#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 14, 2022)

Hi everyone on this Friday afternoon. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had a glass of water and am going to have another one in half an hour or so. Maybe I’m going to ask for a Senseo or treat myself to a Dubbelfrisss, my favorite soft drink. I’m afraid we don’t have the diet variety though. Can I pour you a drink? Let’s have a cup of something and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, first I’d share that it’s not as cold as it was last week, but it’s still too cold for my liking. Daytime temps rose to about 7°C most of this week. I did go on one longer walk yesterday, to the supermarket to buy a card for my father. He’ll celebrate his 73rd birthday tomorrow. We also bought some veggies. Oh, and a croissant, because I felt like treating myself. I had just one for lunch instead of bread though. I just looked up how many calories are in one croissant and that’s about as much as in two slices of bread without toppings. Of course, bread contains less fat and sugar and more fiber, but so what?

If we were having coffee, I would go on to share about my dietitian’s appt this morning. It went pretty well. She didn’t admonish me for not wanting to lose the 13kg I need to lose to be at a healthy BMI. I do want to lose the 1.5kg I need to lose to no longer be obese though. More importantly, I want to eat relatively healthily and hopefully quiet the inner conflict about food.

The dietitian gave me some recommendations for healthy meal choices for breakfast and lunch. For example, she said I can have salad for lunch with croutons and a little chicken, tuna or salmon (that last one I don’t really like) occasionally rather than bread. I do need to make sure the staff take care of portion sizes, of course, because I’m pretty sure they’d otherwise throw the entire can of tuna into my salad. For breakfast, I am still allowed yoghurt with muesli, just not the crunchy kind. And thankfully, the muesli doesn’t need to be plain, it can include nuts or raisins or the like.

I did share my disappointment with her at only having lost 0.5kg over the past week when I stepped on the scale yesterday. The dietitian said that this is a pretty great result though.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you I got my benefits payment slip last Monday and am grateful to report I will still get enough money that I can still spend some on fun things like polymer clay supplies or the like. I don’t know whether I shared this in my coffee share posts before, but my long-term care copay will automatically be withheld from my benefits. The copay is income-dependent and, because I’m married, my husband’s income is counted too. Then again, because I’m married, I do get to pay the so-called “low” copay because the government does take into account the responsibility I have for contributing to his household expenses too.

The copay is calculated based on our combined income from two years back, so 2020 for this year. Because my husband earned more money in 2020 than in 2019 and had a lot of tax deductibles in 2019, I was expecting a higher copay by at least €100 a month, but fearing it might be as much as €200 a month. Then again, I was hoping my benefits would also be raised a little. Long story short, my net income was cut by €82 a month. That’s a lot. I realize some people won’t be able to handle this, particularly people on benefits. I am so intensely grateful that I am relatively well off.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (January 1, 2022) #TToT

And here I am with another post. I am determined to start the year off on a positive note even though I’m in a pretty foul mood right now. For this reason, I’m doing a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for Psalms 100. This is a psalm of gratitude which was the focus of study in the first day of the YouVersion New Year’s Bible reading plan I started today. It inspired me to do a gratitude list today.

2. I am grateful I could see the fireworks last night. I only saw brief flashes of light, no colors. Officially, real fireworks were banned this year due to COVID-related restrictions, but no-one apparently cared.

3. I am grateful I slept relatively well last night despite the fireworks. I went to bed at 10PM yesterday evening, woke up at midnight and went back to sleep at around 1AM. I got up at 8AM to start the writing ritual I mentioned earlier this afternoon.

4. I am grateful the festivities are over with for a while now. I don’t like the lack of structure. I am also grateful that, this year, it wasn’t too bad, as both Christmas and New Year’s are on weekends.

5. I am grateful we had French fries for dinner yesterday as a New Year’s Eve treat.

6. I am grateful I don’t have any symptoms suggestive of COVID as of yet, after one of my staff tested positive earlier in the week. I decided not to get a lateral flow test yesterday after all.

7. I am grateful the dietitian said I already eat pretty healthily. At least that’s what my assigned staff told me when she’d E-mailed her my current list of things I eat. There are some things I’m not likely willing to change, like my crunchy muesli for breakfast, but some things I definitely am open to suggestions and alternatives about.

8. I am grateful I was able to take a few walks again today. They were short walks, but at least I was able to get outside.

