A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘Alzheimers’ Category

The Donut Hole and other issues of aging

donut

I do not usually think or worry about getting older but lately it has been on my mind a lot. There are a couple factors why. They are infuriating because it is all beyond my control. There is nothing at this point I can do to rectify the situation except speak out. For those who are under thirty, beware and prepare. You will get screwed when you get to the point of retirement. Even if you are a long ways away from that, it will come, and sooner than you think.

Here is the first shock. Health insurance. You think you have it all covered with Medicare. Wrongo! We pay all our working lives into a system that is supposed to take care of you when you retire. It does not. We even protected ourselves with supplemental insurance. My husband has reached his “donut hole, which is a sugary way of saying he is getting screwed. His pharmaceutical needs are now not being completely covered. He has to pay over $3800.00 out of his own pocket before his insurance will again pick up the major cost of his drugs. One of his drugs cost over $400.00 to refill, and granted it was a 90 day supply, it still is huge. This is one of his drugs. We are ok, but it was a shock and it angered me. Actually, it pissed me off beyond anger. When my turn comes it will be holy hell. One drug I am on is over $1900.00 a month. Won’t take me long to get out of the donut hole….. But then Medicare probably won’t pay for this drug. That’s four years away.

We were lulled into thinking that Medicare was great because his prescriptions up until this point were almost being paid for completely. What do people do on limited incomes? If you are thinking when you retire you can live on Social Security, think again. They take taxes and the cost of Medicare insurance and your supplemental insurance right off the top of your check.

Here’s another shock. I cannot retire until I am 66, not 65, 66! Anyone born after a certain age has longer to wait until they can get their full social security. AND…..if I want to work, I have a limit as to how much I can earn before they take money away from me. My husband can make no more than about $15,000.00 a year. He is a substitute teacher and so it works for him, but it is not right or fair. I cannot touch my social security because I make too much money! Even though I paid into it and I am eligible to take it at 62, it would not be worth it.

It would not be worth it because it is taxable income. We do not make enough money to have tax loop holes to protect us so every year we get screwed by taxes. As you get older, there are fewer things to deduct like children and property. The only savings grace is if you deduct your cost of medical expenses. It has saved us every year, but we still have to pay more at the end of the year.

Here is another gripe. My mother-in-law is in a nursing home. She is on hospice. She requires no special medications or interventions. She can still transfer herself with assistance. She mostly sits in a chair or in bed all day long. It is a horrible existence and yet she holds on. She has Alzheimer’s and comes and goes with awareness. The facility she is in is like a warehouse of elderly folks just waiting to die. My in-laws were not rich, but my father-in-law was frugal and put money away. She is private pay. It costs $15,000.00 a month for her to reside where she does. There are cheaper places but you get what you pay for. If she was Medicaid, like the majority of the patients in the facility, it is about half the cost. Same place, same care. My father-in-law’s wishes were to each of his children to have an inheritance and he provided for it. But I think my sister-in-law has tapped into that, but that is a whole other story of getting screwed. My point is, they saved all this money and had a good life. Because of that, my mother-in-law does not qualify for government assistance and is being unfairly charged. My husband’s cousin is a lawyer who works in the nursing home field. He says that’s the way it is. His mother is getting the same screw job in the facility she is in and he cannot do anything about it.

Here is the wonder of it. For $15000.00 a month, she has a tiny room with a bed, a TV and a large chair. Activities are to go down to the nursing station and hang out in your wheel chair. When we visit, there is usually a ring of folks, mostly sleeping, in their wheel chairs or on the few big chairs in the hall. There is a TV playing but no one can see it. They get ushered into the dining room, fed crappy food that stinks, and then wheeled either back to their rooms or a chair in the hall. They sleep most of the time. $15K a month. Think of what you could live like with that kind of money. The staff are very nice and treat her well but not all the time. They steal her candy and other gifts. And we never know whose clothes she is wearing. One time, not one item was hers that she had on. She looked fantastic, but it was ironic. We never found out how or why she had someone else’s stuff. This is her life now. She does not know us most of the time. She did not get to say good-bye to her husband of 62 years when he died last summer. She sits in her chair and sleeps. She does not eat but will drink her nutrition drink. She is slowly wasting away. All this for $15000.00 a month.

