Friday, June 29, 2012

Trees, They Really Need To Be The Right Height

Photobucket Back in 2007 when we moved here, we had no trouble getting our Dish Network satellites hooked up. Now we've lived here 5 years and for the time we've resided up in the back of that picture next to the trees, they've grown. Seriously grown. To the point where they interfere with our signals, both for the TV and the internet. There is nothing that can be done by our provider. Neither of us can cut down a 1/4 mile of trees in order to get a signal. We have service, but if anything stirs, I get a notice on my screen that my connection has been interrupted. On the TV, we have to go through the entire download of signal to the receiver and pray that nothing moves while it's making the connection. It appears that we are going to have to speak with Time Warner Cable about making the switch. This is going to be interesting. Until we moved here, this lot hadn't been used in a decade. It had been so long that the utility company had lost the record of it's existence. So, I'm assuming that the cable company would have the same problem and most likely has no idea what may, or may not be available to me to hook up to. It does appear that the residence closest to me has a connection, but that's 100 feet away. I may need to pay for installation of cable for that 100 feet. I'm not looking forward to finding out what that might cost. Hubby is so angry about losing signal in the middle of Ice Road Truckers that he keeps "ordering" me to call and cancel the satellites. He feels that he doesn't want to pay for something he can't get with any kind of regularity. Since he's the one that has to have the TV on as soon as he walks in the door, I'm not looking forward to leaving him for weeks without a signal. Which is what might happen if I do what he's "ordering" me to. I guess I'm going to have to place a call to Time Warner on Monday to see what I can find out. ****Hopefully this will post with paragraphs, Not guaranteeing anything since ever time I use HTML I seem not to keep them when I post****

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stress Reduction Makes For A Healthier Me

Since March of 2011 I have been doing 6 hours a week on a case that has proved to be more than I care to involve myself in. Even though it means a loss, temporarily, of over $200 a month in income, I gave the case up this week.

The client is a woman in her early 50's who has MS. She has allowed herself to deteriorate to a stage that comes near to being nursing home qualified. She refuses to regularly take her meds, won't do any of her exercises. Claims she can't eat because she has no teeth, yet she has no problem chewing chocolate caramels with nuts in them. She lies about everything and anything to manipulate the people around her. She's just plain willful and unfortunately it's in all the wrong areas.

She lives with a daughter, the daughter's boyfriend and their child. I don't understand the family dynamics there, but it appears that they're ashamed of her and simply don't wish to handle the supervisory details that are so necessary given this woman's state of mind. On the one hand, the daughter doesn't want her Mom placed in a nursing home, on the other, she's 22 years old with a baby of her own and she refuses to accept the responsibility of caring for both. This girl is downright selfish and lazy. Even the needs of the baby take a back seat to what she wants to do at any given time.

When I enter a home where family lives with client, I am not responsible for cleaning up any messes the family makes. In this home, this family cleans nothing up. I walk in to baby toys strewn all over the floor, days of unwashed dishes in the sink. Nobody seems to know how to operate a broom and dustpan nor can they clean the litter box that is used by 2 cats out until the stench is overpowering. Essentially I have spent a year trying to keep my client clean and healthy while living in a pigsty. Frankly, an actual pigsty might be cleaner.

Last week there was a party for the baby held on a Tuesday. The party was in the town park, however, it apparently continued in the home until the wee hours of the morning. I arrived to find bowls of food left out to rot. The kitchen countertops, the stove, the table were completely covered. There were crumbs, kitty litter and cat feces all over the floor in the kitchen. Client's bathtub was used to bathe the baby, wet towels were left on the floor, which create a hazard for my client to fall on should she have needed to use the bathroom. Baby toys were left in the tub and client's shower chair and shower head were missing. The chair was outside and the shower head was in the kitchen among the bowls of rotting food. My supervisor chose that day to make a visit, which got the boyfriend up from sitting on his ass in front of the TV watching cartoons while the baby played on the floor in this filth. He made an attempt to clean up a little. Damn little.

This week when I went back in, conditions were unchanged. In fact they were worse. The trash hadn't been taken out for disposal on Friday of last week and things were overflowing. The stench of cat feces and rotting trash was overwhelming. I did a walk through, called my office to ask permission to leave. When she found out it hadn't been taken care of she granted it and I left. I am not going back there. I can't stand it.

As soon as the decision to stop doing that case was made, I felt such a sense of relief. It's like a massive weight was lifted and I'm wondering if that weight may have played a large part in some of the health issues I've been suffering. I feel suddenly stronger physically, have more energy, and wonder of wonders, I've been pain free for two days. I'm hoping for a continuation of that.

