Saying Goodbye at Day Activities Again

I contemplated for a bit what to title this post. Seriously, I don’t hope next year will see yet another goodbye from day activities. I really hope I will be able to stay at the day center in Raalte much longer than I did at the one I left last year and this one. I know, I didn’t have to leave this center because the team or management no longer wanted me. I’m so glad I left knowing that the reason was mostly down to my own choice and circumstances.

So today I had my leave-taking party at day activities. First, we had French fries with a snack for lunch. I loved them. Most times I’ve gotten a choice of snacks, it was just between the two most commonly-eaten Dutch snacks. I told the staff I wanted a type of spicy snack called “mexicano” and suggested another client, who is non-verbal but about whom we know that she likes spicy food, might like it too. She definitely enjoyed it.

Then when having coffee break in the afternoon, I presented my group with “stroopwafels”, a type of Dutch caramel-filled waffle. I also gave each of the staff a small handmade soap. The staff gave me a large stuffed panda bear.

Then some clients and staff from other groups visited to say goodbye. I got a lovely huge card, the size of a small painting you can hang on the wall, from another group. It had a greeting in wooden tactile letters stuck on it. I also got chocolates. Another group gave me a card and two huge chocolate bars. Now my attempt at losing weight when I go to the care facility will have to be postponed a little

I do not know whether the clients on my own group will notice I’m gone. I guess they will, but most probably don’t have the words to ask about me. People from other groups have definitely been asking about me leaving for a while now and some say they’ll miss me. I will for sure miss them too.

๐Ÿ’ž Happy Eighth Wedding Anniversary to My Husband and Me ๐Ÿ’ž

Today is September 19. Eight years ago today, my husband and I said our wedding vows. Twelve years ago today we first met at the bus stop nearest to the university that I could get to without transferring. That first meeting was awkward. I didn’t have good mobility skills, but of course it wouldn’t have been appropriate for me to use this boy I barely knew online as a sighted guide. As a result, I fell off a few steps and dropped my coffee.

My now husband said later that, after this first meeting, he wasn’t sure whether to ask to meet me again, but intuition told him that if he did, a lot more would follow. And it did.

Today, my husband had to work a long day as a truck driver. He originally had this week off, but changed that so that he could help me move to the care facility on Monday and make the move to our new house. He told me in advance not to be mad if he’d not be home by seven. As it turned out, he was home a little before eight. He also got tomorrow off unexpectedly, so our not being able to celebrate our wedding anniversary today is more than made up for soon.

Someone said in a comment on my previous post that my husband is lucky to have me, because at least I consider choosing him above self-care. I must say, I don’t see it that way, but I definitely feel I am lucky to have my husband. I mean, how many people would walk out on their significant others the day they were in a mental crisis? That’s not a fluffy, socially acceptable thing to do, but it’s reality. My staff at the psychiatric hospital had never seen a patient getting married while on their ward before.

The fact that my husband supports me through my decision to go into long-term care, also proves that I”m lucky to have him.

These eight years married and these twelve years knowing each other, have been very different from the traditional couple’s first so many years, but they’ve definitely been worth it at least for me. Without my husband, I don’t know that I’d even still be alive today. Here’s hoping for a lot more years of a happy marriage.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 15, 2019)

Hi everyone, how are you? Let’s catch up over a cup of coffee or once again green tea in my case. I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week was full of ups and some downs, though the downs weren’t as low as I’d expected. As regular readers of this blog know, I will be moving to the care facility in Raalte in eight days. My staff, my husband and I have been doing some preparation in regards to my leaving my current day activities and going to start up in Raalte.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I finally told my mother I’ll be going to the care facility. I sugarcoated it a little, saying I’d be staying at my care agency in Raalte during the week and going home to my husband on week-ends. As a result, at first she wasn’t sure I’d be actually sleeping at the care facility. After a little “but I thought you were doing so well” and all, she wished me good luck at the place.