This is something else I am noticing. There is definitely age discrimination in the workplace. I have been watching the blatant shift in my organization. When I started, the median age was closer 40 and many people working there had over 25 years in. When the new CEO and crew can on board, many retired or were asked to retire. Those who remained have been reassigned and it seems like they are making their lives very uncomfortable. One guy who started with me was moved from an auditing position in Corporate Compliance to Quality when the new director came on board. She is in her late thirties and a friend of the new CEO. His new position required that he be able to do home visits. Even though he is a nurse, he had not been practicing nursing for over twenty years or more. He was 71, but very active and not too many people would know how old he is. He was a good auditor, but let go because he could not fulfill his new job. They knew that going in and they were hoping he would retire, but he didn’t. I will not be surprised if there is a law suit unless they gave him a package to go. I have seen the arm twisted with a few other folks as well who seem even more obstinate than smart. But if they want to work and can physically do their job, leave them alone. One lady says she keeps working because it keeps her active and feeling needed. She is 76.

I know in my heart that I have no desire to work past 66. I can retire this year, but the health insurance will keep me working for at least three more years. My biggest fear is that I will die before I have a chance to spend all the money my husband and I have put away for “our retirement.” And my other fear is that by the time I can, the taxes and the cost of living will be so prohibitive we will not be able to enjoy our “sunset years.” (What a horrible name) It is a gamble that the government makes with everyone. They are hoping you will die before you start taking you social security. That is why they keep pushing the age up. They also tax any 401 or other retirement funds you start using heavily until you reach 70, hoping you won’t touch that either. And that’s because they do not want you to have to use Medicaid. They want you solvent and paying for your nursing home care.

Donut hole is not an appropriate name for the real situation. It is not sweet and soft at all. Getting old is a real bitch so enjoy what you can now.

 

 

The Sunset years

sunset

Although the alternative is not what I want, getting older is a bitch. I don’t feel myself aging, but I know I am. I am not sure anyone feels it like they do with a growth spurt at 11. I see the physical changes reflecting in the mirror. However, I think back to my grandmothers when they were my age, and I certainly do not think I look as old as they did. I know I was looking at them with a child’s eyes, but even in photos they looked and dressed so much older. I love the fact that my age is now considered the new forty.

All this thinking is being brought about because of my poor mother-in-law. (MIL)  She is in a nursing home with a broken pelvis and severe dementia. My sister-in-law has finally had her admitted as a hospice patient. She is 91. She has not eaten now in almost 2 weeks but they are giving her a supplemental nutritional beverage. I am not sure if she is consuming that either. She lies in bed and mumbles most of the time. Some days she is a bit more coherent. Other days, like last Wednesday, are terrible. They found her on the floor and no one is confessing as to what happened. She is alone as her three children harbor ill feelings about her, especially her sons. She was not always a nice woman and I will let it go at that.  But still, it is a horrible ending of her life.

In my in-laws situation, they retired at 55. My FIL worked for the post office and they were very frugal. They traveled and lived in Florida until eight years ago when my MIL had breast cancer. They moved up here to be closer to the family, especially their daughter. My FIL was not sick for very long before he passed. My MIL’s dementia progressed rapidly in the last  years and she should have been placed in a memory care facility years ago. My FIL probably would have lived longer, if not happier.

Now, because she is private pay and has money, her options of care are extremely expensive and limited. Believe it or not, she would have better care if she was living with one of her children. But no one would do that. My brother-in-law did take my father -in-law in for his last healthy months this summer. She cannot go to certain hospice facilities because her needs are covered at the nursing home and because of her private money, she does not qualify for a comfort care facility.

My husband is partially retired. I work my ass of at my job and I am not ready to retire but I am also coming to the realization that time runs short. It is true that as you get older, time seems to speed up. We have spent our entire lives saving and creating nest eggs for our old age. WE have pensions and SSI and savings and annuities and stocks. Why? So that when we get old, it will be there for us. That is what THEY told us to do. And if we die tomorrow, all of that will be for naught. It will go to some folks but we will not have enjoyed the fruits of our labor. The thought of it going to pay for ridiculous nursing home costs so I can lay in bed and rot is incomprehensible.

