#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 18, 2021)

Hello everyone and welcome to my #WeekendCoffeeShare post for this week. I just had my afternoon coffee. I think there’s still some left, or you can have a tea, fizzy drink or water. We alsso have custard cupcakes if you want one. They’re delicious! Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about your weather. Ours has been steadily improving over the past week. On Monday, we still had a bit of ice rain, but the rest of the week, it’s not rained much. Today, we have some sunshine and temperatures of about 16°C during the day. It’s still close to freezing at night though.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, on Wednesday, I had a good talk with my community psychiatric nurse. I was able to express some of my anxiety. Then again, Thursday night I ended up in a bit of a crisis again. I tried to reach my CPN on Friday. Unfortunately, by the time she called me at 5:30PM, there was little she could do for me.

Tomorrow, I’ll meet with my nurse practitioner again. I’m considering asking him about my medication, both my daily meds and my PRN tranquilizer. While the PRN med, the atypical antipsychotic quetiapine (Seroquel), works okay for reducing sensory overload, I’m experiencing increasing anxiety, particularly at night. I don’t blame the quetiapine, but I’d really like something to help with this.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had quite a scary experience yesterday. I was walking outside in the sunshine and suddenly completely blinded. Of course, it is only to be expected that I’ll eventually lose my light perception too, but it’s still scary. My staff interestingly did understand my panic about being blinded. Most people probably won’t, since to a sighted or even partially sighted person, I’m pretty much totally blind.

I also had a pretty nasty headache, so I’m wondering whether I might have experienced a spike in eye pressure. My staff is going to inquire about getting my eye pressure checked by an ophthalmologist. I’ve heard, after all, that glaucoma needs to be treated even in blind people.

This experience did motivate me to finally inquire about getting a pair of NoIR sunglasses again. I had them in the past, but cannot find them in my size at the most well-known low vision shop. My staff E-mailed the occupational therapist about it. For now, another staff gave me a pair of regular sunglasses.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I got a new roller tip for my white cane on Friday too. I now have a marshmallow tip, which I think works better than the large ball tip I used to have.

If we were having coffee, I’d share how happy I am with all the engagement on my blog. It’s truly heartwarming to see how many people are touched by my posts.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that my husband and I went for a walk in the “wolf woods”, as he calls the woods between Raalte and the nearby theme park. A wolf was found in the theme park a few weeks ago. Thankfully, we didn’t spot it.

How have you been?

Things That Made Me Smile (March 29, 2021) #WeeklySmile

Hello everyone. I’m still struggling quite a bit today. Like I said yesterday, I have been flooded with emotional flashbacks. To end my day on a positive note, though, I am participating in The Weekly Smile once again. Today, my smiles are food-related.

On Friday, one of the staff came to me to say that she was going to cook a meal for that evening with one of my fellow clients. He and I are the only ones who can eat solid food. Well, that isn’t 100% true, but the other client who can, is a very picky eater, who doesn’t enjoy the types of meals we do. Anyway, the staff gave me the choice between three different dishes we could make with Knorr’s World Dishes series of packages. These are packets of rice, pasta or the like, seasoning and spices, to which you add veggies and meat. The meals I could choose from, were köfta (a Greek meatball dish), nacho casserole and lasagne. I chose the nacho casserole.

The staff and this other client set about preparing the casserole in the afternoon. At around 4:30PM, the evening staff put it in the oven. It was so delicious! The casserole contained nacho chips, minced meat, onions and bell peppers. There was also lettuce to go with it as a side dish, but I didn’t have that.

These packages are for two to three people, so I had more than enough. I have fond memories of cooking köfta myself when in independence training in 2007 and would really like to help prepare it when we get to this one.

Then yesterday, my one-on-one support staff had brought ready-made cookie dough. We made cookies with this and they tasted awesome! Yesterday evening, I had two. I then had the staff take the cookies to the living room to give to her colleagues or any clients who may be able to enjoy them. I fully expected them to be all gone by today, but there were still some left! That definitely put a smile to my face.

What made you smile lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 27, 2021)

Welcome to another #WeekendCoffeeShare post. I just had my afternoon coffee about an hour ago and am going to have a soft drink in a bit. Of course, I can still make you a Senseo if you want. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I’m just about as well as it gets with respect to my cold. I am still a tiny bit sniffy, but I don’t think it gets any better anytime soon. I didn’t go to Lobith this weekend, even though my husband had promised me pizza at our house if I did. After all, yesterday I still wasn’t convinced I was well enough. Instead, my husband is coming over tomorrow.