I am not 100% sure how to feel about it. In a way, this seemingly supportive attitude contradicts my memories from years before and that is hard to adapt to. However, I’m trying to be gratefulfor her support. I haven’t talked to my father or sister about it yet.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my sister gave birth to a baby girl, Janneke Sietske, last Tuesday. She is named Janneke after my sister’s and my grandma who died last year and Sietske after one of my brother-in-law’s grandmothers. Janneke had some health issues early on and we haven’t been able to visit yet. We’re planning on visiting her next week though.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that today, my husband and I made some small banana soaps for the staff at day activities. I’ll give them to them on Friday, when I have my leave-taking party.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my last appoitnment with my nurse practitioner went okay. He has referred me to the mental health agency in Raalte. I haven’t seen the referral letter, but he said he’d written about my trauma but that, for now, here and now work is most appropriate for me. I did try to get it through that ultimately, I do want to process my trauma. I’m not sure that will happen, as most likely I can’t get trauma therapy without at least a C-PTSD diagnosis if not DID/OSDD. Precisely getting my trauma-related issues assessed is a huge trigger for me.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I finally finished The Fault in Our Stars, which I started reading already three weeks ago. I will hopefully be able to finish at least one more book before the end of the month.

What’s been up with you lately?

Moving to the Care Facility Soon!

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been planning on moving into long-term care for nearly a year. That is, that’s how long it’s taken me to decide I for sure want to apply for long-term care funding, to apply for it, to appeal the decision denying me the funding, to win the appeal and then to find a place. Honestly, this whole journey has been going on much longer. Twelve years ago this month, I told my support coordinator in Nijmegen that I wanted to get into one of their living facilities for people with mobility impairments. Due to my psychiatric hospitalization, this idea got trashed and we ended up looking for places for people with mental illness or “high-functioning” autism. That took many years and was unsuccessful in the end. I got kicked out of the mental hospital in May of 2017 for supposedly wanting to remain institutionalized forever. Well, the psychologist was right in that I feel I need 24-hour care for the rest of my life, but I most definitely didn’t intend on staying in the psychiatric hospital forever. I’d much rather go into a facility for people with developmental disabilities. Thankfully all this time of battling the system that says that an IQ above 85 means you should be pushed towards independence forever, ultimately paid off. I will be moving to the care facility in Raalte on September 23.

The house I will be placed in, has room for twelve residents, divided between two groups of six. There’s always at least two staff in the house during the time the residents are home and awake. During the time we’re supposed to be at the day center, there’s an on-call staff for the entire living facility, but of course there’s staff at the day center. During the night, there’s a sleeping staff at my house, but there’s also a staff who is awake and serves the entire facility.

I will get a room with its own bathroom. This room is a bit further down the hall than the other currently available room, but that room has a shared bathroom. At first, I said I didn’t mind, but the staff warned me that the other clients don’t clean up after themselves. I will get a call button to alert a staff member, so if I can’t get out of the rooom for whatever reason, I can still call the staff if they don’t hear me shouting.

On Thursday, the staff will be discussing what day center group I’ll be placed in. The day center manager did say, after I asked it, that my elliptical can be placed there. They have day activities Monday through Thursday and on alternating Fridays.

They will make sure they have an extra staf available on the 23rd when I move in. They asked my day center’s coordinator whether either she or my support coordinator can come the next day for proper handover.

After a month, we will have a review of how things are going. They made it clear that this is not for the staff to decide I need to be moved out again, but for us to discuss ways the staff could possibly better accommodate me.

I am very excited to go to Raalte! My husband may ask for time off work to move me, especially since this week is also the week we’ll meet with the solicitor for property handover on the house we’re buying. It all is a bit stressful still, but I”m so glad I’ll finally find a place that’s not for independence training or treatment or the like. Finally, I’ll be able to stop merely surviving and start living.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 25, 2019)

It’s Sunday, yay. I am once again linking up with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had a cup of green tea and a glass of water with my evening meds. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I am mostly excited. On Tuesday, I heard through my support coordinator that I’d been accepted into a long-term care facility. It’s the one in Raalte that I’ve shared most about. Raalte is a little over an hour’s drive from my current home and nearly 1 1/2 hours from the house we’re buying, but so far my husband seems okay with it. He asked to see the place, so we were planning on driving there this week-end for a quick look around the grounds. Then the weather got in the way, as it’s too hot to drive for that long.

