My Bedtime Routine

Hi everyone. I’m feeling a little stressed out and, as it is past 9PM as I’m starting to write this post, I thought I’d share about my bedtime routine in order to get myself comfy and relaxed for bed.

Usually, the staff come by my room at around 9:45PM to help me get ready for bed, like get into my pajamas and brush my teeth. I usually leave my socks on, as I’ll often want to stay up a little longer. The evening shift here at my current care home ends at 10:30PM, so the staff usually say goodbye then too and turn off my light. In the care home I may move to on October 5, the evening shift ends at 10PM, so I may want to move my bedtime back a little.

I can go into bed by myself, but sometimes I want the staff to stand by while I go into bed. I will pull off my socks. Then, I’ll grab my iPhone if it’s sufficiently charged and select a Spotify playlist to play on my music pillow. The music pillow is connected to my iPhone via its lightning port (and a lightning-to-audio converter). I love the Harp Lullabies playlist, the Guitar Lullabies playlist or some albums by Robbins Island Music Group or Dan Gibson’s Solitudes. I most commonly set the sleep timer for an hour.

I sometimes will have an essential oil blend in my diffuser too. Some aren’t very suited to sleeping, but I know of a number of relaxing essential oil blends, four of which I shared before.

I have a weighted blanket, which I pull up over me almost till my chin. I also will grab ahold of one of my soft toys. Sometimes, I’ll lay the tail of the lemur over my chest, while at other times, I’ll hold the dolphin or unicorn.

Sometimes, I need to shift my sleeping position. I can sleep in every position except on my right side, but my preference will vary. Once I’ve found a comfortable position, I’ll likely doze off pretty quickly.

The night staff does come by at around 11:30PM to check on me. This is mostly to prevent me sitting up all night without anyone noticing. I can also press the call button if I can’t sleep, but of course other than try to comfort me, there is little the night staff can do. That being said, I sleep a lot better now that I have the weighted blanket, music pillow and essential oil diffuser than before I had all these.

loopyloulaura

My New Home? #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) is “home”. How timely! As those who’ve read my blog over the past week or so will know, I may move to another care home in a week and a half. The choice is up to me.

It is indeed the first home that wants me, like when I applied for long-term care and landed here. Well, no, in that sense it isn’t the first. My current care home isn’t kicking me out, after all. If I don’t want to move to the prospective new home, if I don’t think it’ll feel like home to me eventually, I don’t need to.

It feels liberating to be able to make this choice. I have been able to ask quite critical questions, some of which were answered already and some of which I’m waiting on being answered soon. For one thing, I want to know about the staff/client ratio. This is important should my one-on-one ever be reduced, but also for those times when I don’t have one-on-one support. The support coordinator told me there are three staff each shift, but I’m not sure that’s just for my group of eight or for the entire home, consisting of two of these groups. I so far only saw my group’s home and that’s quite large already, so if the three staff are for the two groups of eight, that’s going to be quite difficult for me.

Other questions have been of lesser importance, such as whether they serve decaf coffee or the regular kind, whether we need to pay for treats such as chips on weekends, etc. I feel quite satisfied with most answers and am pretty positive I’m going to make the move. With my visit on Monday in addition to last Wednesday’s, I should be able to make an informed decision about whether this will be my new home.

#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?

Between War and Peace

The stories we hear
Of war and peace
May cause us concern
Or relief
And yet
Reality
Is most often
Something inbetween


When orienting at the prospective new care home last Wednesday, a resident started talking unquietly about the war in Ukraine. She was quickly calmed by a staff, in as simple words as possible, suited to her intellectual capabilities.

That night, I heard an airplane or a helicopter fly by very low over my current home. I thought, perhaps influenced by the woman in the other home, that it was a jet fighter. “Are we going to war now?”, I asked the night staff when she responded to my call button. She put my mind at peace, saying someone had probably booked a night-time helicopter flight over Raalte. I took her story at face value and went to sleep.

The next morning, I found out that both of our stories are probably equally unlikely and reality was something inbetween: the helicopter had been called in a medical emergency to resuscitate a baby. Thankfully, the baby survived.


This post was written for Friday Writings, for which the optional theme this week is war and peace.

What Will I Leave Behind?

If
Or should I say “when”
I move to the new care home,
What will I leave behind?

