchair, she said she wasn't going to be able to stand a long time. I look down, her right leg is lifted. She is standing on one leg, I have her to lower to the bed for the next try.  I don't think I could stand on one leg.

Tomorrow, we get in and out of the car two times. I have casually said we would stop to eat in a restaurant. My sister is keen on that. Creating castles in the air comes too easy for me. If she is game, I will do it. I will bring the lift. Meanwhile, we are going to the doctor's office. Tonight, I will burn the midnight oil to get her disability paper work done.

My adventure with online shopping continues. Vetmed is a vendor for Walmart. I purchased a Bariatric commode with foldable arms. The one we have now is rickety and I have it braced against a wall. This commode is supposed to hold 1000 pounds. With my sister's problem, she will not take offense at that weight load. My thinking was force. We try to lower slowly to manage the drop. But in case we don't that 1000 pound sounds good.

Well the commode was supposed to be delivered on December 21. It was delivered December 22nd to some lucky woman in Sacramento, CA who took the package from the UPS driver. I waited until the next morning to make sure it was not somewhere around my house in Fort Valley, GA during the clear light of day.  I've sent an email. With Christmas and the 1 to 2 business day wait, well who knows. The negotiation of the lift that was never delivered has made me reluctant to complain.

I can imagine the wonder of receiving that gift to the folks in Sacramento California.

It could be coincidence that they ordered the same thing. I looked up my street address and there is one identical in Sacramento on Google Map.

Meanwhile, the weather is wonderful. The rain is regular and short. Some of us have bad colds in the house. My bully dog is enamored with my sister. She has a hard time believing that she can't sleep on the hospital bed with my sister. I've been sleeping on a mattress in the floor of the living room so I can hear my sister if she needs help at night. It is getting crowded with the bully, my chihuahua mix and sister's dachshund. We use four blankets. The chihuahua and dachshund roll up in a blanket. The bully likes the idea and now does the same thing. I have a major yard dog with sensitive skin and a major case of the airs.

I'm getting the house ready for New Years. We have a big New Year's meal. We eat hog jowls, black eye peas, turnip greens, crackling bread. We are even buying a cake from the bakery. We have a lot to celebrate. Another year and we are all still together. My brother comes to ours and then his wife's family. Her family makes a pork roast, sauer kraut and dumplings. It sounds good. If I wasn't going to be so busy making our meal, I would go to hers. Frankly, both meals are a bit hard on us mature folks.

What do you serve for your New Year's feast?

Louise looking at my sister.


Two old ladies chilling




BoDuke being his cute little self.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Art of Idleness

The new room looks great. Like most things, there are disappointments. But they are relatively small. I didn't think about getting a few extra electrical outlets. There are three in total. I'm getting the roof replaced next. Inside the house, I am having to push my sister to stay up and exercise. I haven't had a stroke and hope I never do.  She has walked with a good physical therapist by her side. The regular one will be back next week.

Meanwhile I miss my pastime and truly serious hobby which is being lazy. I like to sit in my recliner, surf the net, comment on blogs, read books. Perhaps leave late in the evening and meet up with my friends at a health club I belong to. We get in the pool and slowly walk back and forth and talk. We talk a lot of nothing. Politics are off limits which improves the conversation.
Cotton harvest stored in Pecan orchard

The occupational therapist that visits my sister is great. He has mentioned an inpatient program that my sister could participate in. My sister's mind is good. It is just that in the beginning, she was disoriented. Now, she would like to lay in bed all day. I'm hoping to get her in that program.

She will get disability from her federal job eventually and can live free in my house. She could pay for caregivers to give me some relief. I would rather her use those funds to take a cruise, travel, go to a spa and enjoy life a little. The ability is there to walk again. I know to not push too hard.

I am insisting she sit up in her wheelchair most of the day. Right now, I have told her after her fitted sheet gets dry in the dryer, she can lay down. I taped Saturday Night Live and we are playing that. You all know what I am doing. I'm keeping her up another 30 minutes. She can take a nap. But at 5 PM, she is back in the wheelchair. At the moment she is pushing her chair to the bedroom which is progress to independence.

All I can think is folks take care of your health. As much as the grind of taking care of my sister has become for the entire family, my sister has it rough. I bought fried chicken from a popular chicken take out place. It was great. My sister enjoyed hers. She had a terrible stomach problem because of it. Eating hospital food for two months has made her system sensitive.

What troubles me the most is her quietness.  I no longer talk for her with the nurse or therapists.

Christmas seems to hurtle quickly each year. Some folks relish the holiday. I worked at Rich's Department Store. One gal had Christmas eve off. She and her mother were in the store just before closing on Christmas eve. They weren't shopping. They just loved the hustle and bustle of the frenzied shopping.

