Thursday, May 30, 2013

Small Victories

It's the little things.


We're learning that getting Jimmy bits and pieces of his independence back means me literally not doing something and him attempting to pick up where I left off.

Aside from most of his actual medical care our nurses do, I do just about everything to keep the household going. Medical supplies, medication refills, bills, cleaning, cooking, feeding, errands, grocery shopping, paperwork, scheduling appointments and working with nurse agency to make sure we're staffed properly.

I picked up on all this a few days after the accident and never really looked back. I'm starting to come out of my bubble a little. I think Jimmy is too. 

Maybe we've turned a corner and we're learning how to be a happy, functioning, better-adjusted duo again. The sadness monster doesn't rear it's ugly head as much.

Taking on all these duties and continuing to do everything, I found, comes with a a few downsides. I recently discovered Jimmy doesn't even know our address. Crap.

I feel like part of it is just a matter of breaking the routine -- the one we've had for almost two years now. 

Try something new.  Push ourselves.  Less me. More him.

Last night, Jimmy decided he wanted Chinese take-out. This in itself was great! Getting him to make a decision on dinner... sheesh. I thought I had a comfortable place as the indecisive one in the relationship. That's out the window.

It's rare that Jimmy tells me what he wants to eat. 

When he said he wanted "Chineezy" (because everything has a nickname in our house, apparently) I jumped up grabbed a take-out menu. I mean, a new one is stuffed in our door every week so there's no shortage.

Jimmy already had his phone goose neck clamped to his chair. I usually hold all menus, flipping through as he tries to make up his mind. I found a way to wedge the menu in between his phone and phone holder. Ah! I could resume what I was doing while he looked over his options (small victory!).

He looked and looked, finally deciding on something.

He told me what he wanted.

I said, "You know what? Why don't you order?"

Then the resistance came.

Him: I don't know the number.
Me: I'll dial for you.
Him: I don't know our address.
Me: (I walked to my desk, stamped a post-it with our return address and put it on the menu in front of him with our gate code for the delivery person.)
Him: Well, I don't know what all you want.
Me: I don't want anything.
Him: How are we paying? I don't have the credit card number.
Me: Cash.
My brain: bam. bam. bam. and bam.
Me: Ready to call then?
(small victory!)

I hooked up his headphones to his phone, which also has a microphone on it. I dialed, and listen to my husband order his own Chineezy take-out for the first time in 1.8 years. (small victory!)

I can't believe I've gotten so comfortable doing everything. I can't believe it's taken me this long to ask him for help. I can't believe it took me until recently to ask the freaking nurses to call in Jimmy's prescription refills (Jimmy takes a lot of meds) instead of me and I can't believe some of them look at me like I'm disturbing them from sitting on their bottoms when I ask them to do so.

Jimmy's voice is so strong now. I was listening to him project as he ordered and I was impressed. He's come a long way from not talking, to mouthing, to barely talking, to sounding like Cookie Monster to THIS.

We learned, though, that he has to try and organize his breaths. Sometimes when the person on the other line hears a pause (Jimmy gathering air) they'll start talking and Jimmy has to try and talk over them, and backtrack and it's can get a little frustrating for him.

He did good job telling the man: "Okay, let me start over."  He commanded the conversation instead of giving up, looking to me in defeated manner and asking for help. (small victory!)

Calling to order take-out. Something we take for granted every single day. We had a mini-celebration after he hung up.  I think he was proud of himself.  I'm sure it felt good for him to do that.

Helping Jimmy help me (Help me help you help me help you!).

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Come Alive



Monday, May 27, 2013

Happiness Is...



Monday, May 20, 2013

Bombs A Flyin'

This morning's dialogue:

Jimmy: Why you always come in here and f*** up my shit?
Jaimie: That's nice. A nice f-bomb in the morning.
Jimmy: You gotta have 3 a day. 
Jaimie: No, that's meals. You gotta have 3 meals a day. 


In the Moore household, morning f-bombs mean that Jimmy woke up in a good mood.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Quad. The Projects. Earth, Wind & Fire.

Would I have loved this movie so much before August 2011? Maybe.

Yesterday, Jimmy and I watched The Intouchables.  I am so so so glad I watched this. I'm so glad we watched this together. I ordered it on Amazon before it even ended.

It's French and has subtitles (a good reason to force myself to really put the iPhone down). And the music. God, the music.

IMDB: After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker.

I can't begin to do this movie any justice by trying to write about it, but I will say that Jimmy didn't want to watch it, much less like it.  I caught him glancing out of the corner of his eye even trying to fight a smile (while I was full on laughing). 

Jimmy recently told me that he didn't care to watch stuff about people in wheelchairs. Long story short... it's kind of a drag. I get that, and usually respect it.

This movie was suggested by someone who is a Jaimie advocate. She so knew I would love it.

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time and I only cried (a happy cry) once at the end.  There was a scene where the caretaker learned he'd have to "empty the ass" of his new boss. He flipped out. It's such a horrifying thing to have to learn about in the early stages of an injury. And yet, the way it was handled here: comical (I laughed my ass off) yet genuine.

I was overflowing with emotion at the conclusion. Our injury, our needs in a much different set of circumstances. It was the similarities that I connected with and the differences that inspired me.

I know a lot of people in the SCI community are upset that disabilities aren't more prominently displayed at the cinema and on television.

Maybe it's along the lines of Jimmy's realistic way of thinking: it's a drag.

