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"Respite", a Story by LarryD
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 8:49 AM
Joined: 12/1/2011
Posts: 1321

Today is the day I go on my respite. I have been selecting and sorting through my clothes to decide what to take to Denver with me. Everything has to fit into one smallish bag, which I will check in for $25 since I don't like to fight everyone for space in the overhead bins on the plane. 


I pre-registered so that I could get an aisle seat with extra leg room next to the emergency door, for an additional cost of $19. And I am now waiting for my daughter and the van that will take my wife, Deane, to the nursing home where she will reside for the next five days.  


We got Deane up this morning and instead of placing her in her comfortable reclining office type chair with the extra padding and pillows like she is used to; we placed her in a standard wheelchair. I did buy, on the internet, a set of detachable wings which, when in place, will prevent her from leaning way over, usually to the right side of her chair when she is tired. 


She has finished breakfast and she is now sitting, humped over forward like you see the residents of a nursing home sitting around all day. I hate it!!!  


So I start off my day, heading off to rejuvenate in sunny Denver with my brother and his family while my wife starts her adventure slumped in a semi-comfortable chair, headed for a place where she will wait for me to return. She will be fed and changed, hopefully, and put to bed each night by two aides she has never seen before, but she will be safe and well cared for..... 


I believe I will be able to get over this funk as soon as the van takes her away; and I believe I will enjoy my time off. My brother has already called me and told me of some of the places we will go to see again. It has been five or six years since we were all together there in Denver. I will enjoy Estes Park and the beautiful scenery after being unable to travel for so many years.  


I am not taking a computer or I-anything except a simple phone in case there is an emergency so I will be incommunicado for five days. I will have a good time and I will probably do it again because I feel lighter just knowing that I am not responsible for a few days; but I hate it..... 


I will write a recap when I get back. 



Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 9:40 AM
Joined: 12/18/2011
Posts: 11646

Good morning, Larry, 


You've probably already left for the airport and Deane is on her way to the NH.   Just wanted to wish you a happy respite - and try not to worry.  We'll look forward to hearing how it went when you return. 


Hope the weather is beautiful for you. 

Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 1:27 PM
Joined: 12/3/2011
Posts: 652

Oh, no, I didn't get back in time to tell you to stick a toothbrush and comb in your pocket.  The only time I ever checked everything, we were held over for bad weather, and I had nothing.  Had to sleep in my "unaware".  But, oh yes, that was in Denver.
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 4:00 PM
Joined: 9/23/2012
Posts: 109

I  pray you get a lot of rest and relaxation.  You so deserve it!   Enjoy yourself and try not to worry about your wife -  You are a wonderful caregiver for her and you need a good respite.   Blessings to you both~
Be Strong 2
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 10:33 PM
Joined: 12/14/2011
Posts: 1751



Blessings.  May God watch over you and Deane during your respite time.  Knowing He will give you a good time.  Rest & Relax; we will be waiting anxiously to hear about your time off. 


Remember, we're all in the same boat; and the darn thing leaks! 


Mama Sue
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 11:10 PM
Joined: 10/23/2012
Posts: 886



     Relax and enjoy your trip.    Blessings to your sweet wife.  I pray her respite is  uneventful  and you come back renewed and happy to be together again.  Remember , her welfare depends on your good health.

Go with God,   Sue

Johanna C.
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 2:59 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 10752

By the time you read this, you will have returned from your trip to Colorado and I so hope it was a wonderful time with much relaxation and breathing free.


Larry, your description of how things are and what you plan to do if necessary is truly excellent food for thought. 


The time you spent sharing your thoughts, rationale and process of decision making will be very helpful for others in similar situations.


Now we are all sitting back waiting to hear how your trip to Colorado was and how things worked out for your wife.


Johanna C.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 9:08 PM
Joined: 1/23/2012
Posts: 2270

Sir Larry, I sent Mom off to respite on Saturday (she's 93) and despite all my fears and concerns, she did just fine. It was much harder on me than her and now she is home again (we lost a day, but I'm OK with that).

Hope you had a good chance to breathe and smile and talk and feel like a normal person for awhile. I'm sure Deane will be well cared for and you will come back the better man for having finally taken that break.

Wishing you blessings, my friend.


Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 5:05 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

I understand those mixed feelings and how they bounce around.  I'm glad you went on your trip, and to enjoy time with family and just take in the sights and sounds of something different.  I'm hoping your wife did fine and all is well for both of you.  I hope you were able to have moments of rest and enjoyment of your visit.  Much deserved.  Blessings to you both.
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 4:45 PM
Joined: 12/1/2011
Posts: 1321

I am back from Denver and I survived.

Deane did well at the nursing home although they did not watch her as closely as I do and her arms are bruised and open in one place from rubbing on the chair arms. But she is even more alert than when I left. Perhaps from the activity of others around her providing some socialization even though she could not actively participate. 

She almost cried when I greeted her last night when I got beck in and she has laughed openly all day today when I get in her face and speak to her. I'm not sure what is different but she is certainly more responsive. Our little ShihTzu is happy to be back in our routine also. We took a long walk this morning and it was as if I had never left.

The weather in Denver was perfect all week. My brother and sister-in-law are both retired teachers and their son and daughter are teachers in the city as well. I visited their son's fifth grade class on Tuesday and participated in a classroom teaching session on biodegradable versus non-biodegradable materials. 

