Yesterday, I found out how the "other half" lives, by that I mean the caregivers with money. And oh, it is lovely.
My parents and aunt and uncle are still in town and it has been a struggle finding someone to watch over Bob so that I can get out for some much needed respite. I had thought I had it all arranged, Chris had volunteered to help and also another neighbor, Barbara, then there was Bob's former IV/IG nurse who volunteered to keep her calendar clear for us and she had a back-up friend who would sit with Bob for $30.00 or so.
The best laid plans, as they say.... Chris ended up in the hospital with a blood clot in her leg and had to have surgery, the other neighbor fell ill. Bob's former nurse got here a couple of times but then got tied up in other commitments and her back-up friend decided she wasn't "comfortable" with the situation. Yikes.
(And before anyone mentions that I should check into county/state programs, I already have. The only program Bob qualifies for has a waiting list of over 6,000 names, the social worker said not to expect anything for probably two or more years, and then maybe not at all because of budget cuts...)
So yesterday, my mom and dad hired a caregiver from an agency. This cost $16.00/hour! And this for just a "caregiver" not a nurse, so they can't administer meds or feedings through the peg tube. They do handle diaper changes and can transfer from wheelchair to bed and even offered to do house work! Though I declined the housework part, feeling Bob needed the attention more than the house needed cleaning---not that the house doesn't need cleaning, but.... Then, the caregiver arrived and she was just wonderful!
The whole afternoon I received only one phone call from her and that was because Bob wanted to play Scrabble and he kept asking for her to get the "box" and she didn't know what or where this "box" was but I figured out what Bob meant was "book" not "box", meaning he wanted the Scrabble Dictionary. Turned out she didn't know how to play Scrabble and I was told, when I got home, that Bob taught her how to play. (Now, that would have been interesting to watch!) Later Bob told me that she was "horrible" at Scrabble, but he had fun and that's what mattered. I was able to get out of the house to go shopping with my relatives and out to eat afterwards and though I was a bit worried at first about leaving Bob with a stranger, it all worked out so well. It was unbelievable.
And they say money doesn't buy happiness. All I can say is I sure wish we had the money to hire an agency occasionally. It certainly made me happy yesterday! Though I can't say as much for Ripley, who spent the whole day cowering inside the covered litter box...
Today, we are off to the beach again and Sunday, the hired caregiver is coming back for another round of Scrabble. And right now, it is time to get Bob's bedbath done and get him going for the day. So I'm off.