9. I am grateful for all the great blogs I’ve been reading today. I do feel a little disappointed that my posts are getting fewer comments lately than they used to get, but this may be a phase. I do still find joy in writing my blog posts.

10. I am grateful for a ton of blogging-related inspiration. Seriously, how will I find the time to type up all the posts for which I have ideas floating around in my head? I’m so glad though that my creativity is flowing. It isn’t coming out in my polymer clay as much, but it is showing up in the form of writing.

These are seriously all gratefuls from the last 24 hours, with the exception of the French fries, as it’s now 6:30PM and we eat dinner at 5PM. I feel a lot better having jotted down these things I’m thankful for.

What are you grateful for?

An Unexpectedly Productive Monday

Today, I’m feeling better than I was expecting when I woke up this morning. I mean, I didn’t sleep well last night. I was ruminating a lot into the wee hours of the night and then kept being woken by a fellow client’s screams. This client can’t speak or use any form of alternative augmentative communication. The staff think he was in pain, but they couldn’t figure out what was bothering him. Thankfully, he seems calmer now. I hope he actually is.

I had a pretty productive day today. In the morning, I went to my GP. I had to discuss how I’m doing with respect to my abdominal discomfort now that I’m on one magnesium tablet a day. Together, we decided to leave it at this for now. I’m not totally well, but I’m as well as possible.

I also asked him to do a breast exam, because I’ve been feeling some discomfort. I felt okay with a male examining my breasts, after all he’s a doctor. Thankfully, he found no abnormalities, but he referred me for a mammogram just in case anyway. It’s been scheduled for this coming Thursday, which I consider really early given the state of healthcare and the pandemic and all.

In the afternoon, I decided to sort through my polymer clay stash to throw out the clay I can no longer work with. I mean, I know all clay can be made workable if conditioned enough, but I just feel that it’s too much work for me given how totally crumbly some of them are and how some of them literally get shredded by my pasta machine.

In the evening, I went for a walk, made another polymer clay unicorn and decorated my room for Christmas. Yes, I’m early for someone from the Netherlands, as most people don’t start decorating until after St. Nicholas, but I won’t be celebrating that anyway.

How was your day?

Gratitude List (November 27, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone on this rainy Saturday! I hope all my U.S.-based readers had a great Thanksgiving. Here, it isn’t a thing. However, I like to show thankfulness everyday. For this reason, I’m doing a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful I reached my goal of 10K steps a day once during the past seven days. Okay, it was on Sunday and I only got (barely) more than 5K steps one other day this past week (Monday). The rest of the week, I’ve been rather sedentary. However, I’m still grateful I can apparently still walk 10K steps in a day.

2. Speaking of which, I am also grateful I managed 15 minutes on the elliptical today. It didn’t earn me much in the way of steps, but at least my muscles haven’t totally atrophied so far.

3. I am grateful I had a good talk with the current behavior specialist for my care home on Tuesday. It was my second time meeting her. She helped me clarify some of the things I wanted to talk about with my nurse practitioner too.

4. I am also grateful my appt with my nurse practitioner went pretty well as a result too. I had originally considered quitting treatment with him, but decided against this after the talk with the behavior specialist. Overall, my appt with my nurse practitioner was relatively constructive. We decided on some things to make our sessions more productive. For instance, next time I E-mail him about not being well, he’ll try to call me back so we can assess the seriousness of the situation and what can/needs to be done rather than him telling me to wait for our next appt.

5. I am grateful I am sleeping slightly better lately than I used to. I am still not usually getting the nine hours of sleep a night I need to function optimally, but I’m getting close.

6. I am grateful I have been able to pick up the polymer clay craft again after a bit of a break when I’d finished the owl. I created a unicorn yesterday and it looks pretty cool.

7. I am grateful for French fries yesterday in celebration of St. Nicholas. The holiday isn’t till December 5th, but we celebrated it early at my care home.

8. I am grateful I got nice presents. Well, my husband will actually get the bill, as like I explained before, the care facility doesn’t pay for St. Nicholas presents. I had E-mailed my staff a wishlist too. As it turned out, I didn’t get the specific things I’d had on my wishlist, but I got similar things. I got a number of cookie cutters to use with my polymer clay and a little box of fruit candies.