I’ve been pondering my legacy should I leave for the prospective new care home in less than two weeks. I’ve been thinking of gifting every staff member and a few of the residents who I’m close to and who will remember, something out of my collection of handcrafted sculptures and jewelry. The polymer clay dolphin will go to the one resident in my home I can talk with, because he always carries a stuffed dolphin with him. He may or may not fully understand what it means that I’ll leave (since I’m not sure he’s ever witnessed a fellow client move out), and in any case it’ll likely make him sad. I’ve already decided to appease him with French fries the weekend before the planned moving date. This man has his 50th birthday next year, and I’ve already told several staff I’m going to come back to celebrate it with him.

One of my regular one-on-one staff is getting a matching blue bracelet and necklace that she’s told me countless times would complete a great beach outfit. I had thought of giving it to her for her 50th birthday last March, but decided against that eventually.

Then, besides the physical gifts I’ll leave behind, there’s of course the memories. I wonder sometimes whether some clients will secretly be glad that I’ll have left, as my challenging behavior could come across quite threatening to them. I wonder whether the staff will be happy I’m gone, as then they can house a client with severe/profound intellectual disability here. Then again, we still have another empty room now too.

In all honesty, I have no idea what people will think of me if I do move. Is out of sight, actually out of mind? With my psych hospital staff, it pretty much was, as they didn’t even say goodbye when I was discharged. Then again, this staff, particularly those I’ve known from the beginning, are different. At least I hope so.


This post was written for Reena’s Xploration Challenge. It is a one-word prompt this week: “legacy”.

TGIF: Weather

Hi all. Fridays are usually pretty active in the blogosphere and there are lots of prompts to choose from on this day. Today, I discovered another one, Paula Light’s TGIF. Today, Paula took the opportunity to talk about the weather and for this reason so will I.

Let me start out with the positives: we had some amazingly warm late summer weather early in the week. Not too hot for my liking, although it did get to 30°C on Tuesday, which I understand is too hot for some. Wednesday was the best: some sunshine but some clouds too, no rain and 25°C during the day.

Thankfully, we did get some much-needed rain too. We got a thunderstorm Tuesday night. My Apple Watch registered sound as loud as 82dB during the storm. I wonder how accurate that is, but well.

We also got some rain yesterday as well as today. Today, in fact, it rained most of the day, but I still managed a short walk outside in the morning.

I tried out my orthopedic shoes, which came back from the shoemaker for the umpteenth time. Well, those who’ve read the orthopedic shoe story before can probably guess what’s next. Yes, indeed, I did get another small blister on my right heel after a walk of not even 20 minutes. I’ve told you guys before that the shoes won’t be fixed until 2034 and I’m more and more confident I’m correct after all.

Despite only managing one walk, I did reach my Apple Watch’s Movement goal today. Okay, I did go on the elliptical for just over 15 minutes too. That went surprisingly well, honestly.

Tomorrow, if we aren’t getting lots of rain in the morning, I’ll likely go for a longer walk. A staff who walks quite fast works my one-on-one shift then. Last time we went on a walk together, I broke my speed record: 13 minutes 11 seconds per km. That’s not very fast, but it’s not slow either. Let’s hope for not much rain tomorrow morning.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (September 7, 2022)

Hi everyone. It’s Wednesday again, so it’s time for the Wednesday HodgePodge. Here are Joyce’s questions and my answers.

1. Tell us a little bit about the best birthday you’ve ever had.
I honestly can’t decide on any specific one. Birthdays were always stressful when I was a child, but they’ve gotten easier as I got older. Now that I think of it, I’m going to pick last year’s, my 35th, because it wasn’t as loaded as the ones before and I got some of the loveliest presents.

2. In what way(s) have you changed in the last five years?
Five years ago, I was struggling greatly living with my husband. I had already had my first major mental crisis, but not my second or third and I was still trying to uphold the image of myself as the successful psych survivor. As such, the most important way in which I’ve changed over the past five years, is having learned to embrace myself with all my limitations, rather than wanting to prove my capabilities to the world. It’s a delicate balancing act and sometimes I wonder if I’ve swung too far to the dependent side of things. I’m trying to reclaim some of my fierce self-reliance indeed, without losing the self-determination I didn’t have five years ago. For those who don’t know, living with my husband rather than in a care facility wasn’t my choice; instead, I had been kicked out of a psych hospital in May of 2017 for allegedly misusing care. I am so glad my community support team and I eventually came to the conclusion that I needed to be in long-term care after all. Now I need to find the balance between passive dependency and stubborn self-reliance.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the street on which you live?
The fact that the care facility is right at the end of the street, overseeing the meadow, so it’s relatively quiet.

