#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 4, 2023)

Hi everyone. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today, even though I’ve long had my last cup of coffee for the day. No soft drinks or vitamin water for me today either. In fact, I actually now realize I forgot to ask my one-on-one staff for chips this evening, which we usually get on Saturdays. Oh well, the scale will thank me (I hope). Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first I’d confess that I still write “2022” rather than “2023” as the title of my coffee share posts and other dated posts regularly. I don’t think I did this for so long during previous years, but “2022” comes out so easily. Oh well.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask about your weather. Ours has been mixed. Early in the week, we had some rain, but later, we’ve had nice winter weather. Daytime temperatures have usually been at about 8°C.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, yesterday, I got in almost two hours of exercise according to my Apple Watch, most walking and a little dancing. “Dancing”, in my book, is usually just walking with some arm swaying to the tune of some upbeat music. I got in over 13K steps. Today, I got in nearly 11K steps too.

If we were having coffee, I would share that, like I said in my post on Wednesday, the home’s kitchen renovations are over with. On Thursday, the living room furniture got moved back to its proper place. I notice I was almost used to the temporary arrangement.

If we were having coffee, I would proudly announce that the theme for this month’s challenge in the Dutch polymer clay Facebook group is unicorns. It was chosen in part by me. I am looking forward to showing the blue unicorn that’s been waiting to be cured in the oven since Tuesday.

After all, like I said last week, someone from that group sent me some Hotfix rhinestones to try to decorate my clay sculptures with. When they arrived on Tuesday, I immediately tried them on the blue unicorn. I can’t wait to show her, the group and the world. Let’s hope the rhinestones won’t fall off.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that I had another nice visit from my mother-in-law on Tuesday. We went to Burger King to have lunch. Our food was lukewarm by the time it arrived, but that’s almost to be expected with burger chains these days. We also went to an arts and crafts store, but I decided not to buy anything, as I was rather overloaded already.

See, I did it: I created a coffee share post without complaining about my care home situation. It isn’t because it’s better. Well, today is a pretty good day for once. Let’s celebrate that and be thankful. But still all please pray I can get out of here.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 28, 2023)

Hi everyone on this last Saturday of January. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. It’s 9PM here, so I already had my last cup of coffee for the day about two hours ago. I also tasted a new drink I think I like: vitamin water. I am not under the impression that there’s all that many vitamins in it, but who cares? Anyway, let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d start out by asking about your weather. Ours has been cold, with daytime temperatures barely above freezing point. It’s not been raining or snowing though and today in fact it was quite sunny.

If we were having coffee, I would ask how you all are doing. I’m still struggling in my care home. Last week (or the week before, I can’t remember), I hit another low point and my mother-in-law sent an E-mail to the behavior specialist telling her I basically don’t want to stay here. The behavior specialist was going to try to schedule a meeting between me, my mother-in-law, her, my assigned staff and the support coordinator, but I haven’t heard anything so far.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve finally been working with polymer clay again. It’s been a while. On Wednesday, I created a bull’s eye cane. That was too frustrating for me and I nearly gave up on polymer clay altogether because of it. Thankfully, in the Dutch polymer clay group as well as an unrelated FB support group, people encouraged me to continue with what I can do well, which is sculpting. This helped me to get moving and create yet another unicorn. Oh well, it’s the same style as all my other unicorns, but I intend to decorate it with Hotfix rhinestones.

I originally intended to go to a store for Hotfix products near here with my mother-in-law on Tuesday. Then someone from the Dutch polymer clay Facebook group offered to send me some samples to try. That’s so kind of her!

