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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

by Diane; Mini-art respites from caregiving #11: A week that brought us to Hospice

I can't imagine how painful it was to Fisherman Hubby to make the decision to sign on to Hospice on Monday. Saturday evening after a busy day, he fell out of his preferred chair. Luckily able to get up on his own with only a road burn to his knee. The outlook for stopping his plummeting weight loss is dim. But we won't be making more fruitless trips to the ER because we call Hospice first. 

Painting art-respites this week consist of only working on the eyes of the father making eye contact with the child he is teaching to fish. Just changing the modeling of the surrounding eye socket or experimenting on how white to make the whites of the eye takes just a minute or two on each mini-mini-respite. 

Need to respond to the Home Guardian Medical Alert System before the 7 days after delivery is up. It looks complicated. Have an insurance denial for for about $900 to contest because of a regulation that does not take into consideration the Covid closures and shortages of respiratory equipment and the reality of a telimed conference not coinciding with the delivery of equipment. And then there is the garden with tallest ever tiger lilies and glads continuously occupied by hummingbirds.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

What does it mean?

by Rain Trueax

If someone is trying to avoid thinking about earthly tangles, whether family or larger, the biggest thing for the month of July has been a rarely seen comet, Neowise. It has an orbit of 6800 years; so it wasn't last seen by humans during the time history was being recorded. To many of us, it came as a bit of a surprise but also an excitement as a reminder of the size and scope of our universe.

Think of it. They believe this comet is 4.6 billion years old, created with our universe. As it is visible here on earth for this month, it is still 100 million kilometers away at its closest approach which will be July 22-23. 

Comets, which I knew little about before this, are made up of ice (water) and dust (earth). Their trail is dust and ice. They have been regarded as symbols in some cultures. Not ours today so much, as we are very science or earthbound for what something means. What can it do for us? Is it dangerous? Can we get there and exploit it? Okay, next question-- can I photograph it? 

Many have tried and succeeded beautifully. We have been out of luck down here as the monsoons arrived with the comet's appearance and that means clouds, even when not storms. Still, it's been interesting to see what others have captured. Some spectacular.

Friday, July 24, 2020

by Diane; Mini-art Respite from caregiving #10: Self Publishing

Way back in Bellingham in the late 1970's or early 80's Fisherman Hubby and I self published a manual for Steelhead fishing on a black and white zerox machine.  Time for an expanded edition not only with color but also professional binding. Technology has gone a long ways to foster creative authorship in the decades since the beginning of a book symbolic of our marriage together.

Whether or not Fisherman Hubby chooses to actively engage in the update, I hope the memories it will kindle will enrich these final days.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

by Diane: Mini-art respite from caregiving update #9: A new meaningful direction

This painting might be close to finished.  It could be an illustration in Fisherman's Hubby's revised book about fishing that we did in the late 1970's or early 1980's when we lived in Bellingham, Washington. Since then he has expanded into fishing from a glass drift boat and aluminum Almar motor boat.
As his ALS prevents him from many physical activities, I hope he will join me in making a book that we can pay to be bound in a display book. Even if he doesn't feel like composing it, I am going ahead with this project with the assistance of the  Home Instead Senior Care caregiver.

This week has been very upsetting to me seeing Don suffer sometimes not being able to eat without choking or taking longer and longer to eat mostly staring at the food and not really wanting to eat more but still trying.  Don't know if he will engage in the book. Don't know if he will change his mind and accept tube feeding.  Wish us luck, yesterday we scheduled an appointment with his neurologist.

Excuse my short post I need to make sure that Hospice comes to asses us this week.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Monsoons and some more politics...

by Rain Trueax

The monsoon season started in early June but then disappeared until this week when it returned with the thunder, lightning, and sporadic rains. We got a good rain from one of the storms, but the one with the most lightning only gave us a little. Both had come at night. One brought strong winds but worse other places than here as in knocked out power for 600+ homes. That's a concern when the temps are over 105ºF and why we have a small generator and a room a/c unit. Knowing such things happen when you live on a farm tends  to make you be prepared.  The room a/c wouldn't do much for the whole house but would let us sleep at night :).

