Monday, May 13, 2013

elvis is in da house

Well, he's in the convalescent hospital house, that is.

And it is good news that I know this, because this means that James has been returned "home", as he calls it (sometimes he says his home is "19B", like it's an actual complete address or something, which always bums me out a little bit deep down inside).

A few weeks ago James went into the "hospital-hospital" for a bladder infection and ended up having his gall bladder removed while he was there.  He also struggled with low blood pressure. He was in the hospital ICU so long that the convalescent hospital gave up his room temporarily, but they never packed up James' stuff, which was quite the pleasant surprise.

I came in today to see him back "at his home" and he was a bit of a mess. He was having a bit of trouble breathing and I had to have his oxygen machine checked over (it was on the wrong setting). I had to push the staff to get him a shave and then to get him put back into bed because he was so uncomfortable sitting up in a chair (he had asked to be taken out of bed and put into a chair only because he knew I was coming to I  needed that.  

A few of you have asked about what I might be able to do to help him more, but I really need to remain a volunteer.  Yes, it's true that I could do more for him if I was power of attorney, but that is not a responsibility I can accept. It's just too much for me.  I signed up with a volunteer organization to visit someone who doesn't get visitors. I've had many buddies over the years, but usually they are much older and are in a deeper state of decline with their health, and even if they don't get regular visitors, there is often a family member several states away taking care of important legal details.  James refuses to fill out any Advance Care Directives, and if I had power of attorney, that would leave me to make some decisions about his life that I'm just not about to do.  It would also leave me responsible for many other matters.  I just can't take it on, as much as I love him and have grown close to him after 8 years of weekly visits.  He does have a sister.  Sure, they're not very close (she lives 8 hours away and they are so far apart in age that they barely knew each other growing up) but she is in the picture a little bit (a letter and a care package a couple of times a year), and I'd rather any big decisions be made by his own family.

What I am doing for James is contacting the county to see if he qualifies to have coverage for an official healthcare advocate.  It's just the best I can do for James from the volunteer visitor perspective.

Anyhow, back to today at Chez19B. At one point during my visit with James I heard music floating down the halls, and I went down to the lobby and lo and behold, there was a SortaSkinnyFatElvis belting a few out.  James had heard they were serving up root beer floats and that he could go get one since he had gotten out of bed and into a chair,  but since he asked to be put back in bed he couldn't go down and get one, so I went down and I scored one for him. He was very happy about that, too....back home AND ice cream.  A good day for him.