9. I am grateful my assigned home staff, who was my one-on-one this evening, helped me through some tough flashbacks. I did ultimately decide to take a PRN quetiapine, but I think I really benefited from my staff’s help too.

10. I am grateful my loved ones so far aren’t directly affected by COVID, in the sense that I don’t have any direct family members or friends who’ve contracted the virus.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 30, 2021)

Hi everyone. It’s almost 8PM here so I already had my last cup of coffee. Still, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. Or Weekend Soft Drink Share for me maybe, although I didn’t have a soft drink this evening either. Instead, I decided to have water with my chips. We have Pringles, the original flavor, so if you’d like some, here you go. Let’s have a drink and a snack and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, like I said yesterday, the weather was good most of the week. Partly cloudy, partly sunny with maximum temperatures between 13°C and even a rare 18°C on Thursday. Today though, it was raining most of the day. By early evening though, the rain stopped for a bit.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, yesterday, I got in over 14K steps thanks to the great weather. Today, I only managed about 6K steps, but I did get in over 250 steps an hour during seven out of the nine hours between 9AM and 6PM. I consider that quite an achievement!

If we were having coffee, I would ask you all to pray for wisdom for both me and my GP with respect to our upcoming appointment regarding my abdominal discomfort. Like I said yesterday, I am grateful my X-ray was normal, but my discomfort is all but gone.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I ended up not pursuing the issue I mentioned yesterday with the €90 software I bought via PayPal from some shady vendor. I did reach the vendor, but he claimed the problem I was experiencing wasn’t on their side, so there’s no way I’ll get my money back. Oh well, I hadn’t had my hopes up too high.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I finally did start crafting again. The project my staff saw that she brought the supplies in for today, was a polymer clay owl crafted around a metal ring. She also brought a finished owl she’d borrowed from the storekeeper who had inspired her, so that I had an idea what it should look like. It looked very different from how I’d expected it to look. I started working on the project today.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that my assigned staff, the one who was on sick leave but is slowly recovering, came to the care home for a few hours again today. Remember how I said a few weeks ago that I worried that I caused her burnout by sucking up her energy? Well, she went out of her way to reassure me that I didn’t make her sick.

She also cooked a meal for dinner with another client. It was a potato, leek and mince casserole. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I did.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 24, 2021)

Hi everyone. It’s really sunny out this Sunday afternoon! How about you join me for #WeekendCoffeeShare. I had quite a lot of coffee so far today, as I went out to McDonald’s (well, through the drive-through) with my husband for lunch and had coffee there. It was better than the coffee I had at Subway last week. Then when I came back to the care facility, I had a cup of coffee again. If you’d like a cup of it too, I’m pretty sure there’s still some left, as my staff said her colleague had just made a fresh pot. Let’s have a cup of coffee and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d almost invite you to the balcony. It’s sunny, after all, but quite cold. Besides, the balcony is covered in fallen leaves. So I guess we’ll sit indoors after all.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I managed to get in 12.5K steps yesterday. That’s a huge win, as I had thought my physical condition was declining slightly. Apparently not.

I also went on the elliptical for half an hour on Friday and am planning to go onto it for another 30 minutes later this evening.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that all this is slightly comforting in light of my probable IBS symptoms and the upcoming abdominal X-ray. I mean, if it’s something very serious, I guess I’d have other symptoms, such as unexpected weight loss or declining physical fitness. Please all still pray for me that the X-rays will show something easily treatable.

If we were having coffee, I would share that my husband bought a new car. Well, he’s going to exchange it for our current Volkswagen Golf on Wednesday. It’s a Daihatsu Cuore, a very small car. His VW is still in relatively good shape, but both of us wanted a cheaper car with respect to gas usage, insurance and tax. With the deal he got, my husband says he’ll have saved enough on these to cover the cost of buying the Cuore within the year. I must say I feel a lot better about this car than I felt back when my husband bought the VW.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I woke up after a nightmare early this morning. It wasn’t yet time for my one-on-one to arrive, so the morning staff helped me put on my music pillow and settle back to bed. I thankfully slept well for about an hour and a half after that. I am really hoping this means that the topiramate is working. I mean, my nightmares aren’t your standard scary dreams and as far as I’m aware, topiramate doesn’t suppress REM sleep altogether, but it does seem to make it easier to let go of anxiety-inducing dreams.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 9, 2021)

Hi everyone on this sunny Saturday. Well, it’s not sunny anymore, as the sun has just set, but it was sunny all afternoon. Today I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again. I’m in Lobith and I usually have tea in the evenings here, but if you’d like a cup of coffee, I’m sure my husband can make you one too.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week was all quite meh. I’ve said this a couple of times already over the past week. It’s all just one endless stream of sadness, triggers and the resulting flashbacks.

