#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 23, 2020)

I’m late to join in with #WeekendCoffeeShare, but better late than never. I just had coffee. Didn’t track my fluid intake today, as I was a bit lax with it, but I also had water, yoghurt drinnks and green tea.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your week has been? Hopefully the weather has been treating you well. Here in the Netherlands, the week started off pretty well, but over the week-end, we’ve had a storm once again and lots of rain too.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I did some soap making again early in the week. I made a yellow, banana-scented soap that actually turned out quite well on Monday. I haven’t tried my hand at bath bomb making again this week, but I did try out a bath bomb I’d made last week in the bath last Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that this week has been pretty good in the physical activity department. I got over 200 active minutes, 150 being recommended. I wasn’t very active every day, but on the days that I was, I went above my daily goal. In fact, I probably was more active than my Fitbit activity tracker claims I was, as it doesn’t seem to count side-by-side bike rides, as I’m not steering then. I discovered that I really like one of the two side-by-side bikes we have at the day center. With the other, I cannot reach the pedals and I don’t like it if I can’t pedal along.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that over the week-end, I’ve mostly been relaxing. My husband would have come over to take me to a nearby city called Hengelo. I was planning on buying wireless headphones with noise canceling functionality there and then we’d eat out. Unfortunately, my husband was sick, so he didn’t come over.

I bought the headphones I wanted online. Then after I’d ordered them, I discovered that the mobile app they work with, which I’d considered an advantage, had really poor ratings on the app store. Thankfully, the headphones work without the app too and actually the app works fine for me. I’m not sure I’ll keep the app though, as I don’t really need it. The headphones, like I said, have noise canceling. I was a little disappointed in how it worked the first time, but then again I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never had noise canceling headphones before, after all and my room was relatively quiet when I tried it. I will try it out at day activities tomorrow, as that’s what I intended the headphones for. The headphones also have Bluetooth connectivity, which I’d never tried before either. I love that, as I’m now able to walk around the room while having my headphones on. I may try to go onto the elliptical while using them tomorrow.

What have you been up to lately?

Gratitude List (February 8, 2020) #TToT

It’s Saturday and I haven’t published a blog post in a few days. Today I am bored and slightly depressed, so I thought I’d join in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) to lift up my mood.

1. Soap making. On Sunday, I asked my husband to sort through my soaping supplies. He didn’t need to though, as the essentials were all in a wheeled shopping bag. My mother-in-law took me back to the facility on Sunday evening, so she put the entire thing in the back of her car and helped me get it inside. I took it to day activities on Monday and have been making soap a few times this past week already.

2. Ordering new supplies. I didn’t have a lot of soap base in the bag, so I had an excuse to order new soaping supplies. Besides new soap base, I ordered bath bomb and bath salt making supplies. I never made bath bombs or bath salts before. I am really excited to try.

3. The cooking activity at day activities. I used to do a simple cooking activity with the staff intern on Wednesday. Now that her schedule has changed, we do it on Tuesday. This past Tuesday, we in fact had ingredients for two recipes: ham and cheese sandwiches and a creamy cookie dessert. The reason is that last week, we didn’t do the cooking activity because I had a meeting with the behavior specialist then. The intern had time to help me with both. We ate the sandwiches for lunch and had the cookie dessert later in the afternoon. It was extra gratifying, as the clients on my side of my day activities group can’t have sandwiches due to swallowing issues, but most can have the dessert. We served the sandwiches to the other side and I actually had both.

4. My weight. I got weighed in on Wednesday and I had a small gain of 200 grams (less than half a pound). I attribute that to all the treats I had on Tuesday though. I’m also happy, because people actually notice that I’m skinnier (or rather, less fat, of course) than I used to be.

5. Some long’ish walks. I mean, no, I don’t walk for an hour like I used to at my old day activities and with my home support staff, but I did have some walks of about half an hour. Despite not having walked in the evenings much this past week, I did manage to get to 175 active minutes.

6. The support from my assigned staff. I was somewhat distressed this past week, as I’m still not fully recovered from the meltdowns I had last week. However, my support staff are all very helpful.