This proved to be a client and family that I can't help. Had it not been for the conditions that they finally presented me with, I would still be banging my head on a wall and suffering the frustration of being manipulated. I wish them well in whatever they decide to do about the problems they have, but am downright gleeful that I'm not a part of those solutions. I'm also grateful that I finally was forced to accept the truth. There comes a point where I must learn to accept that I can't help and it does no good for me to keep on trying.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Hump Day...Demonkitteh Edition

Crap! I'm going to need 10 years in therapy.


                                                              I'd listen if I were you fella.

                                                             Wise counsel, really!

                                                    Been there, done that...frequently.

                                                       That you are sweetie, that you are.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Streaming Unconsciousness

Got myself into a small (very small) difficulty in Twitter awhile ago. It was because people take their tweets (and themselves) too seriously. Giving the benefit of the doubt, the person who hasn't a sense of humor about what I said is a frequent target of trolls so it may be that he thought I was arguing with him.

The gist of his tweet was that today's journalists have descended to spoon feeding us their opinions rather than the news. To which I responded: "But they're just trying to make sure we draw the RIGHT conclusion. :D" Right as in side not as in correct. He didn't say much but someone else chose to "school" me in how my goal should be to have the journalists presenting me with the "correct conclusions". In the interest of not wanting to make a flame war happen, I didn't respond in kind. I didn't say it, but I did wonder why someone else needs to tell me what "conclusion" I should draw? Isn't that pretty much what the media is doing now?

We don't have journalism any more, we have Punditry. That didn't happen because the broadcasting companies decided it was cheaper to have pundits on air rather than journalists, it happened because we CHOSE it. OMG, there I go again trying to make US accept responsibility for our share of fault for the very issues we constantly complain about.

The programs that these pundits host appear on cable news stations because we watch them. It's our viewership that drives the ratings and therefore the amount of money the station can charge it's advertisers. Thanks to the internet, John Q. Public has a voice. We praise and adore those pundits we agree with and are vocal in our support on whatever social media we choose to use. This praise and adoration is picked up by like minded individuals and they too add to the ratings by changing their channel to the one that produces the only "news" they agree with. And that's where my problem starts, we don't want to hear anything but validation of our own opinions. Which is what cable news networks are aware of. Hello Fox News, and to a slightly lesser extent, CNN and MSNBC.

All of those channels filter out what they know their viewers don't wish to hear. We are no longer allowed access to both sides of an issue which would provide us with the ability to make informed decisions and draw better conclusions. We, by our support of certain pundits over others, created this mess. It's not going to change until we wake up from our pundit induced comas and start opening our eyes and our minds to a wider diversity of thought.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Actuality of Conservatives

When asked what would happen to our nations's elderly and disabled if Congress cut social programs, a Conservative answered me by saying "Families can take care of them with help from the churches they attend". Mind you, this was said to me by the daughter of my 93 year old client who continually rescheduled doctors appointments because she can't deal with the stress of driving. These cancellations resulted in a pneumonia relapse which wouldn't have happened had she seen the doctor. He would have heard the fluid in her lungs. Apparently the client hadn't taken (she forgot) the antibiotics prescribed upon her release the first time.

I was tempted to point out that "family" hadn't done too awful much to help their Mom up to this point. The son, who is on SS disability at 55 because he's obese, received his Mom's car for Christmas. He can't drive the 50 miles to visit Mom but he can wax enthusiastically about how much his wife loves that car when he calls his dear Mother once a week. My client gave the car away because she'd become too frail to drive it.

The son she sees on holidays, that 50 miles is a long trip you know? The daughter is too stressed to drive, lives 5 miles away and sees her Mom when her husband picks his Mom-in-law up to bring her to their house. I give him credit. He stops to see her frequently on his way home from his law office. He was the one that managed the second round of antibiotics by talking to the doctor, finding out how far apart she had to take them. He then called her every morning to remind her to get up for long enough to take a pill. He saw to it that his daughter stopped after school to remind her for that one and he called again before going to bed for the third dose.

When he stops he's not there very long, but that's better than the nothing she was receiving before. Her two hospital stays gave a doctor time enough to see that there were issues with her cognition. He notified her primary care and our office finally received a diagnosis of Dementia. Since the primary care had been canceled so often, he didn't catch it. All but the 2 appointments needed for authorization to continue providing care for her were skipped. At this point, it doesn't really matter. I'm fairly certain she won't be here much longer. She's losing weight because she isn't eating.

