Impressions of apartment living
We moved into the ADL apartment about supper time last night, when the nurses announced that the "honeymoon suite" was cleaned and ready. They had even left licorice on the pillows--they didn't have any mints on them. We were there until about 10am this morning.
It went OK. We had 10 hours of consecutive visitors yesterday, with about a 20 min break at 4pm, so we were both tired pretty tired to be trying the apartment. Linda also had a cold which bothered her quite a bit too. On the other hand, we didn't have Ellie, so you can imagine harder scenarios.
The apartment itself has a kitchen, living-room, bathroom and bedroom. It is quite spare. Linda pointed out to me that there are no pictures on any of the walls. The living-room, hallway, and bedroom have a thin utilitarian kind of blue carpet. The bathroom and kitchen are tile.
Part of using the apartment was handling Linda's medications which came in 9 little bottles. That was a bit more than I expected, since they have been discontinuing some of her meds lately. Luckily there was an elaborate laser-printed schedule with all of the doses for the day. You just have to be careful and precise. I suspect the schedule will be simplified still more before they send us home.
The first difference we noticed was the carpet. The first transfer I did with Linda twisted her foot. It hurt but didn't hurt her, although she was a bit annoyed at me. Carpet makes it easier to transfer in socks, but harder in shoes. It also makes the wheelchair harder to move (although not so bad as the carpet at home which is even thicker).
The bathroom in the apartment has a door that opens in. I had never noticed the doors much before, but getting the door open or closed while you have a wheelchair in the bathroom is not so easy. We probably won't bother closing the door at home when we're alone, although our bathroom is so small that it won't ever have a wheelchair in it.
We watched Pirates of the Caribbean
on the big TV (even though we just watched it last week). Linda said we should watch it again since it is the loudest movie we have, so most suited to a big TV.
After the movie, I gave her a bath. That was one of the big goals of the stay. We used the same shower bench we always use. It is like the one we will buy for home. We did OK, but it was harder. It was harder for Linda because she had to get in and out of the tub and there was less to hold on to. It was harder for me because I had to lean over more to reach.
It was nice to have a regular bed, one long enough for me. Linda sleeps on the right side of the bed (facing up). There was an extra hospital bed stored in the bedroom of the apartment; sort of the one obvious reminder that this isn't a hotel, it's a hospital. That made it a little hard to get to that side of the bed with the wheelchair. So for bed transfers I positioned Linda's chair, then climbed over the bed to help her.
There was one way that the apartment was much better than a hotel. It didn't smell like smoke. I hate to stay in hotels because even the non-smoking rooms (especially the bedding) smell like smoke, and my allergies make me miserable. Unfortunately I was allergic to something else in the apartment (maybe the shower?) so it was actually much the same as a hotel. But at least it didn't stink.
Linda told me this morning that she was afraid to roll around because she didn't want to fall out of bed. I don't think there is much danger of that, but she did once get caught by the rails on her other bed, and she has been paranoid since. I told her that I slept OK, especially after 2am (my back had been hurting until about then). She said, "I didn't toss and turn." We both kind of laughed. She can't literally toss and turn, but she did not even move much because of the fear. She coughed quite a bit during the night because of her cold. I'm callous, so I ignored her.
Personally I would have been happy to skip getting up for medicine at 6am, especially since Linda declared that she was awake and wanted to stay up. I didn't really get to vote, so we got up and dressed her, and I made omelets for breakfast.
It is frustrating to cook in someone else's kitchen. It is harder in a 'demo' kitchen. No pot holders, no paper towels, no sharp knives. There was a sharpening rod in one of the drawers, so I honed my pocketknife and used it.
This morning we practiced getting in and out of an armchair to the wheelchair. We were interested to see how far Linda could get on her own. She can do it with very little assistance, so I can see she'll be able to get in and out of chairs like our red wingback chair relatively soon. Longer furniture, like the sofa, will take a bit longer. She really needs both armrests to push up on right now.