If we were having coffee, I would say that this past week has been great in the walking department. Like I said yesterday, I’ve been quite active. Today was an exception, as it was raining on and off all day so far. I hope to still get some steps in this evening.

If we were having coffee, I would talk some about the political saga that unfolded after last week’s general election. The current prime minister, Mark Rutte, won the election again, probably because people are used to him doing the corona-related press conferences. Before the election, he’d hinted at some restrictions being lifted for Easter. Of course, that was just a political game to win voters, as in the last press conference, only the curfew got moved from 9PM till 10PM.

Speaking of the lockdown, my husband predicts from what he’s read that most of the restrictions will remain until mid-June. I really hope he’s wrong, but at least we can still see each other (provided neither of us is under the weather).

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve been loving reading other blogs as well as writing my own blog posts. I’m not yet preparing for the #AtoZChallenge. Maybe I should, as it’s in less than a week.

I’ve also been in contact with WP support again. The reason is the news that the classic editor might be disappearing after all. I’m not sure WP support itself knows what it’s doing, as I get mixed messages. I’m trying to let it go for now though, as so far at least I can still blog.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that we might get new staff here in my care home soon. I think I mentioned last week that a male staff was having a look around our home last week Saturday to see if he wanted to work here. Turns out he does. He’s been orienting here a few more times. He used to work in a home for people with intellectual disability who also have complex care needs due to behavior. I got the impression he didn’t like that anymore, so I feared I’d scare him away from wanting to work here. Turns out he’s going to work in both homes.

Then on Thursday, another prospective staff, also male, toured my care home. The manager informed me in advance that he was coming, which I liked. I’ll be curious to know if he decides to work here.

What’s been going on in your life?

Things That Made Me Smile (March 22, 2021) #WeeklySmile

Hi all on this lovely Monday! I am so excited to have discovered the Weekly Smile. This is, as the name suggests, a weekly blog event in which participants share what made them smile. Having discovered this meme itself is a reason to smile. I love being positive! Let me share what else made me smile.

First up is my new assigned staff’s kindness. Like I said in my #WeekendCoffeeShare post on Friday, I have a new assigned staff. She is calm, kind and very dedicated to her job. I initially worried she might get too attached and then have to withdraw as my assigned staff. She reassured me though that she maintains her professionalism.

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit triggered. The student staff, with whom I am not fully comfortable yet, had been my one-on-one for the evening. In addition, a male staff may get to work in my home soon. He seems kind enough, but still, it’s an adjustment. All this led me to feeling a bit stressed out when I was going to bed. Thankfully, my new assigned staff comforted me.

After the staff had taken me to bed, I pressed the call button a few times for the staff to come back, but she didn’t mind. She has this little rhyme she tells me each time she puts me to bed. It goes something like this:
Sleep well,
Head on the pillow,
Ass in the straw,
Then Astrid sleeps soon.

This time, the staff adjusted the rhyme to address not just me, but all of the voices (alters) inside my head. That definitely made me smile.

Second is my sensory room experience that I was able to create in my own bedroom. First, I found a calming essential oil blend to put in my diffuser. Then, I found the album on Spotify that I used to have in the CD player in the day center’s sensory room. It is called Songbird Symphony. Lastly, I crawled under my weighted blanket and had my staff cover me with the ball-filled blanket that came with the sensory bed from our makeshift sensory room. In total, I had at least 20kg of weighted blankets on top of me. This probably isn’t healthy for actual sleeping, so I threw off the ball blanket before actually drifting off to sleep. However, the feeling before this was so peaceful. It reminded me of Temple Grandin’s “hug machine”. Reading about that introduced to me the comforting effect of deep pressure years before I felt able to explore my own sensory experiences. Now, I totally appreciate my care staff, physical therapist and the manager for having helped me find my sensory comfort.

What made you smile this past week?

#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?

#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?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 7, 2021)

Okay, I’m so very late with my #WeekendCoffeeShare post for this week. Sorry! I was in Lobith yesterday and, though I returned already before noon today, I really didn’t find the time to write. I have so many things I want to write about and yet none come out clearly onto the screen. So let me just ramble. There might still be coffee here or you can grab a soft drink. Let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m still struggling with hypervigilance and emotional flashbacks. If anyone is familiar with complex PTSD, I’d love to know your tips for dealing with these. I mean, I’m constantly on high alert and on the edge of flight.

It doesn’t help that I have no idea what triggered me. I mean, could it still be the dentist’s appointment at the main institution last Tuesday? I’m pretty sure that’s not it. In any case, I’m trying to cope the best I can.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, on Friday, I showed a staff a case video from the Center for Consultation and Expertise on a woman with severe (complex) PTSD. It helped clarify some of the issues I’m facing.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a bit of a meltdown when I came back to the care facility from Lobith early this afternoon. I wasn’t happy about the student staff doing my one-on-one this evening. Thankfully though, the staff reassured me that the student or I could call for another staff if needed. It wasn’t needed ultimately.