The gastroenterologist has her on a lactose free diet to control her nasty diarrhea. Personally? I know she hasn't been eating right and drinking large volumes of Ensure daily. She told the doctor it was only one or two a day, but she was going through a case of 24 bottles every week. Ensure, due to it's high fat, carbohydrate and protein levels can cause the kind of diarrhea she was suffering from. When asked how I knew she was drinking too much of it since I'm only there 2 times a week, I told them it's the 13 gallon trash bag of Ensure bottles that was my clue. It was there EVERY Monday for me to take to the curb for disposal. They stopped buying the Ensure, and she still isn't eating. When asked she'll say that people who live alone have no appetite.

This is how families are taking care of their elderly. The highlight of her week, so she tells me, is the lay minister from her church who comes to administer Communion to her every Thursday. She's old style Catholic, and this means something special to her. However, I'd like to see the churches become more involved with services to the elderly. I'd also like to ask why, since they aren't already doing very much for the poor and infirm, do Conservatives think they will provide when the government saves them all those tax dollars by cutting programs.

There are over 1300 mega churches in the United States alone. All with tax exempt statuses who don't seem able to do much by way of aid where needed. In order to be designated a mega church they must regularly have 2000 members come for Sunday services. They rake in MILLIONS of dollars which enrich the pastors, but I don't ever hear of any of them helping the poor or elderly with things like medical bills. How about maybe rides to doctor's appointments, or helping people pay for necessary equipment to keep a loved one at home?

All I know is that if families and the churches were a viable option to replace the social welfare programs in place now, they'd already be hard at work doing the work that Jesus did instead of telling us how Christian they are.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


So, you've achieved the dream of gutting entitlement programs, and the reality of your life is that Mom or Dad don't have as much to live on because you didn't think about what would happen. What now?

They obviously can't live in an apartment since they can't pay rent, utilities, medical bills and eat with what your Conservative agenda left them. I suppose it's not your fault that you didn't know HUD was paying part of Mom's rent so she didn't have to live in a roach infested hovel. I suppose it's also not your fault that you didn't know she was also getting food stamps to assist with the grocery bill. Of course, now that Medicaid no longer exists, Mom's Depends are also a bit difficult to pay for so she's not changing as often as she should.

I see how you didn't realize she was getting so frail that getting in and out of the shower by herself was a thing of the past. Can't quite get her legs up over the tub these days, and since you only ran in long enough to drop things off or pick her up to take her to an appointment you didn't notice that she wasn't as clean as she should be. She was trying her best, but some parts of her body she just can't reach anymore.

Without Medicaid there is no aide coming every week to take care of these things and see to it that her apartment (the one she can no longer pay for) was kept up enough to pass inspection. Unfortunately the aide has been gone long enough for her to have failed inspection twice in a row which means she's facing eviction. The company who provided this aide contacted you to find out if you would be willing to pay to have her still come, but you said it wasn't necessary, you'd help her out. Unfortunately, you just didn't seem to find the time, nor did you realize how much time it actually took.

When you were there, the neighbors were treated to your scream fests. I'm sure you don't remember yelling at her that you didn't want to "waste your time" doing simple tasks that you were sure she could do herself.  After all, you don't really understand how muscles become atrophied simply because someone is older. She'd just gotten lazy in her old age. Never mind that moving was painful to her arthritic joints. As far as you're concerned she has too much time on her hands because all she does with it is call and bug you every day. You can't take all this stress. Only, things are about to get worse.

Her doctor said at her last appointment that she shouldn't be living alone. You checked into assisted living and discovered that it costs around $3000 a month. Mom's social security check is only $1200 which leaves $1800 a month unpaid. It used to be that Medicaid paid the balance, but you fought long and hard to get rid of that "entitlement" program. Which means Mom can't move there or a nursing home unless family agrees to pay the balance.

Mom sold your childhood home to you for pennies on the dollar of value. You haven't been living there, you are using it for extra income. You're getting $1800  a month for rent on it, but that's what paid for your trip to Europe last year and a few of the luxuries you enjoy. The only alternative is to have Mom move in with you and that's when the fun starts.

It's YOU that now has to change her bed linens everyday and see to it that she gets in and out of the shower. And the chair your Mom likes to sit in has developed a few smelly issues because of the accidents she's had when there's been no one around to clean up after her. Her bedroom and now the livingroom have developed a lingering odor of urine and feces because of it. Which is the first thing you smell when you come home from a hard day at work.

