Monthly Archives: February 2019

22 days

It has been 22 days since I have been locked out of my love’s care room.due to a vicious round of norovirus which is currently re-infecting those who have already been sick a week ago. How long these fragile souls can withstand this extra stress should be a concern to all relatives.

At first it felt like a bit of a holiday– freedom from the wrenching emotional roller coaster of anticipatory (and ever-present real) grief which is triggered less or more with every daily visit.

I suddenly had time for self care like a visit to the dentist, a call to a friend. I was ok.

But now enough is enough. I need to see him, hug him, enjoy his presence and I cannot.

Worse, there is no communication from the facility. No measures announced from Island Health to help or check on procedures at their contractor. A contractor with neither dietitian nor director of care. Who is addressing protocols?   who is ensuring consistency throughout the system? who is searching for the weak links in their sterilization methods? Are they washing the floor every day with disinfectant? I know the staff are wiping and cleaning but they are starting I suspect to feel defeated.

We who wait can only wonder, and try to figure out a lever of accountability. Anyone know a good lawyer?

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For DJ

Tonight I grieve and weep for a friend of my love, who has departed,  gone to the light, away from the dementia care ward at CVSV.

When I knew him he was a gentle soul, always with a crooked smile and a light in his eyes for me. In these last months he could not walk and was very ill and could hardly speak, but sometimes whisper.

In his real life, in the old days, strong, athletic, a mountain climber and so much more. That man I never had the chance to know.

Only a few weeks ago, as he and Don sat at a beautiful fiddle quilt his wife had made, Don was in sleepy distress, muttering with his eyes closed. His friend, slowly, slowly, with great concentrated effort, reached out his hand in comfort.

That is the kind and gentle soul I grieve tonight.

 

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Intuition

I have great belief in what I call the “back of my head.” Often when I thought i was struggling with a life decision, on looking back I realise steps taken, which prepared the way,  reveal the “back of my head” already knew what I was going to wake one morning and suddenly decide.

In my 30s I started running  a fever every evening from  8 PM to 8.30. I am not one for doctoring – had way too much of that as a helpless kid – so usually I would never run to the doc. But this symptom was so specific I figured there might be a clear cut answer, so off I went.

She looked perplexed and to my disappointment said, no, I know of nothing that would cause that. She ordered some tests and looked up and asked  when did you last have a pap test? Of course, the answer was basically never, and before I knew it I was flipped on my back getting The Procedure.

Well one thing led to another, the cancer shute I call it, each test more grave, and finally,  with some drama, much meditation and self-examination in face of potential death, along with a serious hemorrhage along the way, I wound up cured.

And wiser, with a deep belief that the back of my head was looking after me.

I saw another doctor listen too, when, as she was about to treat me for a dislocated shoulder, she looked into my eyes, stopped, and sent me instead on the 2 hour journey to hospital for an xray. The ache from the now healed break in my upper arm reminds me of that moment, and I am thankful.

And last week i was visiting Don as he lay in bed at 2 PM. “Oh,”he said, looking at my silvered hair, “Your wings are beautiful.”

He eventually got up, driven by hunger. While he gobbled lunch, I picked up a tough bit he had spit out. Usually I don’t worry much about hygiene between us, focusing on sterilizing my hands on the way in and the way out of the ward. But this time something niggled, and I went to wash my hands that extra time.

The next day the facility went into “lock down” as Don and most of the residents, and the long-suffering staff, struggled with a wave of norovirus.

I am so far fine, and more convinced than ever that the whispering intuition at the back of my head knows way more than the babbling I.

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Videos for dementia caregivers

Supported by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation and produced by Island Health, this series of videos for dementia caregivers covers a range of topics to help those caring for a loved one living with dementia. Extensive and useful. Video series

It is of course all so you can keep your loved one at home, which is pretty much necessary since there is little relief in sight on the residential care bed front. Still, I could have used these vids during the long and lonely years….

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