Friday, February 21, 2014

Post surgery and keeping faith. = )



We've had a very busy few weeks (and hardly any time to sit down and put fingers to a keyboard).... so now that things have slowed down long enough to sit down for longer than a few minutes.... here goes.

3 weeks ago, I lost my cousin to a heart attack (as a result of his fight with cancer). This was a Godly man who gave more to his family and this world than most men I know (an Honorable man). He passed away the day before my surgery, so when I was done with the surgery, Penny and I stopped by his widow plus his daughter to convey our respects (and we went to the funeral a few days later so we were able to see the rest of the Nordhem/Norheim family for the first time since my mother's memorial over 4 years ago)..

Regarding my Ventral Hernia operation, it was as painful as I thought it would be (but the recovery process was.... complicated as a result of us having so much to do). It was a necessary operation tho... as it was very difficult to engage in any physical activity without feeling pain. The orthopedic doctor (regarding my shoulder) and the surgeon (regarding the hernia) have told me I can't engage in any lifting for the next 18 months, so combined with the Psychiatrist who indicated I cannot return to work.... it would appear I have no work options available to me. This incredibly difficult for me to deal with considering our present financial situation (as I've always worked my way through such issues by finding a way to work on something to help bring in money).

During that time, Penny's father spent 7 days at St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates at the end of January (he had Pneumonia and also needed to be treated for his Parkinson's disease). He then went into Alden Poplar Creek rehab facility in Hoffman Estates for 10 days in order to get his strength back and to assess his present physical / mental capacity. It took 4 days (and multiple phone calls) to get approval for him to be at Alden. During this process, we found out just how bad Medicare Replacement Insurance Plans are (he has "Healthspring" so we essentially were told "no" to almost everything we tried to have done). He is still waiting for approval to see a Neuropsychologist (as from our perspective, he is severely limited in his ability to take care of himself). During that time, we needed to organize his finances (his major bills had not been paid since last July), so using his funds... we needed to repair his car (2 flat tires, a broken sway bar, broken stereo, and extremely dirty exterior/interior.... so we replaced all 4 tires, the sway bar, and the stereo with his funds plus we had the car cleaned at Delta Sonic). I spent many hours price shopping in order to keep the costs down plus bring his major bills back to being paid on time. His memory is impaired to the point he isn't remembering to pay his important bills and we are constantly repeating ourselves regarding his questions (in reference to answers)  

We also had to get our house ready for Penny's father to come to our house for an extended visit once he was released from the Rehab facility (while we figure out what his long term living situation will be). So my office on the first floor needed to emptied of my office things and we had to get a bed for it so my father in law had a place to sleep with us. We had help from our church life group (4 men who came over to move the 4 pieces of larger furniture and moved them up to Penny's office). 

As Sears dropped the ball regarding an online purchase of a daybed (they didn't deliver all of the parts), we had to go to Ashley Furniture and we found a daybed for $450 including delivery that was solid enough for Penny's father to be able to get out of the bed without assistance (they delivered it and it was missing the bolts to assemble it... so I went to Ace Hardware to get 16 bolts and we assembled the bed together... and that is when my hernia recurred, when I bent down to tighten a lower bolt... so now I have the same hernia as I did before the surgery). I am not very happy with myself. So, Penny's father was released yesterday and will be staying with us for a while.

Now the hard part.... he is still in denial as to how extensive his limitations are. He still wants to drive, despite the fact he cannot put his own seatbelt on and can barely get into the car without help. The mobile home he lives in needs extensive cleaning and he keeps pushing Penny to do the work so he can save money (despite the fact that the work needed is extensive and the fact that Penny's cancer fight should not be complicated with her trying to clean a germ laden / dirty mobile home when she is not physically capable of doing so).

The fact my hernia recurred as a result of our effort to help her father is my fault (we tried to have the bed assembled by professionals, but both times... the bed arrived missing the parts necessary to complete it). But we should have told her father to wait to leave the rehab center until someone could assemble the bed instead of my trying to fix the situation in order to get him out of there like he wanted. I need to learn how to say "wait" when it can result in my physical condition taking a turn for the worse.

I have learned my lesson the hard way, and hopefully, the surgery will be redone (and I will not do any physical activity for a month no matter what I am asked to do). Hernia's can only heal after surgery if stress is not put on the affected muscle.
As for Penny's father..... Penny and I are in no physical condition to engage in long term care for him (that involves lifting and other physical care), we are walking a fine line regarding what we can do and we need to find a solution that doesn't involve our sacrificing our physical health in order to make up for his lack of ability to engage in daily activity (he needs professional care). I hope this doesn't sound like we are complaining, he needs to acknowledge his limitations and allow himself to be cared for by professionals instead of engaging in denial and forcing family (by fighting all efforts to get him help) which only will contribute to that families already deteriorating quality of life. And truly, he needs to stop driving as he is a danger to anyone on the road (his response time is limited, his Parkinson's makes him very stiff, and his tremors are getting worse). We are so worried he will hurt someone (which is why we are pushing for a NeuroPsych evaluation to assess his physical / mental capacity).

I also was saddened by the death of a friend I used to work with, Kevin Koerner passed away a few days ago. He was an honorable man and was a tenacious man. His attention to detail was legendary and many learned the ropes of the logistics industry from him. He was and always will be "The Colonel" to all of his friends and peers/co-workers. I didn't interact with him too much away from work (we lived very far from each other), but we spent many days and evenings talking to each other regarding work issues/solutions plus our familial issues (he loved his wife Cindy and did everything he could to raise his children as best he could). There is not anyone I know who has a bad word to say about the man, and when I am at his funeral in a week, I am sure that it will be well attended with many who honestly will be there to pay their respects (and who genuinely miss him).