Not having children and a small family, Christmas has been a quiet day for me over the years. I've been lucky in that I don't have depression over the holidays which afflicts many people. My dad passed away on December 18, 2000. Even though that date should paralyze me, it doesn't. I miss my father. My big regret is that I did not move home while he was alive. I did make a point to spend a day with him and my mother the last year of his life.

One thing I do know, is our lives are like the wind. You don't really notice the wind. But it happens quickly, quietly. My Christmas wish for everyone is take care of yourself. Don't criticize yourself. Make the best of all your days. They are your greatest gift. Even the time you squander reading all the Clickfarm news you knew better than click.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Just Keep Your Feet Moving

Get up in the morning and put your feet on the ground and just keep moving. This is the advice the nurse practitioner Christina Johnson gave me in reference to facing hectic days.

This past Wednesday and Thursday, I knew I had impossible days. There was no way I was going to be able to do all I had to do. I am in still in that boat. I have got to do my sister's paperwork for retirement and get her social security application supplemental materials submitted. Luckily I went by her house and got her mail to find the request.

I live with shifting priorities, not completing anything is the rule of thumb. I'm hoping in a few months that she will have an income and I can hire someone to help care for her. She is a full time job in itself. Tonight she is being relatively quiet. I have been getting her out of the bed and sitting in her wheelchair.

As much as she would like to take a real shower, she does not relish my suggestion to have her move from the wheelchair to the shower chair and back. But that is going to happen after breakfast tomorrow. Soap and water is good for the soul. And I am shopping for a bedside commode with a detachable arm so she can transfer from the bed to the commode.

Progress has been made in so many ways. It was hard to see at first.

The day after she was first admitted to the hospital, the diagnosis was she would regain her ability to walk and use her hand but the peripheral vision loss was permanent.

Then a week at Emory University Hospital.

Then three weeks at Coliseum Hospital Stroke Rehab. Maybe she would not walk.

Three more weeks at a Nursing Home Rehab when I watched the skilled CNA transfer her to bed in the evening with a TIMBER type of approach.

Coming home, my sister was afraid to get out of bed. Then the at-home nurse and physical therapist began to visit. . They transferred her from bed to wheelchair and back. So yesterday, we began. My sister wanted to give up. I told her she couldn't go on like a sack of potatoes on the bed. Transfer happened.

I know everything will get easier in time. I'm having my garage changed into a room. It will be my bedroom/workroom. I learned a long time ago to hire a worker but not try to micro supervise their work or give too many suggestions. I really just gave a general idea of what I wanted. What Jody has created is great.

I can tell he is a right brained person. He created a large laundry closet and almost equally large clothes closet. The clothes closet would have been the same size except that the garage has two windows and he did not extend the closet over the window. The lack of symmetry would drive some people crazy. I am sort of left brained. Only sort. I plan to do my view facing out of the windows versus facing the doors.

I stopped at a furniture store I use to see if they had daybeds. I had thought of moving from a queen sized bed to a twin bed. My bedroom is going to be an exit outside for the family. We have three other doors; but this doorway will be the easiest to get in the car.  I want a sitting room feel to the room. I have to be careful and not overload the room.

I had thought about purchasing a sofa to sleep on. Have a nice piece of memory foam to roll out in the evening with a set of sheets and a blanket. Me and my two sleeping hounds should fair fairly well. The sofa in mind has two catnapper recliners built in that unfold with an electric motor. I have a mental picture of my sister using one side as I work at my computer or desk.

My sister's recovery does seem dark at times. I expected to take care of my mother this way. I never imagined I would do so for my youngest sister. When I read the reviews of Amazon about handicap equipment, I know there are so many who have faced this challenge. I'm filled with admiration and glad I have not had to do this for thirty years like some.

This is certainly not what I wanted to spend my golden years doing. I'm not being so generous in that this is my sister's only option at this time. As I scold her to stand and not give up, it is just as much for me as it is for her. The more she can do, the better.

One observation I have made in life is that when people run from responsibilities, they don't always have a better life. A piece of me thinks maybe this is all there is. God doesn't exist. But then I also think even if God does not exist, how could I be happy without the companionship of my family.

I do think God exists. My writing is that Southern stuff as this young gal said in a writing class I took. I did not intend to write Southern stuff. I wanted to write the all-American novel. But that Southern stuff is there including the tendency to see Jesus as just around the corner.

I don't think God curses us with illness or responsibilities. Plus, I live a very blessed life. I have a nice home with central heat and air. I grew up in a house where no matter where you stood, you could look out a window. Ventilation and heat were the big issues. Winter is so short, you just stayed in the kitchen where it was warm and covered up good in the bedrooms.

So now, I just plan to get up every morning and work. There is light. At least I believe there is light. Otherwise, why am I able to get up every morning.