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I haven’t had a healthy dinner all week. The reason is the fact that the care home’s kitchen is being renovated and so we can’t use it at all. The only day I had the option of a healthy dinner was today, but I can’t stand soup and certainly not pea soup. For clarity’s sake, there is a kitchen the staff can use at the day center, but all week except today they for whatever reason chose easy-to-whip-up but unhealthy alternatives such as pizza delivery, microwave pancakes or bread with Russian salad.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 8, 2023)

Hi everyone. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today, even though I already had my last cup of coffee for the day. I’m going to have a glass of water with my evening meds probably while in the middle of this post. Want a drink too? Maybe I can convince the staff to get you a diet soda. I can’t stand them myself and we rarely have Dubbelfrisss, my favorite drink that isn’t water, coffee or green tea, here. Anyway, let’s (pretend to) have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my New Year’s went okay. I went to Lobith. Like I think I mentioned, my husband ordered a waffle maker, so that we could have our own, homemade waffles. Not all turned out as they should, but we had enough of the ones that did turn out good. We spent the evening on the couch watching semi-random YouTube videos, as neither of us wanted to watch the annual New Year’s comedy performance. According to my husband, YouTube decided what we were watching, as he probably had autoplay on. By 11:30PM, both of us were too tired to wait for the clock to strike midnight and we didn’t fancy neighbors coming by to greet us either, so we went to bed.

If we were having coffee, I would share that the first week of the new year has been hard. The home has been short-staffed and many of my fellow residents have been struggling with post-holiday dysregulation. For these reasons and probably others, I am experiencing a lot of disruptions to my care again. I have had quite a few meltdowns lately. I haven’t been as severely self-harming as I was back in late October and November, but quite honestly I’m feeling almost as desperate and the only reason I’m not feeling exactly as desperate is the fact that at least on paper my care is still kind of okay.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that my youngest sister-in-law turned 30 yesterday. I am thankful I was able to craft a polymer clay horse for her. Well, not anything like an actual, anatomically correct horse; really just a unicorn like the ones I usually craft but without a horn. My sister-in-law’s real, living horse is called Wolympia, so I called the polymer clay one Polympia. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture before giving it to my husband to give to her.

How have you been?

Some Glimmers of Hope

Hi everyone. It’s once again been a week and a half since I last posted. This week and a half hasn’t been boring at all. In fact, it’s been filled with events that triggered all kinds of emotions in me.

Last week Saturday and again on Monday, I had some very difficult conversations with my assigned staff. She turned out not to mean things too badly, but just got very frustrated with my trouble understanding non-literal speech. We also once again ran in circles about this home being very different from the home I come from and my being used to the old home and never getting it like that here. I know, I don’t expect things to go precisely the same as they went there, but there’s something between the way I was treated at my old home and the very harsh way I’m treated here.

These conversations got me so frustrated that I started thinking I may need to get an independent client supporter to help me find another home. After all, moving to another home within my current care agency, isn’t an option.

Then on Wednesday, a staff told me about her plans for getting day activities rolled out at this home. I’m not sure I can participate in all of them, but some I can take part in. This staff also assured me that my assigned staff is completely on my side.

This also became clear when I had the meeting with the mediator, my assigned staff, the behavior specialist and my mother-in-law yesterday. My assigned staff admitted that some (most, in my experience) of her coworkers treat me just like they treat everyone else at this home. Apparently the harsh approach is what the others need, but I don’t (unless I for instance insult a staff member, which only happens during a severe meltdown, 99% of which can be prevented with the right support). We agreed that my signaling plan (for preventing and averting crises) will be revised, but the behavior specialist assured me that for the most part it can stay the same. After all, she said I haven’t become a different person since moving here. That felt validating.

I positively told the people attending that, since implementing my new day schedule, things have significantly improved. I also told them I realized this may be all I can expect of the staff, so I am (trying to be) all happy when it goes smoothly. However, when it doesn’t go smoothly – for example, when the staff are frequently late for my assigned support times or leave me alone beyond my assigned alone times more than occasionally -, I’m not happy. It gets worse when the staff justify their tardiness or leaving me alone beyond my assigned alone times with some comment about my not having (full-time) one-on-one. Their reasoning is that, since my one-on-one isn’t full-time, I essentially don’t have one-on-one at all and can just expect staff to pop in whenever they please. Their terminology is a bit screwed (I think I explained it in a previous post) and it irks me beyond belief. I know I don’t have full-time one-on-one and I don’t expect it, but I do have the day schedule for a reason.

