Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Got in the Way

I’ve fallen into a writing slump.  In the first 14 days of June I was on sort of a roll and was gaining on 8,000 words, I’d met a bunch of my June goals and was feeling great.  In the past 10 days, I’ve written 112 words.
It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write or that I haven’t tried.  I think about writing all the time and I have ideas constantly running through my head.  It’s just that life keeps getting in the way.  I know, I’m supposed to be vigilant about protecting my writing times and write no matter what.  But let’s be honest here… that’s not always practical.
I live with my mother and my 97 year old grandfather.  He has Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Congestive Heart Failure.  Although he’s pretty damn with it considering his age and everything going on, his care is a 24 hour a day job.  A job which my mother and I do alone while trying to still have lives of our own.
Last week alone saw a 9 hour ER visit, a fall, and talks with hospice on top of me working full time and trying to squeeze in self care.  Due to his age and the fact that he has a heart condition that isn’t going to get any better he qualified for hospice.  Technically to be involved with hospice someone is supposed to have less than six months to live, but with Gramps it’s more of a maintenance thing.  His symptoms will be managed and then each six months he’ll be recertified to continue hospice services.  He may be 97 but his big sister just turned 103 and his baby brother is 90. :)
The amount of support we’re getting from hospice is kind of mind blowing, actually.  Before hospice we had to pay out of pocket for all medications (last week’s ER visit resulted in seven pills of antibiotics that cost $57.00), all medical supplies (adult diapers, ointments, catheter supplies, etc.) and 24 hour oxygen ($40 a month).  With hospice, all of that’s covered.  Oxygen, medication, supplies, a new cane, a wheel chair are just a few things we’ve received this week that we no longer have to pay for.  If Gramps is sick and needs attention, we don’t go to the ER anymore, the doctor comes to us.  We have a nurse who visits a few times a week to monitor progress, a social worker who is helping with all sorts of things including applying for a grant to help with funeral costs when the time comes, an aide who visits three times a week to help with daily living and who provides my mother with 2 hour respite breaks… there’s even an option to have a visiting chaplain if it’s wanted.   
My mom still can’t work outside of the home and is pretty much tethered to Gramps’ care, but this extra support is pretty amazing and much appreciated.  Is it going to help me get my writing done?  Probably not, but then again the less I have to worry about my mom the more likely I’m able to concentrate on writing when I have the chance to squeeze it in to my schedule. :)
Wishes of high word counts to you all!


Patricia Kiyono said...

Oh, Kelsey, I'm so sorry you're going through all this. The writing can wait, but Gramps can't. You'll be glad you had this time with him. Praying for you all.

Kelsey St. James said...

Thanks, Patricia. :) He's actually in pretty good health, so that's a plus. Everyone assumes that because we have hospice that means we're expecting him to die soon. Hopefully that won't be the case, but we'll still get the support which is great! :)

Tess Grant said...

Hospice was a real blessing to our family too when my dad was sick. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

Kelsey St. James said...

Thanks, Tess. :)

Andrea Dickinson said...

Wow, Kelsey. You've got a lot going on in your life. I'm so glad you've found help with hospice. It's an amazing resource that was very supportive when my aunt was sick.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers.


Kelsey St. James said...

Thanks, Andrea. :) Hospice is such a great resource!