Sunday, July 31, 2016

Remember the Nails

It's been one week since Dean moved into an assisted living center here called The Waterford at Williamsburg. I'm still pinching myself to make sure it's really true. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought he would be able to live in such a fine residence.

Having a brain injury made a private room a top priority for him. I knew he would need a space of his own, away from distractions, to give his brain a rest when needed. His new room, one of the few available for Medicaid recipients, is right by the nurses' station and the dining room. Who could ask for a better location and setting for him?

He wears a call button around his neck so he is always near assistance of any kind. Plus a new Jitterbug senior phone I bought for him, so we can be in touch whenever he misses me and wants to talk. Therefore I can finally get a full night's sleep myself, knowing his diabetes and other medical needs will be monitored and treated appropriately.

I give God all the credit for working this out for us. I had all but given up hope, just accepting the fact that perhaps Homestead Rehab would somehow determine his needs warranted him staying in their extended care unit; but it would most likely be with a roommate, as they had few private rooms available.

But then God impressed Myra, a friend of mine who resides at The Waterford, to speak to the director about the possibility of Dean being considered for their still empty Medicaid room. I'm so glad Myra listened to God's voice. The director agreed to send their nurse over to interview us a couple of days later, and by the end of that day, we knew we were "in"!

It's been a very relaxing week for me. No complaints from Dean about being there either (even though he still sees it as a "temporary" fix). This is truly an answer to prayer for me though. I feel so much better physically, and attribute it to getting better sleep and having less stress.

Our case manager came to the house this week and had me sign a new care plan of services for Dean. It felt so freeing to be named only six times, instead of sixteen, as the one responsible for his care. I still handle our finances, will take him on outings (we've already been to church and prayer meeting), and help schedule and attend doctor appointments. It really feels like light duty, compared to what I was responsible for before this assisted living arrangement.

The words of Psalm 23 have frequently come to mind: "My cup runneth over." Surely we have been abundantly blessed with this latest turn of events. It truly feels like my cup of blessings is running over.

P.S. He's still showing up for manicures. He told me he waited patiently till all the ladies were served this week, then got his toenails painted, plus two thumbs. Myra told me that Dean had shown up for breakfast without his shoes and socks on one morning. I didn't think much of it then, till I remembered the toenails. *smiles*

Friday, July 15, 2016

Guideposts, Not Barriers

Three weeks exactly since Dean's blood sugars were shown to be through the roof. And we still don't have a sure "roof" over him. In other words, not sure where he will reside following his stay at a rehab facility.

There has been much relief for me by having medical professionals handle his complex issues. It was challenging, but possible, for me to battle his hypertension, sleep apnea, being a fall risk, and having dementia. But diabetes thrown in the mix? My stress level would have gone through the roof too!

It was not a difficult decision to make. We have to find him placement that will not only reduce my stress, but will help him get and stay on a better path of health. These emergency room visits were becoming a habit with us. As close as we tried to monitor his symptoms here at home, even with a good home health agency called Elite by our side, his emergencies tended to appear suddenly out of nowhere.

After several attempts and disappointments, we are still looking for the right fit for Dean. At first I was seeing these failed inquiries as barriers, but am trying to instead think of them as guideposts. God will guide us safely into harbor and Dean and I will both continue to fit safely under His wings. What better "roof" could you ask for?

"He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge." Psalm 91:4

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

God's Brave Missionary

This has to be one of the most difficult posts I've had to write on this blog. I've begun several times and nothing seems to come out right.

I want, above all, to make it clear that my caregiving is not over for Dean, even though we are exploring his options for care outside our home. Home is where the heart is and our hearts will always be at home with each other.

I am so touched that Dean has shown the resolute, but hesitant, acceptance he has of our proposals to find an assisted living facility for him. We met for a care plan discussion in his room at Homestead Rehab this morning. All his care providers are in agreement that this search will be in Dean's best interest, in light of this new diagnosis of diabetes. (But I know Dean's going along with it just for my sake, which makes me love him all the more.)

Despite the emotional drain on me this past week, I do feel a physical relief from the load of stress that I was carrying these last sixteen years. As I learned last fall when he was in rehab for a couple of months for his broken foot, the respite that comes from having the house all to myself, with others caring for Dean's physical and mental needs, is quite pronounced and rejuvenating.

But with this release of energy for me comes the subtle questions and guilt. I do not like to think of myself getting all the benefit from this decision. Surely, there will be improvements for Dean's health as well.

He will undoubtedly get more walking and exercise there. He loves going to all the social activities, which I can't provide him here at home. And most of all, they can monitor his insulin and diet more, or as much, as I would be able to accomplish.

I'm remembering all the prayers Dean has spoken the last few years, asking God to give him a mission. This might just end up being God's answer to that prayer. It's truly a sacrifice, but this is evidence that God chooses our mission field. We don't have that luxury.

I know he will end up being a blessing wherever God sends him. He's already put many smiles on the faces of residents at Homestead. The ladies must still be talking about how he showed up at their "manicuring" activity and even let the staff paint his fingernails--red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July!

One of our favorite Sabbath missionary activities, when we were both younger, was to visit and sing in nursing homes in the afternoon. Dean seemed to have a special knack for connecting with lonely seniors individually. It was always hard to leave the residents after such a short visit. Now Dean will have the opportunity to minister to them full-time.

For Dean's part, he's making the wise choice to just take this situation "one day at a time." God expects no more than that from His brave missionary.