If we were having coffee, I’d then try to lighten the mood by talking about the weather. It’s cold here for March, with tempts dropping below freezing at night. Still, it’s quite sunny. The weather forecast predicts rain for all of the upcoming week though.

If we were having coffee, I’d share about my husband’s great chicken wraps that he’d made me yesterday. They were especially great with tabasco sauce in them.

If we were having coffee, lastly, I would proudly announce that I got in over 10K steps five days in the past week and over 12K steps on three of those. Today and yesterday, I didn’t do so well, but I still got in over 5K steps each day. That’s what my husband says the scientific community has calculated as the real recommended minimum step count each day. My husband said the 10K mark was made up by the inventor of the activity tracker. Regardless, I did average over 10K steps over the past seven days. Unfortunately, my sister still beat me on Fitbit. Oh well.

What’s been going on in your life?

Gratitude List (March 5, 2021) #TToT

It’s Friday again and I badly want to write. I’m feeling quite distressed by emotional flashbacks right now. To turn my mood around, I thought I’d do a gratitude list again. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT).

1. I am grateful to live in a care facility. I feel very insecure about my living arrangement right now, but my staff reassure me that I don’t have to leave. I am so extremely grateful for my staff’s patience with my anxiety!

2. I am grateful my staff make sure someone comes to sub when a staff is ill or has other obligations. Today, my day activities staff had to leave unexpectedly at around 1PM, but the staff made sure someone came to take her place. In the psychiatric hospital, we’d just be left with fewer staff if this happened.

3. I am grateful for chicken Siam. A fellow client and staff cooked that up for this evening and I totally love it! This client can’t have the cashews that normally go in, so there’s more left for me. 😉

4. I am grateful I got my second shot of the vaccine yesterday. I am also grateful that I didn’t experience any side effects. In fact, I hardly even felt the needle go in, so worried at first that they were doing something wrong. I try to trust that I got the vaccine correctly though.

5. I am grateful for God’s presence in my life. I have been extra involved with my Bible reading lately. I am grateful I finally figured out how to bookmark, highlight or copy verses in the YouVersion app and how to add notes or prayers.

6. I am grateful for all the lovely treats the staff who left our home last week, left for us. We had winegums, candy bars, ice cream and more.

7. I am grateful for no rain this week. It’s cold outside, but usually sunny. For this reason, I was able to get in over 10K steps each day of the week so far (not counting today, but I will later).

8. I am grateful I’m done with dentistry appts for at least another several months. My experience at the dentist’s was pretty bad last Tuesday, by no fault of the dentist. Let me just say I’m glad I’ve got it over with.

9. I am grateful I got to talk to my parents on the phone on Monday and that they are well. I had a nice chat. I will need to phone my sister later too. My parents were going to visit her and her family on Tuesday.

10. I am grateful for the ability to chat to other clients, including those from other homes within my care facility. I chatted some with a guy from the home next to us while we met outside of the day center a few days back. We used to go on walks together with the staff and also have coffee at each other’s homes, but due to COVID restrictions we no longer can. I am looking forward to being able to hang out more with him and other clients once the restrictions are lifted.

Wow, this turned out much better than I expected and it certainly did help.

What are you grateful for?

A Very Intense Tuesday

Wowah, it’s been quite the day! I awoke at 8AM from a nightmare. Thankfully it wasn’t about my current care facility. I got weighed in. Thankfully, despite all the treats the staff who left us left behind, I’d only gained 200 grams.

I then got dressed, got breakfast and then read some. When my day activities staff came, she said the hairdresser was here. Like I said last week, hair salons are allowed to open again, though I overheard a staff say this isn’t until tomorrow. Oh well. I don’t go to the hairdresser each time she visits the care facility, so wasn’t sure I’d go this time, especially at such short notice. I eventually decided to go anyway and she cut about 5cm off my hair.

Then I went for a walk. Once back home, I had to eat, because I’d have to leave for the dentist at noon. I wouldn’t have my appt till 1PM, but it’s about a 45-minute drive to the care agency’s main institution, where the dentist is.

The staff had only told me of my dentist’s appt yesterday, presumably so I wouldn’t worry. I didn’t really, but my anxiety went through the roof once the dentist was doing his job, despite my having taken a PRN Seroquel to calm my nerves. It wasn’t noticeable to the staff, as I practically froze.

