Often, we stroke survivors rarely think of the word "stroke" without relating it to its medical meaning (noun) instead of a verb. Like a lover's touch against the side of your face, a gentle encounter. A physical or emotional touch that leaves you with a warm, glowing feeling from an accomplishment praised or from an outsider's understanding exactly your point of view. It's been so long since I received one from someone not in my family, I didn't know how to react except having tears running down my face. No not from my PBA this time, but gratitude.
My housekeeping skills deteriorated with my strokes. I clean, but miss the corners and there are just some things that get left undone because I have difficulties doing it, or can't and it has to left for others to do. My house is not a total mess, but it isn't exactly tidy either.
The dishes are washed but I rarely put them away because it will take too much energy to do so or it would be difficult to put them in their proper place and get them out again. It's my energy saving way. It is just us after all and only I am doing everything. It's a sacrifice. I personally hate it but accept it.
When I sweep or mop, it's mostly spot jobs. I don't have the time or energy for a full clean. At least not before being interrupted by someone like my hubby with a long involved request like can you come talk to me. I often lose track of what I was doing. Just vacuuming the living room is a full day job, if my husband can tolerate the noise. There isn't a single cleaner on the market without a smell. My husband barely tolerates cooking smells without gasping for breath and that smells delicious.
This had me scurrying around carrying hospital basins full of water to bathe my hubby. I was trying to shave him and finally gave up. He would just have to wear a beard again. Not to mention hauling trash bags out of the house involving multiple trips and putting it out on the street for pick up...all time consuming tasks one handed and legged. Now, I know some of y'all survivors do this regularly and say, so what? But for me, it rare since hospice came on board. Just too much juggling. I also had no reprieve from my hubby's care...isn't that why I called hospice in the first place!
In between time, I was calling hospice trying to straighten out the mess. I was shuffling between the social workers, director of nursing, the administrator, and even corporate. They kept saying my house had fleas and had to be fumigated. I'd have to make arrangements for my hubby to be put in the nursing home for a few days, me and my animals had to move into a motel for a couple of days while they basically tented the house. Afterwards, I'd have to strip everything down and clean it before I could bring my hubby home and repeat the whole process two weeks later. The cost was $125 each visit by the exterminator.
The kickers were I don't have fleas in my house and we hadn't been bitten by anything. Neither had the social workers, clergy, recert nurse, nurse or anyone other than the aides! I balked after two weeks and threatened to call for a State inspection/review. Yes, my previous employment at a nursing home had some advantages. I was fighting mad. I even strongly considered changing hospice providers. The only reason I didn't was the stress and anxiety it would cause my hubby. He loves his nurse and the rest of the staff.
We finally got it all straightened out and CNA services have been restored because of an aide from another county who'd taken care of him on occasion volunteering to care for him. Yes, she would be paid for her services by the company. She had her first of regular visits with my hubby on Friday.
I greeted her at the door with a giant hug.We both thanked her profusely. Eventually, she'd heard through the grapevine what the company was doing to us courtesy of my #2 daughter being very vocal about it at work. This aide was outraged and volunteered. Talk about a godsend and answered prayer.
She came in and hugged us both. She'd driven an hour to get to us from her county to be with us and care for my hubby. She explained how she talked to the administrator and director of nursing. How I didn't have fleas or anything else. How we were the best type of clients to have. How, yes, the house was messy but she'd been in far worse and at least I was attempting to keep the house clean. We were just two elderly folk who needed help to do these things and had none or limited access to.
As she spoke the tears rolled down my cheek. At last, somebody who didn't judge or feel sorry for us. She saw things as they were and didn't mind voicing her opinion about it...just like me. Somebody, an outsider, who truly understood that I was doing the best I could do with what I had left. No everything wasn't perfect and probably wouldn't be ever again, but that's okay. She even offered to come over on her day off and hit the areas which had fallen through the cracks. God will surely bless this woman because she offers her service from her heart and because it is right to do so.
Nothing is impossible with determination and getting fighting mad doesn't hurt either.