Update, 2-9-22

Spent another very loooong day at Mayo yesterday – tests and appointments for Rick resulting in a backslide due partly to my care. When we ran out of one dressing and called the Mayo Store for a refill, they substituted a non-stick gauze that actually developed a skin allergic reaction on Rick’s ankle. I don’t question things like this because I have no idea what to do. You can’t send a picture to the doctor which would be helpful – you have to use their “portal” system which is another technology issue on my part. I only use an IPad and sometimes things don’t work the same as on a desktop so I tried to get my desktop computer working again and all I can get on the screen is “Monitor going to sleep”.

This is my observation from yesterday – not one doctor or nurse asked ME how it was going – not one wanted the opinion of the caregiver! And not one doctor told Rick he should walk more and so it’s just me fulfilling the role of Crabby Wife.

Once again we are the last ones in the waiting room.

Mollie is visiting today – she needed a brisk walk or two.

Let’s play king of the mountain!

No more rats since Monday morning – I think I’ve caught 8 so far. Could that really be all of them???? I doubt it – the traps are staying put.

I get so tired of my chair covered with a cat or just cat hair – nothing is sacred around here – they think they own it all!

The day started off sunny and nice so I planned to go to Target until it suddenly got overcast, colder and started spitting sleet – I can wait for a nicer day.

I think I’ll go sew something fun and watch a movie on my IPad – what are you doing this afternoon and evening?

112 thoughts on “Update, 2-9-22

  1. Lynette in Orlando

    Mary, is there any visiting nurse agency in your area? The doctor can make a referral. I sure wish I lived near you as I would be happy to give you a hand (I’m a nurse). It really makes me sad that not one person asked you how it was going or how you were coping with all this. Wish somehow I could help you.

    1. Cathy

      Same here I’m a nurse still working almost 50 hrs care is not like it use to be I think most decided I can go to school a couple years and make a lot of money aren’t really a nurse 😭

  2. MartyCae

    I love computers, I-Pads, my phone until something does not work. Then when I call help desk I can tell they are thinking “little old lady” from Iowa and start talking to me like a three year old!

    You hang in there as far as Rick’s ankle. You are not a nurse and doing the best that you can!

    Hope you find a good movie!

  3. Rhoda

    Come with me to Honolulu and bring Rick with to bask in the warm sun .
    I agree caregivers are often given short shrift by the health care givers.
    Yes the more we can keep ourselves moving the better and that is not a simple task as we age
    Sending ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️And HUGS.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rhoda – Honolulu! Oh, wouldn’t that be fun? But……who would take care of everything here?

      1. Carol Eberhardt

        Oh gosh, I temporarily lost my mind when I suggested you take her up on the Honolulu vacation! The dogs will watch the cats, the cats will watch the chickens, the chickens will watch the goats and… the rats will kill themselves? Sound like a plan?

  4. Celene

    Bless your heart! I sympathize with you and send you loads of hugs. I share your contempt of “portals” and having to deal with a computer even for health care! I also share your annoyance with doctors ignoring the care giver. My husband has been undergoing some medical issues and we have found that most doctors just ignore the wife who is sitting right there in the room, who surely is the one who is taking care of the patient and trying to make sure the doctor’s orders are followed at home. And, unfortunately, we have also found that as we are now in our “golden years”, we both seem to be ignored even more. Here’s wishing both you and Rick a better day soon! Prayers!

  5. Marie Fibelstad

    Our cats do own everything, they give such good companionship and keep us going!
    But I understand about cat hair as I have it also and shredded chair arm!
    I feel the same about my computer, know enough to be dangerous on it! My 13 year old grandson
    can get me out of trouble on computer!
    Marie, Iowa

  6. Cathie

    Oh Mary – I can so sympathize with you. I was caretaker for my husband and his last
    8 months were horrendous, not just for me but for him. You don’t know if you are doing the right thing or not and trying to get a doctor or nurse to coordinate with you is impossible. Please know I am thinking
    of you and sending good loving thoughts and a hug.

  7. Mary in Davenport

    I’m cutting out pieces of fabric to make dancing girls on a quilt I’m making I have all the center of the quilt done I will send a picture of quilt pattern I actually have all pieces cut except skirt and aprons then I will machine appliqué good for sewing

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary in Davenport – haha! I got the photo before I read your comment and could not understand – lots of appliqué there but so cute!

  8. Deb Bayne - still in Minnesota

    I’m going to see what I can do without a pattern or a clue with pinwheels for a baby quilt. Also watching the reruns of Castle.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Deb Bayne – can I be of some help with measurements for a pinwheel block? It’s so easy

    2. Frances E

      Mary, call he Mayo Clinic technology help desk and ask them to help you set up the portal access. They will do that. If it is necessary to have a desk top computer, try calling the local high school business teacher, or one of your churches for a reference on a couple of high school kids that are tech savvy. It sounds to me like the Mayo Clinic is the go to clinic when things are serious. You might as well get the portal set up now. At way it will be ready when you need it next time. I’m sure you were a good nurse caretaker.

  9. Peggy Grandberg

    Mary I can relate to your dilemma with care. Have been there more than once. As someone mentioned, is there not home care available in your area? This is very helpful even on a weekly basis and having someone to contact if you are not sure about how things are going. Have a good day sewing and hang in there. Can you take a picture on your phone and send it that way?

