Met my girlfriends for dinner last night. It was wonderful. I’m lucky to have friends that go back twenty years. We try to meet for dinner monthly but sometimes we all get caught up in our day to day lives and we miss a month or two. Elsie chose the restaurant this month and, although it really wasn’t my kind of place (fried chicken livers, meatloaf, salmon patties, fried chicken, fried pork chops, country-fried steak), the conversation was great, the waiter was fun and the laughter and camaraderie was the best. Jana brought me gag gifts. Emergen-C Immune + System Support tablets, B-Complex High Potency Vitamins for immune system health, Ricola Honey Lemon Couth drops to “fight colds naturally”. No one understands what you’re going through like your girlfriends.
I almost missed dinner. My brother is sick and I’ve been staying with him. Thinks he’s Superman. Retired military, runs everyday, does a kazillion push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups. Lifts weights. He started feeling bad a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t seem to shake it. Got short of breath, didn’t have any energy. Gained 13 pounds in two weeks. He took his girlfriend Kim out for lunch last Friday and, while helping her in the van, he almost passed out. He went to the emergency room and they decided he had a leaking heart valve and was retaining a lot of fluid. They wanted to admit him and do some more tests but he checked himself out of the hospital because there wasn’t anyone to take care of Kim. Here’s a picture of Mike and Kim taken just four years ago.
Kim had a stroke about three years ago and it left her severely handicapped. She’s deaf, left side is completely paralyzed, speech is garbled and she’s gone from 103 pounds before her stroke to 250 pounds. Mike is totally committed to her. Quit his job to take care of her, replaced all the doors in his condo to accommodate her wheelchair, sleeps on the couch and had a hospital bed moved into the bedroom. Hubby and I went down to see how he was doing last Friday, (a 60 mile drive), stayed a couple of hours, came home, packed my bags, and went back. I can’t believe how sick he is. He can’t walk more than a few feet before he starts coughing and gasping for breath. Can’t exert himself at all and he’s trying to lift and pull Kim. We feel pretty certain that he’s going to need surgery so I’ve been trying to learn to care for Kim so he can feel confident that she’s in good hands. Spent the last five days learning how to communicate with her (mostly texting) and I’m learning how to understand her speech a little bit better. Not too good with one-handed sign language but I’ve learned a few things. Learned how to bend her knee and hold her left foot in place while she uses her cane to get herself out of the recliner and seated in the wheelchair. Learned how to get her on the toilet and clean her up afterwards. Learned how to dress her, put on her shoes, and get her in the van. If Mike has to have surgery or go in the hospital for a few days, we’ve got it covered.
Mike didn’t make any friends when he checked himself out of the hospital. They wanted to keep him but gave him some meds to reduce the fluid he was retaining and told him to come back on Thursday for an angiogram. He called them on Monday and told the doctor that he had someone to take care of Kim and could do whatever they needed to do but they seemed totally unconcerned and told him to stay on the meds until Thursday and then come to the office where they’d determine whether or not they needed to do any tests. I think part of the problem is that Mike doesn’t have a doctor. He says doctors are for sick people and he’s never sick. So this doctor that saw him last Friday doesn’t understand that this is NOT like my brother. He can’t do anything without getting out of breath, can’t bend over without feeling like he’s going to pass out and isn’t getting rid of fluid like the doctor said he would so the meds aren’t working.
Mike knew I had dinner with my peeps last night and insisted that I take a break and go home overnight but I’m heading back today. Don’t know what would happen if he passed out or had a problem at home. Kim certainly wouldn’t be able to do anything to help. So, I’m packing whatever I might need for a couple of weeks and heading back in a couple of hours. Guess we’ll know better after he sees the doctor tomorrow.
In the meantime, with Mom’s health issues, Donnie’s cancer and heart issues, and Mike’s leaky heart valve, I’m taking my vitamins, Emergen-C, B-Complex and taking all the advice my girls have to give.