Monday, November 19, 2018

Caregiving and meals

I've been preparing my brother's meals now for about 8 years.  I make 7 dinners and 5 lunches a week.  I've learned a few tricks that really help with this and one of them was purchasing a George Foreman indoor grill.  It is small and it says you can grill 4 servings at a time but the most I've been able to do is 3.  I love this little grill though.  It's perfect for two people or for one.
 This is one of the best purchases I've made.  It has removable grill plates and nothing, absolutely nothing sticks to them.  So easy to clean. I've had mine about two years and it still works like a champ.  It is so easy to grill on and really helps me prepare Mike's meals.  And it only cost about $27.00 at Walmart.

Another thing I discovered is single serve instant potato cups.  I get the Walmart brand because they are a little cheaper but you just add water stir and microwave for 1 minute.  Mike just loves them and I don't have to make a whole pot of mashed potatoes.  
This is the brand I started with and they have 3 flavors.  Garlic & butter, Loaded (with cheese) and buttery homestyle.  These are great for people living alone.

About once a month I will cook all day things like small meatloaves,spaghetti sauce, soups, chili anything I can put in single serve portions and freeze. I've also prepared several menus for each season.  Winter menus and summer menus that I then rotate.  That way I don't keep preparing him the same thing every week.  And I don't have to think about what to cook each week.  This has really made it easier especially when I go to the grocery store.  

I've really gotten it down to where it only takes me about two to three hours to put all the meals together.  I usually only have to cook twice a week for us as well.  

We purchased insulated bags to transport his meals. 

I purchased meal trays from Amazon and each meal is labeled with the day, contents and heating instructions.  I learned over time that Mike isn't able to make even small decisions like what he wants to eat.  So I prepare a calendar for him each week with the weekly menu on it.

Lunch –    Ham Sandwich        

Supper –       Salmon Patties
                      3 minutes                              


Lunch –   Bacon Cheeseburger

Supper -  Chili                                                                     
                     3 minutes


Lunch –   Bacon Cheeseburger

Supper -        Beef Pot Pies
                     3 minutes


Lunch -    Thanksgiving dinner 1pm

Supper -       Sandwich


Lunch –  Freddie's

  Supper -     Pulled Pork
                    3 minutes


Lunch –   Arbie’s

Supper -       Pork Chop
                    3 minutes


Lunch –  Bacon Cheeseburger

Supper         Brisket
                    3 minutes

Two days a week Ron takes Mike out to lunch.

Anyway, if you are a caregiver cooking meals for someone maybe this will give you some ideas. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Meal Train

This afternoon I prepared my brother's meals for next week.  On his menu was salmon patties, Mike's chili, beef pot pies, THANKSGIVING, pork chops, pulled pork and roast beef.  I prepared 5 lunches as well.  

Later I wrapped all my daughter's Christmas gifts for her.  I have always enjoyed wrapping gifts.  When I was in high school I would work at J.C. Penny's during the Christmas holiday wrapping gifts.  I've enjoyed wrapping them ever since.  I've already done all my shopping and wrapped them as well.  Early bird I guess!

Tomorrow I'm driving Mike to the doctor.  He has a rash from something he is allergic to and I think he will need a steroid pack in order to clear it up.  Thankfully it isn't causing him any discomfort.

We are planning a fairly low key Thanksgiving dinner this year.  There are only 7 of us for dinner this year but we will have about 20 for Christmas.  Can't wait.......should be lots of fun.  My daughter and son-in-law will have their four girls this year.  That is just one of the hard things about divorce.  The division of time and holidays.  Thankfully the girls live in Norman as well so it makes it so much easier to see them.  They are all 13 years old now.  The triplets turned 13 in July and Emma was 13 in April.  A houseful of teenage girls!  Yikes

I hope everyone has a safe and blessed holiday!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

It's all in a day!

I have the house to myself for awhile tonight.  Ron has gone to watch a football game with Mike and Ellie and I are home alone.

I don't know why I haven't written anything in so long.  Retirement sure takes up a lot of time.  I go from one doctor's appointment to another and not much in between it seems.  Nothing new to report on that front.  Long specialist hasn't cracked the code to my well being yet.  If anything I cough more and harder.  The coughing has gotten so bad that I'm too embarrassed to go to church.  The last time I went I started coughing and at least 5 people started passing me cough drops and mints.  I finally had to leave the sanctuary before I disrupted the entire service.  Since then I just volunteer for things.  We are doing the recycling and communion preparation.  Neither requiring me to sit quietly............

Piper had her 3rd birthday.  We spoiled her to death with princess dresses.  She was so cute!  I just don't know where the time has gone.  I've been so lucky to be in her life.  Her daddy told me the other day that by all accounts I am her grandmother.  That touched me so much.  I am blessed!

Ron is doing pretty good.  He has had his seizure med adjusted several times but he still falls asleep every time he sits down.  Yesterday he had Mike with him and they were driving on highway 9 to the Indian clinic. Ron fell asleep at the wheel but fortunately Mike saw him doze off and tapped  him on the shoulder.  Ron slightly over-corrected and hit a hole that bent the hubcap and messed up the struts.  About $800.00 to repair but thank goodness they are both alive.  Ron has agreed that he should limit his driving to town only and preferably with a passenger.  I'll be doing the majority of the driving from now on.
I know it frustrates Ron but it's for his safety as well as anyone on the streets! 