4. The Hodgepodge lands on National Beer Day…are you a beer drinker? What’s a recipe you make that lists beer as one of the ingredients? If not beer, how about yeast?
I can’t stand beer, doesn’t matter whether it’s alcohol in it. I honestly don’t know any recipe with beer or yeast in it. That being said, my father used to make bread from scratch, including “waking” the yeast for the dough. That expression always made me laugh.

5. As I grow older I would like to be a woman (or man, if there are any men in the HP today) who…
Practises expressing gratitude everyday.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Speaking of my answer to #2, I had an interesting conversation with the student staff today. I have as soon as I came here expressed that I’d prefer not to be helped with my personal care by male staff. When discussing this with this student staff a few days ago, I said that I could try to do my personal care myself if there’s no female staff available. This staff either understood this to mean that, if he works on my side of the home, I’ll do my personal care by myself, or I thought he understood it this way. Rather, I had meant it if no female staff are available at all.

It may seem weird that, if I can do my personal care by myself if absolutely necessary, I may want help with it sometimes or most times. The reason has to do with the fact that doing my personal care costs me a lot of energy without giving me much satisfaction at all. I don’t personally feel that self-reliance is an end goal in itself, so I get help with my personal care. Thankfully, my staff agree. Then again, I can’t expect there to always be a female staff in the home, so when there isn’t, I make the choice to invest the extra energy into my personal care in order to preserve my dignity as a married woman.

A Rather Frustrating Monday

It’s past 10:30PM and I’m still wide awake. I just took a PRN quetiapine. My Apple Watch and the staff’s blood pressure cuff are telling me I should be super relaxed, in that my heartrate is 67 even when sitting upright. That’s rather low for me, but not worryingly low or so the staff say. Oh yes, I know normal resting heartrate is between 60 and 100, but mine is usually closer to 100. Oh well.

Today was quite intense, honestly. In the morning, the manager came by to talk to me about my meeting with the behavior specialist last week. She also, of course, told me a new staff would be starting his orienting shifts here and he’d start right this evening. Of course, like all new staff who’ve been hired over the past six months, the first part of the home he’s being introduced to is mine. Can you read my sarcasm? Well, it should be there. I’m rather annoyed at the fact that every new staff starts working on my side of the home rather than the other one. I know it’s probably because one of the clients on the other side gets really irritable when introduced to new staff. Well, maybe I need to show a little more of my irritable side.

Then, the temping agency housekeeper came to clean my room. She left my bathroom in a horribly wet state and left the tap on its hottest setting. Thankfully, that setting is not hot enough to actually cause burns, but it did hurt a little when I tried to wash my hands.

Once my day activities started, I went for a walk. My cardio fitness level was once again low, but it hardly bothers me anymore.

In the afternoon, my staff and I drove into town so I could buy a new pair of shorts for when I go on the elliptical or ride the side-by-side bike. The old pair pretty much falls off my butt. I also bought socks and some presents for my oldest niece, who will be three on Saturday.

In the evening, I went for a short walk with the new student staff, taking his camera and tripod with us to snap some pictures. I cannot yet show them, as I haven’t yet figured out which ones show what.

Then, I wanted to go on the side-by-side bike again, but got really frustrated trying to fasten the belts around my feet. They need to be really tight or my feet, particularly my spastic left foot, will fall off the pedals. That didn’t work out and I got really overloaded, so had a short meltdown.

Later in the evening, when I was alone, I started fretting about my health. That probably caused me to feel spacey. Now that I’ve processed all this in this post, I feel slightly better. It might be the quetiapine is working as well.

Gratitude List (September 2, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’m feeling really thankful for a lot of things today. What better time than now to write a gratitude post? Of course, I say that when I’m feeling down in the dumps too. In my opinion, it’s always a good time for a gratitude post. Anyway, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) as always. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good weekend with my husband. We had pizza delivered, which was delicious. We each ordered a salad too, but I decided to eat my pizza first then was full so we had to throw the salad away. I felt a bit guilty about it because of food waste, but, as my dietitian says it, I’m not a replacement for the trash. In other words, just because something gets thrown out if I don’t eat it, doesn’t mean I need to eat it. I shouldn’t have ordered it and I know that for the next time.

2. I’m grateful for my health. Like I mentioned on Wednesday, I had a health scare earlier this week, but it was nothing, for which I’m so grateful.

3. I am grateful for my husband’s good health too. He tested positive for COVID earlier this week but I am so grateful he isn’t very ill with it.