  10. Pam

    Sorry for your long day at Mayo. A good movie and some sewing should erase some of the angst! I’m just ready to get out and about – cabin fever setting in. We have a few warmer days coming up this week, so that should help.

  11. Susan K in Texas

    I agree on the caretaker being asked how it’s going too. Another question they don’t ask is – what was your life like before the illness.
    I hope a couple of days of taking it easy and sewing something fun helps.
    Surgeon visit today. They’ll do the lesser of the two surgeries – a decompression next Thursday. Two more weeks after that of no driving. My frustration today is that we’re self pay and they keep coming up with balances due after we’ve paid the day of service. The way I’m feeling today they do not want to tell me they didn’t bill it right!
    Take care of yourself! I’m headed back to my chair for a nap.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan K – decompression, huh? I don’t understand that really but so hope it goes well for you! Will you let us know how it’s going?

      1. Susan K in Texas

        Mary there is a bone spur pressing on the nerve. They will remove it and relieve the pressure on the nerve.

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Susan k – oh, it sounds painful for you – I’m hoping for relief for you!

  12. Connie R in Wis

    I’m cleaning my house today or, should I say, just hitting the high spots.
    Sorry that yesterday was such a long and frustrating day for you and Rick. I also wish that sometimes you could just talk to a person instead of having to do everything on the computer! Sounds like a great quilt sewing day to me!

  13. Dee

    Maybe a letter expressing your frustrations to the care team would make them aware of the problems you are having. I used that method with my mother and my husband both for issues I was beating my head on the wall for. I know that home health nurses are a scarce lot, but someone who can look at it between dr visits for you would be a god send. Are you taking progress pictures with your phone? That was a help when the husband had his surgery. That way if you have a helper they can see if there is a change that is not right. My friend’s husband got a feeding tube 3 weeks ago, they are bringing the pump today. She struggled with the tube, then he spent 10 days in hospital, now the pump. She’s worn to a frazzle also. She can’t leave the house as it’s a prep time, feeding time, clean up time, repeat. Hang in there.

  14. Holly in Two Harbors

    I hear you on being the crabby wife–not a fun place to be in. We only do it because we care.

    I had a crown seated this morning and I can’t even tell you how much I hate going to the dentist. At least it wasn’t the prep, which is so much worse. (I’m such a whiner.) Now I have a headache, I suppose due to all that fiddling in my mouth. I’m going to go up to my sewing room and mend a couple things to clear projects out ahead of making a slipcover. I’m not looking forward to that job, but the chair currently has a slipcover that is so worn, plus the cats have been using it for a scratching post. I’m going to try to make the next one baggier so they can’t do that. Cats and chairs–it’s a losing battle.

    I hope things go better with your nursing and Rick’s foot.

  15. Dianna in Wisconsin

    Frustration x 10! You have no training as a nurse so it is very difficult. You do an amazing job taking care of Rick.
    Wish I was closer to help. We are helping out a close friend right now since he is going thru some health issues. Sometimes you just need an extra pair of ears to hear everything and someone else to remember to ask questions.
    Today I starting sewing the binding on a wall hanging. Hemmed two pair of pants that have been in the closet for 2+ years. Made a princess pillowcase for a 4 year old since I needed something FUN!
    Hope you enjoy your sewing today!

  16. Sandy

    Hi Mary, I’m sorry you are having a tough time , maybe you need to say your concerns when Rick is seeing the doctor or nurse.Have a list of questions to ask them! Next topic, rats are smart, maybe move the trap. I know life can be tough but we need to make a list of things to be grateful for, l just wish everyone could be there in person and give you a big hug! Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  17. Diana

    My son used to have appts at U of Iowa. I know how you feel. Seems like you wait forever. Then he would see one Doctor and then they wanted another Dr to see him. So more waiting in the waiting room. Always took all day for a morning appt. Frustrating!!

  18. Kathy in western NY

    I am sorry no professional asked yesterday how you were. You are doing the best you can with little help. Through the viral infection and stroke with my husband in the past few months, I have had the most compassionate team of medical staff always making sure they have provided us with everything we need. Just today my GYN office called to confirm an appt for me and asked me how I was adjusting when I said we have new medical insurance as my husband had retired. On a funny note, I had my yearly skin check appt today at the dermatologist and when she looked at my feet and toes I said, no pedicure for me right now and she said that she had only seen one patient so far this year who braved a pedicure! We laughed. And I buy the three pack large lint rollers cause we are always covered in cat and dog hair!! I’ll take pet hair over smoke smell so thankful I don’t live with a smoker.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy in NY – oh my, doesn’t a pedicure sound great? I think you’re very brave to take care of a very sick husband.

  19. Montana Kathy

    Mary, make sure to give yourself little rewards throughout the day. Sometimes that’s the only way to get through it all. I’m with you on the cat fur issue. I should buy stock in Scotch-Bright rollers (the only thing that really works)! If I didn’t do it every day, we’d be buried in fur! Thinking of you and sending positive thoughts your way!

  20. Donna Sproston

    So sorry your day at Mayo was not up to snuff. I was able to send photos to them by asking the nurse for an email when I described my problem. When you get their survey, tell them your frustration. It is difficult to be a caregiver when we are not the experts.

    Eight rats is impressive. We had 21 nights in a row last year when we caught a mouse in the house. Terminex solved the problem.

