#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 19, 2021)

I am once again early at least for me with my #WeekendCoffeeShare post. It’s right between my dinner and my evening coffee now, but I can make you a Senseo coffee if you want it. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m still having a cold. It’s a lot better than it was last week, but I’m still sniffy. This morning, I had a bad cough, but that seems to be gone now.

I am so glad though that it’s not COVID. This afternoon, I was informed that another home within my care facility is in isolation due to a client having tested positive for COVID. This does worry me a bit, since that client must’ve contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated. The staff do try to reassure me though.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, now that I’m feeling a lot better cold-wise, I picked up the walking habit again. I managed to reach my goal of 10K steps both yesterday and today.

I did fall on my knee today while walking. Thankfully, I just suffered a slight scrape to the skin.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday marked one year since the day center closed due to lockdown. A staff and one of my fellow clients made cheesecake to celebrate. Yummy!

A photo of me in front of the cheesecake

If we were having coffee, I would share about some changes to my care. First, I have a new assigned staff. She isn’t new to me or the home, just new to being my primary support worker. My former assigned staff is in college getting her nursing degree and was a bit too busy to have me in addition to two other clients to be assigned to. I really like my new assigned staff.

However, I was briefly triggered too. After all, my new assigned staff is really involved with my care and I worried she might get too attached and then have to step back. I thought this might’ve happened to my old assigned staff, but they both reassured me this isn’t the case.

Also, my one-on-one got extended with half an hour each day as of today. This might not seem much, but it prevents me having to deal with too many staff changes. After all, in the old situation, I’d have day activities till 4PM, then have to rely on the regular evening shift for half an hour before my one-on-one comes on. Now I’ll have that half an hour covered by one-on-one too. I’ll still have some time without one-on-one in the evenings and on week-ends in the afternoon, but that’s totally okay.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that my husband plans on visiting me briefly tomorrow. That is, if my cold isn’t too bad. We’re planning on going to a fast food chain drive-through.

How are you all doing?

Vaccinated!

Today, Fandango’s provocative question (#FPQ) is all about the COVID-19 vaccine. Fandango asks: have you gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 yet? If not, are you planning to? If you have, or are planning to, how do you think your life will change afterwards? If you’re not planning to get vaccinated, why not?

First, yes, I did get the COVID vaccine. I got the Pfizer one and got the first shot in early february and the second just shy of two weeks ago. I never doubted whether to get the vaccine or not. I, after all, have always been pro-vaccine and especially with the coronavirus. I mean, I’m not worried that I’ll get very sick with COVID, but I do worry for those I live with. I also think that, the more people get vaccinated, the more likely we are to return to some semblance of normal. I’m not naive though: I know COVID will likely never fully go away. My hope is though that we can control the worst effects of the pandemic.

As for how I think things will change now, not likely anything will within the near future. Our staff have all gotten the letter to ask them to make a vaccination appointment, but they’re due to get the AstraZeneca one. With that requiring eleven to twelve weeks between the first and second shot, they won’t likely be protected against COVID until sometime in May or June. That is, if the Netherlands starts using the AstraZeneca vaccine again. The government has currently suspended it for now because of “concerns”.

Well, let me be very clear: even if one in 100,000 people do get thrombosis after being vaccinated, and it’s actually the vaccine that’s to blame, I’d still have taken the risk had I been offered this vaccine rather than the Pfizer one.

That’s not to say there are no side effects. I had none from the Pfizer vaccine and even worried I hadn’t gotten the shot right. Many of my staff got some immune reactions like fevers or a sore arm due to the first AstraZeneca shot. Those are short-term though and, to most people I know, are outweighed by the long-term benefits of the vaccine.

Ultimately, I hope that, once my staff are all vaccinated, the day center will reopen. I think that’s the first positive thing that will come out of the vaccination campaign. Other than that, I’m not sure. I rarely attend concerts or other large events, so I won’t need my vaccine report for those.