This morning as I was thinking about creating this post I realized that I have been very depressed. The change in the season coupled with having a tough time with my Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms has exacerbated this condition. Seeing my poor MIL deteriorating helplessly and the splintering of my in-laws has not been conducive to making this a pleasant time.

But, the holiday season is upon us and I am the original “Christmas cheese”.  I am not as obnoxious as some, but I do love the season for it lights and decorations and the whole deal. The past years have been marred with forced in-law functions that ceased to be fun many years ago. When I first met my husband, his large Italian family would get together for these big fancy dinners and party. Once my MIL became so ill and nasty, we would all pile into their tiny apartment at the senior living facility. It was miserable. One year, my husband and I spent Christmas Eve with my MIL in the rehab center she was in after she fell for the first time. No one else came.

It is time for me to snap out of it. I want to enjoy this season for a change. This year, we do not have to attend any family functions. We are having a quiet Thanksgiving with just my hubby and my step-daughter. We seemed to have moved to a place on quite contentment now when we are together. We are talking about our holidays together this year with pleasant anticipation.

I am really thinking about my remaining years. It is actually a very stressful stage of life. When do you decide to stop working for retirement and old age? When do you live it? I know I do not want my retirement to be in a hospital in hospice. I think the answer will come but for now, I want to live in celebration of life. I want to hold on to some good times and create pleasant memories because those will be the things that will sustain me in my old age.

 

Ignorance is not bliss

sunset

My poor mother in law is exhibiting failure to thrive. Not surprising since she has been going downhill steadily since she has lost any sense of who she is due to Alzheimer’s. We went to see her on Sunday and she was curled up in her bed and would not acknowledge us.

It was difficult for my husband. He would not approach her in the bed. He bellowed hello as if she was contaminated. There is some real issue there and I have known this for a while. He was able to be with his father when he was in hospice and was there when he died. But the sight of his mother, so tiny in the big bed, freaked him out.

I approached her and said softly, with my hand on her shoulder, “Mom, it’s Jane.” She usually perks up and recognizes me. We women who have married into the family have a special bond because of the traits of our collective husband’s process. My husband is every bit the drama king her husband was. She used to rip a good quip back at him under her  breath and then smile at me. I can remember when I stayed with her while Dad was in the hospital; she seemed to resurface and be herself. We chatted and she relayed stories like they were yesterday. But as soon as her daughter came back to the apartment, she would slip away. Even when we visited with her a couple of weeks ago she sat close and would lean a comfortable way towards me, like there was an energy she enjoyed. I will hold on to that.

I also would talk to her a bit in French. Her family is from Nice and she loved to share tales of her youth from there. She married her American soldier boy and moved state side after the war. But in her heart, she was French.

So when she did not respond in English, I spoke to her in French, still softly touching her shoulder. She opened one eye and said she just wanted to sleep. And then she did not say any more.

Today she was admitted into the hospital for tests. She has a UTI, which is no surprise since she does not drink water or fluids unless told to. She has fallen again making it three times, again not surprising since she has a raging UTI. She has a fractured pelvis in two places and is in pain. But she tried to not say anything because the last time she fell she ended up in an icky nursing home. She resides now in a lovely memory care facility which she loved.

But the Doctor today agreed that she is exhibiting end of life and should be put into hospice care. I could have said that on Sunday, but I am not a clinician. She’s just tired and done. She is 92, hurts like hell, has no one left if you ask her, she’s scared and feels totally alone. She did like the memory care facility, but this last fall has taken her out.

Every family has one, and this family is no different. Enter my stupid, idiotic, undereducated, spoiled….I could go on…sister in law (SIL) who just happens to have power of attorney and is the health care proxy. She is refusing to allow Mom to go into hospice. Her reasons are that…HOSPICE is what killed her Daddy…. Seriously. Dad who would have turned 95 in a week, died from kidney and heart failure last month. They are pretty sure that the last episode that put him into the hospital was a myocardial infarction. He had stints put in years and years ago. So when his kidneys went to 5%, it was time to let him go. Unfortunately, dying is nothing like you see on the TV. It is not always pleasant. My Father-in-law basically drowned in his own fluids. My sister-in-law freaked out when he was having difficulty breathing….HELLO….he was actively dying. They should have gotten her out of the room. She became hysterical and ripped into her brothers for killing their father because he was in Hospice. She is so dumb.