Aging is not for the faint of heart!

Friday, August 17, 2018


                The most fearless woman I've ever known!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Surgery #2

Well, Mike now has two good eyes.  He had his second cataract surgery this morning and it went fine.  Now 4 more weeks of eye drops and maybe things will get back to normal.  I know Ron will be glad since he's the one that has been going over and putting drops in Mike's eyes every day.

Yesterday Ron and I drove to the Ikea in Frisco, TX to pick up some things for my daughters and some of their co-workers. We hired someone to sit with Mike and the trip let us see how that would go. We were gone from 8am until 6pm  and it seemed to go fine.  We didn't get a call all day and that was a first.  Mike enjoyed the company and this gives us some hope that maybe we can try to get away for the weekend or over night.  We've both decided that we absolutely need a break or we are going to burn out.  It's good for Mike as well.

We are sure tired though.  The fast trip yesterday and then up this morning at 4 am.  I'm about to crash!  

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

One Week Post-op

My patient is doing pretty good.  Considering his entire routine has been turned upside down he's doing real good!  

Yesterday I took him to the mall so he could walk inside.  He really misses his gym and exercising.  I was able to slip into Hallmark and purchase my daughters Christmas ornaments for this year.  Mike walked about 20 minutes and was then ready to go home.

Today Ron picked him up and they went to the church to do the recycling.  Then they went to Walmart and filled Mike's list.  Tomorrow I take Mike for his 2nd post-op visit and we will know if he is still a go for his 2nd cataract surgery.  That is tentatively in two weeks.  I sure hope everything looks good tomorrow.  The only issue I can foresee is that his eyes are very dry.  He's still using lubricating eye drops and I hope it is enough.

This whole ordeal won't be over until the first of Oct.  By then he should be healed and have his new glasses.  We will all do a happy dance at that time!!!

I've been trying to get a leg up on Christmas shopping.  I usually have everything purchased by September 1st.  I don't know if I'll make it this year.  Too much going on but I've already purchased several gifts.  Going to sew curtains and a dust ruffle for Julie's room.  I have the material now I need to get the sewing machine out and get going.  I've got several ideas for everybody else.  I really want to sew Piper's Halloween costume this year.  I want to make her a princess dress.  She is so enamored over princesses.   That may be a little too industrious a goal but I haven't given up the idea yet.

Well, this is just a quick update.  I've got to start supper.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Frustration & pity parties

Frustration overtook me yesterday and try as I might I hit my limit with my brother.  No matter how hard I tried to explain how to take a shower without getting water in your eyes the poor guy just didn't get it.  I kept asking myself how hard of a concept is "just turn around"...keep the water at your back!  My Lord he just kept making it harder than it needed to be and my dam burst.  He had decided that he wanted Ron or I standing outside the bathroom every time he showers.  It was just too much.  The more we do for him the more he demands.  I told him he needs to be as independent as he can be and that when we reach the point that Ron and I have to bathe him then other arrangements need to be made.  (As if "other arrangements" will even be an option.

Finally after tears from both sides I convinced him to go to bed.  That all would look better tomorrow.  And sure enough today he is better.  Even took a shower by himself (wearing goggles) but whatever works!  

Our lives are completely consumed by my brother's needs.  We can't go anywhere or do anything without constant phone calls.  I'm not resentful but I'm very tired.  When he is hateful or demanding I just want to thunk him on the head.  I have to constantly remind myself that he is functioning at a very self-centered 9 year old level.  

Without Ron this would all be impossible.  There is absolutely no way that I could do this by myself.  Between preparing his meals and keeping track of his meds and doctor appointments that by itself would overwhelm me.  I will say that being so focused on Mike sure keeps me from focusing on my own health issues.  

Last night I got to thinking about my feet....they are completely numb up past the ankle.  Worse on right foot.  I feel some nerve discomfort, I wouldn't call it pain.  My right foot and leg swell and turn red.  I have no idea if this is related to my diabetes but my fear is that it may be.  My blood sugar is well controlled.  Fasting this morning was 90 and has remained low all day as usual.   But none of this kept me from worrying a little last night.  I would definitely like to keep both my feet until I die of some other affliction.  But while I was completely filling up on self-pity I started thinking about my friend Maria. 

She was 19 and standing by her prized Mustang car when she was hit by a semi and both legs were severed on the spot.  She survived with the loss of both legs and a crushed pelvis.  Her right leg was severed at the hip and her left below the knee.  She's considered a bilateral amputee.  When she awoke in the hospital her first words were, and in this order...."How's my car and Will I be able to have children?"  The car was totaled but she went on to  marry and have 2 children.  Both things the average person would have thought impossible.  She also became an Occupational Therapist and I can't think of anything she can't do with the exception of bowling...  She's a certified scuba instructor, a therapist, a wife, mother and soon to be grandmother.  I've never heard her complain.  The only thing that gets to her are people who question whether she deserves a handicap parking sticker. 

So I decided to squash my pity party and went to sleep instead!