Speaking of which, I’m not 100% decided on the topic of vaccination reports. In the voting guide for today’s election, I did say that I do think venues should be allowed to ask for a vaccine report before allowing people in. I do feel that, if you’re able to be vaccinated, it’s really a kind of moral obligation that you are, but there are also people who aren’t able to.

What do you think?

What a Day, What a Year! #SoCS

Today I got my COVID test results. Thankfully, I’m negative. Like I mentioned yesterday, I went into room-based isolation with cold symptoms and a sore throat yesterday morning. That day in isolation was hard. I constantly imagined testing positive for COVID. That’d mean at least five more days in quarantine. It’d also mean I would have to alert my nurse practitioner and the facility’s behavior specialist, both of whom I’d seen on Thursday.

I felt intense guilt about possibly having infected my staff too. After all, when I was still only experiencing a sore throat, the staff tried to reassure me that I couldn’t possibly have COVID. It may be true – I had my second shot of the vaccine last week -, but I couldn’t be sure.

Can you imagine that, a year ago, we were just at the beginning of this pandemic? On March 12, 2020, the first local case of COVID-19 had been discovered. On March 13, the community service event that was due to take place at my day center as part of a countrywide volunteering initiative, had been canceled. The day center closed five days later, on March 18.

I hadn’t seen my husband since the first weekend of March I think and wasn’t going to see him again till sometime in late May. After all, at first visiting the care facility was discouraged, then it was completely prohibited except in rare cases when a family member was essential for a client’s care. My husband wasn’t.

I am so glad that now, during the second lockdown, care facilities remain open to visitors except when there’s an outbreak of COVID or suspected COVID, as in my case yesterday. I am so glad one of my fellow clients, who had her birthday on Tuesday, may receive a visit from her family tomorrow.

I had my own birthday on June 27, one day after the final restrictions to visiting were lifted, provided there’s no countrywide lockdown or COVID outbreak. Though we’re in a countrywide lockdown again, the lockdown policy remains that care facilities can be open. I credit the prime minister’s late mother, who died in a nursing home during the first lockdown or so I believe.

This post was written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) prompt of day/week/month/year.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 12, 2021)

And this time I’m extremely early with my #WeekendCoffeeShare. This week was rather eventful, especially the last couple of days. I just had my afternoon coffee today. You can probably get a cup of coffee, tea or a soft drink from the staff, but I’m so glad this meeting is actually virtual.

After all, if we were having coffee, first I’d share that I’m in room-based isolation. I started having a sore throat yesterday, but wasn’t sure it was the fact that I’d just had a screaming fit or it was actually a symptom of illness. The staff on shift yesterday tried to reassure me. Today though, I woke up very sniffy. I warned the staff, but at first she wasn’t concerned this time either. After she talked to a colleague though, I had to be in room-based isolation. The staff are now wearing protective clothing when entering my room. I’m usually in my room anyway when not walking. For this reason, if I do have COVID, it’s unlikely the other clients will have caught it too, at least from me. The staff though, well, they’ve definitely been at risk.

Thankfully, one of my home’s staff is one of my facility’s appointed testers. She swabbed me right this morning and the test should be at the lab right now. Please all pray that it’ll come back negative.

As for how I’m feeling, well, I’m okay. I’m a little sick to my stomach in addition to the cold symptoms, but overall it’s manageable. I don’t have a fever and my oxygen saturation was normal too.

If we were having coffee, then I’d tell you that I didn’t have as good a walking week this week as I had last week. The reason is that, besides not being allowed out today, I wasn’t allowed outside of the home on Tuesday either. Another client had to be tested for COVID. Thankfully, his test came back negative. I heard this the next morning, but today the staff told me they’d been informed already Tuesday evening at 10PM. I asked the staff to wake me up if this happens with my test too (only if it’s negative).