So now, my mother in law could return to the Memory Care unit and her room she loves only if she is comes back in hospice. They are not going to provide….and this is where I am confused…acute care. She is not in need. She has a UTI, which with the IV drip and fluids, which will clear up in day and she is an full admit for now in the hospital. There is nothing anyone can do. They want to discharge her to hospice. She does not want to get out of bed. She does not want to do PT. She wants to sleep…. She wants to let go of the fight.

The tragedy is my sister is now looking to place her back in the nursing home she hated. She thinks they will provide PT for her and she will go back to being whatever my SIL thinks is fine. All because the selfish idiot does not understand hospice. My Mother in law deserves to go in peace and pain free, and in her own bed. Her brothers do not have the ability or the legal right to override her choice. I am an outsider.

On top of all this, there is a battle going on between the oldest brother and her about the estate and paying for my father-in-law’s funeral. No one, it seems, has seen the advance directives or for that fact, any of the Will documents my Father in law was very clear were created. She has them. But that’s for another time.

aspry

My father in law (FIL) passed away this past week. It was a sad crossing for my family. He was the glue that kept very different groups of people together.

He was a WWII veteran and at the end of the war, he met and fell in love with my mother in law. They were married 69 years. She has Alzheimer and does not know what happened. He had been her sole caregiver for the past seven years since she began her decline. The descent into her private world was most apparent the last few years. She was not the nice type, but would berate him unmercifully. It took him going in to the hospital with kidney failure for the family to rally and do what needed to be done. They put Mom in a wonderful memory care place that practices the Eden Alternative http://www.edenalt.org/ which takes patient focused care for dementia to a new level.

Nothing brings out the skeletons in a family like a crisis does. His sister is a piece of work. Although each of them is as different as can be, they usually get along. But this brought out the nastiness and hurt from the past. I have not cared for her much, but tolerated her princess ways for my husband. But this last month made me decide that if I never have to deal with her again, it would be ok. When my FIL’s death was imminent and he was struggling with the fluids in his lungs, she ripped into my husband in the hallway. She did not understand hospice and accused her brothers of killing HER father.

My FIL was a frugal man. He was raised by Italian immigrants during the depression. He saved a lot of money and put it aside for his children. His mistake was he told them. His sister is the only one of the three of them who is not self-sufficient financially. I do not know her income, but as a bartender, I am sure there is not much in the way of a pension or retirement. Her father bailed her out all the time. She also had control of the finances for the estate. At one point, before my FIL got really sick, she wanted to move them to a smaller cheaper (crappy) apartment to save money. They would have to figure out how they would get meals as this place did not provide them. They were 94 and 90. It was always about the money for her.

Fortunately, my brother in law superseded her and took custody of my FIL. He moved him up to his house. My MIL was secure at her new place and life looked really good. However, life is unfair. My MIL fell and broke her pelvis. My FIL rallied for a week and then went steadily downhill. We think the release of having to take care of his wife allowed him to let go from everything. He passed peacefully surrounded by his family including out of state grandchildren who flew in. My MIL is recuperating and has been saying now for some time she is all alone. No one actually told her anything, but she is in such a state that she would not know who we were talking about.

We have always been an afterthought with his siblings. My husband harbors some unresolved angst about being always treated like crap by them. I have heard stories and they really did from early on treat him like garbage. He paid for the sins of his older brother who was a real hell-raiser. His sister was the princess and her parents doted on her. Joe was the forgotten child. He has never been able to get past all the hurt. He demonstrated this by not calling his parents or participating much in their lives. For 35 years, they lived in Florida and he was not able to visit or invited along when others were. When they moved back he did not reach out. When there was a crisis, as there had been many these past few years, his siblings expected him to come to their aide which he did reluctantly. The last time my FIL was in the hospital, my husband stayed with his mother for many days of pure hell. She needed 24 hour surveillance. She would nonstop repeat the same thing over and over and over… His sister refused to stay with her because she “could not handle it.”