This movie could have been the exception. Not too depressing. Not too much of a harsh reality. Though, those things do exist and have been a vivid part of Jimmy's injury, this movie highlights a certain way of dealing with something like paralysis. A man who is used to doing things his own way. And then, another man who comes a long with a "so what?" approach.

It's just a good reminder that sometimes Jimmy and I feed too much into the sad, weak, sickly, hospital patient mentality -- and sometimes we just need to do shit and say, "so what!" Easier said than done sometimes because Jimmy has a lot of bad days, days when he's fatigued and doesn't feel well.

Paragliding. This movie had my brain asking, "Why can't Jimmy go paragliding??"

I love movies. I love books too, but seeing things come to life, seeing the emotion, expression and hearing the sounds... I adore.

A French film with subtitles. And even some Earth, Wind & Fire. Who knew?

The Intouchables (2011)
Quad Productions
The Weinstein Company

Whether you deal directly with an SCI or not, it's still a very special story. Would I have loved this movie so much before August 2011?

I think, yes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: A Beautiful Thing


This bish knew a thing or two... 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tamra

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." 
- Tenneva Jordan

Happy Mother's Day, Tamra Ann. 

Thanks for always listening. 

Thanks for always worrying. 

Thanks for always caring. 
Love you! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 2003


Lander University
Greenwood, SC
This is me and my sweet cousin Makayla on this day, exactly a decade ago.  My family traveled to see me graduate college. 

I texted Makayla (she has a cell phone = heartbreaking) this picture. 

Her response: Wow. I was cute and you were pretty.

(Ha!)

Me: You still are cute. 

Her: I know. 

What a witty, rad little girl.  My bud. Even through moves, marriage and a life-altering injury, my two little cousins still love us unconditionally. 

Ah, kids. Look at that little smushface. 

Am I really 10 years older? I feel 30 years wiser. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Pile of Meat and Cheese


See the bottom left corner and how a bite is already missing?
This wasn't out of the oven 45 seconds when I went in.
Mouth = burned 
Tonight for dinner I made this lasagna.

It's low-carb and doesn't include zucchini as a wannabe noodle substitute. It's fascinating to see, though, what she did come up with for "the noodles."

When I was making "the noodles" I definitely was a doubterson.

However, it works.

It's like an egg, cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan mixture that you bake and cut into pieces and then layer. I know. Didn't make sense in my brain, either.

Since Jimmy is low-carb, and I'm low-everything I used part-skim ricotta instead of whole milk ricotta. Also, I used lean beef which this recipe didn't specifically call for.

I normally don't make lasagna with yellow cheese (that's tacky, right?) but I ran out of mozzarella so the sharp cheddar got the job done.

What else?

Think those are the only modifications I made. I love making this... and eating it. You can do veggies in it too but that's a tough sell for Jimmy. When he thinks lasagna, he thinks a pile of meat and cheese.
 
So that's what we had for dinner. A fancy cheeseburger.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Listen, Smile, Agree


Friday, May 3, 2013

Long Day

Alarm clock went off at 3:45am.
Snoozed once.
Checked to see if Jimmy was up.
Coffee.
Frasier on at 4am? This made my morning.
Scroll through Twitter.
Write on FB to people who clearly weren't awake at that time.
Pack up the van (and more coffee). Time to go.
Arrive at hospital at 5:20am.
Not many cars there yet.
Sun not up yet.
Made our way to admissions, then pre-op.
Lots of questions.
Lots of signatures. 
It took four people to transfer Jimmy to a bed.
More coffee.
IV going in. 
Jimmy is wheeled off to anesthesia, then OR.
Already loopy with pre-happy juice.
"We'll take care of him."
Stomach = knots.
This part of the hospital smells like NEURO-ICU from August of 2011.
The beeping sounds are giving me slight anxiety.
They take him away and it's hard.
It's just outpatient.
I go to eat. I get excited about cafeteria breakfast.
A little on edge.
Sitting in the part of the cafeteria where I know cell service works.
Back up to Family Waiting.
Sit next to my nurse.
"They started surgery at 7:54am"
I play on my phone.
Try to read more of The Great Gatsby.
Wait. Did something big just happen? It's too much to read this kind of writing right now.
Doctor comes out around 8:35am.
He did well.
Wait until he wakes up.
One hour later.
He is slightly awake.
Only can mumble "I'm freezing."
Shivering. Teeth chattering.
I told him he did good.
He is just so cold.
The nurse brings warm blanket after warm blanket.
An hour and a half later -- we leave.
Jimmy is still cold.
He gets soup. Meds. Liquids. More blankets.
I go fill new meds at Shepherd. Eat lunch while I wait.
Home.
Jimmy starts to develop a high fever.
He goes to bed.
Slightly worried?
Dinner. Dishes. Laundry.
Check mail.
Pay rent.
And even, a sort of blog. Bullet points.
Beyond exhaustion.
And, I'm going to have read that part of Gatsby again.
On another day.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Surgery Eve

Jimmy has a minor bladder stone surgery early in the morning. Should be outpatient if everything goes to plan.

Wake-up comes at 4am tomorrow.

Thanks be to god for coffee pot timers.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Facing Your Day

Photo: Thema Ponton / Portland, Maine
It was super nice waking up to this photo topping my Facebook feed this morning. Even better? Thema's caption.

"All right.....it's now officially morning...the sun is up! :) Time to face the day...I hope these pictures help you face it with a smile...."

Today is a better day. Today is good. Today is happiness.  

We feel loved.