So much has happened this Summer.
In June we planted two gardens, the one raised bed garden we’d had and a new one. In one we planted cucumbers, sweet bell peppers and tomatoes. In the other garden we planted sweet basil, brussel sprouts, fern dill, onions, oregano and garlic. The oregano and garlic didn’t come up. I’ve been watering, every day for the first month or so, then every other day since. I’ve weeded and aerated the soil, fed the plants and harvested as the veggies have appeared. We’ve shared a lot of the harvest with others, and frozen some dill, as well as made basil butter.
My friend of 39 years began, early this summer, to cancel our weekly visits, for a variety of reasons. It was too hot, too humid, her legs hurt, her arms hurt, her back hurt, she was tired, just didn’t feel like it, etc. After a number of weeks where I worked really hard to get everything I needed to have done completed before she was expected, so I could give her visit my undivided attention and having her cancel at the last minute, I told her to just suspend any further visits, as she obviously wasn’t able to come and it really wasn’t fair for me to be put in the position of not knowing what was happening from week to week.
In late June, or early July, a friend of mine for the past 37 years came to visit. During her visit she mentioned that she had always thought about starting a consulting business for the disability community. As we talked, we decided we should explore the possibility of creating such a business together. We each bring something to this venture that the compliments what the other brings to it. After a planning meeting and several canceled meetings we decided that it wasn’t the right time to try to start something like this that would require so much time and commitment. We decided to wait until things quiet down for the both of us a bit, then try again.
For the past year, from the first week of August 2015, and currently, I’ve been working with my new doctor to lose weight. Over the course of the year I changed my diet, and tried to walk more. At first I seriously overdid it and suffered terribly. I lost the use of my power chair when one of the motors seized. My insurance company hadn’t paid for the previous repairs that had been done, so the provider who maintains my chair wasn’t willing to replace the motor. I pulled my manual chair out of the closet and decided to use it like a walker and push it around the block, being able to stop when needed and sit, to catch my breath and let my muscles rest. I started out walking one block, after a period of time I added another block. During my last check up, in July, I had lost a total of 62 pounds. At that time my doctor decided to add a weight loss medication, so I wouldn’t plateau and get discouraged. I’ve been walking 3 blocks daily since the first week of August, tried 4 blocks two days in a row, even tried 3 blocks twice a day for a couple of days, until I started having some troubling numbness in my right hand and foot, so I had to back off and go back to one or two blocks per day. I see the doctor for a weigh-in in October.
On August 4, my husband and I traveled to a county fair to see a performer I’d first seen on youtube back in May. I’d contacted the fair grounds to get information about tickets, there weren’t any the concert was included in the entrance fee to the fair. I asked about accessible parking and an accessible seating area. I was told there was accessible parking near the gate and there were two staffed golf carts that would take handicapped individuals directly to the stage area. I’d been in terrible pain for aobut 2 weeks or more before the concert and could hardly get around. The day before the concert I almost decided not to go. We drove a little more than two hours to the fair. When we arrived there were carts that transported folks with disabilities to the gate, but everyone had to walk down a gravel road, across a covered bridge, down the gravel road, through a field to the stage. The ‘accessible seating area’ was a grassy spot behind a barrier at each corner of the stage, but there were VIP seats still available and the $15 VIP price included both shows at 7 pm and 9 pm. We got those seats.
We saw Shawn Klush, the First Ultimate Elvis Presley Tribute Artist as awarded by Elvis Presley Enterprises and the winner of the BBC’s World’s Greatest Elvis contest. Both shows were incredible. All the pain I’d been in, the discomfort of the car trip, all went out of mind while enjoying his performance. His band was incredible, the shows were interactive and extremely entertaining. My husband rolled me up to the stage and Shawn gave me a scarf. I took tons of pictures. We met some incredible folks watching the show with us and had a good time with them. After the show, Shawn met anyone who wanted to meet him, signed autographs and took pictures with fans. I got a beautiful black and white 8×10 for him to sign and when it was my turn to meet with him, I sat across the table with him and said, “Hi Shawn.” He said, “How you doin’ baby?” in the sweetest softest Elvis voice. Every intelligent thought was instantly sucked out of my head. I got his autograph and he happily agreed to let me have a picture taken with him. After coming home I was really motivated… if I could walk the distance required to get to the stage, to get back to the car, then I could walk more and work more on losing weight and rebuilding muscle.
A member of his band friended me on Facebook and I contacted Shawn’s people to see what would be required to get him to come to my town. They’ve made contact with the venue here and I’m hoping I can do something to help bring him here.
Hubby’s been working mandatory overtime for much of the summer. That means I and our son are responsible for more of what needs to be done here at home. His overtime is finally over, for the time being, with the possibility of starting up again before the holidays. That was rough. I tried to mow part of the yard, to help out and seriously hurt myself. Our son has been helping me a lot with housework, putting away groceries, etc.
Our son’s permanent aide came back in June from her 9 month medical leave. It got off to a very rough start. She missed her first day back, worked two days, then asked for an entire week off. Over the course of the Summer, she didn’t work 1/4 of all her scheduled days. I was reminded that I shouldn’t be scheduling around aides’ schedules, but rather they should be scheduling their personal appointments around our son’s schedule. Our back-up aide went back on first shift at her full time job, so she wasn’t an option. We had a friend recommend someone, as a second back-up, who had worked for her in personal home care. She was said to be very reliable and when I connected with her she was very enthusiastic. She came over and met our son, they hit it off. She came back and spent 2 hours filling out the hiring packet, but when it came to communicating with her to get her ID copied for the application, I couldn’t get a response from her. That all fell through, but now that school is back in session, our back-up aide is back on second shift, which makes her available if we need her again.
We had an issue in August, the day of the concert, where my s-i-l called as we were going out the door to say my husband’s mom wasn’t going to have a surgery she had scheduled because her insurance wasn’t going to pay the whole fee for a two day stay, as her out of pocket expense would have been $190 per day and she couldn’t afford it. She wanted to know if my husband would help her by splitting the fee so their mom could have her surgery. It turned out, after my husband talked to his mother that she had an option, as directed by the hospital and was in fact having her surgery. As is usual, the s-i-l had jumped the gun, exaggerated and made a non-situation into a crisis, brought stress into our life.
All in all, it’s been a roller coaster of a summer, but we’re happy and plugging along. I’m learning about moderation in a couple of aspects of my life, have enforced some boundaries and taken care of myself. We’re looking enthusiastically toward the holidays and have already decorated the interior of the house with Autumn leaves and pumpkins.
It’s been an interesting summer… looking forward to a calming and relaxing Autumn.