You and your Hubby used to have some fine dinner parties and BBQ's for friends and neighbors, only they're a thing of the past because you don't really want them smelling the evidence of old age and Mom can do some fairly embarrassing things that you'd rather not have people see. Like the time she got diarrhea and wasn't aware of it? Got all over her hands and she sat there eating candy with...well...shitty hands. Now there's an event that you would have loved to live without.

For all the reasons I've mentioned your kids are ashamed to have their friends over and the stress of their moods is driving you crazy. They're teenagers, rampant running hormones tend to create excessive emotions in them. Which, of course, you are being treated to since you were the bad guy and brought grandma home to live with you.

This is the reality that Conservatives seem to either ignore or not factor into their desire to keep their money in their own pockets rather than pay for the programs that take care of these things for them. I'm thinking that quite possibly they should be careful what they ask for since they just might get it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Clean As A Whistle

We're in the time of year when business should be picking up and it isn't. I have been trying to talk Hub into slowing down and maybe think about retiring, but he's used to having something to do so he's not listening to me. People aren't taking care of things the way they used to and money is still tight for everyone.

Every time we have an off month and are sweating making enough money to pay the bills, we get weird calls. They're from people in other states asking for prices, or they're from people who don't understand what is necessary and get mad at you for trying to help them. Ever try to explain to someone that you can't insert a 4" hose into a 3" pipe that most likely doesn't go into the tank to start out with? Yeah, they really do think you can pump out an underground septic tank and do it without making a hole in the lawn. However, just when you think you've heard it all, you find out you really haven't.

Got a call from George. English is not his first language, but he is understandable and sounds as if he might be Greek. What he wants is to have his septic tank pumped out and the insides of it pressure washed. This is, thus far, a fairly common request. Some folks want an inspection done of the condition of the concrete and that can't be accurately assessed unless the sides are really clean. Where it gets a little strange is when he says he also wants his drain pipes pressure washed throughout the entire house. When we do that, he wants us to run the camera down to prove that the pipes are clean.

He has 3 bathrooms. In order to do that we'd have to remove the toilet in every bathroom and re-install it afterwards. He has a high end, newer, home recently built, which means the drain pipes are most likely PVC. Our pressure washer would blow them apart at the joints. We have a commercial jetter. We could borrow the electric pressure washer from Hub's brother but there's no guarantee that won't create problems.

Tried to explain the situation over the phone, but he wasn't having any of that and requested Hub come look at the job. Hub didn't have anything else to do, and if he could persuade him not to do the pipes, we had a shot at the tank cleaning so he went. This is where it gets a whole lot stranger and it's pretty strange up to this point.

Hub arrives and finds there are 2 other contractors there. One is for the driveway, which George is not happy with. He hired a contractor to build him a nice driveway according to his specifications. The concrete is supposed to have some kind of color added that when poured and worked would create somewhat of a granite looking finish. There is a sort of granite effect, however it isn't shiny like in the picture. Said picture is from a magazine page which is a high gloss paper. Attempts by contractor number 1 to explain why the problem is the picture not the concrete, are being ignored. George wants the entire driveway torn out and done again in shiny granite looking concrete. Which doesn't exist, and he's having none of that.

Contractor number 2 is there to continue work on the deck that is never right. He told Hub that what should have taken a week has now gone to 6 and the problem is neither the weather nor the contractors work. George now wants the deck torn down and the one he ordered built in it's stead. Hub decided he didn't need the money enough to actually do any work for this man. He explained what needed doing and just told him he wasn't comfortable with the pressure washing of PVC pipes when they could blow apart from it. George is adamant about desiring pipes that are "clean as a whistle" so Hub suggested he call someone else.

He didn't recommend anyone because we don't dislike our competitors that much. Needless to say we won't be getting any recommendations from George either.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cat And Mouse

It was a strange day. I only had 1 case today. Came home, puttered around and sat down in front of the computer to check in on the blog. I had just started reading Whispered Promises comment to me when my phone rang. I answered and heard " Hi Sherry, it's me, Mo" Some of you might know her better as Mousey.

Talk about your surreal moments! There I was reading and hearing from 2 of my long lost blogbuds from Blogstream at the same time. Mousey has a lot on her plate right now. Long work hours, a Mom she's helping and she hasn't the time to blog at the moment. Life has this habit of getting in the way of fun.

During our conversation she told me that Bandit, her beloved kitty made the trip over the Rainbow Bridge last August. Like me, she chose to open her heart and home to a new kitty and she intentionally chose a male. I neglected to ask what color he is, but she has found out that demonkittehs come in all colors. I gather that her demon is not quite as bad as mine, but she now has a better understanding of the frustration and the joy that comes with choosing to be a companion (servant) to the males of the kitteh world.