4. I am grateful for no COVID symptoms in myself so far. Let’s hope I won’t get it.

5. I am grateful for my Apple Watch. It truly motivates me to stay physically active. I must admit I do need to watch out that it doesn’t become an obsession though.

6. I am grateful for the care facility’s new side-by-side bike. This is like a tandem bike but, rather than one person riding the bike sitting behind the person steering it, the person on one side has the controls. I just went for a 5.7km ride on it and, for whatever reason, my Apple Watch counted the full 27 minutes as exercise. Granted, I had started a workout manually, so it may not have caught it had I not done this, but well.

7. I am grateful for French fries on Wednesday as a treat from the old student staff who had her last shift. I am also grateful I took the opportunity to sneak to the living room to ask for a second helping, which I then decided to eat while sitting on the couch. It was fun being surrounded by my fellow residents once again, which is a rarity nowadays since I get one-on-one support.

8. I am grateful for a maintain in the weight department this week. I am also grateful the dietitian is mostly satisfied with how I’m doing, although she does worry slightly about the possibility that exercise might become an obsession.

9. I am grateful for Simple Radio, an app on my iPhone (and Apple Watch) that lets me listen to any radio station. I mostly like 1000Schlager Web Radio at this point, because I love the upbeat German songs to dance to.

10. Last but not least, and I initially wasn’t sure I was going to share this in my gratitude post or wait for #WeekendCoffeeShare, but I am so grateful that I just need to share: I am number one on the wait list for a home at the main institution for my care agency. They’re currently in the process of finding a new home for one of the current residents. According to the behavior specialist, it might go quickly but might still take six months before this has happened and as a result I can start the process of orienting there. Six months, in my book, is still super quickly. You all will have to wait for my coffee share post tomorrow for more details, but I’m excited and nervous at the same time. Mostly grateful though.

What are you grateful for?

The Wednesday HodgePodge (August 31, 2022)

Okay guys, it’s Wednesday again and this means it’s time to join Joyce for the Wednesday HodgePodge. This week, several of Joyce’s questions are related to Labor Day, which is, what, this coming Monday? Time certainly flies. Here are Joyce’s questions.

1. Something you’ve labored over recently?
Nothing really. I don’t have any large projects I’m currently working on, even though I do need to start thinking about what to create for my husband in honor of our wedding anniversary on September 19. I’m in a crafting rut, honestly. I am, however, working hard on my physical fitness. Does that count?

2. How will you rest on Labor Day?
I probably won’t. It’s a regular Monday here in the Netherlands, so I do have my usual day activities. That being said, if I want to rest, I can do so every single day.

3. Margaret Mead is quoted as saying, “I learned the value of hard work by working hard.” Would you agree? Where and how did you learn the value of hard work?
I don’t think I agree. I worked quite hard in school and college, to the point of autistic burnout, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I value hard work all that much. If anything, by working this hard and subsequently suffering burnout, I learned the value of self-care and rest. Then again, I do realize I’m privileged in this respect, in that I got on disability benefits without any trouble as soon as I turned eighteen and sailed through every re-assessment without any difficulty too.

4. It’s National Eat Outside Day (August 31st). Will you? Do you enjoy dining “al fresco” or do you prefer indoor seating?
I had no idea it was eat outside day in the U.S. and it’s past my dinnertime now, so no, I didn’t. I don’t like eating outside anyway.

5. Somehow it’s the end of August. What was the best day of the month for you and tell us what made it so?
The best day of the month was probably the day my husband took me for a drive to Enkhuizen, 100km away, just for some fish. Either that or last Monday, the day I scored 200% on my Apple Watch’s Movement goal, 300% on my exercise goal (but somehow there’s no medal for that) and received reassuring news on my latest health scare. You see, over the weekend when I was in Lobith, my husband noted a large mole on my back and told me to see my doctor about it. Thankfully, it was nothing to worry about at this point and my staff suggested we keep the picture they took for reference should the mole change.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Today was the last shift for last year’s student staff here. She treated us to French fries and snacks, strawberry cake and she gave me two bars of chocolate. And not just any chocolate, they were stroopwafel chocolate bars. Stroopwafels are my favorite type of cookies, so this is truly awesome. I gifted her a handmade bracelet. She did joke that, since I have money to buy myself an Apple Watch, I should’ve bought her a new phone. After all, her old iPhone was in horrible condition and I’d been nagging her to buy a new one for months, which she finally did a few weeks ago (well, a refurbished one, which I personally would never do). I think she’s happy with the bracelet though.