The memorial service was in the city where my BIL lives there with his family. His father and the rest of the family live in another nearby city for all their lives. We were not told anything other than to show up. This was the final hurt for my husband. His brother’s friends were invited but we were told it was family only. The day before the service, we went to the funeral home for a viewing. It was all the same people who were in the room when he died. My poor FIL was laid out on a table with only a blanket covering him. It was awful. I have no idea what that was about but afterwards, my BIL and SIL and their children spent the day doing activities and had a big party. My poor husband and his family were not invited at all. We found out about it all the next day. To the bitter end, they had treated him like crap.

I personally like my BIL and his wife and his children. I get along with them all. I will miss not seeing them, but support my husband in distancing ourselves. It is sad to think that this is what happens. His parents spent 69 years together and then were separated before death. I am sure my MIL will not be around for too much longer. Everyone thought she would go first. We visited her yesterday and she would recognize us and then would not. According to her we have a nice home in Monaco. I wish! I think my SIL would prefer that her demise would hasten as she has hardly spent any time with her this summer.

My parents died at an early age. Although my father was 71, he was in and out of the hospital for many years after my mom died at 57. I was the “keeper” for both. Their deaths totally cracked an already splintered family. I am still very close to my oldest brother, but distanced myself from the other two brothers and sister. It was necessary for me to do this as they are really a bunch. It actually gave me peace. I think this is what will happen for my husband. I think not having to have them in his face will make things easier and maybe he can let go of some of his pain. He loved his father dearly and is dealing with his remorse, but it will fade.

His father had a wonderful long life. He would have been 95 in a month. My favorite comment by a man of few words was at a huge family event for a graduation. The back yard was filled with people and kids running around, playing games, sitting at tables in a tent and chaos ruled. We were sitting across from them. He looked around at the mass of people and said, “I caused this.” His eyes were filled with joy and love.

 

 

I have a secret

rainbow 5-2015

Tonight I am struggling with keeping my mouth shut. I suffer big time with Chronic Flapping of the Jaw disease. But I am trying so hard to break a bad habit of offering unsought wisdom. I also have a secret to share. I suck most times when it comes to secrets unless they would be harmful for someone to hear. This is not that kind of secret.

I have been reading veraciously Stuart Wilde. I am through about five of his nine or so books. I am learning so much and really connecting with what he is saying. Much of his teachings are based on Taoism, but is also a blend of many other spiritual teachings. I like that his philosophies are a blend and morphed from commonality of many theories. This post is not going to be about what I am reading except one concept.

He proposes that you need to create a structured life of strict discipline to gain control over your life and to push it forward to transcendentalism.  Well, I am not sure if this is what I want as I am not really sure what it is. But also, why do we as humans feel we must always suffer and struggle first to get to a place of bliss and joy? Does that not defeat the purpose?  I have been thinking about this a lot and I am sure I will be writing more on this question.

He says, and I am not quoting, people who talk about their path of spirituality are actually hindering their growth potential.  If you talk about how spiritual you are or try to compare “levels” of being aware, it is like putting a quantitative measure on something that is not measurable in human terms. The only thing that happens is the ego is stroked. And since being spiritual is achieve by completely disengaging the ego; to speak of being spiritual would negate the actuality of someone being spiritual.

Hence, you have to learn to keep your mouth shut. This means that anyone who talks about how to achieve being enlightened is actually creating a false sense of themselves as being enlightened. So how do people learn to become aware? Well the answer is basic: just be. (Someone dear to me is smiling)

This means also to learn to walk away and let people learn on their own, EVEN if you have the answer to their issues. I struggle with this in many ways. I want to fix. But after reading, I see how I am not the one who always has to fix things. Yes I can do it. But it finally struck me that in reality it was about stroking my own ego. It was not always about helping the other person, even though I could convince myself this was so. But it is hard to sit back and shut up.

Tonight was a prime example. My Father-in-law is in the hospital again. It is a repeating situation he does when he is overwhelmed. Instead of seeking help as he should, he makes himself sick and then gets a night in the ED away from his wife of almost 70 years. She has Alzheimer’s. He will be fine by the way, but is spending the night in Observation with a diuretic and a catheter.  Did my in-laws want to listen to me….nope, so I only said something to my husband who was like wow, you were right. What did it serve but to only stroke my ego. My in-laws were wrapped up in the drama and my BIL had my FIL dead and buried with complete kidney failure. He does had stage 4 CKD…(they did not want to know that was Chronic Kidney Disease) someone said it was cancer…I kept my mouth shut. BTW, he will be 96 in October.