  21. Moe from NE Illinois

    Oh Mary I feel for you completely! Jay’s doctors probably think I’m the Bossy Wife! One doctor actually calls me “Doctor Moe”…. because I have been Correct in MY diagnosis for Jay several times! This doctor has also told me, “You have to be your own advocate”. I hope things will be going better for you and for your patient. Isn’t quilting the best! It has helped me though many hours of sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms for Jay and for myself. It has also helped keep me calm, and brightened my day when the day wasn’t so bright. Thinking of you!

  22. Carol Eberhardt

    Hi, Mary,
    Now, first of all, I am so sorry you are always last in the waiting room, long days of sitting are the pits. I’m sorry your husband has been in so much discomfort for so long; after a while, normal seems hard to remember. And for sure, I’m sorry, but not surprised, that you are the invisible person in all this. I have said to my husband for years, in so many different circumstances, I am invisible here. I think the last time I was noticed was when I was in the delivery room. Hard to ignore the woman with the basketball under her dress!
    Now, you need to read these messages carefully; I see a standing invitation to Hawaii; I just might take Rhoda up on that invite if you don’t! We have been at subzero to teens temps for about one hundred years now this winter, and I am well and truly sick of it! Aloha, yes, I could get used to that magic word!
    So what I am doing: I have severe vertigo issues this week so I am putting one foot in front of the other and praying I don’t fall down. Dizzy all day is no joke. It requires so much effort to stay upright. I am taking OTC Meclizine for seasickness and it works to a certain extent. The side effect of drowsiness means I get up, get showered, have breakfast and then take a three hour nap. That’s about the extent of my day. Dizzy when I lay down, dizzy when I roll over, dizzy when I wake up. Called the doctor and they said “stay hydrated and take your time moving about”. Yes, we can cure malaria, but dizzy people, you guys drink some water why don’t you?
    I asked for blood work for an UTI and thyroid blood work. Grasping at straws because I can’t do this for the rest of my life.
    Anyone know a better cure than drink water and go slow, I’m listening.
    PS: it’s positional vertigo, if it’s not something like a UTI/thyroid. I’ve had occasional spells, but nothing all day every day for a week, like this.

    1. Rosie Westerhold

      Carol E,
      You need to get yourself to an Ear, Nose Throat Specialist OR to an audiologist who specializes in treating vertigo. I was an audiologist for over 40 years and treated MANY people with vertigo. Not knowing all the details, I can’t tell you what to do, but there ARE treatments that work. You need a SPECIALIST, not your Primary Care Physician. Please e-mail me directly if you like. You don’t need to put up with this forever. It may take some time to get there but there are treatments that work👍👍.
      Rosie Westerhold

      1. Pat Williams

        I agree with Rosie, need to see a specialist or physical therapist who treats positional vertigo. They know the right moves to get it under control. It can sometimes take a few treatments but it will get better. My husband deals with it and has had some bad bouts in the past but physical therapist has been his best help. Good luck! Pat in Iowa City

      2. Carol Eberhardt

        Thanks for all the suggestions! I think I’ll start with a physical therapist, others replying seem to have had their best luck there. I’ll be researching for someone who specifically addresses vertigo.if I can’t find one I’ll move onto an ENT physician or audiologist, I appreciate you giving more than one route to pursue.

        1. Rosie Westerhold

          Good luck on resolving your vertigo👍👍. There is help out there; you just have to find the right person to help solve the problem.

        2. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central,Ohio

          My friend does exercises on her bed for Vertigo and they worl. Good luck

      3. Mary Etherington Post author

        Rosie W – bless your heart for offering Carol your experience and expertise for her condition!!

      4. Cynthia 'Cinders'

        Another suggestion on the vertigo is to visit your local chiropractor, the crystals in your inner may be the issue. Do see ENT too, nothing worse than dizziness.

        1. Carol Eberhardt

          I thought about that last night. I’m researching PTs in my area and saw a chiropractor who specializes in what I guess I have, benign positional vertigo. Thanks for confirming that thought.

    2. Dianne in CA

      I’ve been dizzy since November of 2020! No one (doctor) seems to care. I can navigate mostly during the day except for looking up at anything or balancing on a stool. But when I lie down it’s bad on one side. I haven’t turned over in bed for 15 months! The doctor did a “maneuver” but it didn’t work. They mentioned balance therapy but no one ever called back.
      It gets really discouraging. I don’t want this for the rest of my life either but maybe I don’t have a choice.

      1. Susan K in Texas

        How miserable Rosie and Dianne! I hope you both keep trying to find relief. Sometimes it takes the right doctor at the right time. My son has vestibular migraines and through perseverance we found a doctor who specializes in vestibular and migraine disorders. Look for someone who is considered a “dizziness” specialist – probably also deals with migraines. We found one through seeing neurologists.

      2. Joann

        Please see my response below. Do not give up. There is help available. My symptoms were exactly the same as yours.

      3. Rosie Westerhold

        Dianne in CA,
        Sounds as if you have Benign Paryxsmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. This very easy to treat. You just need to find the right person to do so. I urge you to se an Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist who treats vertigo. OR an audiologist who specializes in treating vertigo. OR a physical therapist who can diagnose and treat vertigo. I worked with ENTs for over 30 years as an audiologist. I diagnosed and treated that condition for many years under the watchful eye of the physicians. That problem is typically worse on one side than the other, as you described. BUT, it can be successfully diagnosed and treated. It can return, but, if it does, you will know what to do. Just need to find someone who routinely deals with vertigo. It’s no picnic to have that. My patients we’re all so grateful that I could make them get better. And it was just as wonderful for me to help them👍👍. There is HOPE!!

