Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Notes from the Home - January 27, 2015

     A week ago, I told Dr. Verson, the neurologist, I was feeling depressed. Instead upping the dosage of Bupropion, which I have been taking for five or six years, he gave me a prescription for Lexapro. He instructed me to take one Lexapro (10 mg) each day for a week, then take two Lexapro a day and continue using the Baclofin. The results have been depressing. Damn depressing.
     To be fair, the Lexapro worked exceptionally well as a laxative. Ten minutes after downing the first Lexapro, my bowels emptied and clogged the commode. Things went to pot after that. My mood was good, but my legs got more and more obstinate as the day went on. Undeterred, I took another Lexapro the next day (Sunday). My mood improved a little, but not enough to offset the stiffness and discomfort the Lexapro seemed to be inflicting on my legs. 
     "That's it," I said. "I'm not taking any more." I stuck to my guns Monday and Tuesday. As luck would have it, I had an appointment with Dr. Miller, the primary care doc, Tuesday, and told him about the Lexapro. "I'm surprised," he said. "Only two days? Most people go at least a week or two before the bail." Well, if others can go a week or two before bailing, so can I.
     Wednesday morning, I took one Lexapro from the bottle and downed it along with the other meds. Fifteen minutes later, I was seated on the throne, where my bowels emptied in short order. "Damn, I like this stuff," I said. That afternoon I changed my mind. My stomach was upset, I was getting stiffer and stiffer and getting clumsier than ever.
    That night, as I tried to get into bed, I fell. Wedged between the wheelchair and the chest of drawers, I struggled to reach my cell phone, which was on the nightstand. In time, I succeeded in knocking the phone off the stand. It didn't land out of reach, not quite. Alas, when I got my fingers on the thing, I couldn't grip it and somehow managed to push the phone under the chest of drawers.
     With the phone now most definitely out of reach, my sole option was to yell, "Help!" I yelled only now and then, certain my neighbors - hard-of-hearing all - would not hear me, and my best chance was to save my voice until I heard someone in the hall. Wrong again. Mildred, who lives across the hall, thought she heard someone yelling a couple times. She wasn't sure, though, because I didn't follow through with a series of screams. A retired nurse, Mildred did stay on the alert and eventually concluded the yelling was coming from my apartment.
     She called the desk, and Warren, the night man, came down. He must have used every passkey in the place before he found one that would open my door. Then he looked at me, all contorted as a result of trying to wiggle free. "I'm going to need some help," he said. In response to his call, a nurse's assistant from Personal Care helped him get me up on the bed. They took off my shoes and pants, asked if I needed anything, made sure I was comfortable, put my phone on the nightstand and said to call if I had any more difficulty.
     The additional difficulty came at five Thursday morning as I tried to get up. The wheelchair had been parked too close to the bed, and I couldn't swing my legs around to get myself seated on the edge of the bed. I called. Warren came down, moved the wheelchair and helped me get dressed. At the time, I thought helping me dress was unnecessary. Considering the difficulty I had dressing myself Friday and Saturday, however, had Warren left after moving the wheelchair, I would have had to call him back to help me dress.
      Thursday night I repeated my ineptitude as I tried to get in bed. The phone, however, was in my shirt pocket. Aliesha and Annie answered my SOS. They had no trouble getting me off the floor and on to the bed. And I got a hug from each of them.
     I've been able to get into bed without embarrassing myself every night since. Getting a sock and shoe on the left foot is still more work than it was in pre-Lexapro days, but it is getting easier.

     Janet, who moved into one of the duplexes a week or two before Christmas, is originally from England. This morning - a cold, windy, raw, overcast morning - she was smoking outside as I went by her place. She hurried down the driveway to ask why I didn't have a blanket for my legs. I told her I have one, but I seldom use it. She offered to get a blanket for me; a small one that wouldn't get in the way.
     "No thank you," I said.
     "It's cold. Aren't you cold?" she asked.
     "A little,but it's not that bad."
     "Well, I'm bloomin' freezing," she said, sounding like Eliza Doolittle before 'enry 'iggans got a hold of her.

     Penelope's current project is to put together a collection of 100-word love stories written by the residents. Molly, who will soon be ninety-one, wrote several pages about how her then future husband courted her. Penelope asked me to cut it down to one hundred words.
     Molly wrote that while her then boyfriend was in the Army, stationed in Louisiana, he asked her to come visit him for a weekend. He had reserved a room for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. "We had a very sexy weekend," she wrote.
      When I got through playing Mr. Reader's Digest, I showed the story to Penelope and told her I'd changed "sexy weekend" to "romantic weekend."
     "I guess our parents' generation had sex before marriage, too," Penelope, who is in her early sixties, said.
     "I imagine they did."
     "But they said they never did and told us we shouldn't have sex before marriage," she said. She  thought for a moment and added, "Maybe that was one of those things covered under 'Do as I say, not as I do.'"

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