Like, yesterday I had a meeting with my nurse from the mental health agency. When I explained my difficulty coping with the noise at day activities, she started to suggest I move to an apartment building for autistic people and occupy myself there or go work at a sheltered workshop. This isn’t suitable and my staff helped me explain this to my nurse.

7. French fries and ice cream. My husband said on Thursday that he couldn’t come by for a long visit today but could take me out to have some fries and a snack for dinner. Today, he canceled. Of course, I miss my husband, but I didn’t miss the fries, as my staff thought it’d be a good idea to order fries and snacks for the entire home. We also had ice cream, which was still left over in the freezer from Christmas. I had the last serving of whipped cream-flavored ice cream.

I can’t get to ten, but I’m definitely in a brighter mood now. I guess that should be my eighth grateful on this list. What have you been grateful for lately?

A Mixed Monday

Today is a truly mixed bag! I started out feeling relatively well. The flu seems to finally have left me, although I still sound a bit hoarse. Then in the morning I ate just a little too much sugar-free liquorice. This type of sugar-free liquorice has manitol in it, which works as a laxative. If I eat moderate quantities of liquorice, I’m totally fine, but if I eat too much, I get like the worst diarrhea imaginable. I thought I hadn’t eaten ntoo much, but apparently I had. If my husband reads th is, he’s going to say he warned me.

I was still relatively okay during the morning. Went for a short walk. Then in the afternoon I didn’t feel well. This usually affects my mood before I’m even aware I’m physically unwell. I started to get really frustrated with how quickly my iPhone battery level would go down, which honestly isn’t that quickly at all given it’s an older model. Then I started to get annoyed with my fellow clients’ sounds. My fellow clients are all non-speaking, so it really is no wonder they make sounds. Just because I can’t understand them, doesn’t mean they need to shut up. Finally then I got annoyed with my staff having mindless chatter while I was trying to indicate I wanted help finding something to do. I found a simple shape-sorting task eventually, but it didn’t satisfy me. In this sense, it frustrates me that I need the level of support and low-stress environment geared towards people with severe intellectual disabilities, but at the same time need much more stimulation. My range of understimulation and overstimulation even seem to overlap a lot, so that my window of tolerance is very narrow. I try to tell myself I just need to accept boredom if I want to keep my level of support, for if I am judged to be too much of a handful, the result is likely that I get less support. That being said, telling myself not to be a pain in the neck doesn’t mean I actually am not a pain.

Finally, I started talking to my assigned staff. We agreed to try out soap making again someday soon. It’s something I enjoy and is a relatively quick activity even if I need hands-on assistance, that will nonetheless satisfy me for a while. I will ask my husband to bring my soaping supplies when he next visits me.

When I returned to the care home, I browsed my favorite soaping supplies store. I was talking to my assigned day activities staff about also knowing how to make lip balm. That’s an even easier activity that can be made more complex by using individual oils and butters rather than ready-made lip balm base. While browsing the store website, I came across a starter kit to make your own bath bombs. I’ve been wanting to do that forever, but since the goal up till recently has always been full independence, I thought this wouldn’t be a suitable activity. When I get back in the swing of soaping, I may buy myself the starter kit. It has some supplies I already have, such as colorants and fragrance oils, but you can never have enough of those. We have a bathtub at the care facility, so I’ll actually also put them to use.

In the evening, I was so excited I wanted to tell my home staff about the soaping idea and the bath bomb craziness. Then however the staff were talking among themselves for like an hour. They weren’t talking about clients, but still I beat myself up over wanting to interrupt them. That led to more frustration and overload and I eventually ended up banging my head. I feel incredibly annoyed with myself for being an attention-seeker like this, even though I didn’t act out when I thought the staff were looking. They eventually were though. Now I’m not sure whether this will eventually be used against me to kick me out. The staff said no, I won’t be kicked out, but in the end if I don’t change will they not reason life isn’t better in the facility for me? It is better, generally speaking, but I still struggle a lot.