      4. Carol Eberhardt

        See Rosie’s, Pat’s and Susan’s and Joanne’s replies, we aren’t stuck with this forever! Physical therapists, ENT specialists and audiologists can all help!, I can’t wait to look into this tomorrow.

      5. Mary Etherington Post author

        Dianne in CA – find Rosie Westerhold’s comment and email address in these comments – sounds like she might be able to help!

        1. Dianne in CA

          Thank you everyone! This is my first time to comment although I love your blog and farm and Iowa life! Sorry I sound like a complainer. I guess I felt like I had a sympathetic group in which to vent.

          1. Mary Etherington Post author

            Dianne in CA – you will always have a sympathetic group here – I can’t believe how many situations, problems, etc we all share!

    3. Joann

      Vertigo stinks big time. I struggled with it, spent lots of time and money on specialists. I ended up going to physical therapy where they ran tests while wearing a device over my eyes which tracked the severity of the dizziness, as well as finding the cause. With that, they were able to help me. Maybe there is someone close to you who specializes in this technique? Good luck. I feel your pain.

    4. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carol – oh my gosh, Carol! There is something wrong – you shouldn’t be dizzy like this, should you? How terrible to get medical advice of drink some water and go slow! How uncaring could the medical profession be to ignore your pleas for answers! Yes, invisible is exactly the right word – you know firsthand, don’t you?

  23. Arrowhead Gramma

    Mary, It is so hard being the wife/caregiver – don’t ask how I know this. At times, I needed to be very assertive to be heard by the doctors/nurses. Don’t be shy in asking questions to get information. Sometimes that is the only way you can get their attention. Take care and be strong. Prayers continue for you and Rick. ❤️🙏🙏🙏🙏❤️

  24. Betty Klosterman

    Mary, you have a voice. Use it!! Just because the doctors didn’t acknowledge your presence, SPEAK UP!! The doctors are so busy, they don’t always do the right thing either. Ask questions AND get answers. There are some wives that are basically kept knocked up and barefoot! Even in these days. And yes, waiting hours for your appointment isn’t good. A home nurse would be a wonderful help for you. This is when their help is really appreciated.

    Three weeks ago today I had the robotic hernia surgery. I had to get a 20 yr old girl to stay with me for 24 hours after surgery. The hospital nurse working with me on meds and instructions before the day of surgery got her son’s friend to stay with me. That was interesting, but alright. I’m not shy, but she was. Anyway, I’m doing great.

    In the meantime, I have a question for the ladies. Do you empty the water out of your iron when done for the day? I have had a wonderful Rowenta Sew and Press iron for 20+ years and it is done. It was a perfect iron and I never emptied the water. I replaced it with another Rowenta which is heavy and BIG. I am afraid that when I hold it upside down to empty the water, it will tip/turn and burn me, which wouldn’t be worth it.

    Keep sewing, this will pass, someday! Betty in Rapid City

    1. Kathy in western NY

      No I don’t empty the water from my iron, Betty. I have used Rowenta and still go back to some of my older models I picked up from a thrift sale cause they seem to be hotter than my Rowenta. They just don’t shut off automatically.
      Glad you are doing good after your hernia surgery. So please don’t empty out the water cause I don’t want to hear you have burned your hand, dearie.

  25. Betty Klosterman

    One more hint. When my cat was alive, I kept rugs or towels on chairs where we would sit. Then we could just take the towel off and sit on a clean seat and not in a ton of cat hair. She had 6″ hair. And if her head went by close to your face, shut your mouth as her tail is coming next.
    Betty in Rapid City

  26. Angie from Baltimore

    They are very concerned about the patient but the caregiver needs care as well. At Hopkins you have to be there an hour early for an appointment so the doctor doesn’t have to wait. One family said” we have been here for over an hour””. I guess first time and they better get used to it. If you aren’t checked in an hour early you may have to reschedule but These hospitals are the best. Hope you are sewing and watching the Olympics

  27. Jeanine from Iowa

    I am working on a pattern called “Stacked Bricks.” It used 2.5″ strips, so I’m using what I have cut from other projects. I am going to try using up all my strips, and make another scrappy quilt out of the leftover strips that are too short for the Stacked Bricks.

    I hope things turn around for you soon with your husband. Remember, “Be Still.”

  28. Mary

    So sorry about Rick’s leg, it’s just as hard for the caregiver as the patient! Hope it’s on the right track now. Can’t believe ALL the snow you still have, ours here in Missouri is almost completely gone, almost 60 here today! Just delivered 4 QOV to a neighbor to deliver to his 4 brothers, he got his from me before Christmas, he’ll get to pass them on, was very appreciative. Taking the afternoon off to read now. Suppose to turn back cold here by the weekend.

  29. Sharyn Resvick

    I’m reveling in a brand new granddaughter born today. After some hemorrhaging with Mom and some difficulty breathing with baby, both are finally stabilized.

  30. Laurie Mosley

    Mary you are so funny sometimes and so very real all the time! I’m so sorry that you are having frustrations with Rick’s ankle. Don’t know if you are familiar with any books by Charles Swindoll. He’s a good preacher and author. Anyway I often recall what he said “Three steps forward and 2 back!” Net gain of 1! That is what the Lord allows for us sometimes.