I had to have two cavities filled. Both were underneath an existing filling. Despite the topical anesthetic, it did hurt a little. To be honest, one of the teeth still hurts. I also got some protecctive layer over one of my other teeth, which had receding gums and for this reason the root had become exposed. That thankfully didn’t hurt.

Once I was back at the care facility, I tried to rest, but couldn’t. The anesthetic was wearing off and it hurt pretty bad. I decided to do some reading. Then the orthopedic shoemaker visited. He had tried to widen my shoes, so that my AFO (ankle foot orthosis) and arch support both fit into it and I would still be able to get my foot into the shoe. It worked, so now I can start practising walking with my AFO in. In fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t have to practise, as the discomfort is already manageable.

Once the shoemaker was gone, it was time to have dinner. I then had a bit of a meltdown over dessert, or maybe because of the reason it was just a spoiled tantrum. I eventually calmed down though and was able to enjoy the rest of the evening.

I finally gave in and got myself a membership to the International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW). I was a member some years ago, but at the time rarely used the member benefits. Part of the reason is that I didn’t know how to work Zoom and the get-togethers are on there. I still don’t know how to use it, but I think I’ll learn quickly enough.

Now it’s past 8:30PM. I’m not tired yet, but maybe I should have an early night anyway. Tomorrow, my community psychiatric nurse will be here at 11AM. That should go okay. Overall, I’m doing pretty well.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 27, 2021)

Hi all on this cold but sunny Saturday. I’ve been wanting to write a lot lately, but just couldn’t find the time. Today I’m summarizing what’s been going on in my life in a #WeekendCoffeeShare post. I’ve just had dinner. We had French fries and some might still be left over for you. Otherwise, there’ll be ice cream in the freezer. We should also have various soft drinks in the fridge and I can make you a coffee if you want it. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent the entire weekend reading. That’s why I didn’t write a post yesterday. I loved the book I was reading, Cathy Glass’ latest foster care memoir. I’ll post a review soon.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather was incredible over the past week. We had temperatures of about 18 degrees Celsius on Wednesday. Today, like I said, is colder and the temperature even dropped to slightly below freezing last night.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that overall, I’m doing pretty well. Early in the week, I was struggling majorly with anxiety. That has mostly gone now and thankfully hasn’t, like some other times, made way for depression. I’m feeling pretty upbeat.

That being said, I’d also share that I’m a little sad, because one of my favorite staff is leaving for the care home next door to mine. Tomorrow will be her last shift in my home. This is the reason we had fries and ice cream for dinner today.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my new essential oils, that I’d ordered on Tuesday, arrived on Thursday. I was very frustrated at first, because on Wednesday the delivery service reported that they’d tried but been unable to deliver my package that day. They didn’t state a reason and I wasn’t sure either, since there’s always someone home here now that the day center is closed. I checked my details and noticed my house number had been put in twice. I wasn’t sure they could’ve misread it and tried to deliver my package elsewhere.

Thankfully, on Thursday, while on my afternoon walk, my staff and I ran into the delivery guy and my staff asked him whether he had a package for my address. He did. The staff carried my package, which thankfully wasn’t heavy, all the way on our walk.

I am totally in love with my new oils. The vetiver one came in a bottle with a large pipette snout, so it doesn’t fit into my essential oil container. That’s alright, as now I didn’t have to remove my field mint EO from the container to make space. My other oils fit in perfectly and I love the smell of the new ones, cardamom and grapefruit.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my husband is busy with the trailer for his car that he bought two weeks ago. He isn’t coming to see me this weekend. That’s okay. Of course, I miss him, but am so glad we have phone and text contact.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d moan about my Braille display. I don’t remember whether I shared about my old one going into repair. Which old one, you might ask, as my current one is the third in a row. The first had dots that were stuck at least half a dozen times in the first nine months and eventually got sent back to the manufacturer. Well, the replacement had the same problem after about six months of using it too. I waited some months before reporting it, but eventually got sick of it. It is currently in repair. Now the replacement’s replacement is starting to act up too. It sucks and I’m starting to think I do something to make them all break, but I don’t know what. The thing is, the Braille display I had before this model was fine for five years even though I’d spilled tea over it when it was only a few weeks old and had dropped it a few times. And just in case the Braille display company’s representatives read this and are assuming I’m treating this model the same, I’m not. I never drink or eat in front of my Braille display and haven’t dropped it either. Quite frankly, I’m tempted to ask the company to replace the dots on my old model, which have worn out a little from use, and have me use that one innstead of this model all made on a Monday morning when the manufacturers were still half asleep.

What’s been going on in your life?