August 01, 2011

New Norms

Since I am the eyes and the ears of the family, when I see something that may not be right, that may not be going right, I tell the family so they aren't surprised.

Tonight my husband came with me. The last few weeks he's not been home so much, so he's been hanging with the kids, cleaning the kitchen and settling the house down while I ran out to see Joe. Tonight I asked him to come with me so he could do an assessment. He's known Joe for 51 years.

And after we visited for our short time, getting him ready for bed, in the car we talked and we realized... Joe isn't going to walk again. He's either going to be in a wheelchair or on a walker and NOBODY has said anything to the family.

They aren't going to say anything to Joe. He's not there mentally. Joe talks about the future and all the things he's going to do.

But the reality is, when you're 85 and you've been in bed for 10 weeks, muscles atrophy and its a tough go for the body to get it back the old normal, in particular as the old normal was starting to deteriorate. Balance is not what it is when you're 25. Hips don't work, knees don't bend, ankles don't want to support. Add 10 weeks of being in bed, and we're looking at more than a long haul.

So I called his family tonight and said, "I'm giving you a heads up. In all those plans you're making for Joe to come North, you need to plan that there is a new norm for him, not just the colostomy bag, but the fact he may never walk again."

It had crossed their minds, but it had never been verbalized. My putting it out there has given it a life of sorts, something that will probably be more freely spoken of... not around him.

And as much as I'm down lately about what is going on with him, the frustrations I feel, I have learned a lot from Joe in the last 11 weeks.

Attitude is what will make or break your deal. If you have bad attitude, nobody wants to help you and you don't heal.

Colostomy bags. I'm so not afraid of them anymore. I always thought of them as being a fate so scary it was incomprehensible and while I'm not going to jump up and ask for one, of all the things that can happen to your body, having a colostomy bag is down at the bottom of bad stuff. I think it's probably more inconvenient then anything, but seriously, I'm not afraid of them anymore.

Buy good supplemental insurance. He has the worst and it shows. But... he doesn't seem to realize it, so I guess it doesn't matter.

A hurricane is headed this way. Day five trajectory puts Emily on course for us and I said to my husband, "In the condo, I'd worry about Joe. There, I think he'll be safe."

This weekend my goal is to get Joe out in the sun, out of the rehab. I hope to have the nurses put him in a wheelchair for me so I can take him outside.

I also hope to sit in on a physical therapy regime so I can get a better feel for where he is to report back to the family.

I'm hoping the out of doors will do him some good...

Posted by Boudicca at August 1, 2011 10:26 PM

The good news is, Emily should skirt us to the east.

I had the colostomy bag phobia as well, but this helps.

Bless your heart, Bou. You're one in a million.

Posted by: pam at August 2, 2011 07:31 AM


the colostomy bag was nothing like I thought it would be. It's kind of small... like the size of a man's wallet and you can't see it under clothes. Just not what I expected at all...

Posted by: Bou at August 3, 2011 08:08 AM