  31. Rosie Westerhold


    Even if the Drs ignored the fact that you were in the room, you WERE there. And you need to speak up!! Years ago, hubby had a nasty staph infection in his elbow. Think we called the office number (of course it was a holiday weekend), and our call was routed to his answering service. Anyway, he told us to meet him at the hospital E.R. When all were assembled, he gave this order and that order, and then something else. I was sitting right there and heard what “needed” to be done. I am NOT a nurse, and I had no idea how any of what he recommended would happen. Soooo, I asked him if he had any plans for the long weekend. And I would DEFINITELY need his contact info because I was certain I would have questions if things were progressing as they should. I wanted his phone number, his pager number, etc. (WAY before cell phones!) He looked at me, and said I believe I will arrange for Ken to be admitted for a couple of days. We can monitor him much better here in the hospital. And THAT was how I got noticed. I had worked with Drs and in a hospital for about 15 years by then. I knew how the game was played. You have to get your point across that you need more info and HELP when you have little to no medical knowledge. Hang in there. It will get better. Go hug your animals and sew something FUN! We are all thinking of you and Rick. And I agree a home health care nurse would be invaluable before your next trip to Mayo.

  32. Joann

    I remember being the last patient at Mayo as well. Hurry up, and wait . It’s such a lonely feeling when you / your spouse are the last ones called. I feel your pain.

  33. Kim from TN

    I’m sorry for the set back with Ricks healing but I’m sorrier that no one asked you how you were doing with all of this. How frustrating as the only care giver. If I know anything about myself it is I’m not Florence Nightengale. I don’t like anything that deals with being sick or healing. I feel your pain having to deal with all the bandaging and nagging him to help himself…..hope it goes better. Wow, no rats, how nice for you. I hope to spend some time in my sewing space making a few bowl cozies. Its really cold in the morning but fairly nice in the daytime.

  34. Sandy in Eastern Washington

    So sorry for your frustration from yesterday. After taking care of children (who are now adults), grandchildren, sisters with cancer, parents, husband, and of course my dogs, I make a list before we go to a medical visit and I often include myself with “I am struggling to …” or I need help with …”. During my personal cancer challenge, I watched my husband do his best, even though he often doubted his abilities. Caregivers are expected to fill big shoes with little or no background. You deserve to be acknowledged and respected. You are doing your best.

    This morning I worked on paperwork and preparing for income tax appointments. 6 months into my mom’s estate and not done yet. Dinner is in the crockpot. Evenings are my time to sew and I will watch the Olympics.

    I appreciate you sharing your life. I think this is one of your days to “Be Still”

  35. Micky

    I’m sorry that what you thought as helping wasn’t. It has come the health care is verbal and you are suppose to figure it out. With saying that I have had some wonderful care from Nurses and Doctors in some systems. I hope that you be able to see more healing with Rick’s ankle now. Peace

  36. Mrs. Goodneedle

    I am so sorry that Rick’s care and healing are so frustrating at every step. I understand. My mom and dad are continually up against a wall when dealing with healthcare because they don’t have a computer. It’s maddening! They’re treated like second class citizens most of the time or spoken “down to” as if they can’t understand! Please know that prayers are raised for Rick’s continued healing and for patience his excellent home care specialist! Hugs~

  37. Janet Gluesenkamp

    Mary, hang in there re: wound care, etc. Maybe next visit try saying Now I have some questions/comments/ observations for you, doctor. Should Rick be walking, how much? Then take it however you want. Take a list of what you want to get out there.
    Glad you are sharing this with us, sending good thoughts.
    From a retired nurse.

  38. Jane from St Marys

    I just had my son come in & snag his 7 month old sleeping baby off my chest! There is nothing better in this world than to rock a baby to sleep & then get to watch him sleep while still laying on you! And well….grandma needed a short nap too!

  39. Sue in Oregon

    I am adding my voice to the “Speak UP” group here. They will ignore you if you don’t. I find that asking a nurse is the best route to information, with lots more patience and understanding. That was true with both of my parents when they were hospitalized. I routinely asked the nurses and got the best answers.
    Fewer rats and No rats are the best kind. You will probably find the chickens aren’t eating as much as they used to. HahHa
    I hate to brag, But…..We have been having our annual false spring with 60 to 70 degree days and lots of sun. Wish I could say it’s this way all the time, but I know we will pay in March.

  40. Cynthia 'Cinders'

    Please fill out the survey when you get it and let them know what you have told us about your frustration about being ignored. Even a little encouragement is so helpful. We have ADARA in Minnesota, can you contact your doctor office and request assistance from home health nurses, it is hard to have this type of responsibility when one is jot a medical person, and I think the patient listens better to a third party as well. I took care of my husband for a month after he got out of the hospital with his iv therapy three times a day. ADARA was a phone call away if I had any questions. Fortunately with a port things set up last longer, we had to go to hospital to get dressings changed, but our medical people were superb. Please speak up either via email or call and talk with your doctor’s nurse.

  41. Linda Schluchter

    I would leave the traps too, where there are 8 rats there has to be more! I really miss going to the barn, I’m confined to one leg because I broke my ankle and now have blood clots in the deep veins of my calf so with the grace of God I have wonderful friends who are tending to my barn and barn babies. I get around the house on a knee scooter but it doesn’t work in the snow so I’m a shut in. I had a great day today, my best buddy came out and we made pincushions all day to give out at retreat we are going to the end of March. Before I broke my ankle we went to some resale and antique shops and bought vintage porcelain pieces like small animal flower pots, old shoes and shoes that look like 40s high heels and even little chocolate cups. We made one for everyone that will be there. I had so much fun having company and using our creativity to turn out very cute pincushions.