Both the behavior specialist and my assigned staff validated my need for the day schedule and for staff to stick to it. I said I understand that a severely challenging situation among my fellow clients could be a factor preventing this, but the behavior specialist said this shouldn’t happen more than a few times a week. Currently, it’s usually at least once a day (and I obviously don’t mean the times my staff is running like five to ten minutes late for my support). My assigned staff actually went so far as to say the extra staff is there primarily for me. She is going to clarify this and some other things in a basic info sheet on me that all staff can read when starting their shift with me.

Altogether, the meeting gave me some glimmers of hope. It remains to be seen whether the staff actually do something with what came out of it. I do still have my worries about my support coordinator overriding all this once she returns from her time off. Then again, I am pretty sure that, if the behavior specialist actually means what she said, my support coordinator can’t really do that.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (December 10, 2022)

Hi everyone. How are you doing? I had my last cup of coffee for the day, but still I want to join in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I guess you could get a Senseo if you want one, or a cup of tea, or soda. Or you could go for water like I will now. Let’s have a drink and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your weather’s been. It’s been a month since I did a coffee share post and winter has well and truly arrived by now. Daytime temperatures hardly get above 0°C, although we don’t get very low night-time temperatures. Thankfully, despite the cold, I’ve been able to go on walks everyday, as it’s not been raining that much.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I finally reached breaking point here at the new care home last week and my mother-in-law called the home to get to speak to a higher-up, either the behavior specialist or the manager. She was told that I’d had a good day that day. While that was mostly true, it wasn’t about that day. My mother-in-law then contacted the mediator I had been in touch with too. She is independent and helps advocate for clients or family members but is paid for by the care agency.

After a week of playing phone tag, the mediator finally got in touch with the manager and was able to convince her to schedule a meeting between me, the mediator herself, a staff and the behavior specialist. This will most likely take place before Christmas, so the staff who will be attending won’t be my support coordinator, as she’s off on vacation till after then. I did ask that my mother-in-law be invited too, which the mediator initially didn’t feel would be appropriate. Her reasoning was that it’d be too many people attending and that she (mediator) would be there to support me already. However, the mediator is not able to realize how much I’m not able to process during a verbal conversation, so I stood my ground.

If we were having coffee, I would share that, earlier this week, one of the staff and I were able to create a new, more suitable to me day schedule. It was (unofficially) started today (while we’re waiting for the staff to type it out). The new schedule is organized around timeframes, like my day schedule at the old care home, but of course with the note that these are rough directions. I am quite satisfied with my first day using the new day schedule, but of course I do realize that it may only be 2 1/2 weeks before it will be trashed by my support coordinator.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am loving spending time on my polymer clay again. I am not getting my hopes up yet, but, in my new day schedule, I have lots of opportunities for claying. I made use of them today and created my first actual unicorn! Granted, it doesn’t have a mane or tail yet, because with the particular tutorial I used, you had to bake the unicorn and then attach those parts and bake again. I am hoping to do that tomorrow. I however am completely excited about crafting again. Now all please pray my new day schedule works out and my support coordinator won’t trash it when she comes back.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you all that I got some lovely presents in the mail from my parents on Thursday. I got a lavender-filled unicorn soft toy that can be heated in the microwave. I also got three different kinds of candy: chocolate, licorice and so-called Dutch traditional candy, which was hard candy. I loved all of them. The online shop also sent a few random samples of a sugar soap, so-called immune boosting capsules and some kind of fruit and veggie powder that you need to put into water and drink. I threw these away. So far, I haven’t actually microwaved the unicorn, but I did hold it when trying to sleep.