 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Caveat Emptor

This is why you should wait before you post an item. I took my complaint one step more to Amazon. I felt like the Medical Department Store did not do due diligence in delivering the lift to my home. Amazon agreed and gave me a full refund without penalty. So what I have written below is what I thought was the ultimate outcome.

What was evident to me is that the company did not have the lift in stock. They ordered the lift from Invacare to be delivered from my home. I have known that many times when you order from a catalog, they are middle men and do not actually carry stock.  I was irritated in that I could not track the package and then it was not delivered by UPS as Medical Department Store. So what I have written below is altered for good reason.

Buyer beware is so true. I thought I had been bit in the pocketbook by the mighty Amazon. I buy a lot from them and use their links liberally in my blog. Usually it is a book, If they had not given me the refund, I would have linked outside of Amazon for books. I also do a newsletter.
Me and my trusty friend  Frank

Medical Department Store charged me $166.32 for shipping and restocking fees on a medical lift. You can't beat city hall. Plus, I have liked the opportunity to purchase items that are not easily found. It is handy to have items delivered  I've never had to return an item before with Amazon. I didn't know how Amazon would have refunded.

I ordered another item, and Amazon said my payment method did not work. I have been using a credit card that has worked well and I use for purchases with Amazon along with a direct debit to my checking account. It has just been so expensive with getting what my sister needs. Paranoia creeps into my thinking. It worked for several other purchases. I pay the card off every month to avoid finance charges.

I ordered the lift on November 9th and it was expected on November 22nd. I thought it had been delivered. I go out to the garage where I was keeping items for my sister's use. I discover the item I thought was the lift are the bedrails I ordered from Walmart. The bedrails I reported to Walmart were not delivered and they sent me another set. I will contact Walmart and pay for the second set. It will probably be cheaper than paying all the freight.

It turns out the bedrails were not needed. I had to get a hospital bed and it was cheaper than what it would have been on Amazon. They delivered the bed and set it up. They commiserated with me about my problem with the lift not being delivered plus gave some me some information for future use. I'll hold onto one set of the bedrails in case my sister gets to move to a regular bed. The other set I have newly purchased. I will donate to Happy Hour Service Center.

Getting my sister home was hectic and I am still chasing my tail. Each night I have had trouble sleeping. I need to assist her about 1 am each night which leads to not being able to fall back asleep. Add to that leg cramps and I have lost about ten pounds the past three days.

On Amazon, I had gotten the message that the lift was supposed to be delivered by November 22nd by UPS. So I combed the Medical Department Store link and found the company Averitt Delivery. I googled their website and put the tracking number in. It revealed it had been delivered November 28th. So I called them. I thought I might be able to pick the lift up. The customer service agent said they could not deliver the lift because they did not have my phone number. It had been returned to the company.

When I discovered I did not have the lift, I felt panicked. Then I thought there will be a solution which turned out to be paying $140 for medical transport. That morning I woke up and had not heard from Amazon or Medical Department Store. There were no contact phone numbers. I thought I will loose my money. But a lift was needed regardless of how it turned out.

But I decided to purchase a medical lift from Walmart online. I knew I needed one soon. I paid for expedited delivery. It should be here on Tuesday. I did not order from Amazon. I could have the same problem. Amazon wants you to pay for Amazon Prime to get free shipping.

I got a refund of $322.68.

This is the reason I was charged the $166.32.

This is a freight item. Item is a signature required product. Freight carrier attempted to get ahold of you with the number you provided at check out. They have your phone number on file. Order was returned due to they were not able to get a hold of you to arrange delivery for signature required. Unfortunately due to this you will be responsible for shipping fees and restocking fee per return policy on Amazon. As for us, we were only notified on Nov 30th for the first time that you did not receive your product. In first email you stated that Averitt didn't have your phone number when indeed they had 2 numbers and  "one was incorrect and the other was not answered". 

I have a cellphone with a bill. I have so many irons on the fire it will take me awhile to search for the call. I need to fill out forms from Social Security and my sister's job disability forms. I'm just glad Averitt told me it was returned to the manufacturer. Otherwise, they may not have given me anything back.

There are bigger losses in this world. For one, my sister having a stroke is a huge loss. Everything is relative. Medical Department Store did take a loss in delivery. I felt the fact they never delivered should have been on them. I don't know if I would purchase an item they sold. But I definitely will not now.

When I ordered another lift, I could not contact Amazon or Medical Department Store except for waiting for their email reply. With so many reports that it had been delivered, I did not know if I would get my money or a lift. Hence, I ordered another one from Walmart. You can contact them.

These are the company's associated with Medical Department Store. I am glad they gave a list. I can put them on a dartboard. At least I got some money back. It did give me a lot more respect for Walmart. I have disliked the behemoth because I did not want it to become too big of a monopoly. I've had the same feeling about Amazon and book sales. Things are what they are.


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