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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of us 
(here and in spirit) 
at The Pink House on the Corner!

I hate to admit, I didn't send out a single Christmas Card this year, as I just didn't have the heart to -- so if you are on my Christmas Card list, please accept this as my greeting to you this year.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Another Stroke -- Too Close to Home...

You might remember Chris, my dear old friend, who was such a great help after Bob had the stroke, and who now lives in our garage apartment.

Chris suffered a stroke on Sunday.  A bad one.

I went to visit her in the hospital this week, and I hate to say, I was not "a good friend" because seeing her that way, paralyzed on one side, flopping around on the bed, brought back way too many horrid memories and I just couldn't handle it -- and I had to flee after a half hour....

I tell you, I have never felt so alone as now...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bob's 1981 Drawing Is Restored, Matted & Framed!

Click to enlarge
And this is my Christmas gift from me to Bob and this is also the Christmas gift from Bob to me....  Thank you, Sweetheart.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Caregiving Consequences

Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment.  This was the first one in many years. I tell you, not because my teeth are fine.

For the past 4+ years, Bob has always come first. And when money was limited, there is just so much in the budget, that my health needs always fell by the wayside because Bob's needs were so much more...

This is not an uncommon theme among caregivers. A recent report issued by NAC (National Alliance for Caregiving) and AARP indicates that among the estimated 34-40 million unpaid caregivers in the US, a full 67% report that they "put their care recipient's needs before their own".  That's a lot caregivers not going to the doctor or dentist.

My teeth have been bothering me for years.  Yesterday, I finally had a molar extracted and a partial deep root cleaning -- the cleaning will be a two step process and will finish up with another appointment.  The doctor told me I was lucky that my long-time neglect hadn't caused me to lose more teeth...

The procedure was not cheap. And not fun. And just goes to show how a caregiver can put themselves at risk when we neglect ourselves.

Unfortunately, it's not a perfect world and too many caregivers do not have the time or money to take care of themselves....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Nursing Homes -- Two Very Different Experiences

So, I actually got up my gumption to make appointments to take Kona out on Therapy Dog visits.  The first place I contacted wanted me to bring Kona in for an "interview".

I tell you, this was like a job interview. I had to fill out an application that was several pages long and included strange questions such as What is your favorite movie? and If money and time were unlimited, where would you go on a dream vacation and what would you do?  It felt like they were trying to get a psychological profile on me.  Then I had to provide two references, plus sign off on a criminal background check.  Oh-kay.

I mean, I'm just a volunteer with a therapy dog.

After our interview, which I guess I passed, I had to go to a 2 hour long "volunteer orientation". This included a tour of the facility and I was also given a "volunteer handbook" and a list of rules and regulations as well as a "dress code". We were also shown the procedure to "check in" at the front desk, and then, again, at the volunteer station where we clock our hours.

Then we were told we  had to have a TB screening test!


I took the TB test thing yesterday, and have to return on Wednesday for the "all clear" and then I have to set up a time with the volunteer coordinator to do the first visit with her at my side showing me the ropes.

It seems like a lot of hoops to jump through just bring Kona in for visits. But, as Bob would say, "oh well."

The second nursing home, I called on Saturday.  I had gotten a newsletter from Project PUP which stated that this particular place did not have a single therapy dog coming to see them and they desperately wanted one. Since it's not too far away, I gave them call and talked with that volunteer coordinator to set up a time to come in -- which was yesterday.

Yesterday, I arrived with Kona, met the volunteer coordinator in the lobby. She took me straight to the dining room where several residents were drinking coffee, playing games, etc. and left me there to "do my thing"!  No paperwork to fill out, no introductions, just jump in with both feet!

The one thing I found out about Kona is that although she is well behaved and everyone loved her, she tends to keep her eyes on me at all times and did not seem very interested in the residents.

Maybe this will change with time...

I have scheduled to go back to nursing home #2 on Saturday mornings.  We'll see what happens....

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bob's Artwork

I recently came across an old drawing of Bob's dated 1981. Bob would have been 22 years old at the time.  The thing is quite (I think) beautiful but unfortunately it was folded four times, thereby creased and the edges were very tattered.  What struck me about this drawing was the eerie similarities to his post-stroke drawings.

I wish I could have scanned the whole picture into my computer but the drawing is big, 16 x 12 inches, and my scanner will not accommodate it -- but here are some sections of it.

I have taken the drawing to a nearby frame shop and talked with the proprietor there to see if it can be restored. The guy at shop thinks he can do it! So I picked out some framing and matting for it and should have it back in a week or so, just in time to be a Christmas present from Bob to me!

Now look at the similarity between some of the figures in this old drawing and these early sketches from Bob's first post-stroke sketchbook.

I find it amazing that, 30 years later, Bob's stroke damaged brain would remember a drawing he did from 1981 and try to replicate it.

Last night, I visited a neighbor lady who is also an artist. And though she is elderly, she still has many contacts in the local art community. I showed her Bob's post-stroke drawings (not these, but the good ones!) and she absolutely loved them. She is going to talk to a friend who owns a local art gallery about the possibility of doing an exhibit of Bob's artwork.

Very exciting!  I think he would be pleased.