    Wish I could take my dogs out for a walk around the farm, I certainly miss that and they do too! Looks like Hazel was on the watch for something.

    1. Jeanine from Iowa

      Linda S. – You should take a picture of your pin cushions and send them to Mary so we can all see them. They sound adorable!

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda S – oh, you poor thing! Have I asked before where you live? Are you close to me? Because I’d come and do chores for you or bring your animals here if that was possible until you’re back on your feet. Didn’t you say something about the mice swimming in the water bucket? I have also seen that happen and actually scooped him out. You have horses, right? What else in the barn? Is it cold where you live? Honestly I just can’t remember where everybody is located – I should keep a notebook! What kind of dogs do you have?

  42. Jo in Wyoming

    My prescription for you…vent as needed. Then have 2 beers and call me in the morning!!!

    That is some snow you have. Wowzers.
    I have a bunch of leftover flying geese. I’m making a throw from them. I’ll add borders so it will be just the right size for a chair.

    I hope you can have pizza and beer with Becky and Tom Sunday.

  43. Jean Fuder

    Mary I feel your pain! My husband had major back surgery, fusing a major part of his back…7 1/2 hour surgery. Then 2 or 3 months later her had a huge cyst removed from his back—the size of a hockey puck. It took 4 1/2 months to heal up and many trips to the wound care nurses in Fargo( 50 miles for us to drive) at least once a week) the dressing changed and wound packing once or twice a day. It was a long haul but it finally healed up, but it took forever.

  44. Sheila in WI

    Wow! Sounds like it was a frustrating day for you. And it’s hard to take when you are doing your best. Is there someone in your church who could drop by periodically to check on Rick? Or the visiting nurse idea sounds good too. Lots of good ideas in the comments. But most of all, don’t be too hard on yourself. Consider all these comments as virtual hugs. Take care.

  45. Deb

    My husband and I are heading to Mayo next week. His annual cardiac visit. What a wonderful place!

  46. Sandi

    Are you able to get home health to come do visits? We have had to use them in the past. I’m sorry people haven’t been more helpful. I only use my iPad anymore also. When my computer got to old I decided not to replace it. Hugs,

  47. Deb

    Just finished a quilt for for my grandson’s graduation. Hang in there, it’s hard to be a caregiver. Been there. Have a good evening

  48. Nancy

    Oh, Mary, I’m so sorry. I’ve noticed that when a spouse is sick, nearly everyone checks on the sick one and rarely does anyone ask about the caregiver. I often think caregivers have a harder time of it because they’re doing everything they always did, plus what their spouse did, plus taking care of the spouse, and all the time feeling concern about whether the sick person will get well and how soon. It’s just too much for one person to deal with. It sounds like you don’t have much support. As one of the other commenters suggested, maybe the doctor could prescribe a nursing agency to come help several times a week.
    Praying for blessings for you.

  49. Judy A

    So sorry you and the hubs are going through all that stuff 🙁 Do what you can.

    I’m basking in the fact that I don’t have to go back to work until next week Tuesday. Last weekend I had the idea I should box up my “very nice” serger and put it up for sale since I haven’t used it in years, then after a good night’s sleep, I thought better of it. I gave it a good dust & vacuum, so this weekend I hope to figure out how to use it 🙂 I purchased a boatload of fleece at an estate sale and am going to make blankets for a charity in my area. I’m not a fan of the tied blankets, so I hope to serge them pillowcase style and topstitch the edges.

    And I also take great joy with you in your rat-catching antics. I get giddy catching a mice in the garage and moles in the yard 🙂

  50. Cheryl from ARK

    Uhh, Mary, those cats do OWN the place!

    I haven’t sewn anything since the first of December. The holidays, Covid twice, ice storm, yadayada. I just lost all interest. Lost my taste for coffee too. I used to love coffee. MEH! So I see this block, Branching Out, that everyone is doing and I swear 5 test blocks later I just can’t get the hang of it. It’s like I have dyslexia! It is the knit-pickiest block ever. But still. I’m even tired of reading. I read 14 books in January and then MEH! I think I have SAD! Sick of 🥶 winter!!!!!!
    Cosette, my 12 lb. Fluffy Siamese owns our place. Now if she would just help with the work on the farm…… love me some Hazel stories!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Cheryl – 14 books???!!?? Tell us your number one pick out of the 14. You had Covid twice? Twice? Are you vaccinated? Good grief – you lost your taste for coffee? Guess what – I lost my taste for beer! No kidding. I haven’t had a beer in several weeks – not since I got that bug.

  51. Connie

    I too, am the caregiver of my husband. He was asked at Mayo, what his stress level was. I always think of the answer to questions , in my head,to see if our answers are the same. Not realizing I said 10! He was surprised that I answered and my answer was so high! Caregivers stress is much higher than the patient! Take care of yourself Mary! I too go to my sewing machine to destress!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Connie – I’m going to read your comment to Rick tonight- I know he’ll be shocked. I’m not.