Now the hardest thing tonight for me to shut up about was when my BIL started telling me what a Home Care Aide can or cannot do in a private home. He was so off base and I started to argue. My FIL hired one and then fired her for not doing anything. I was not asked about it at all.  I started to argue and then I stopped cold. What was the point? It was not about the aide, it was about control all the way around. And clearly it did not matter at this point.

But it was hard to shut up. And this leads me to my secret. Clearly, none of them have ever shut up long enough or even thought to ask what I do.

My agency has gone through a huge reorganization. We have a new CEO and with that, half of the administrators have been let go. So we are in a big restructuring. We took over a small Home Care Agency two years ago which made us go from one county to seven. We have four divisions which means two licenses and two hospices and multiple therapies and innovative services. We are growing so fast it has been difficult. When I started four years ago I was just a manager with two direct reports and only one area of training. With the new restructure, they are eliminating and regrouping things.  All training programs including the Home Health Aide training, which has always been a separate division, will be grouped under one department.

Tomorrow, there will be an announcement that I am being named Director of Education and Organizational Development. ALL education, all programs, all divisions, and seven direct reports will be my responsibility. I will also have a lot to do with the restructuring and reorganizational process.  And yes, it is all about me and my ego……. Hahaha.

 

 

 

Musings on a dark Sunday Morning

snow 2014

This last week was a very interesting week. It had a mixture of joy and also a reality check. I am two months away from my favorite time of the year. The anticipation is almost as good as a young child waiting for their birthday. But today, I am up early sitting at my table with my cat purring to my left and a hot cup of coffee to my right. The doggies are snuggled up in their couch beds and hubby is asleep. There is an ominous bank of dark clouds to the west and the light is filled with that gloom the proceeds a snow storm. The forecast is calling for over a foot today and into tonight with more tomorrow. I do not have to go anywhere until tomorrow morning and I am not going to start to worry until tonight.  For now, my bliss is radiating and warming my heart.

I am trying to enjoy the simple good things in my life. I had a kick in the head this week which prompted me to revisit things. My mother-in-law (MIL) has Alzheimer’s. She has gotten very bad since Christmas or maybe she was then but there was so much going on I did not noticing. This week, my Father-in-law (FIL) went to emergency for chest pains. Turned out to be GERD and was fine, but they kept him overnight. Someone had to stay with MIL. My hubby and I were elected. I want to spend about an hour on the selfishness of my sister-in-law, but that will change my mood and so I am not going there.

My MIL is a sweet little French woman. When I met her six years ago, she was sharp, funny and impeccable about her looks. She went to the hairdresser every week, had her nails done, and dressed with simplicity and elegance. She and FIL lived in Florida and we could not afford to come down and visit. They moved up here after she had surgery for breast cancer. It changed her.

Now she cannot remember her own children. Funny, she knows who I am completely. I make her laugh. She does not do much of that. I also listen to her. Her family does not deal with her well. She does not take care of herself at all anymore. She smells and her hair is a mess. She does not remember she is hungry or when she has eaten or had something to drink. She constantly repeats the same five questions over and over. It is hell for my FIL who is 94.His guilt runs so deep that he will not put her in a memory care unit where she really needs to go. My brother-in-law had it all set up but again, my SIL stopped it. She won’t do anything to help and does not want her inheritance to be spent on more expensive care. Again, I am not going there right now. So they two of them watch TV at full blast because they cannot hear, eat the over-salted crappy food served in the dining room or delivered and sleeping. They do not go out as it is too much for my MIL.

My wake-up call is that this is my future: Living in a tiny apartment with no future but death. It could make anyone crazy. So with whatever I have left, I want to make it good. I do not think I will live as long as they are either. They were very healthy until the last five years. They had a good life. My FIL retired at 55 from the post office with a healthy pension from there. They traveled and participated in life with all the gusto they had. This disease has robbed them of those pleasures.