I Complained About the Cold

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts for this week is to share the last thing you complained about. If I have to believe the staff here, it’s pretty much in my DNA to complain. At least, more than one have been calling me dissatisfied as if it’s a personal attribute.

Indeed, I am not naturally all that optimistic. I remember one day in high school my teacher asked me whether the glass was half full or half empty, assuming I’d say half empty. I said I didn’t know, because I didn’t understand the question, if for no other reason, then because there was no half full/half empty glass in front of me. However, even if he’d asked me whether I tended to look at things from a positive or negative perspective, I might not have known. I know now I lean towards the negative, but I don’t see it nearly as much so as others perceive me as.

This morning, one of the staff – a nice staff, usually – called me dissatisfied because I was complaining of the cold. Not the weather, mind you. The temperature inside my room. For clarity’s sake, we aren’t forced to save on heating here (at least, not yet), but the heating had been turned down by her yesterday because it had been hot here. Granted, after several staff complaining of the heat (I didn’t mind, though it was warmer than it should be), I had finally given her permission to turn down the heating. I shouldn’t have.

Two weeks ago, the heating had last been touched, because at the time it’d been freezing cold here due to the heating being broken. After an entire weekend (when the temperatures at night had dropped to -6°C) of no heating, the thing got fixed and I hadn’t dared let the staff touch it again despite it being a bit on the hot side in my room. After yesterday I gave in, it was cold again today. Not freezing cold, but uncomfortably cold to the point of causing me overload anyway.

The staff turned up the heating again – which unfortunately ten hours later hasn’t proven effective yet – and suggested I wear warm clothes. Not that I wasn’t wearing winter clothes already, but apparently I needed to sit in my room wearing three layers of clothing. Plus gloves, as my hands were cold too. I refused. This was what got me to be called dissatisfied. Of course, the staff didn’t tell me to wear gloves, but I did explain that my hands were primarily cold.

I also explained that I was anxious about having to be freezing all weekend again because maybe touching the heating had somehow broken it again. To this, the staff replied that I was assuming the worst. Well yes, I was, but it wasn’t like it hadn’t happened before.

I’m sad that I’m seen as generally dissatisfied even by staff I think are nice. I mean, I know they get a lot of negativity from me about the other staff and occasionally about their own behavior. Recently, I sent one of the nice staff away angrily because she was the fourth staff supporting me that shift. The thing is, the not-so-nice staff don’t take it personally. The nice ones do even though I don’t mean any of my complaints personally. The fact that a staff has made it on my “nice” list, doesn’t mean they can’t ever do anything wrong or, if they do, that they won’t hear about it.

Finally, after writing up most of this post and complaining to my husband about the cold, my husband said I should tell the staff my heating is broken and ask them to call the servicemen if it’s still cold tomorrow. Half an hour ago, the staff who had called the servicemen last time – on a Sunday, because he agreed it couldn’t wait till Monday -, came into my room and I asked him to check my heating. He did and agreed it’s probably broken again, so he’s phoning the servicemen again tomorrow. I’m so glad. When the heating can be made to behave or can be fixed altogether, will remain to be seen.

Mama’s Losin’ It

#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 12, 2022)

Hi everyone. It’s once again been a while since I last wrote. Today, I’d like to write a post for #WeekendCoffeeShare. I drink more coffee here at the new care home than I used to and it’s not decaf in the evenings. That’s one thing I don’t mind, although I now realize the caffeine might be contributing to my poor sleep. Like I said a few times before, I’m struggling greatly otherwise too. Let me try to share a bit about this past week. Grab a cup of coffee, cappuccino (we have a milk frother here) or tea if you’d like one and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d start out with the slightly positive: the weather. Although others – climate activists – would see this as a negative (and I understand why), I am so relieved we have relatively mild fall weather here. Daytime temperatures rose to a maximum of between 12 and 17°C over the past week and we didn’t get much rain.