  52. Theresa in Illinois

    HI Mary
    Sorry for your troubles and understand your frustration. For those of us who are not in the healthcare field but find ourselves in the care giving role, it is hard to stay on top of it all. I am sure you did your best and that should be recognized. Perhaps they can give you a resource person to reach out to instead of only thru a portal? I hope tomorrow is a better day and your sewing therapy should help too. Tonight, while watching TV, I am sorting my overflowing scrap basket into color families. Figuring out what to do with them is for another day!

    Theresa in Illinois

  53. Kathy Hanson

    So sorry to hear your experience at Mayo yesterday was unpleasant. You can call the Mayo number and ask for the office of patient experience and talk to someone there about your day. They do look into these concerns and the doctors and staff do hear about the concerns. I will send you the number but I know they take concerns seriously! Glad you are getting your rat problem under control. As for pet hair…well we sure have lots of that!
    I am working on a project that is fabric I have had for a long time, looking forward to having something made from it!!

  54. B. J.

    Ask the Dr. To set up a referral for home health care. Do you and Rick have Medicare? You should be able to have a nurse change dressings etc. And also have PT come to help Rick exercise etc. Be proactive with the Dr. and his staff. You have every right to ask questions and get answers. The doctor cannot read your mind.

  55. Rita in Iowa

    Mary lighten up on yourself. It’s not unusual for sensitivity to happen when you use tape for long periods of time. I have on occasion cut off the bottom of socks and used that instead of tape touching the skin. Don’t know if that info helps but there it is. It may also help to have Rick sit in the sun on the porch to get some Vitamin D. It is suppose to help in the healing.
    Time to enjoy yourself in the sewing room.
    Working on a Carolina Chain quilt all in scraps.

  56. Debra Reber

    Mary, so sorry to hear of all the frustrations with the Dr. appt at Mayo clinic. It brought back bad memories of years ago when I had to take care of my elderly father. He had a weird neurological disease that they didn’t know much about. I had to take him to Dr. appts at a well known medical facility, but I always dreaded it because it was always so frustrating!!!

  57. Carolyn in Illinois

    Your comment about sending a picture to the clinic reminded me of something that happened at the beginning of Covid shut-down. I woke up with a red, painful eye and called the eye doctor. The nurse asked me to text them a picture – ever try to get a picture of your own eye😉. Anyway, about 30 minutes later rhey called and asked if I was going to send the pic. Turned out I was off by one digiit when I sent it. I can’t help but wonder what the person thought who got a text with just one red eyeball! Hope things lighten up in your corner of the world..

  58. Cheryl in St. Paul

    Oh Mary, I’m sorry for your frustrations. Being a caregiver is such a tough role to be thrust into. I do understand. I’ll be holding you both in my prayers.
    I thought my grandson’s confirmation was going to be in May and I always make confirmation quilts for my grandkids. I was alarmed to learn in Sunday that this year it will be in April. And there are extra church services to prepare and play in April, too. So I’ve been sewing up a storm. I hand quilt everything, so it will need to be full speed ahead!, but first I’m going on vacation! May God encourage you both and bring healing.

  59. Carol

    I had my 12 yo granddaughter here. She wove a potholder, used a beading loom to make a bracelet for her sister and started a counted cross stitch project. I assisted when needed.

  60. Liz Schrader

    Mary your story today sounds so much like Bill’s many doctor visits to Mayo . We seemed to be the last people in the waiting room many times. Very long and tiring. My thoughts are with you and Rick💕.

  61. Bobbie Woodruff

    Oh Mary, I feel for you. Today the drs think you are a med student. They tell you nothing and except you to know everything. A couple of years ago I had a pressure wound. I had no break in the skin just a big blister came up on the back of my leg. It popped and it left my leg raw. I had to change it everyday for almost a year. Said it had to heal from the inside out. Never heard of anything like that. I was going to the dr. Everyday to have the bandage changed it cost me $15. Every visit. I was lucky a nurse at our park took me to the drug store and got what I needed and showed me how to do it. The spot started out about the size of a half dollar then even a yr later it was the size of a dime. I have a concave looking hole on my calf today. No one told me anything that would happen except the nurse at our park in Az. The dr said nothing.
    We hadn’t had a checkup for 2 yrs because of Covid. I called for 2 appointments and they said we could use a video chat. I told them I wanted some blood work done and to see a dr.I got the blood work but only seen a NP. So we really didn’t see or learn anything. It seems like no one cares anymore.
    I know with all the animals to feed, the yard things to keep up with, the cooking, shopping, house work tending to Rick your plate is over flowing right now. You just have to know you are doing your best. That’s all anyone can do. The thing with Rick’s leg is going to be a long hall. It’s not a quick mend. You just take one day at a time. Do everything you can and it will end.
    I don’t have cats but I have a dog that is short haired but sheds like she is 10 dogs. I never go anywhere without dog hair all over me. It’s just how it is. If people come to my house they will leave with dog hair on there cloths. So I have told all my friends and family what to expect as I wouldn’t take anything for my Ginger. They can decide if they come or not.
    I wish some of us were closer and could come and help if we only sit with Rick while you shopped or went to church. God bless you because you are there and doing all you can. Just go one day at a time, summer will be here in 5 months or so. Then better weather should help Rick to.
    I’m glad you maybe got all the adult rats. Just keep trapping as they probably had babies you need to get.
    Happy sewing, I’m trying to get started on bullseye in patriot fabrics. But things come up and I can’t get to my sewing room. I also have the fabrics for the one you and Connie did with orange stars from the book you and other designers did a few months back. I really want that started to.
    I’ll get back to sewing but I’ll just take it one day at a time then that day I can sew will be here.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bobbie – thank you for such calm advice – I admit I’m much better now and plan to contact Home Health. I would visit you and Ginger in a heartbeat!!