My MIL does not do well with a lot of people in the room, and yet, every holiday we pack fifteen or more people in the tiny apartment. My husband is the worst for spending time with them. He never goes over. There is a lot of painful history for him which he will not share. But when the chips are down, his parents call him. He spent 24 hours with his Mom this week and it was very difficult, but he came home also a lot more appreciative of what he has.

Another event this week was the situation with my shot. After haggling with the pharmacy every night for two weeks for hours, they said they were going to ship on Saturday. Saturday came and went and no shipment. I called my doctor’s office on Monday, who called them and they said they did ship. And they did…but the delivery was left upstairs by the door we do not use tucked away where we did not see it. So it sat outside in subfreezing temperatures for two days. It was ruined. I thought they had lied to me as they had been doing for two weeks, so I did not look for it when it was not where they always put it. I have been receiving shipments at the lower front door for 15 years. They will not ship another. This shot costs over $1800.00 so I am SOL. My pain level has steadily increased to the point I cannot sleep for more than four-hour blocks. My ankles and knees are giving out and my neck feels like it has two screws that are being turned daily. I am grateful that there is something out there that will help to lower this pain. If this was thirty years ago, I would not have much choice but to suffer. No wonder people drank rheumatism medicine. I have a stash of my old prescription shot in the refrigerator which is good for two years and I am going to take one of those for now. It does not work as well as the new shot, but it is something.

The bright spot of the week is I have a new office at work. My old office was in the upstairs center of the building. I had no natural light at all. I had three incandescent lamps on to create the feeling of natural light. My new office is huge and has a window. I do not have a door, but I did not before either. It is walled off with cabinets that face the hall for another department. It was a large space where the Meals on Wheels volunteers had but they have been moved to a new area. We are growing so big that the whole building is be rearranged. When I was approached about the move, I asked about the space and they were thrilled to put me there. They built it exactly to my specification which was wonderful.  I was the first office and now it will create a change of movement. They move someone in on Monday to “the hole”, my old office. My new place is twice the size and I have a window. The roof of the building is the ceiling so I can hear it rain and storm. We can hear the geese honking as they fly over. But I could not see anything. I would have to find a spot to go to if I wanted to see what was happening outside. This was the window I would go to. It was meant to be mine. I left the new place a mess on Friday with all the boxes still packed. I was too sore to unpack after moving in. It will be my project this week. It will really make a difference for me at work. Where I was before, everyone can hear you breathe as I was surrounded by other cubbies. I could not make a phone call, or listen to music or forest sounds, which I like. No plants would grow in the lack of light. Even the overhead fluorescent lights were turned off because the girl behind me got headaches. It was so dark with dull grey cloth panels for walls. My new office is pale green and one wall is very pale blue and looks white. I have more cabinets and space. I have places for my photography. Did I say it has a window?

I had my first meeting with our CEO also this week. She is a sharp lady. She was very pleased as I came prepared with my 2015 year work plan. I was right in line with her thoughts so we hit it off great. She is a no-nonsense nurse who wants to be involved directly with her agency. I like her. Things are going to get shaken up pretty quickly and the Crone Mafia better be prepared. One QA nurse who had 43 years there was offer the opportunity to retire and leaves this week. The CEO, named Jane, also shared her amazing weight loss of over 150 pounds. She was very encouraging. She knows how hard it is. She said I can come for encouragement anytime.

And on that point, I have lost almost 12 pounds for my first month. WW is coming in and doing a meeting starting on Tuesday and I am signing up. I will keep my online account as well. We had a party on Thursday with two chocolate cakes. I took two pieces, ate about a third of each and wrapped them up to chew on. The next day I took two mouthfuls, and threw them out. This is significant for me because chocolate cake is my favorite food. I have discovered that a taste is often enough. Even the hubby is getting into it now at home. He is not as dedicated, but he is dropping a few pounds here and there.

My cat is  bathing herself and singing away. Magoo did not come out of her room for almost a year and when we had construction done last year, she went back to hiding. For her to spend every morning with me is a treat. It is already snowing now, so I am sure the forecast will change with more snow. I would seriously think about calling in tomorrow, but I have a new office to set up. Did I tell you it has a window?