If we were having coffee, I would share that I had a really productive appointment with my psychiatric nurse practitioner yesterday. The staff who’d seen the PTSD video with me last week, accompanied me. Together, we were able to explain my continuing issues with hypervigilance, flashbacks and emotional dysregulation. I was able to explain about some of my traumas, including traumatic experiences within the psychiatric system. My nurse practitioner was able to validate me from his own perspective as a former psych hospital nurse.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I made a coconut-mango smoothie this morning. It didn’t taste as good as it could have and I’m not sure whether to blame my cold symptoms or the chunks of coconut that weren’t properly blended.

What’s been going on in your life?

Back to Normal?

It’s been nearly a year since the coronavirus pandemic hit the Netherlands. Today, I’m participating in one of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompts. It asks us whether anything is back to normal yet. The short answer is: it depends on your reference point.

Last summer, we were pretty much back to as normal as you get it. We were still social distancing, but shops, restaurants and cafes were open. There were even plans to allow for festivals and the like. And then the second wave hit.

On December 15, the Netherlands entered into the second lockdown. Restaurants and cafes had already been closed sometime in November. In December, schools, including elementary schools and nurseries, closed. Daycare centers and elementary schools opened again the second week of February. However, non-essential shops were also closed. By January, a curfew was issued, allowing people to only be on the streets for certain exceptional reasons from 9PM until 4:30AM.

It is supposed to be a strict lockdown. That being said, this time around it feels easier to me than our first lockdown. After all, even though that one was said to be less strict, and in many ways it was, care facilities were not allowing visitors then. They are again now. Also, physical therapists, dentists and other medical contact professionals are allowed to remain open throughout this lockdown.

On Tuesday, our prime minister held a press conference. In it, he said that, though infection rates didn’t warrant it, society did need a loosening of the lockdown. From next week on, secondary schools will be re-opening part-time. Hairdressers, beauticians and other non-medical contact professionals are also allowed to start working again. In addition, shops are now able to allow at most two customers into the shop at a time. You’re required to register a set timeframe to shop. This will supposedly help small businesses. I already heard a joke about a major budget store being booked full till July of 2023.

Honestly, I’m rather pessimistic about us going back to “normal”, whatever that may be. I’m pretty sure we’ll enter a third wave of the virus in April and that’s assuming the current infection rate is down enough to re-open. Like the prime minister said, it really isn’t. We still get over 4000 new cases of COVID each day.

Last week, my husband Googled the ultimate question: when will COVID end? He saw an article dating back to mid-December predicting that, if by late January, new cases would be down to 1200 a day, COVID would be over by the end of 2021. For the record: new cases were almost ten times that number by then. Vaccination is also going much slower than expected. I predict it’ll be at least the summer of 2022 before we’re back to whatever semblance of normal remains.

Mama’s Losin’ It

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 6, 2021)

Hi everyone on this windy Saturday! Welcome to my contribution to the #WeekendCoffeeShare. It’s past 8:30PM, so I’ve long had my last cup of coffee for the day. However, I still have cold water in the fridge, as well as several flavors of soft drinks. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week went by relatively smoothly. I did struggle a bit early in the week because I felt guilty that the one-on-one support I’ve been getting lately isn’t helping me as much as I’d like. The staff reassured me that things have just settled down and I shouldn’t expect an instant great improvement. Besides, in a way, I am doing better than I was.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I got some wonderful new essential oils. I got lavandin (which is like lavender but milder), lemongrass, ginger, clary sage and white fir. I am so happy about being able to make some new diffuser blends. I’d totally expected to sleep like a log because of the clary sage, but I didn’t. That’s okay though.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I also finally purchased a talking scale. That way, I can weigh myself each week at the same time rather than relying on when I remember to ask a staff to weigh me. The scale wasn’t too kind to me when I first stepped onto it.

If we were having coffee, I’d announce that I got my first shot of the COVID vaccine on Thursday. It hurt a little more than the flu shot had, but the pain was over within the hour.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my husband didn’t visit me today. We already established on Thursday that I wouldn’t be going to Lobith this week, because of the heavy snow and wind that’s been forecasted for tonight. We’re supposed to get up to 30cm of snow with a possibility of snow dunes. I originally thought snow dunes were the ones that would be 30cm high, but my husband said they might be up to a meter or even two. I can’t really imagine we’ll get this much snow, but I know how quickly it can come down indeed. Looking back, my husband could’ve come by for a quick visit this afternoon.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I made banana bread with my one-on-one staff this evening. We used just eggs, bananas and oatmeal for the batter and then added nuts, cranberries, dates and raisins. The other staff didn’t like the nuts in it, but I loved it.