I’m pretty sure I’ve decided I’m going to ask my nurse practitioner to up my topiramate on Monday. I hope this means I won’t have to wait for my next weekly med refill on Saturday to get the upped dose. Of course I know meds won’t solve everything, but I can’t think of anything else right now.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I did find some inspiration in the soaping and essential oil departments again. Yesterday, I even managed to make a simple butterfly melt and pour soap.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I also managed to get in more steps this week than last week and that’s not counting tomorrow yet. Okay, last week was quite a bad week in the walking department, but oh well, let’s be thankful for the little things.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my orthopedic footwear finally returned from whoever (Shoe or AFO Guy) was working on it earlier this week. It finally seems to be okay now. Not great, but okay. I have at least been able to walk some 25 minutes on the footwear without too much pain and am pretty sure it needs getting used to as well.

If we were having coffee, I would repeat how grateful I am for all the lovely comments on my blog. Like I mentioned last week, I’m participating in #Blogtober21, though my only goal right now is to publish a blog post everyday. I’m no longer going with prompts. Today, I almost wouldn’t have written a post, as I’m with my husband in Lobith like I said and this usually means I can’t concentrate. However, I didn’t want to break my streak.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share my husband cooked me a delicious rice and meatballs meal this eveningn. Neither of us was full after it, so we ended up ordering something else afterwards. However, the meal was very tasty!

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 3, 2021)

Hi everyone on this rainy Sunday. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare this afternoon. I may add another post for Blogtober and the 31-day writing challenge, though neither challenge requires you to follow a topic or prompts. In this sense, this post could count as my daily post for October 3. We’ll see if I can still find time to write a post on today’s optional prompt too.

As usual, I just had my afternoon coffee, but I’m pretty sure the other clients are still having theirs. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week is a bit meh. It seems it’s the beginning of fall that’s causing me to feel more depressed and less inspired than usual. I have been going for a few walks over the week, but not many due to the rain. I also hardly did anything crafty. Today, I spent a lot of the morning and early afternoon in bed.

If we were having coffee, I’d share about my care plan review last Thursday. Like I said in my previous posts, it went mostly as expected. It did create some stress in me related to the upcoming reassessment of my one-on-one care. The behavior specialist also told me at this meeting that she’s going to work at another care facility that’s part of this agency, so she will no longer be assigned to my case. It’s not yet decided who her successor will be, but that should become clear pretty soon.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, the evening after the care plan review, my assigned home support staff left her shift early due to being sick. Everyone else is telling me she just has the flu, but I somehow got it in my had that she is suffering burnout and it’s my fault for having sucked up her energy too much.

This situation led to a bit of a crisis Friday night. I left my room initially looking for the late shift, but she’d already left the building. However, my room-leaving detector didn’t alert the night staff yet, probably because it was just before 10:30PM. The people who would receive my alerts at night, are at the main institution in another village and they are then supposed to call the night shift here. In other words, there is no way I can alert the night shift here directly. I went looking for help, but the outside door of the home was already locked.

This led to a bit of a panic and I went into dissociative mode. I grabbed a chair and climbed over the half-door into the kitchen (the kitchen is locked at night to prevent me entering it and self-harming). I tried to self-harm in several ways, but thankfully didn’t really get hurt. When the night staff came to get another client to bed, she saw me and helped me to my room.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, despite all the troubles, the week will likely end on a positive note. Several of us clients have not received meal delivery service meals this entire week because we were supposed to be emptying out the freezer. This did mean I got a lot of the same meals this past week and today I said, if I got noodles again, I’d ask my one-on-one to drive me to the supermarket so I could buy a salad or something. Turned out one of the other clients whose freezer was supposed to be emptied, didn’t fancy his meal for today either, so the staff agreed to order food from the local Italian restaurant. I will be getting a tuna pizza.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 25, 2021)

Hi everyone on this cloudy but warm Saturday afternoon. We’re supposed to get temperatures to rise to as high as 25°C tomorrow. I remember once, I think it was in 1999, writing in my diary in late September that I wished for this high a temperature for once that year still. Three or four years ago, it even got to 27°C one day in mid-October.