If we were having coffee, then I’d share about the negatives, the list of which starts with my day schedule. I requested one because, otherwise, staff would give me one-on-one support whenever they so wished. However, as it turned out, the day schedule was so vague that staff could still interpret it however they wanted to.

For instance, some staff had gotten it in their heads that, between each activity, regardless of how long that activity took, they’d need to leave me alone for 30 minutes. I said sarcastically that I’d have to think of activities that lasted two hours then, but the last staff who openly told me this about the 30 minutes between each activity didn’t get my point and said an activity could take 30 minutes or whatever too. For clarity’s sake, I have unlearned to initiate activities that take longer than 30 minutes myself because I know staff will usually tell me they don’t have the time, even though I got 90 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one from my old home’s staff each weekday morning and two hours each weekday afternoon.

Like you may guess, my day schedule is organized around activities, not timeframes. I understand this if you want to put into it specific activities such as “walking” and can’t be sure how long each walk will take. That’s why my old home had “supported activity” in my day schedule. However, it appears as though my staff here want to be able to decide on a daily basis how much one-on-one support to offer me and usually this is not dependent on my need for it, or even on my fellow residents’ daily care needs. Not that those should matter, since my one-on-one is *my* one-on-one, not my fellow residents’. However, it’s about 90% dependent on staff qualities: whether they smoke, whether they’d rather do stuff on their phone or chill out with coworkers than help clients, whether they can or want to set boundaries on my fellow residents’ demands, etc.

As a result of all this, I tore up my day schedule on Monday and life hasn’t been worse since.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share it’s my husband’s birthday today. He doesn’t celebrate it or so he told me, but he will be coming here for a visit tomorrow.

How have you been?

Moving Into the New Care Home

Hi all. I’m departing from the #31Days2022 prompts today, because the prompt for today, “other”, didn’t spark any creative muse in me yet. Instead, for today’s post, I am writing about my move into the new care home. It’s been quite the overloading day, to be honest.

I had set the alarm for 7:30AM, because the moving crew would be in Raalte at eight to collect my desk and chair. The rest of my belongings had been moved to the new home yesterday. Not surprisingly, I woke up before the alarm went off. Thankfully, there already was a staff available for me. When the moving crew had removed my furniture, I had breakfast at another table.

Thankfully, there still was time for a walk before it was time for me to collect the stuff that could go into the staff’s car and to drive off to the new home. This stuff included the soft toy I’d slept with, my clothes from the night before as well as the goodbye presents I’d gotten from the home and day center. One of the day center staff specifically came by to say goodbye to me on her day off.

As we got here to the new home, we were greeted by a man whom I’ve come to assume will be my assigned staff but of which I’m not sure. We were allowed to unpack, which took several hours. I had lunch after everyone else had already had theirs.

My staff from my old care home in Raalte left at around 2PM. From then on, several staff have come and gone into and out of my apartment. I did go for a walk around grounds at around 3:30PM. Several clients from other homes greeted me and my staff and started talking to us. I liked it, but it was a bit overwhelming at the same time.

At around 5PM, I got very irritable. The reason was the fact that my call button doesn’t work as of yet. It looks like it may’ve been set to be received at the night staff’s office in the main building, where during the day there’s no-one. I hope that’s true, as otherwise I won’t be able to reach anyone during the night.

I also found out there’s no handle to lock my room’s door from the inside without a key. I immediately drew the conclusion this means I can be locked into my room. Of course, the staff said they wouldn’t, but the mere fact that they can, causes me intense fear.

I am trying to stay as calm as possible as I write on my blog now that I’m alone. Thankfully, I can tell time – the staff verified this, which may seem stupid to those reading my blog but was actually validating to me. Now that they know I can tell time, they can tell me when they will be back. This does help me.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 24, 2022)

Hi everyone on this rainy Saturday. How are you doing? Take a seat and have a drink, as I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare.

If we were having coffee, I would start out by sharing that last Monday was my and my husband’s eleventh wedding anniversary. We drove to Steenwijk, a town in the far north of my province, where we had lunch and went for a short walk. Then we drove to Blokzijl, a small town not far from there, where we had another walk around town and my husband took a photo of me with a large cannon.

