13thJanuary

Traveling Nurse

I’m back at my brother’s house.  Been here for a week now.  I went home yesterday afternoon and spent the night.  Felt good to be back home and get to sleep in my own bed with DH.  Got home around 4:00 and then it was up and on the road at 10:00 this morning so I could be back in time for Mike to take Kim to lunch.  Sunday lunch is one of her few treats and I didn’t want to be late.

Mike is scheduled for a cardiac catheterization tomorrow morning.  I hope they go ahead and do whatever they need to do while he’s there.  He really can’t take care of Kim right now and I can’t stay here forever.  DH has been very understanding but he’s not feeling too great either and I need to be with him.  The chemo and radiation are catching up with him and his stomach is all out of whack.

I guess you could say I’m certified in Kim Care now.  She needs so much help.  It’s sad to see this beautiful, vivacious woman live her life in a recliner and need assistance for the simplest things.  I guess we forget sometimes, how lucky we are.  She can’t bend her left knee so she lets me know when she needs to go to the bathroom and she lowers her recliner.  I go over, bend down and bend her knee and place her left foot firmly on the floor and either hold it in place or stand on it to keep it anchored.  She gives several heaves and, after three or four false starts, manages to pull herself out of the chair.  She either swivels into her wheelchair or she grabs her walker and begins to walk with her left leg stiff and unyielding.  Her foot is beginning to turn outward and it makes it difficult for her to walk.  Still, she makes her way to the bathroom, grabs the support bar and manages to pull down her pants and sit on the pot.  She knocks on the wall when she’s finished and I go in and clean her up, pull up her pants for her and she drags herself back to the recliner.  She has to back up to it and then I bend down and bend her knee for her so she can sit down.  She reclines the chair and I place a special pad under her knee that forces her left leg to turn inward in an effort to correct the alignment of her foot and leg.

Every woman should have a husband like my brother.  I’m absolutely in awe of him.  Retired military and he keeps this house spotless.  Cares for Kim including giving her a shower every other day, washing her hair and blowing it dry for her.  He’s kind of proud of his new-found talent for hair styling.  He applies her facial moisturizer for her, shaves her legs and underarms and dresses her.  I asked him if it wouldn’t be a lot easier to let her wear pajamas all the time if they’re not leaving the house and he said it’s important to Kim to look her best.  Her appearance was always important to her and he wants her to have as much dignity as possible.  He’s really stressing over her weight.  Not that it bothers him so much but more that it’s humiliating for her.

I don’t know what the answer is.  He fixes nutritious, healthy meals and Kim makes pretty good choices when they go out to eat but she continues to put on weight.  She gets no exercise to speak of although Mike takes her through her therapy every day.  She’s pretty much confined to the recliner or the bed.  I brought my heart rate monitor and we’re going to put it on her and see how many calories she burns over the next 24 hours.  I told Mike she may be able to increase her metabolism simply by moving her right arm in rapid circles or something.  Mike had to cut the tags out of the clothes he bought her last month because he said she’d be devastated to know that she’s wearing 2X and 3X now.

As for me…I weighed myself this morning and found that I’ve lost four pounds this week because there’s nothing to snack on around here!  Cereal and soy milk for breakfast (or yogurt), lunch is the big meal of the day and it’s usually protein and vegetables and then dinner is a salad or soup.  The only thing even remotely “snacky” around here is Kellogg’s Rice Krispy Treats at 70 calories each.  Kim is allowed one per day.  The closest store is about five miles away.  I’m walking the dog every day since Mike can’t walk 20 feet without gasping for breath, pushing Kim’s wheelchair up and down ramps and doing all the lifting and strenuous stuff that needs to be done.

Next time I gripe, please remind me….  I truly am blessed.


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