What I love about these storms is their energy. It's nice when they come with heavy rains but then desert dwellers know they have to be wary of the roads that dip into washes. Regularly people drown in such storms. I used one in my contemporary romance, Desert Inferno, as a threat to the hero and heroine as they were on foot in the desert wilderness. 

Here's what you can run into with these 'dry' washes in the monsoon season. Cañada del Oro Wash. It is worse this year after the horrific fire.

Ahead some political (maybe that's what it is or is it cultural???); so fair warning  

Friday, July 17, 2020

by Diane: Mini-art respite from care giving # 8; Giving up of life's accumilation followed by possibilities

Friday, July 17.
Big breath of relief, in the mail are both a long term care insurance claim and doctor's  questionnaire for first visit with psychologist who works with ALS families.  Next a  request for our Regence Medi-Care Plus plan to reconsider a declined claim for an expensive ventilating respiratory system for Fisherman Husband. Then a phone call for picking up respiratory equipment but not the right equipment.

Next week we will be assesed for Hospice Care. Maybe their help will allow his delcine to plateau and as so many do, we will go off of it.

This is all moving too fast.  Yet I see possibilities as Don rids  himself of things in the shop. I could move my bedroom studio into the shop and we could make my current studio into a placefor live in help.

Never thought I would have a big studio,
and never would want to acquire one as is happening.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

by Diane: Mini-art Respite from caregiving update # 7; In Home Caregiver Assistance First Week

Sunday, July 12,

This painting, a second of the same subject was like a commission.
Trying to please the reciitant is
easier if they have a second choice.
Tuesday, July 7 and Thursday, July 9 for four hours each day, a Home Instead caregiver helped us. She did house work, cooking, meal planning. Cleaning refrigerator, preparing meals ahead and a clean house was well done. These activities are beautiful but miss, I thought the main goal of engaging Fisherman Husband to become more active and stimulated.  Since the caregiver and her children fish, perhaps she could work with Fisherman Hubby on updating his book on fishing. The floppy disks and yellowed print out from almost forty years ago surely needs refreshing.
      I couldn't get, on first mention,  Fisherman Hubby enthusiasm.  But maybe after thinking about it, he would agree especially since I would work  on the art illustration.  If not the book maybe just simply a jigsaw puzzle would break the ice between them? Or maybe I should show off the old copy  of his fishing book and show how easily books like these can be published with a hard cover.

Friday, I called Home Instead to reschedule our Thursday, July 16, morning appointment. Then I learned that she gave her two week resignation because she has another job. All my instruction on the workings of our home and garden appeared to me to be a loss - an expensive one at $27.00 per hour. What will I have her do the next 16 hours?  Frank discussions, perhaps, on how I can improve the relationship between client and professional caregiver?  Change in my goals for the investment in having assistance.  Instead of of seeing their work as only a way to get fresh from the garden food preparade. Preparation is  difficult for me to do because of  a little arthritus in my hands.  I need to think of it as more than a way to have a little more time to paint. Thanks to the help I was able to paint a memory painting of Fisherman's older brother for a niece. I spen hours painting two - much more time than a mini-art respite.
     Now I see the business relationship of the caregiver as giving companionship to me as well as to Fisherman Hubby.

Sunday, July12 Fisherman Hubby was referred by his provider's on call nurse to the ER for assesment. On the bright side x-rays showed no bowl blockage. On the down side we have far too many visits to the urgent care and the ER.

 Monday I looked into Pallative Care. He does not qualify. we would need a Doctor's referral for Hospice Care which our insurance would cover.

Tuesday, Our Care giver dug potatoes and cut them for Hubby and grilled a  prime rib which was cut up small so he could eat it  with Au Jus.  For once I could sit down relaxed and eat my very different veggie and meat lunch at the same time as  Hubby was eating.  He ate  3 times as much as when I prepare a small , tiny portion. And he did not choke.
       Later we received an explanation of our benefits from our insurance and flearned they were not covering his breathing machine. Was put on hold several times. They will get back to us later in the week because the claim requires extensive research. While on hold I put the music on speaker phone and took a mini-art respite.

This small 14" x 11" painting is still on process
Maybe more telephone holds will  be just what I need.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Thunder Moon

by Rain Trueax

July's Thunder Moon

Because of our times, I wanted to put a warning here. I am going to discuss some cultural issues in this blog. It will appear negative to some. After that will follow what I believe we can do about it, which involves my home. So forewarned is forearmed. If you've had it with negative talk, come on back when Diane posts and next week I'll try to stay away from what is darkening my days. :) Sometimes though, a person just has to voice what they feel about what's going on. It's called venting...

