Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Old Husband and Another Time

I have decided I'll have three sections to future blog posts, Life, Politics, and Knitting. You can pick the section that appeals to you and ignore the rest.

I have identified three of my readers that also knit socks. Thats pretty amazing. I feel justified now to add a knitting section. I have about that many who are passionate about politics. Most all of us either have, or have had, old husbands, or perhaps know someone who had one.
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Life

The role of caregiver never gets easier. As soon as you learn one thing, something else replaces it, once you settle a problem there's always another one under that one, it just never stops. For years I thought that I'd eventually be prepared the next time I had to take Old Husband to the ER but that never happened. Every time is different.

Some things I've resisted learning. Many times I've gotten the learning process wrong. Almost always I should have taken charge before I did, but I hate taking away his independence. Such was the case with car repairs.

Some things are harder for Old Husband to release than others. Last week we had the car in for repair but Old Husband was doing the talking. He was still in charge. It had to go in the next day for the actual repair which did not excite me but it had to be done.

The appointment was at 10:00 a.m. As I was opening my eyes at 8:00 a.m. who should appear beside my bed but Old Husband, all dressed, coat on, and ready to go. He informed me he could handle the task, that I should relax, and stay at home. Me, relax with him on the road, not. 

It's seven miles to his destination and anybody should be able to drive that short distance, right? Wrong. Once I saw he was going regardless of what I said, I made him tell me exactly how he would be going. 

By 8:30 he was out the door, and I was left to figure what had happened. He called when he got there to let me know he's arrived safely. Because he was free, and had gotten by me, he then went to Costco to buy gas, and called me from KFC where he was buying hot wings! He was having a good time.
That day's repair did not correct another problem so today we were repeating the process. I packed my activity bag. Note the socks I'm knitting, the knitting coloring book, and colored pencils. This time I decided I would do the talking. I met "Bill" who was very nice. Imagine my surprise when he told me he tried last week to talk to Old Husband about the car running rough but he'd said it was okay, he just wanted the light on the dashboard fixed.

That's Old Husband, he only fixes one thing at a time. I had a nice visit with Bill. He had a driver bring us home. He called this afternoon to tell me what needed to be done and said they'd send a car for us when the repairs are finished.

Now that I have Bill I think I can handle this car repair stuff. Still I feel like I've been through a battle, it was stressful. The stress of caregiving is often worse that the actual work of it.

A few days ago I realized I was unusually frayed. Some of that I blame on politics, but when I begin to think about packing Old Husband's clothes and leaving him on someone else's porch I know it's time for me to re-evaluate.

I'd much rather do politics than deal with Old Husband, I'd much rather knit socks than deal with Old Husband, BUT he is my top priority. I'm trying to dial back the politics. Knitting actually relieves stress. I need to remind myself often he isn't having a fun time growing old. Patience Linda, patience.
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Politics

Interesting to read some former Obama administration legal colleagues have formed a group to help protect democratic norms. United to Protect Democracy

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Knitting

I hope to finish these socks today or tomorrow. It's about time, I purchased the yarn in 2015 from Green Mountain Spinnery. It's 50% Wool and 50% Mohair. I knew I had to have this yarn when I read the mohair was from my home state of Texas.

It's nice yarn, but I would not buy it again for socks, even though it was advertised as sock yarn at the time I purchased it. I had two or three false starts before I was happy with the needle size and gauge.

I decided I'd better do some notes as I have another skein of this and will not want to reinvent the wheel when it comes time to use it. I also hope this notebook will keep me focused as I tend to have many pairs of socks on the needles.
I do not enjoy playing yarn chicken but I am with this pair. If I run short I will knit the toes from the coordinating beige yarn. Remember I wear a size 13 shoe.

Clara Parkes has this to say about mohair in sock yarns. "At 10-20 percent mohair is an excellent natural strengthening alternative to nylon, and it adds a stunning silklike shine." It is my opinion that 50% is too much.

26 comments:

  1. I had a laugh at the picture of the OH on someone's porch. Husband is still in midst of recovery from serious surgery last October and 6 months to go. I told him if he did this again he would stay in a nursing home and I will visit him.

    The anger, frustration, guilt and loss is sometimes overwhelming. But we do go on

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    1. Absolutely. We have too much invested now to quit. I'm committed to seeing OH through to the end, or die trying, and that's certainly a possibility. I try to keep in mind he isn't having a lot of fun either.

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  2. Your new format is a great idea. Since I am one of your sock knitting readers, I will enjoy your knitting notes. I also have a OH. He is disappointed that he doesn't feel he is aging gracefully. Whoever called these the "golden years" was probably 35.

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    1. Is it just me or does it seem like men don't age as well as women? Perhaps I'm wrong on that. I've always had a hard time understanding why older widows go looking for another old husband. It's interesting how many articles about aging are written by people in their 30s & 40s. I'm always thrilled to meet another sock knitter.

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  3. This resonated with me, "Almost always I should have taken charge before I did." Boy, did I find that to be true with Dad. He was tough and fought me every inch of the way. Independence is a hard thing to give up. He had two falls during the years I was caring for him: once when he tried to walk to the bathroom without letting me know first, and another when he tried to sit down in his shower chair before I was ready to help him. Both times he was sure he could do it by himself.

    I really do admire your socks and your ability to make them.

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    1. It is very hard to know when to take over. Before Bob there was my parents so I've had some experience. I hate so bad to take away his independence that I put it off as long as possible, usually until a crisis tips the scales, and then wish I'd done it sooner.