Anyway, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. It’s 2:30PM, so I just had my afternoon coffee, but the other clients are still having theirs. Yesterday, the late shift actually came to my room with another cup of coffee at 3:15PM, because apparently the other clients had been late having theirs and she erroneously thought this meant I still needed to have coffee too. I didn’t mind, of course. Anyway, let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I managed to get my corona pass ready in time for this requirement in restaurants and indoor events today. Not that I’m likely to go eat out at a restaurant or go to the theater anytime soon. In fact, I’m feeling a bit off about this requirement, even though, as a fully vaccinated person, I’m good to go. Getting the CoronaCheck app, on which you need to create your pass, to work, was a bit of a hassle, because for some stupid reason the “Next” button to get beyond the introductory screen wasn’t easy to locate with VoiceOver. I eventually asked one of my staff to click that button for me and from there could do everything myself.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I celebrated two years in the care facility earlier this week. I made a cheesecake with my favorite large cookies, ie. stroopwafels.

Stroopwafel Cheesecake

I did worry at first whether the other clients could eat it, as most are at higher risk of choking. However, apparently the staff were able to sufficiently blend the cake so that it was edible by everyone.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week was quite a good one in the walking department. I got in over 10K steps almost everyday. That one day that I didn’t reach my goal, I really should have looked at my Fitbit, since I needed only like 100 more steps to reach it.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, at the recommendation of one of the community psychiatric nurses at the mental health team, I’ve been taking my phone with me whenever I go on walks. We were discussing my grief about my vision loss and the wonders of technology and she suggested I take more pictures on my walks. Last Tuesday, I took a picture of the cows in a nearby field.

Cows in a Field

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I sadly haven’t been too creative lately. I tried to create a necklace this morning, but found out midway through it that I didn’t have enough of a certain kind of beads that I needed for it. I didn’t want to start redesigning it all over again, so will do that at some later point.

Overall, this week wasn’t too intense, other than Wednesday. It was a pretty good week.

How have you been?

An Eventful Wednesday

Hi everyone on this Wednesday evening. The weather was beautiful today. It was cold in the morning, but sunny and about 21°C in the afternoon.

This morning, I had an appointment with my community psychiatric nurse. I hadn’t seen her in four weeks, as two weeks ago she had had to cancel due to a crisis situation. This time, I was able to talk through some of my struggles. I vented some of my grief with respect to my blindness. I ended on a positive note though, sharing the wonders of VoiceOver Recognition.

At 1PM, I had a quick dental check-up. The dentist comes to our day center four times a year for these, so I didn’t have to travel. Thankfully, all was well and I was literally gone within minutes.

Then I had a talk with my support coordinator about my upcoming care plan review. We had to discuss my risk inventory. This is a long list of possible risks someone can experience, such as of choking, falling, epileptic seizures, aggression, etc. With each box, the staff have to tick of “Yes” or “No” and if yes, elaborate on the risk. I disagreed with several “No” answers, but then my support coordinator explained that this is within the current care situation. For example, there is no risk to my personal hygiene because my staff are there to help me with this.

I did get my coordinator to add a “Yes” to risks re social media use because my Internet use can often trigger me and lead to meltdowns. I did ascertain that these risk assessments are not necessarily associated with restrictive measures. In other words, just because there’s a risk associated with my Internet use, doesn’t mean they need to restrict my online activity.

Later, I realized there really needs to be a “Yes” in the box on risks associated with overweight too. I had said this at the meeting but my coordinator had said that since I don’t suffer with sores due to fat or the like, there’s no risk. I do feel there is, given that my BMI is above 30 and I need support in maintaining a healthy’ish diet.

I went on three walks this afternoon and evening. On my way back from one of them, my one-on-one asked me whether I wanted to photograph the chickens near the day center. A client at another care home here has always wanted to have chickens and he finally got his wish granted a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, only one of them lays eggs so far. The guy whose chickens these are says the other one’s crest needs to get redder before she will lay eggs. My husband said it might actually be a rooster though. I hope not.