  62. Kathy Duval

    Good morning
    I’ve been a care giver of my husband since Oct. with a break in Jan when he was back in the hospital for another two weeks. It’s very frustrating to be a care giver when you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. I would call your primary Dr. and ask them if they would refer you to Home health. We had home health and it was wonderful. The two ladies that came out were a blessing from heaven. This is the last week for them, so we’re on our own. No, the Dr.’s don’t ask how you’re doing, they want to know how the patient is doing. Next time you go to the Dr., make sure you have a list of questions for the Dr. My husband had surgery in Sept., so he’s been sick for quite awhile. I have learned a lot, but I never was cut out to be a nurse and here I am. My husband is on a feeding tube right now, so that’s another big learning curve. We pray every day that his stomach will start working. Take care and know that’s there’s help for you, just ask for it.

  63. Kathy in western NY

    Mary I know the last thing you want to read is anymore advice right about now but you replied I was brave to care for my husband so I wanted to add onto Kathy’s comment about home health nurses was a turning point in helping me cope. I credit them with making sure I was stable when I was coming apart. Some of them we had have come from backgrounds where compassion to sit and talk to patients in their homes gives them a better understanding of all. They have seen it all so nothing surprises them but they had a way of talking to my husband better than he could listen to me. I have nothing but praise for the ones who got us through our illness in the midst of covid with doctors and nurses and offices stressed behind their capacities. I am not brave, I just used the tools of knowledge to empower me what was ahead to do what I could as I was not ready to be a widower. Spring is coming and we are on the road to healthy living again so be the strong lady you are and ask for home services to be ordered from Ricks PCP since they didn’t offer it up. It’s paper work many offices don’t have enough staff to do but it’s out there for us so do push for it.

  64. Linda Lutz

    Oh Mary! I feel for you! You probably don’t remember that I cared for my husband for about 11 years. I loved him very much but at times I felt so alone because it was always about him and his health. Now I believe that caregiving is the most grueling job there is. Hang in there! Don’t accumulate any of my regrets.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda Lutz – I remember vaguely – 11 years? I can’t do it! How did you remain sane?

  65. Kristine F.

    Sorry you had such a crummy day at Mayo! I too can empathize with you – I played the hurry up and wait game with my husband a month or so ago at Mayo. You’re so right about the staff not checking in with you the caregiver to see how you’re holding up, if you have questions and or if they have suggestions on changing the way you manage the healthcare at home. It’s exhausting and my family will be the first to say I do my best but I’m not a nurse and I’m a poor substitute for one – LOL. That’s really all any of us can do – our best with the the knowledge and skill set we have. Don’t beat yourself up the care you provided and the technical crap that becomes obsolete five minutes ago. We all have days like this. Be kind to yourself – you friends and family love you just as you are. Thank you for sharing your experience with us – we love you too.

  66. Glenda Fletcher

    Mary, With all the emails that I have read this morning, there are a lot of us that have been in a similar situation. You are doing the best you can. My thought on the rats- 8 doesn’t seem like enough. I believe I
    would also keep the traps out. Thank you for Rosie W. Keep up the good job, Mary. Relax, sew, have fun
    with the livestock, and watch the olympics. Really enjoy them.

  67. Nancy J Finch

    Oh Mary, I feel for you as I have been there, done that with my husband. Must be the Iowan in them. I would speak up to the doctors like “would it help for him to walk more, etc.?” Know what you mean on cats too. Hubby adopted 3 inside and he feeds 4 outside. I would love a dog like Hazel but family all day no and as I cannot get out to walk one, I just have to get my doggy kisses from my 5 grand dogs.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Nancy Finch – it is such an obvious answer which would apply to 99.9% of the population that I think it’s stupid to ask or imply that he/we all should walk more. I am healthy and I could stand to walk more! It is so obvious I’m not sure I can state it or ask it with a straight face.

  68. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    I am late to this one, but wanted to say I understand about being invisible. My husband has broken his neck, run through a sliding glass door, had three major back surgeries —laminectomies and fusions each time ( bolts and screws), appendectomy, meniscus surgery, hernia surgery, two new knees, carpal tunnel, Dupreyn’s contracture, and another hand surgery. After he had the third back surgery in May 2021, , I wanted him to go to an assisted living facility for a week or so until he could get in and out of bed on his own. The facility had NO Covid all of 2020 and 2021, but the Dr. refused due to fear of infection. I get it, but he’s 6’5”, 250 lbs.
    It is exhausting, I know!! So sorry you were the last in the waiting room and ignored. Ohio State medical school has a class for med. students on ow to talk to patients and family. Mayo could use that! Good luck to you and Rick.

  69. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    So sorry for your very long day at Mayo. That has to be tiring and frustrating for both of you. You are doing a great job, Mary!
    Love & Prayers to you and Rick. 🥰

  70. Gwen

    Sorry for your long day. Thankfully, neither my husband nor I need care at this time. I do find it frustrating that my husband hates to go to the doctor so I am always the one who is trying to get him to go for his checkups. Getting regular checkups and treating things early is so much better than not going until something gets out of hand. I hate being a nagging wife but sometimes it has to be.

Comments are closed.