Fear and confusion

Posted by bernicky - September 26th, 2011

The title really sums it up. In essence this is what my life has become. Fear is a constant implacable companion. Whether it is fear of cancer progression, dementia, seizures, finances, keeping my job or just making stupid mistakes fear has become my fundamental constant. Confusion is a little more amorphous. Mostly confusion surrounds my wife and how to interpret what she wants as her verbal skills continue to ebb and flow at an ever diminishing rate. Life is trying but it certainly continues to be interesting.

Compression stockings

Posted by bernicky - September 18th, 2011

In all honest the idea of spending $300 on compression stockings took me aback a little bit. We went to Slawner ortho a few weeks back and had my wife’s legs measured and placed the order as per the prescription given by the hematologist at the Royal Vic. It was a big hit financially and we still don’t know if anything will be covered by insurance on that front.

When the stockings arrived we went back to Slawner where the technician who had measured my wife’s legs took us into a room to show us how to put the stockings on Lynn’s legs. The procedure is a little more complicated than that which we have been using with previous stockings. There is a little slip sock that goes over the toes, instep and sole of the foot, a pair of wool gloves with a rough rubber grip on the palm and fingers and of course the stockings. The pressure of stockings is measured in mercury. The prescription we received for the stockings we had fitted was 20 -> 30 mercury. Which apparently is a standard pressure for deep vein thrombosis. Aside from the mercury pressure the other differences between the stockings we had been using and the new ones is the colour which in this case is black and the top of the stocking which in this case has approximately a 6cm wide strip of grip along the top of the stocking to prevent slip and rolling. It is a very well thought out design.

The method for putting on the stockings is not terribly complicated. First the top of the stocking is folded down three times. Then put the slip sock on the foot, since the stockings are toeless removal of the slip sock later is not a problem. Next pull the stocking onto the foot and partway up the calf. Using the gloves slowly work the rest of the stocking onto the foot using the palms of the gloves to slip the stocking over the slip sock. Then slowly move the stocking up the leg unfolding it and pulling up until reaching the top of the leg. The key to the stockings effectiveness is balancing the mercury of the stocking. To that end the gloves come in very handy as does the fact that the stockings are black. We can clearly see where the stockings are thinner in one area than in another. Using the gloves we push and smooth the stockings to different parts of the leg until the mercury appears even. The whole process takes between 20 and 25 minutes and is much harder on the paralyzed leg than the good one.

After having the stockings for a little while now I have to say that they are brilliant. The swelling in both legs has gone down significantly with the use of the stockings and my wife has been able to move more and with less pain as a result. All in all the Bauerfeind VenoTrain micro stockings have been a great investment.

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It’s always something

Posted by bernicky - September 15th, 2011

Life gets increasingly complicated. My wife, while physically stronger these days, is also moving slower and frequently confused which leads to things going much slower in the morning. If I get up at 5:30 and start getting my wife ready for the day I might manage to get out of the house by 7:30. To make matters worse even though I am thankful to have a job the job is giving me headaches of a whole new order.

First there was the matter of not being allowed to claim compensatory time which I accrued at my old school when I was transferred to the board. At first they didn’t want to allow me to claim my personal days either but that got turned in my favour somewhere along the line. Having being transferred to the board and now on my regular rotation there are some real eye openers. Aside from earning less at the board than I did at the school getting to work is costing easily an extra $100 a month just in gas. Where I used to travel 8K a day to work and back I now get the pleasure of sitting in Montreal traffic and instead of a ten minute commute it is more like an hour commute to at least three of the school to which I am assigned.

On another front as support staff I still have to acquire 28 hours of compensatory time to make up for taking time off at Xmas or Easter (I can’t remember which). Either ways the over time has to be preapproved but the catch is that while I could do an hour after school at my old location and still be at home by 3:45 there is no way I can do overtime and still make it home in time to take care of my wife before my mother-in-law has to leave. It is really frustrating.

The long and the short of it is that another job is definitely in my future. I’ve talked about it before but the pressure is really mounting to spend my weekends doing something, somewhere if only to make up for the shortfall caused by my new job.

Life is always interesting.

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Lack of routine and business as usual for the haircut

Posted by bernicky - September 7th, 2011

Monday night I managed to get out to train with the Phoenix Running Club again. It was a good speed work session. 2.5 easy run, 6.5 at tempo, 2.5 easy. I ran as hard as I could during the tempo working but still came up short of my own expectations. It has been difficult of late to get out and train. Earlier this season I registered for all of the balance of the Circuit Endurance races based on the theory that if I had races to prep for I would make the extra effort to get out and train. As ever life has been getting in the way of training. Stress eating hasn’t helped the effort either. Still I am doing what I can to get back into shape. There won’t be any 40 minute 10Ks in my future any time soon but with luck I will get then done below 45.

Today I got word that the haircut posing as a man dropped by our daughter’s high school asking to speak to the guidance counsellor. Where he gets the nerve I will never know but with luck the school with point out to him that since he is not our daughter’s guardian he has no legal standing to interact with the school with regards to her. That of course won’t stop him from stirring the pot in some other way. The haircut really does seem to be on a mission to make life as difficult as he possibly can for us as a family. Perhaps the fact that he was never home when his kids were growing up, that he is divorced and that none of his children want anything to do with him in his mind makes him an expert on being a husband and father but it comes up a little short in my book.

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Posted by bernicky - September 4th, 2011

Our neighbour across the street was asking after my wife yesterday. She was curious as to my wife’s health and even asked about life expectancy. The question caught me a little off guard. It isn’t as if we haven’t thought about it. We think about it in three month increments as MRIs are done. We plan our lives based on those results. Right now we are planning for Xmas and that is as far as we plan. There will be another MRI in November which might mean that we can plan for St. Valentine’s Day but we will know more then.

Our neighbour also asked if my wife was in pain. It is a good question and the short answer is not usually. The DVTs in both legs can cause pain and she has had some but it is short lived and infrequent. If it gets bad enough we will have to go to hospital and risk the heparin. Life is complicated and made more so by the competing needs of the various conditions my wife is dealing with – brain tumors, brain hemorrhages, blood clots and a radically reduced ability to communicate.

We do what everyone does: we deal with it. It would be nice if there were easy solutions but there are not. Our lives and schedules change as needs arise. Planning is more of a pipe dream than a reality.

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