His class is in the Projects area of Denver and the class consisted of 34 children of perhaps 20 different nationalities. Many are still learning English and most are from single female parent families. It was a wonderful experience. They thought I was funny and one little girl from, I think Somalia, kept rubbing her hand in my hair because, "it's so soft". I was sitting next to her at a little table for six and felt like a celebrity. 

I had a wonderful time and hope to do it again before too long if I can get the care for Deane straightened out so that she doesn't look like a losing prize fighter when I return. I will get with the hospice nurse and social worker on Monday and talk about it. 

Again, I had a great time and recommend it; but I still cried a few times because she would have enjoyed it as much or more than I did. I missed her but then again, in a sense, I have been alone for a long time so it wasn't too much different. One final comment; I ate too much at some wonderful restaurants. 


Sea Field
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 6:29 PM
Joined: 8/5/2012
Posts: 1869



How wonderful to hear you enjoyed your trip.  I was hoping you would!

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 6:58 PM
Joined: 6/22/2012
Posts: 100

Dear Larry,
Your post feels like a breath of fresh air. I'm so happy for you.

I'm so sorry to hear about Deane's injuries. My husband's skin is so thin that I never grab him if I can help it. If I do he gets a bruise where I had a hold of his arm. I just hold his hands when I am helping him up and down.

Welcome home.

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:37 PM
Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 553

To Larry d.   So glad you enjoyed your trip...... Iam sure you missed your wife with you. Beside the bruises it is nice to hear she is mor alert!!!!!!!
Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:42 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16417

Welcome back, Larry.  I'm glad you had a nice visit with your family and that Deane seemed to enjoy her respite also. 

It's also good that you had a chance to visit with children.  Often when we spend our time around older adults we lose contact with the little ones.  I'm glad your time in the classroom was a treat for you.

Iris L.

Lane Simonian
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 8:08 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 4756

It was so nice to hear that your trip went well.  I much enjoyed reading about your experiences at the school.  I was sorry to hear about Deane's bruises, but pleased to hear that she is more alert.   Welcome back to your physical home and to your home here on these boards. 
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 8:12 PM
Joined: 9/23/2012
Posts: 109

Welcome Back~ it sounds like it was enjoyable and refreshing!  That is Super! So interesting to hear your wife is more alert~what a wonderful surprise to come home to!!   It must have been good for her also! (except for the bruises of course) 

God Bless You Both !

dutiful deb
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:52 PM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 1876

Good to hear you had a nice relaxing time, and that your wife was okay (except the bruises. Ouch!) while you were away. 


I love the story about the school!

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:43 AM
Joined: 10/2/2012
Posts: 1283

Welcome back Larry, your respite sounded like a breath of fresh air, and I am so glad it went well for you. Deane  probably had a great deal of stimulation from the change of venue and surrounding activities, and it did contribute to her increased alertness. It is disappointing that she was not watched as closely as she needed to be, but I am sure you now have a better idea of what to look for and request on your next opportunity for a respite.  I look to you and Nora as guides for what is to come. Bless you both and stay strong.

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 11:01 AM
Joined: 8/14/2012
Posts: 427

What everyone else said & then some So happy to hear about the trip to the school. Sounds wonderful to spend time with little children............they inspire, don't they? As for the bruises, it's really difficult to keep the skin intact unless someone is in constant attendance. Nutrition is compromised in all illness & with aging. I'm soooo glad you got away to rejuvenate. dfh
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:19 PM
Joined: 6/18/2012
Posts: 185

Welcome back Larry from your well deserved respite.  Sorry as everyone else about your wife.  No one will ever take as good of care for our LO as we try to do.  That is the sad thing about NH's, they are mostly understaffed and can't be there all the time.  All we can do is be watchful that they do the best they can.

You had a good time so that and the fact that your wife is more alert are the best thing for you both.

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:58 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 18357



you seem to be a great "fit " with children. ..maybe you could do some tutoring or volunteer work for a couple of hours a week. They can certainly be uplifting. 

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 2:55 PM
Joined: 9/10/2012
Posts: 2703

So glad to hear your report!  I was thinking about you several times during the week, wondering how it was going.  It sounds like Deane is glad to have you back too, that is so wonderful.  I don't think we can ever know how much influence we have on our loved ones.
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 3:02 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 18357



you seem to be a great "fit " with children. ..maybe you could do some tutoring or volunteer work for a couple of hours a week. They can certainly be uplifting. 

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 6:56 PM
Joined: 1/23/2012
Posts: 2270

Larry, you deserved that respite and the chance to be with the children and to feel special. God bless you!


I am glad that all worked out fairly well for Deane; yes, it is impossible for aides and nurses to watch our loved ones the way we do, but it is impossible for us too, right? My Mom came back from her respite with a few underarm bruises (probably from trying to lift her) but not a lot. And from the reports I got from hospice workers who checked on her daily, she was well cared for and in good spirits. 


We needed that break, you and I, and it was strange how we both had it about the same time. I only got to Philadelphia for a day, but even a day to myself in another city, doing what I like, was so very nice. Maybe next time I will do Denver and you can do Philly!


I am so happy to hear Deane was happy to see you and that other than going 10 rounds with Mike Tyson she did well. But as others have commented, they do bruise so darn easily for even the most gentle, innocent touch. 


Take care of yourself, Larry, and do start planning that next getaway. Philadelphia in winter is very nice!