Banana Bread

What’s been going on in your life lately?

Gratitude List (January 29, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone on this rainy Friday. I didn’t write anything yesterday or on Wednesday, because on Wednesday I was feeling uninspired and yesterday I was in bed all day feeling like crap. Today, I want to write again and I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) for a gratitude list.

1. I am grateful for a beautiful sunset on Monday. I’m also grateful for still having the residual sight to actually enjoy it. By the time I got my camera to take a picture, the sun had already set a little more than it had when I first saw it. Therefore, the actual thing was even more beautiful than the picture.

Sunset

2. I am grateful my husband is feeling better. This week-end, I get to go to our house.

3. I am grateful for still no COVID among my family or close relatives. My mother-in-law had to get tested last week, but thankfully, she was negative.

4. I am grateful I’m feeling slightly better today than I was yesterday. I have been horribly constipated for about a week now and yesterday evening, was nauseated from it. That has thankfully gone.

I am hoping to get a new medication for the constipation later today. I currently take Macrogol, which gives me horrible gas and cramping. The staff called my GP this morning and she’s going to send in some different kind of medication. I forgot to ask what she’s prescribed exactly, but I’ll find out.

5. I am grateful for rest. I was able to sleep pretty well last night despite having been in bed all afternoon yesterday and having gone back to sleep at 8PM. Thankfully, I feel rested now.

6. I am grateful for my sensory cat soft toy. It can be heated in the microwave and then gives off heat and a lavender scent. I had it in bed with me last night.

7. I am grateful for my new AFO or foot brace or whatever it’s called. The original one came on Monday, but it was painful to wear in a way that the physical therapist thought wouldn’t go away with practice. Thankfully, I now have another one. It’s still painful to walk on uneven ground wearing it, but that’s supposed to go away when I get used to the thing.

8. I am grateful for delicious Turkish pizza. A staff brought me some today and I ate it with salad and mayonaise. It was awesome!

9. I am grateful for some DIY inspiration. Today, the staff (same one who brought the pizza) helped me create some air-dry clay figures which I will later hang onto something for decorating my room.

10. I am grateful for books and Netflix shows. I was able to read again on Wednesday and really enjoyed it. I also got a Netflix subscription again last week. Though I’m not sure for how long I’ll keep it, I did enjoy watching some shows.

What are you grateful for?

2020: The Year in Review

So 2020 is almost over with, thank goodness! Not that it was a totally bad year for me personally, but I really hope 2021 is better for the world at large.

I started the year hoping to settle in at the care facility. I did, but it did take some more accommodating from the staff than I’d expected they would be willing to. In July, for this reason, I was granted the highest care profile for blind people (I had the second-highest until then). I felt very mixed emotions about it. I mean, even though I had originally asked my support coordinator to look at that care profile when applying for my long-term care funding, I do remember her saying I would definitely not qualify. It turned out that I did.

Then in November, after I’d been in some major crises, the staff suggested I sign an official request for extra care hours. I just heard this morning that it got approved. Next week, the staff and manager are going to discuss how to use the extra care and whether new staff will need to be hired.

I hoped to settle in at the day center. That didn’t work out, as the center closed down due to COVID in mid-March. It has since reopened to some of the homes, where clients can utilize a specific room for their home. However, many clients in my home fare better now that we get day activities from the home.

COVID also had its consequences for my marriage. I had just been trying to learn to use public transportation, like I’d hoped I could, when COVID hit the Netherlands and care facilities were closed to visitors. Even though we’re in a second lockdown now, my facility does allow visitors this time around. However, my husband and I agreed it wouldn’t be sensible for me to use public transportation as of now.

