Roz and C.R. Ride in an Ambulance

May 25, 2016


Above: Graphite sketch of C.R. in the hospital—on the new whiter, more absorbent (not that it mattered with graphite) Moleskine Sketchbook paper. Sketch in a 5.25 x 8.25" approx. Moleskine Sketchbook.

Tuesday was a difficult day for C.R. We had a long trip to the ear doctor to have impacted wax removed and test his hearing. The doctor's office is huge. It meant a lot of hallway walking and CR is not up to that, as we discovered, since his last hospital stay.

The outing was the first domino to fall in a chain of events that led to an ambulance ride for the two of us. C.R. did get to return home 6 hours later and he needs to see his regular doctor, but it's a reminder of how much stamina he has lost in the past two months. He will now be going to all appointments with a wheelchair.

I managed to catch Dick at lunch as we were heading to the ambulance. He joined us at the hospital. I used the time at the hospital between C.R.'s tests to experiment in the new Moleskine sketchbook I've been using the last few days.

I am not fond of graphite on the paper. While this paper is toothier than the old yellow paper I would like a little more tooth for graphite. Also there is an uneven surface on this paper and that has an effect on your strokes as you move across the surface. I will have a review of this sketchbook next week. But I hope to not have more hospital sketches.

I just have to add that the EMTs were all great. At one point there were probably 8 of them! Once we were out of C.R.'s apartment building they dispersed. Then we had just a driver and Scott with us in the ambulance.

We didn't need the siren, which was good, because that allowed us to be comfortable. C.R. perked up. I think he was probably also dehydrated. He never wants to drink water. The I.V. had an immediate effect.

I actually enjoyed the ride. I knew he was safe so I wasn't worried. But I didn't sketch, as it was only going to be a five minute ride.

I did enjoy looking around with a curious eye. At the back of the vehicle just above the entrance was a clock reading 7:05—even though it was 1:05. A sign above that (which looked like it had been cut from a bumper sticker) read, "It's five o'clock somewhere."

Isn't that the truth?!

    • Mary
    • May 25, 2016

    He is so blessed to have. Keeping you in my prayers and love your sketch.

    • Miss T
    • May 25, 2016

    Great sketch, Roz.

    • SusanLily
    • May 25, 2016

    Does Dick look like C.R.? I see a resemblance in this sketch to others you’ve done of Dick. It’s a nice sketch, even if you don’t care for graphite on the paper.

    I’m glad C.R. is back home. My mom has gotten dehydrated on a couple occasions, nearing renal failure, and it’s a very scary place to be. Now that I know the signs, I am more aware of the onset–which is always a good thing, to be more aware.

  1. Reply

    Thanks Mary, he is hanging in there. The great news is that he is hearing a bit better now that he has had the wax removed from his ears.

  2. Reply

    Thanks Miss T.

  3. Reply

    As Bugs would say, “it is to laugh.” HAHAHAHA. Do they look alike. Dick is a clone of his father in almost every way. Even down to the gestures.

    There are some differences. Dick never smoked and has always been a daily swimmer, so I’m hoping that he will not have the vascular and mental deterioration at the same rate as CR.

    But it was evident from the moment I met CR that the future of Dick was in some ways very, very set.

    And they are both engineers and talk constantly about their projects and their “field” though that has been more limited in recent months.

    But as to resemblance, yes, in the best of my sketches of either of them you can see it. There’s a sketch of Dick coming up on Friday that looks almost exactly like a sketch of CR made when he was 55. (By an artist at Honeywell, where he worked, as part of an award for excellence.)

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with the dehydration issue too Susan, how do you stay on top of it? I keep asking him to drink water but he always resists. I often have to insist, which actually is easier to do now since he’s more accustomed to my bossing and I’m very good at bossing.

    Each day I learn more things that I have to be aware of and the list is voluminous! I wish it all came with a handbook.

    • Linda Peterson
    • May 25, 2016

    Roz, often times elderly folks resist drinking fluids because they are concerned with toileting issues – needing to go when it’s problematic, needing to get up at night, having an accident, etc. Discussing that issue and how it can be handled may help gain some cooperation with fluid intake….and, yes, you have to insist! Linda, sketcher and an RN 😀

    • Julana
    • May 25, 2016

    Yes, that is true.

    • ML
    • May 25, 2016

    Some do better with warmed, hot water and others tap or cold is easier to down. Don’t know if some light flavor would help. A good chocolate milk is often easy to down when thirsty, hot, out of energy. It can be diluted with white milk. Very refreshing. -The potty issue is a big thing. Knowing where every restroom, every store a mind easier.

  4. Reply

    Linda, believe me, I’ve been fully aware of this for years! We’ve had countless discussions which I just didn’t think necessary in my comment back to Susan. Whether you have these toileting discussions with someone who is only just becoming elderly, or is mentally compromised, they are difficult, but necessary.

    I have done things for C.R. and discussed things with C.R. that I have never discussed with MY father. And long ago both C.R. and I realized it was a good deal I was his daughter-in-law.

    It used to be that I visited C.R. after spending time with Phyllis. I had to use more energy with her than with him and it worked best. But now that he is so frail and having so many comprehension issues I find I have to switch my rotation around so I have the energy to insist more!

    We carry on.

  5. Reply

    ML, thanks for this suggestion. I have noticed that he does like his coffee, but that is obviously problematic because of the effects of caffeine.

    I could get warm water for him and see if he tolerated that more.

    He does love PLAIN milk. It’s the Finn in him.

    • Connie Ivey
    • May 25, 2016

    Yes, I have been there and applaud you, Roz. This is not easy, now or before or in the future. But, persistence is the only road we all know. You are in my prayers. I have to laugh because all of us artists think it is perfectly normal to be doing artwork while in the hospital, talking about our tools, and writing blogs about our life “in the moment”. Everyone else, who has no idea we are staying sane by doing so, think we have lost our minds. So, thanks for the review. I was wondering about that paper. Peace.

  6. Reply

    I hope C.R. is ok now Roz. Take care.

    • SusanLily
    • May 27, 2016

    Roz, I think staying on top of the dehydration issue is easier for me. My mom doesn’t have the mental deterioration you’re dealing with. When she’s (relatively) healthy, she hydrates normally throughout the day and I don’t have to worry. It’s when she’s not feeling well (she has heart disease) that she rebels against routine self-care habits—eating, drinking, getting out of bed, going to senior yoga class, etc.

    I think, for her, that’s from pure exhaustion than from any fear of having an accident, as others have mentioned. Some days she’s just so weak that a to-do list of even the most basic care needs becomes too overwhelming to tackle. During those times, she’s usually compliant, though, if I or someone else is there to see that she drinks enough.

    But if she does become dehydrated (sometimes her meds cause it), she becomes a different person—noncompliant, stubborn, fussy, angry…almost unrecognizable as my mom. That’s probably my best indicator that a trip to the hospital is in order.

    Also, the facility where she lives does weekly blood work on her, to test electrolyte levels among other things, and they’ve caught her in the early stages of dehydration a couple times. So I have help, staying on top of it. But, yes, a handbook would definitely be helpful.

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