Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Raring to Go, But I'm in Stand-by Mode

I got a call from daughter #4, she's coming for a visit in June before they move to California. I'm happy to have her back on this side of the pond. I can't lie about that. But California??!! I guess you gotta go where the jobs are, but it's across the country. Her hubby got transferred to a NASA contract for the next few years. 

I'm excited to see her and my grandsons again.  I've missed them terribly and the three boys have grown so much! She sent me a picture of them. I can hardly believe my eyes.

I'm still waiting for daughter #3 to send me some paperwork on the senior independent living facility. If it's soon. my daughter and son-in-law can help me move to Savannah. I can't call her until after 3 PM. She's on her way to work as I type. Being the weekend, her weekend to work, she won't be able to mail it until Monday or Tuesday. If I can't move in June, I'll have to wait for a time when daughter #3 and her husband can come up to get me.

So I'm in stand-by mode as far as when exactly I'm moving. My granddaughter will be a big heap. Actually both of her girls are no slouches. They love their Grandmama and are excited about me moving back They are are already fighting about who will take Grandmama shopping first. Both are shop-oh-lics, God save me. Grandmama will only be 15 minutes away!

Meanwhile daughter #2 is busy working and living the life of a single woman for the first time ever. The empty nest syndrome hit her hard when her youngest son graduate from high school and left for technical school last summer. No graduation. No fan fare. They just mailed him his diploma. Darn, COVID. This Grandmama is pretty darn, proud of him. Heck, both of them!

Daughter #1 is MIA. She moved back to the lower 48 and has rarely been heard from since in 2020.

Today is my birthday! ~ Happy birthday to me.~ Daughter #2 texted me happy birthday on the 15th. It's been an ongoing gag between us since one year she actually thought it was my birthday and called. That was more than a dozen years ago now. Ever notice the older you get the faster the years whiz by? Good! It's not only me then. Whew! Whoever thought I'd live this long? I sure didn't and living post stroke hasn't made it easier.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Living in the north GA mountains like we do, I've learned a few things about the weather. You can't predict it, but you can try.

When I came here, Mel had this hard, fast rule of never planting anything in the ground until May 1st and nothing is planted by Halloween. I've fudged on that with potatoes, onions, garlic, and leeks as fall plantings in November (heavily mulched in). and as early as March, but these crops can take a little colder weather before springing back to life or going dormant for the winter. For the most part, I follow her rule. She's got a couple of years on me garden wise in this climate.

So last week when the temperatures soared into the 80s with consistent lows in the 60s, I waited to plant my heat loving crops like eggplant, tomatoes, and okra knowing the temperature was sure to drop again. Sure enough, it did, but this should be the last time unless the Polar Vortex gets absolutely nasty again. I don't think it will but you know what they saw about ASSUME.

Still we were tempted to air out the house on the days we could. We opened the outer doors leaving the screen doors closed. Our free ranging chicken decided to free range through the pet doors and venture inside. They have developed a taste for cat and dog kibble. No sooner did we chase one set out the back door another set would be entering through the front. Chinese fire drill anyone?

A week and a half ago, Mel caught a flu bug. We'd already been though the COVID so we knew it wasn't that. But still she was feverish, coughing and huddled under a throw which a subscriber sent us one Christmas. She didn't eat for three days. I pushed clear fluid on her augmented with bone broths, and my white clover jelly made into a tea. She had almost every pillow in the house propping up her back so she could sleep, but she slept sporadically and fitfully. She's on the mends now. Her fevers have broken for good. Me, whatever it was, I didn't get it Thank God for Kimchi and it's probotic and immuno-boosting powers! It's a good thing we laid in groceries before she got sick.

I've got my 6-month check in with my PCP this week. I imagine his office has been going nuts with all the updates from my other doctors. Lord knows, he shouldn't have to order any blood work. My left arm is still badly bruised and painful from my endarterectomy earlier this month. He'll just check that I'm still breathing and renew my prescriptions for my allergy meds.

That's it for this week. How's it been for you?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: An Advance Directive Gray Area to Think About and News


I'm happy to report that my endarterectomy went off without a glitch.  Of course I went over again my advance directives with my DPOA/HC before my surgery. Even though her copy of the living will spelled it out clearly, there was one additional item that needed to be discussed. If I had a devastating right sided stroke impairing my functional left side of my body and I survived.

This is a fray area in most advanced directives. They are mainly concerned with when and if I wanting artificial means of sustaining my life and care. Not if I continued to live (off ventilator) as a possible right sided stroke can do.

It honestly never crossed my mind because all my strokes to date (7) have been left sided strokes. I just figured a right sided stroke would kill me. An eleventh hour revelation caused me to formulate a plan for this occurrence. It was quite literally an eleventh hour because it was hurried text messages at 7 AM before my 1 PM surgery time. I figured my #2 daughter could show it as proof of my wishes in lieu of a notarized document. Not entirely legal, but it was better than nothing.

A few things happened when I went under the knife and afterwards. The day after surgery, the six attempted IV sticks before surgery made their presence known in glowing colors. It looks worse now that the bruising has spread with healing and now stretches around the elbow. I felt better after the successful endarterectomy. The draining stamina was nonexistent. The ET the anesthesiologist used had rubbed a section of my esophagus so it feels like there is an obstruction there and I'm stull hoarse. Yes, I was sore from the incision which is just below and follows my jaw line from my ear lobe to my mid neck (8" long). My neck will be  a road map of scars by the time they all heal between thyroid surgeries, T-CAR, and endarterectomy. Lastly, my #2 daughter called her sisters letting them know my wishes if this occurred.  That got my two younger daughters thinking. 

