Pausing

19 Mar

“Stop and smell the roses”. A saying that is telling us to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. Mom and I were discussing tonight some of the little things that we enjoy.

1. The smell of the barn wood after a rain. Its a sweet smell that is like no other.

2. the purr of a cat curled around your boots as you step outside.

3. the tick of a clock.

4. the glow of the moon on the snow as you look outside on a really cold winter night.

5. The feel of a horse’s whiskers on your palm as it eats treat.

Its easy to complain about little things. Its harder to make a habit of being grateful for the little things.

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Sideswiped

16 Mar

Not mom, but I got sideswiped this morning. Mom has been doing really well. Her tummy issues have calmed down. Dad took over for the weekend early so I am home.

I applied for our government’s Compassionate Care benefits from Employment Insurance. It is supposed to allow a caregiver of a critically ill person 6 weeks of leave with a 2 week waiting period, so really 4 weeks of benefits.

I have been on leave for 4 weeks already. I finally received a reply from EI this morning stating that they are allowing my claim. Thats good. The crappy part is that they disallowed the first week and a half of my claim. With the waiting period, I will only get 2 weeks of benefits! And the benefits are a measly 420 a week. This barely covers my car payment, never mind the rest of my regular expenses. I think I have figured out why the first part of the claim was disallowed. The form that the doctor fills out only has a date for when he is signing the form, not for when the actual critical care starts.

Out of pocket expenses are a lot, especially for those who are from out of town. Dad rented an apartment, there is food expenses, fuel expenses, PARKING expenses, and so on, plus all the regular bills at home. Thank God we don’t have the medical costs that other countries do!

The Helping Hand

13 Mar

There are so many people that have helped in Mom’s journey. One by one, I will tell you about them. Today I would like to tell you about our neighbor’s young daughter. She is the same age as one of my children. We are staying in her apartment for the month.

After a transplant, we had to stay in the city after Mom was released from the hospital. There are daily appointments to go to, physio, blood work, OT. And we live too far to drive back and forth. A four hour car ride a day after major surgery is not going to happen. So while Mom was recovering in the hospital, Dad and I were looking at different options.

There is a wonderful, though old, Outpatient residence attached to the hospital. We have stayed there on occasion when my son has been in for surgeries. And there is a condo for transplant patients, but is often full. There was other options as well. Dad was talking about this to our neighbor. She asked if she could help look for us. Dad agreed. The neighbor phoned back the next day and offered her daughter’s apartment. The daughter had offered to move in with a friend for the month. What a wonderful and unexpected gift. For, though we are paying the rent for the month, it is still a gift. To give up your home for a neighbor is something truly selfless. Thank you doesn’t seem quite enough.

Baby Steps

13 Mar

After a weekend away from taking care of Mom, which was supposed to be a rest (ha, ha), I came back to trade places with Dad this morning. I had planned on coming back in last night but spend a 13 hour day working at my part-time job and was too exhausted to drive. This meant Dad had to take Mom for her morning appointments.

Dad hadn’t done this yet. They forgot the “binder”. The “binder” is Mom’s transplant binder with all her information, medication, appointments and so on. So when they got to the hospital, Dad had to return to the apartment for binder! Then later Mom didn’t feel well and had to forgo most of her physio-therapy.

It was a bit of a set-back but after a rest, Mom was able to eat some of the homemade soup I had put together.We went for a short walk and after coming back Mom had another little bit of soup. Later, to relieve the boredom, we went the check out the local VV shoppe! (Value Village) And when we came back with our treasures, Mom had a bit more soup! Probably the most Mom has ate since the transplant!

Homemade Chicken Rice Soup (Gluten Free)

Leftover roast chicken (meat from the bones and chopped)

1 cup (or so) chopped celery

1 cup (or so) chopped carrots

1/2 cup (you got it, or so) chopped onions  (*These three ingredients are the base of most soups  and in chef speak, are called Mirepoux)

Water to cover.

Simmer or toss in a crockpot on high. Bring to a boil. Turn down to low on crockpot. Add:

whatever leftover vegetables are in fridge (mine had green beans)

1/2 cup raw rice or 1 cup cooked rice (yup, leftovers from my fridge.

Salt and pepper to taste, a bit of Mrs. Dash.

1 cup more water.

Leave to simmer in crockpot for another hour. Serve with gluten-free toast.

Stepping out into the World

10 Mar

Its been a very busy week. I haven’t had a chance to blog for a while. My mom was released from the hospital on Wednesday, 20 days after having her transplant. She was literally kicked out of her room as a new patient was being transported in.

Dad and I had gone to pick up Mom’s medication from the pharmacy. That was a shock, even with the anti-rejection drugs covered under the transplant program. The grocery bag full of drugs was gone over very carefully by the pharmacist with us. Then when we got back up to the waiting room on the ward the nurse came out and went over the medications with us again. All the medications are charted and listed in Mom’s “Transplant Binder”. This binder is our life! All the information is kept in here, every medication, every blood test, every appointment, nutrition information, physio, and so on.

So then Dad wheeled Mom out to the patient pick-up area as I ran for the car and drove it around. To the apartment we went.

Mom slept well that night in a real bed! I did not! I have a camp cot set up in the bedroom. Its not the best bed and the bit of worry about caring for Mom made sleep difficult. But this will get better as we continue on this journey.

Shake

2 Mar

Mom’s medication list is three pages long! One of the anti-rejection drugs has a side effect of tremors. Mom is a little frustrated with this, understandably. She has difficulty speaking clearly and getting a spoon to her mouth with most of the food on it is nearly impossible. We are hoping this calms down fairly soon.

I really had to think to see the good side of this, as I have been doing for all the little things I’ve complained about! But I did find the good side. Mom and I ended up doing the paper’s crossword together as she wasn’t able to write the letters in and I wasn’t able to come even close to the right answers! (I am a suduko player!) So we had some fun doing this together. The circle-a-word was fun too!

It takes some effort to seeing a good side of the hard things, but it is worth it in the end. I was even able to do that today when I was given a ticket! I had forgotten to renew my driver’s license. So today I was pulled over. As the officer gave me the ticket I thanked him and told him that I was glad he had given me the ticket. He was a little puzzled so I explained that if I had been stopped in the city instead, my car would probably have been towed. As it was, I had to walk three blocks to the registry office and renew my license and of course, pay the fine. But just the fine, not a tow bill or impound bill on top of that. Thank God for the good side!

Jump!

29 Feb

Mom is short. Five feet is stretching it. She is also a tiny lady. Before surgery she was doing really well at 107 . This is the reason she received the liver that she as others were apparently ahead of  her on the list but the liver was too small for anyone else.   It was hard to sit in the ICU waiting room and hear about the others who were waiting. One man whose adult son had liver failure from a tylenol overdose, was very upset when he heard that Mom had gotten a transplant before his son. I did explain about the size difference, but I doubt that it made him feel any better. This was a parent with a child in a coma. Nothing I said would have helped. 

Being tiny also has some disadvantages.  She has to take a little jump to get back into her hospital bed.  She manages that fairly well now, but the first  times, everyone was trying to help her! The nurses have apologised because they weren`t able to lower the bed more! But we will take the little disadvantages. Thank God for the small things!