Butterscotch, my own personal demonkitteh, is an equal opportunity pest. He divides his time between irritating both Hub and myself and napping, of course. Since my knee injury, he's pretty much leaving Hub alone and bugging me constantly. At the moment, he's on the back of this chair waiting for me to get up and move so he can go with me. Since the problem with the knee, it doesn't matter where I go in this house, he HAS to go with me.

As far back as I can remember, I've been using the bathroom all by myself. I know how to get there and back again. I know exactly what I have to do when I'm in there. Mama taught me at some point how to behave in that regard. I've been doing the bathroom thing all by myself for probably the last 58 or 59 years. Not any more. Now I have a "helper".

Now, when I need to go there, my helper leads the way. Once I'm in there and seated, he sits on the floor directly in front of me and watches EVERYTHING I do. I tried to leave him in the hallway because I am capable of doing this solo. The first time I tried that, he screeched and threw himself at the door until Hub came up the hall and let him in. He's a 14 pound cat. It sounded, to Hub, like I was in trouble. Hey, a bad excuse is better than none at all, unless the person on the other side of the door would like some privacy.

When he's not sitting there staring at me, he's inspecting my knee. He sniffs at it, cocks his head and looks at it, but he won't touch it. Not even when I'm in bed reading or elevating and icing it. Under normal circumstances, he thinks absolutely nothing about walking across me as if I'm some sort of bridge, stepping wherever. He won't do that right now. Goes all the way to the foot of the bed to walk around my body to get to the middle of the bed from the floor on my side. I may not understand his behavior, but at least he keeps me company during the boring and sometimes painful times when I'm sitting there with my leg up enjoying an ice pack.

Friday, June 1, 2012

TGIF Says Mrs. Sturdy

At my last doctor's appointment, she complimented me on the "great strides forward" I had accomplished. While I'm still overweight, I no longer qualify for the Obese category according to my BMI. However, even with all this new and improved me, there is still weight enough on me to create problems with my knees when I'm doing certain tasks at work.

Like kneeling, for instance. Some of my clients have that absolutely worthless long handled bathtub/shower cleaner. Other's still haven't modernized and I am called upon to get down on my knees to reach the back wall of the tub. Truthfully, I'm doing that at all my clients, because that extended thingy works so well...NOT!

Problem is, there's still 170 pounds on my frame, and floors are hard. Especially when I am having to be down there for awhile cleaning up the problem created by the client whose Depends aren't so dependable. I'm sure those of you who read that post know what and who I'm talking about. That particular bathroom is so small that once I'm down there, I can see all the spots that the contents of the Depends wandered off to, and there isn't any way to get between the toilet and the wall or the sink vanity unless you're crawling around on knees.

We had another one of "those" accidents again yesterday. And in the middle of the night, I was rudely awakened by pain. In my right knee. I do have arthritis in it, and normally that rude awakening means I've been in one position too long. Not so this time. No matter how many times I tried new positions, I couldn't ease the pain. At 2:30 AM, I got up and took something for it. I finally got up at 6 and tried bounding out of bed. There was a slight problem with that. Somebody was trying to hammer on my knee with a sledge hammer and darn near took me down to the floor. A position I'd still be in because there is no way I'd be able to get back up again with this pain. Fortunately, I just fell back onto the bed and could rethink the bounding thing.

Once I decided against the bounding, I cast around in what's left of my mind for the location of my compression brace. Haven't used it in...oh...three or so years, I think, but wonder of wonders I remembered where it was.

Now, I told the doctor at the outset of this health improvement journey that I was stubborn. She feels that word has negative connotations and replaced it with the word sturdy. So, Mrs. Sturdy put on her brace and did the stuff she had to do around the house before going to work. I then got into my car and went to work. I called my doctor from the driveway of my first clients home after having worked there 2 hours and managed to score an appointment for late afternoon. After my last case, of course.

My problem was so obvious that she didn't even need an X-ray. There is a lump on the lower left side of my knee joint, right where there is a bursa pad. It was hot to the touch and when she touched it, I nearly slapped her. Yeah, a day of pain can make one hostile. Diagnosis? Bursitis. Treatment? A shot of cortisone mixed with lidocaine and some instructions about REST, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

I only have 1 client for 2 hours tomorrow and Monday so I will be able to comply with her directions most of the time. As a matter of fact, it feels like time to elevate and ice the damn thing. OH, and she also said something about not kneeling on hard floors, but...yeah...I'm really going to pay attention to that one.