Monday, August 29, 2011

Plan of care

4:48 p.m. Today's project was to sit down with nurse Theresa from Brightstar, the agency we use to provide caregivers for Steve, to create a Plan of Care. We've had a plan with Genworth, our long term care insurance company, whereby a nurse meets with us semi-annually to ascertain Steve's condition and the level of care he needs. This is a first for Brightstar, so it's a solid professional step in the right direction.

Things got hectic when the nurse arrived, because the rat man came at the same time. I asked him to check on the fallen drywall from the upstairs room we want to rent, with the crawlspace to the attic. (That's where he has laid his successful traps). So the nurse and I went on with the meeting.

She needed to know Steve's exact condition and stage of Alzheimers, and pinned down the exact kind of care needed at this stage. As I described Steve's current activities, strengths and limitations, we agreed that he needs supervision for his meal preparation and for safety while walking the dogs and doing his outside chores. Those chores come under the category of "light housekeeping." I found out that our policy will pay for help to actually clean the house and prepare meals, but as long as I am here, that's not necessary. Since I generally go out for three hours, a maximum of four times a week, Steve either eats with me or I leave all meal ingredients, or complete meals, for him to assemble, like a sandwich and chips for lunch.

We discussed the efficacy of the drugs Steve is taking, particularly Aricept 23 and Namenda, and if they are doing much at all to slow the inexorable march of his inherited affliction. The spasms began while Steve was on the highest, experimental dose of Aricept--so, was it doing that much more for him than the 10 milligram version was? That's a question for our neurologist once I get his EEG results, which the nurse said will show areas of brain atrophy. Steve will begin taking an anti-spasm drug soon, one so powerful that he can only take 1/4 tab a day for the first week, building up to one tab daily in a month! I am proud of him for adjusting to the sudden jerks his hands make, even to the point of positioning his Bible in such a way that it won't drop during the Sunday sermon. Steve does as we were taught a couple of Sundays past, to "desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the LORD is gracious." (I Peter 2:2)

God was surely gracious today! While the nurse went through and documented all of Steve's meds, I followed our exterminator out to the garden, where he had placed a baited rat trap early this month. "Looks like they ate all the bait! That's better than them eating your fruit and vegetables, right?" He went on to explain that the bait has an anti-coagulant feature that causes them to bleed to death internally...elsewhere. No dead rat bodies for me to have to stumble upon! And we finally have some veggies coming into full fruition!

Even before dawn, the Lord was active in my behalf in the wee hours past midnight, for the reason that I couldn't sleep. So I came downstairs and completed my notes on I Samuel 26 and 27 for Thursday. When I arrived in the kitchen, I thought I'd take a look at the bottle of Bayer Back & Body extra strength aspirin to see what was up, because aspirin usually puts me to sleep. Not this variety! The two active ingredients are aspirin and guess what? Caffeine! Nothing to do but to wait out my the dishwasher got emptied and I also swept the kitchen floor. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might," Ecclesiastes 9:10 says. Sleep came at last, but not for too long, because Steve went with me to an early hairdresser appointment. I sold a small amount of product, so the day was positive already.

My 10:00 o'clock Mary Kay spa facial appointment cancelled on me, so I dropped off a party packet for a hostess, mailed my book to a chain of Christian bookstores for review and consideration, and picked up some much-needed groceries. I then contacted another Christian vendor about carrying Galatians. That book is keeping me busy lately, and thank you, Lord, for that!

Theresa and I wrapped up our plan of care, a very appropriate step in doing what's best for my husband when I need to be absent from the home. I checked the missed calls on my cell phone, and found out from voicemail that our bank, Provident, had reversed a charge they had levied against our account, and credited a large deposit that should have been posted in the morning! Praise the Lord, we survive another day!!

While making plans for our future, I keep in mind that James 4:13 says,

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

I also know that since God's plans and His loving care are so much greater than anything I could conceive of, that I'll follow His "plan of care" (Ephesians 3:20) which exceeds all that I could ask or think!

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