Monday, April 27, 2009

Despite all, it's Spring!

The few days since HP came home from the rehab have been um, exciting, with discoveries right and left, mostly about our steep learning curve at using a Hoyer lift for someone with no response in the lower body, and little ability to maintain himself sitting, and about life in a reclining wheelchair, which is great for letting him recline and take a nap or a change of position when he needs to. Hard on my back, since reclining is mechanical not electric! too heavy for me to get in and out of the house, so inventiveness will be called for. And the physical management of a person using a wheelchair goes far beyond the simple mobility, but I won't get into the personal stuff. Suffice it to say that this ain't for wimps! especially since HP is in early dementia now. I've suspected this for some time, but it's now official. No point in fretting, can't be fixed, can't be helped, just live for the good parts, and his sunniness is one of the good parts.

What I'm doing to maintain my own body is: eating real meals, which are pleasurable to cook for two -- today lunch, main meal, that is, was lovely rolled up white fish, which has a posh French name which I forget, Jacques Pepin makes these, with a sauce of sauteed ginger, shallots, scallions and turmeric, along with mixed steamed Chinese vegetables and mashed potato. Grapes and bananas for dessert.

I was very amused, in view of HP's severe heart condition, when various food people and case managers (!) asked me about heart healthy food, did I know about them, and when I explained what our normal diet is, they said, oh, you know about it, I guess! But I think moderation in all things, including moderation! and if he wants a boiled egg for breakfast, dammit, he can have one. and I reserve to myself the right to a nice little glass of wine,white or rose, whatever I feel like, in the evening. Just one, a lovely civilized pleasure.

And self care involves seizing the chance to keep walking, really good for keeping your back in one piece when you're using it as much as I am. I'm still figuring out when and if I can leave HP for a few minutes. If he's sleeping reclined, he's perfectly safe, and I can be away for just a few minutes, I now think. And once we get the home health care people used to us all, and the physio, that can be a chance to get out for a short while.

Yesterday and today, hot weather, in the 90s, and plants arrived in the mail, yay, so I got HP near the patio door (can't get him out there without help until a second ramp arrives) so he could see me planting the strawberries in a hanging basket, moving a few houseplants out of doors for the season -- the scented geranium will probably be okay now, and I planted a gift of Italian parsley in a pot, and the bucket out front is the whips from bush cherries, which I'll put in tomorrow when it's in shade, no sense in killing myself this hot evening.

The HOA landscapers have already done their Spring burn and pillage, so my new stuff should be okay! please note near the bucket the little inland beach out there, from my shore trip the other week, clam and other shells. And, out back, scenes of more than one season at once -- our one and only tulip blowing out and the yellow allyssum in mid flow, with the brand new parsley and the newly outdoor scented geranium, and the sage putting out new leaves -- it will have great purple flowers before long -- and the butterfly bush, Davidii, juuuuuust starting to wake up, also wonderful purple flowers before too long.

All in all, what's not to be optimistic about? all this feverish garden activity in an area the size of one postage stamp out front and two postage stamps out back...and great neighbors, exchanging gardening plants and tips, and visiting with HP at the same time and helping get him out on the patio and back yesterday, and wonderful doctors who VISIT YOUR HOME, that is not a typo, and a great home nurse, and nice health aides, and a terrific physio who is also a bird lover -- tamed a cockatiel which is now a friendly little guy.

Our new life is very different, much more filled with people, that part is hard for me to get used to, but they are all skilled and friendly and with a lot to them aside from the work they come here to do.

Our new doctor's husband, a mathematician, fancies learning pastel painting, so I put them onto a wonderful artist, friend of mine, great in pastels, and a good teacher. And I am freecycling my case of Rembrandt pastels, wonderful stuff, wooden box, lovely old fashioned thing, to him. I don't work in pastel, they were given to me by the granddaughter of an artist who died, I took them out of art fellowship, really, and now they need a new home. This stuff is worth, if you buy it new, several hundred dollars, but it belongs with a new person, and since it came to me as a gift, it goes out as a gift.

So my new mantra: what were the good things that happened today? and it's surprising how many you can find, among the heartbreak and rage and fear and other not so good things that tend to creep in. It's okay to let them in, good and bad, and recognize them and gently ask them to stay a while, and then saunter away, leaving us ready for a new day.


  1. I want to be like you when I grow up. :-)

  2. Beautiful post, Liz, in every way. Blessings.

  3. hugs to you liz, and to dear HP. i'm reminded of a quote by michael j. fox, a young actor who has parkinson's, something along the lines of, i can't choose not to have parkinson's. but there are a 1000 other choices that come up every day, all the time, and the thing is to focus on those choices and not get hung up on the one non-choice that is the parkinson's.

    very wise words, and something i reflect on nearly daily. much love to you, dear.


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