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  4. Caregiving is HARD on the emotions. To me, when taking away independence you have to give the most weight to if the care recipient is putting his/her life at risk or the lives of others. When my brother had to call tracking dogs to find his wife, who had dementia, that was when he had to make a tough decision. When our dad got lost going two miles between houses he'd been going between for decades we talked him into giving up his license and keys.

    Your three sections make sense. I will read them all. I don't make socks but I knit and I cared for two old guys---husband and dad---and I need the daily fix of politics.

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    1. Yes, caregiving is hard and the situations you describe are the hardest because it's just plain awful to take away a person's independence against their wishes. There's an awful lot of grey area to care giving. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with enough to have something for all readers.

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  5. I have noticed that women age a lot better then men. I think it's because women always have their normal "chores" to do. Laundry, cooking, cleaning--even when we worked we had these chores and when we retire, we still have them. Men seem to have their job and when they retire, if they haven't taken on any hobbies, they just don't have enough to keep their minds occupied and alive. I took care of one man that I adored, but now alone--I prefer to keep it that way. I used to knit socks all the time. I'll bet the Mohair will be nice and warm.

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    1. Judy, you are so right. That's been a real problem with Bob. He has no hobbies.

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  6. Sounds like your sock yarn is "too much of a good thing".
    My husband is entering the annoying old man storytelling phase. Any answer to any question I have seems to begin somewhere in the middle and wander all around until am not sure when it gets to the end what the answer actually is. it makes me impatient and then I snap at him. I will have to practice patience. I'm just not ready to deal with "old".
    As to politics, I don't even profess to be patient. What the hell??? Every day!

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    1. Oh, I hear you about that story telling. I have that with Bob but our sister-in-law is worse. She's maddening to talk to. Sometimes I just jump in and cut her off. Over and over she starts at the beginning every time. Certain things trigger Bob to tell the same story again and again.

      I'm trying to relax a little about the Trump WH. I'm beginning to see a pattern. They really aren't accomplishing a lot because they don't know enough to know how to accomplish anything. The good thing is they're keeping Congress off balance and they're not accomplishing anything either. I figure nothing is better than something bad. They use bully language a lot but get quickly get distracted.

      I'm comforted by knowing how much D.C. has lawyered up for this administration. Many lawsuits are being filed but all that takes time. I don't think Trump and the WH have to begin to respond to a lot of those cases until April. Far too slow for my taste.

      I'm proud of the media. At least we can keep an eye on this bunch. It would be much worse if Trump operated in secret like Nixon.

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  7. Well, two out of three ain't bad. I'll read old husband and politics and skip the knitting .I do understand how knitting is very good for you and how necessary knitting is..

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    1. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with enough to keep you entertained. If nothing else you can read about what you don't want to do when you become an Old Husband.

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  8. Louis Dean is just now to the point that he is feeling a loss of strength. Hence, the exercise. Of course, he still works hard and long but it's not as easy as it used to be for him. I'm now going to the doctor with him just so I know what's going on. He forgets so much. Still, he did hammer that rat dead tonight! We make a good pair. If I were 80 as he is, we'll, let's just say I'm certain I won't be doing as well as he. It must be those Native American genes of his!


    If you leave Bob on a porch somewhere, they'll just bring him back! Once Mother locked herself out of the house when she lived with Nita. The police came and Mother was able to make them understand directions to Deanie's. When she opened the door to the police, she was shocked! Not only did they bring Mother, they accused her of elderly abuse! It was hilarious! Deanie went out to the police car and mother just smiled and said hi!

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    1. Linda, I think we are fortunate to be younger than our husbands. I'm so thankful I can care for Bob. We'd be in a real mess if both of us were 85.

      That's too funny about your mom.

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  9. Oh, I hear you Linda. I always hesitate to mention anything too soon to Jim. He'll be ready hours early, wanting to know when we are leaving.

    Caregiving is a tough job with challenges every single day. And we know it doesn't get easier. I think that is the hardest part, knowing that things are just going to get worse. Hang in there!

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    1. Yes, that's the worst part of the role of caregiver, the work keeps getting harder. Am ver grateful Bob's in a stable period right now. On some things Bob is sharp as a tack, on the common, everyday stuff he can be dumb as dirt.

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  10. I am absolutely certain that my husband chose death over putting me through dealing with him as an invalid. But, of course, he knew my level of patience and nursing skill quite well, so he might have been choosing his own comfort as well.

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    1. Absolutely, some people choose death and there's nothing the federal government can do about it. Tour husband no doubt wanted to spare you but also himself. I'm one of those people,

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  11. Gorgeous socks. I didn't realize mohair strengthens the socks. Interesting.

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    1. Finished a pair of socks yesterday. Always have a feeling of accomplishment when that happens.

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  12. You said something that I really haven't thought about much but is quite true. As tough as being a caregiver is, it isn't a bundle of fun being the caregetter either. You are doing a grand job handling the learning curve.

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    1. Every day is a new challenge but I have not a single doubt Bob would do the same for me. That makes the burden lighter.

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  13. I left a comment yesterday - but I guess I didn't do it right!
    Leaving Bob on a porch somewhere reminded me of when Mother was living with Nita and locked herself out of the house. A neighbor found mother wandering around and called the police. Mother made them understand (she can't speak plainly) the way to Deanie's house. The police showed up at Deanie's door with mother in the back seat of the squad car! They thought Deanie had taken mother somewhere and abandoned her. They though mother was a victim of elder abuse! Be very careful where you leave Bob! They will most probably bring him right back to you!

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    1. Oops now I see my comment! My bad.

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