I actually feel great! Sure the incision site is sore and it slightly limits my necks range of motion, but that's to be expected. It's amazing what restored blood flow to half my brain does. No more headaches and more relaxed muscles in my neck. My brain is operating with less cobwebs now, which is always a good thing.

The night before last (Friday), I received a phone call from daughter #4, and surprise, surprise, daughter #3 was conferenced in.  It has been years since I have actually TALKED with them. I was almost in tears. Sure we Facebook, email, and text each other, but actually call to chat, not so much. Since daughter #2's call, they had been looking for options for me to move closer to family in the event I need to sooner than a waiting list would allow.

As expected, my children argued my choice of nursing home placement for now a mute issue. They wanted me to live with one of them. I refused outright. If I were to have a right sided stroke, I'd be total care. Both of them had jobs outside the home and short of them quitting work, they couldn't care for me without severe hardship.

Daughter #3, had another very interesting proposition for me. A year ago, she started working for a progression complex called Harmony at Savannah. They offer independent, assisted living, and memory care units. It's brand new and looking for applicants. It opened the week the COVID lock downs began in the country so it's filling up very slowly. My daughter is the assistant director of nursing there. As an employee, corporate offers a discount rate which is locked in for life for family members. With the discount, I'll well be within my means. I'll have family around (daughter, her husband and my two granddaughters) and only be an hour away from more family (father, sisters and brothers, etc.). As already stated I don't need or have much. I definitely wanted a private kitchen and bath. Everything else is optional. They have emergency call lights and pendant alerts even for independent residents as part of their services. They have transport available for shopping, doctor appointments, and excursions. They have a fairly decent activities schedule. So I can be as active as I like. All utilities are included including cable television and internet. So that will save me money. The advantage of being in town (city) options like delivery services for pharmacy, food, and groceries are available. There are hospitals available and I'll have choices available again.

Last week I talked about self sufficient living in senior care. I talked about this option too with my daughter. She laughed at me and told me they planted fruit trees in the memory care garden area just last week. They were talking about accessible gardening areas for the rest of the open areas around the facilities. The more we talked the more excited both of us got. Being within the city limits I doubt chickens would be allowed, but maybe a quail hutches could be done. It may not be a homestead, but it will be enough for me to piddle around. To get my preserving hat on, I'll have to go to the farmers/flea market, but that's do able also. Where there's a will, there's a way. It's not today or next week, but the option is there when I want it.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Self Sufficient in a Senior Living Situation?

 I couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was giving up living on my homestead.  That loaded my comment section and email with concerned and disbelief that I would give up this lifestyle for good.

Can I continue my self sufficient ways in a senior living situation? I'm sure gonna try. First of all, I'm moving home and back to the only place I've really had roots. I know people and I have family there. Since I moved to north Georgia, I haven't seen any of them except when I went home. I miss them and vehicle and health issues have kept me from making the trip south for a few years now.  You long time readers know, I'm all about family, so it's been heart breaking for me. The few sporadic phone calls just don't work.

Second, I might be giving up my chickens here, but two of my sisters and one daughter built their own self sufficient homestead now. So if I miss the goats, chickens, rabbits and gardening I can always visit them. So you see, I'm really not giving up much except for the nonstop daily care of it all. If the temperature is below freezing or raining, I don't have to go out in it.

As far as food preservation, my canners and dehydrators are coming with me. My allergies are just too wicked to give up organically grown foods. I'll still grind my own flour and make my own bread each week. Believe me, they'll have to pry my cold, dead hands off my spoons and knives.  I'll continue to put up as much of my own food as possible like I've done for most of my life. I'm just using more gadgets to get it done now. I love cooking!

I'll be carrying about 500 various sized canning jars with me when I move. I figure 1 each of 3-gallon buckets of organic wheat, sugar, cracked corm and a blender to process it all with goes into a box for the move. That'll leave Mel with a little over fifty pounds of each got her use. When I need more, I'll hit one of my siblings or a child up for a road trip to get more.

I'll still make my menus up for 6-12 months at a time in advance. I've got farming friends that can supply me with fresh fruits and vegetables too so I won't have to depend solely on my family. I also know where there are u-pick fields and that I can glean in a pinch. Not that my family would really mind since I'm supplying free labor come butchering days, planting, weeding, and harvesting/preserving help too. My family is still doing the split lifestyle of working outside the home and homesteading too.

Granted, I'll be living in an apartment with a lot of other seniors but I'm not locked in. My time is mine. No more chopping and staking firewood to fend off winter chills. No picking up trash cans full of kindling nor sorting through junk mail to start a fire either. This is a definite perk. No frozen pipes or water shortages (I'll still keep 5-gallon water jugs handy). I'll keep my Coleman propane camp stove and oven. You never know when it might come in handy. There's nothing wrong with buying in season and being prepared even living in a senior community.

Where will I put it all? Those apartments aren't huge, but they do have a good sized food panty and closets. I don't have much need for closets. I've got one heavy winter coat and three dresses that need to be hung. All the rest of my clothes fit in mu four-drawer dresser. But I will have to do something about furniture again. But I don't need much... a twin sized bed, a table and a couple of chairs, maybe a love seat for company. A good second-hand or thrift store can deliver it. It doesn't have to be's just me. I figure $200 should get me all I need. Worse comes to worse, I'll hit my relatives up for some of the things I gave to them seven years ago. It took half of a Grandma's Attic sized U-Haul (12' box truck) to move me up here, and with all the things I mentioned, It'll take that to move me back. 

worked hard not to accumulate more stuff. What I bought made my life easier like a mandolin, a manual food processor, and an air fryer. Yes, they will all be coming with me too because I'll still be large batch cooking and processing food. Can anyone make a small pot of homemade soup? Me neither.

Nothing is impossible.