Then we drove to Ikea in Zwolle, where my husband bought a few things, I looked for a new desk chair, and we had dinner. Unfortunately, they only serve the vegetarian version of the Swedish meatballs now, so I had chicken.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got a new pasta machine from one of the staff – the staff who always gives us clients everything she finds at thrift stores. This one works electronically or so she told me. I didn’t tell the staff that any pasta machine is hand-operated by default and a motor is optional. This one does have a motor. I did E-mail another staff to ask her to bring her tool kit one more time to remove the fenders for me.

If we were having coffee, I would share that the dietitian showed up unexpectedly for an appointment yesterday. The reason was the fact that I’d lost quite a bit of weight and had been compulsively exercising a lot over the past few weeks. Although the compulsive exercising seems to have reduced this week, I did need a bit of a reverse kick in the behind. You see, I have a history of disordered eating, bordering on bulimia, and although my main means of compensating used to be purging, this could definitely become a thing with over-exercise too. I do need to monitor this closely.

If we were having coffee, I would use the rest of this post to update you about the prospective new care home. I didn’t write a coffee share post last week, so those visiting from there might not know this, but the client in whose place I could come at the home at the main institution, moved out this Thursday. I had my first orientation visit with the prospective new home last Wednesday, am getting another on Monday and, if then I want to move, moving date has been set for October 5.

My first orientation visit went quite well. The clients are quite verbally capable, although of course they do “live in their own world”, as the support coordinator phrased it. The apartment – separate living room, bedroom and private bathroom – is quite large, although I couldn’t fully grasp its size because the client who was moving out had a lot of furniture. My husband did ask whether I would have to clean the apartment myself, but I assume not. I asked though just to be sure.

I love the fact that there are a lot of sports and recreational facilities on grounds, although the staff aren’t yet able to say how we could fit those into my day activities.

A great positive of the possible new home is that they cook their own meals everyday. Yay for no more meal delivery service junk!

My husband is coming to have a look around the home on Monday too, so he may be able to ask his questions too. I am quite excited but still a bit nervous.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 10, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I just had my afternoon coffee, but I’m pretty sure there’s still some left for you. Let’s have a cup of coffee and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, I would start out by sharing I had quite an active week again. Today, I went for a 5.8km ride on the side-by-side bike again. We rode it faster than last time: 13.4km/hour. Still slowly judging by what I know is a normal bike riding speed, but then again a side-by-side bike is probably harder to ride.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I also finally gained some of my crafty mojo back. That is, I only did one polymer clay thing, but it worked out okay. I created a cat’s head charm. It still needs to go into the oven, so I can’t show you all yet.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you today is my oldest niece Janneke’s third birthday. I sent her a coloring book, some paint and a kids’ umbrella. I may try to video call my sister later to sing “Happy Birthday” to her too. In fact, I think I’m going to text my sister now to ask when she’s got time.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d complain about the fact that Apple won’t release an iPhone 14 Mini. Then again, this makes the decision about what phone to buy once my current iPhone battery dies rather easy. After all, I wasn’t completely convinced I wanted the 14 Mini even if Apple were going to release it, but now I’m certain I’m going for the SE 2022. Not that that one appeals to me that much, but well, I’ve got to have something and I don’t want a regular 14. Not because of what the so-called experts say (they claim it’s not worth your money but I haven’t read the articles explaining why), but because it’s too large for my liking.

I do really hope iOS 16 is going to be relatively bug-free from the start though, as some of its new features sound cool. Not just that, but I badly want WatchOS 9 and you need iOS 16 for that. I’ll wait for one particular member of the VoiceOver forum to voice his opinion though. He’s claimed each year except the year iOS 12 got released that the new big iOS update was the worst one ever and usually he’s been right at least that updating right away isn’t wise.

How have you been?