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

by Diane: Mini-Art respite from Care Giving Update #6: Being Prepared


 So happy! Two paintings are back home from being loaned to the Oregon State Fish Hatchery and Research Center on Fall Creek.  Thank you to Ann and Fran from Seal Rock for delivering them last Thursday. Seeing my work from about seven years ago lifts my spirits and increases my desire to paint large again someday.
Fisherman Hubby and I are limited by his ALS. We are not up to stretching canvases espescially large ones. We continue to do yard work together.  Making preparations for Fisherman Hubby's future needs has almost consumed me this past week. Soon we will have Home Instead care giver here 4 hours on Tuesdays and 4 hours on Thursdays. Then the long term insurance submission forms completed, a new Samsun Stove, a taller toilet, maybe the chimney sweep will also clean the clothes drier duc. Soon I will have a medical alert button system in case I have an emergency. Fisherman Hubby in the moment won't be able to speak clearly to 911.  Most of the time I can not understand anything beyond a word or two. For more lengthy communications he types it out on his Surface Pro Grid 3 speech generating devise.

Tuesday was the first day that our Home Instead care giver worked for us. Mostly I was showing Anastazia our pantry, Freezer, BBQ and every thing she might need. She did an awesome job grilling the prime rib and cutting it small. And we love our clean floors and bathroom. Plus this afternoon I had time to work on a memory painting of a niece's father. I hope to finish it before the celebration of life July 13.

Saturday, July 04, 2020


by Rain Trueax

Coincidentally, my blog is on July 4th. That will doubtless be a holiday with mixed messages today in our times. I had already decided to write about the saguaros and their importance to the desert community. I see no reason to change my mind. But, happy Fourth of July if it's an important holiday in your life.

There is a lot to learn about saguaros. I think some see them as just interesting for the landscape. Their shapes vary so much that they are beautiful in photographs. When we bought our desert home, it had three in the space below the house. We were thrilled. They take a long time to get to this size and longer to produce blossoms and fruit. They can live to be over 200 years if something doesn't come along to kill them.

They have been important to the denizens of the desert. The birds  and insects find food from the blossoms and the later fruit.

Birds also create holes in them to raise their young.

The Native people find many products from them from the fruit but also later, when they die, their ribs that they can use for ramadas. The fruit makes tasty jelly or so I am told.  

So we have enjoyed them since we bought this property over 21 years ago. We have never harvested the fruit. Mostly, that's been because with the farm to run, we had to leave here before it happened. This year with the pandemic and our son taking over the cattle and sheep operation, we were here to see their display.

 We have a lot of concern that so many, in the Catalina Mountains, may have been destroyed. My lifetime will not see their return if so.  They will be missed by the birds even more.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

by Diane: Mini art-respite update #5; More Life Changes

It is so sweet and makes me feel so wonderful t
hat my grandchildren really want my art work.
What stands out to me this week is the never ending details to be worked out in planning to conduct care in place in the home for Fisherman Hubby diagnosed with late onset bulbar ALS. One of many difficulties is putting a plan in place in case I have an emergency and my Fisherman Hubby cannot speek clearly enough to the 911 switch board operator. Then getting a network armed with all they need to know in order to smoothly take on the workings of our home.
   Another detail is preparing the house for room enough for all the equipment for an ALS patient.  Also getting the long term care policy working for us to help with the cost.

Our daughters and grandchildren support truely warms my heart. My oldest daughter from Utah was here to help.  My head was spinning to direct my children to most efficiently perform many tasks. The AARP hasa wonderful booklett that has been ver helpful in covering how to manage the necessary conversations and planning  many forseeable future needs.

Failed as far as being able to paint. Instead I chose to submit five paintings to the TENTION/HARMONY Art About Agriculture competitions. Could only manage to get the information in for two paintings.

Creative cooking has been wonderful.  I am learning from my daughters. Especially keen about corn starch breading for fried /baked chicken.  My loving daughters insist that I should replace a broken stove and they purchased a ceramic fry pan for me.