As a result of the first lockdown, I didn’t see my husband at all for March, April and most of May. Thankfully, our marriage survived.

Looking back at my hopes for 2020, I see I did pretty well considering the circumstances. I mean, I didn’t settle in at the day center or learn to use public transportation, but like I said above, that’s to blame on COVID.

Health-wise, I didn’t lose weight, but I am much more active now than I was in 2019 and I do eat okay too. I could certainly do better, like I tried for some weeks in late October and early November. I’ll need to activate my water reminder app again too.

With respect to my mental health, I certainly took good care of that. I had had it as a secret wish to lower my Abilify dose, but I never did. However, that’s okay considering I wasn’t doing as great mentally as I expected to be. I hope I did finally find a PRN medication that helps me though.

I also blogged much more regularly in 2020 than in 2019. I didn’t do any other writing projects, mostly because I feel too inadequate.

Lastly, that self-care excuse of a goal I definitely did attain. I love love love essential oils.

How was your 2020?

Sunday Poser: Changes for 2021

Today’s post is going to be a relatively quick one. I hardly slept at all last night and really need to rest, but I’d also like to write something to wind down for the night. I’m joining Sadje’s Sunday Poser. The question is about the changes you wish to see in 2021. I traditionally write a post of personal hopes for the new year in early January, so I won’t make this too personal.

Like Sadje, I agree that I totally wish this COVID-19 crisis will end. I really hope the vaccine will be distributed fast. I’ve already heard that the staff of care facilities may get the vaccine in late January here. That being said, I doubt things will move as quickly as it looks now, because we have a rather slow-thinking health minister.

We’re due to have a national election here in the Netherlands in March. I really hope the right won’t win more seats in the Lower House than they have now, but I must say I don’t hope for a huge move to the left either. In this sense, I don’t hope much will change, although my leftist conscience does tell me I need to object to Mark Rutte getting yet another term as prime minister. My centrist intellect says he isn’t so bad after all.

Honestly, of course, I do think a lot needs to change on a larger scale. We need to truly show our stewardship towards the planet and we need to distribute wealth and health more evenly. That does make me worried for my own sake though, as I know I’m relatively healthy and wealthy considering the world at large. I shouldn’t be so selfish though.

Lastly, like Sadje, I definitely hope people become less divisive and extremist in their encounters with others. If COVID taught the world one thing, it should’ve been that it can affect us all.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (December 13, 2020)

Hi everyone on this chilly, foggy but thankfully not rainy Sunday. I just had my Sunday evening soft drink, but if you’d like a coffee, who am I to object? It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote a post for #WeekendCoffeeShare, but today, I’m joining in again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the past week was so much better than I’d expected. The reason is last week Sunday I landed in a crisis and I fully expected to be unstable all week. Thankfully I was okay early in the week and the last bit of the week was even good.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I was pretty active this past week. I got in nearly 70K steps this week, even though I only reached my step goal of 10K four times.

If we were having coffee, I’d share how grateful I am that COVID-19 hasn’t struck at our care home as of yet. Like I said yesterday, a fellow client was tested for it, but thankfully he was negative.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about my recent spiritual growth. I can’t remember whether I said this in my previous coffee share posts, but I’m finally becoming a Christ follower. I have been reading the Bible everyday this week, although I’m having to take a break from writing this post to actually do it in YouVersion. I do still sometimes squeeze in Bible reading inbetween other activities. I really need to change this. Let’s hope this post is a way to keep me accountable.

I’ve also been praying and meditating on God’s word more. Especially wen we had the COVID scare at my home, I prayed for health for this client.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my week-end was okay despite my not having gone to my and my husband’s home in Lobith. The reason for not going was the fact that, by the time we got the news of the negative COVID test for my fellow client, my husband couldn’t make it here anymore. I did enjoy some relaxed time in my room.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share about all the great essential oil blends I’ve discovered lately. I’ve discovered that I don’t like geranium EO, but there are still quite a few blends I hadn’t tried yet that don’t contain that.

What have you been up to lately?