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Nursing Home Flashback

It’s two days before Thanksgiving. I’m working at a nursing home today. I just witnessed a family member dropping off some items for their parent, a resident of this facility.

This triggered a flashback to when I was doing the very same thing, several months ago. My mother had been transferred from yet another hospitalization to a nursing home, to receive short-term rehabilitation services.

My mother had markedly, and most unexpectedly, improved. I briefly stopped by to drop off some clothing for her. I told her that she would soon be coming back home. I blinked back tears as I said goodbye to her that evening.

Fast forward to today, several months later. My mother passed away in early May, more than six months ago. This will be our first Thanksgiving without her. It’s been very bittersweet lately, as I recall previous Thanksgivings spent with her, and both of my older sisters. I miss her so very much.

Part of me wants to just skip this entire holiday season, to be perfectly honest. Nevertheless, I choose not to listen to this perspective.

While meeting with residents today, I asked each of them what they were grateful for this year. This is no small feat, given that these residents have spent several consecutive months in a state of severe isolation.

Many of these residents have become much more seriously depressed as a result of ongoing isolation. Virtual visits don’t allow for much-needed hugs and kisses from family members.

Today, I’m asking myself what I’m still thankful for this year. It’s been a year of significant losses and transition. I lost my mother. My daughter’s marriage ended. COVID-19 happened.

Nevertheless, there is so so very much for which I’m truly thankful this year. I’m thankful to still able to meet with a caseload of residents who are extremely lonely, especially this holiday season.

Follow-Up with ENT

Yesterday, I had a fourth-month follow-up appointment with my ENT. I’ve recently been experiencing increased throat clearing, which I presumed to be a sign of my idiopathic subglottic stenosis worsening.

My ENT had three residents observing my larygoscopy. It revealed that my airway is currently am 25% occluded. Therefore, surgery isn’t immediately necessary. It also showed the influence of paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) in producing my symptoms, especially increased shortness of breath while exercising. There were mild signs of irritation and inflammation in my airway, too.

My specialist wants me to switch from Omeprazole, to Pantoprazole, to monitor my silent GERD. He mentioned the option of initiating a Bactrim protocol, too. Bactrim is an antibiotic.

He said that, on paper at least, I look like an excellent candidate for a crichotracheal re-section surgery. He and I both share considerable concern about how receiving a resection might permanently impair my voice quality.

My ENT is confident about exploring non-surgical options to treat my condition, which is a combination of having an idiopathic subglottic stenosis, PVFM, and silent GERD.

For the first time ever, my ENT mentioned the possibility of a mucousal skin draft to address my condition. I’m definitely going to read more about this procedure. I’m surprised that I was learning about this option for the first time, given that my last appointment was only four months ago.

I left the office feeling woozy, due to receiving the anesthetic required to perform my laryngoscopy. I also left this appointment feeling significantly more encouraged than I’ve felt in a very long time about treating my combination of chronic conditions.

I’m so satisfied with my ENT. He’s concurrently highly compassionate and competent.

Busy Weekend

I’ve had a very busy weekend working. On Saturday, I had multiple online counseling sessions with my BetterHelp clients. I’m enjoying the tremendous variety of serving as a counselor on this platform. I’m thankful that my metrics on this platform have recently improved, i.e., client’s ratings of my impact.

Today, I’ve completed my PowerPoint presentation, for upcoming staff in-services at a nearby nursing home. I’ll be delivering this presentation a total of three times. The topic will be COVID-19 and Loneliness. I hope that my information will be useful to staff members.

There was far less balance than I would have liked in my weekend. I know that I need time to simply relax and unwind. I’m looking forward to taking another oil painting class again soon.

What Today Looks Like

I’m in bed, dealing with MS vertigo. I’ve experienced this before, many times. It’s really difficult to do much at all with this symptom.

This week, I had a 3-D mammogram. It was ordered since I have dense breast tissue. Thankfully, the results were negative.

Due to my persistent throat clearing, I recently phoned my ENT. I’m happy that I can see him next week. I’m really feeling like it’s time to have another throat dilatation surgery.

I’ve been converting several live video sessions into live chats, for my online counseling clients. It’s much less strain on my compromised airway to do sessions like this.

Miscellaneous Tasks

It’s the day after the presidential election. There’s still no clear winner.

I’ve been very busy this morning. I phoned my primary care physician’s office, to obtain proof of having obtained my flu vaccine. This is required for one of my employers.

In preparation for next week’s 3-D mammogram, I completed my online health history, as required prior to my appointment. I’m having a 3-D mammogram since I have dense breast tissue. I have a family history of breast cancer.

I phoned my ENT’s office this morning. I was informed that they’re now scheduling for February! I explained that I need to have an earlier appointment, since my subglottic stenosis is currently worsening. I’m waiting for a call back.