If we were having coffee, I’d also update you on the house-buying process. The financial aspect is nearly finished, so most likely it’ll indeed all go through.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my parents were in the area today. My father bought some type of outdated physics measuring device from when he was in university or so it seems. We met our parents near the house we’re buying. They seemed content with it.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that we (as in, multiple me) are still feeling a little conflicted about the whole thing. I guess it’s mostly our wish to conform to our parents’ image of us. We could finally show off something about ourself, being homeowners soon, and yet we’re choosing to live in long-term care instead. Of course, I haven’t told my parents yet, but they’ll find out sooner or later anyway.

If we were having coffee, I’d then proceed to talk up some light-hearted stuff. I’d share what I’ve been reading (look for a post on that tomorrow). I’d also share that I’ve been enjoying various blogging prompts over the past few weeks. I love venturing out into new territory with stream-of-consciousness writing and trying my hand at poetry.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 18, 2019)

It’s Sunday. This usually means I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I didn’t last week, because I couldn’t find the time amidst reading and writing other posts. Today though, I’m joining in again.

I am full from all the French fries and snacks I had this evening. I don’t think I can manage to drink a cup of coffee or even green tea right now, but if you’d like one, grab a cup and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your week has been. Mine has been a truly mixed bag. I felt rather stressed out at day activities a lot of the time, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, a staff who would’ve been in charge of one group by herself was off sick. For this reason, the clients of that group had to be divided between the other groups. Besides, the staff who was sick, ran the kitchen group, so we had to do our own dishwashing and all. This was all a bit chaotic and I felt very off most of the day.

Then on Wednesday, we had an argument with one of the staff. She was trying to make me go to a rather useless fitness course. I had been dreading going to the course for weeks. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have a fitness course at day activities, but it involved meditation and information about nutrition and health. No problem, but all my fellow clients are severely intellectually disabled. I don’t think that they have no right to benefit from this class if they feel it’s worth it, but I felt it didn’t fit me.

Thankfully Friday was better and we had a lot of fun.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that yesterday, my husband drove all the way to Schiphol airport to find a bank that was open on Saturday past 2PM, so that we could make the final arrangements for our mortgage on the house we settled on. This merely involved showing our IDs so the bank knew we were who we said we are. Then only the people at Schiphol were too busy to help us. It’s understandable that banks need you to physically show up with your ID before they serve you, but then it sucks that this can only happen during office hours. Officially we’d even have to show up together, but my husband found a way around that. Now my husband is going to try to drive by the bank in one of the cities he has to go to with his truck tomorrow and I’m going to the nearest bank with my mother-in-law on Wednesday.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that we had fries each day of the week-end. We always get ourselves fries on Friday. Then yesterday on the way back from Schiphol, we found ourselves a nice restaurant to eat at. I had a huge burger there. Then today, my father-in-law is visiting us (he’s watching TV with my husband right now) and he brought fries too.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’m not as inspired or creative anymore as I was last week. Then I spent all the time actually doing sort-of-useful activities, including reading, blogging and such. Now I’m still not totally passive, but I”m feeling a slightly lower mood coming on.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 4, 2019)

I didn’t participate in #WeekendCoffeeShare last week, but this week, I’m joining in. Not that I have a lot to share as far as I can think of off the top of my head, but oh well. I just had a drink of Crystal Clear.

If we were having coffee or any other drink of your choice, I’d share that the weather is a lot better than it was last week. The week before, it was hot but not tropical hot, but last week, temperatures rose to 40 degrees Celsius. Now they’re in the lower 20s.

It’s good weather to walk, and so I did on Monday and Thursday. Yesterday too. I walked my in-laws’ dog with my mother-in-law for over an hour. I loved it.

In fact, if we were having coffee, I’d also share that I’ve been more active in the exercise department lately. I went on the elliptical twice this week. Unfortunately, my Fitbit activity tracker didn’t track it as exercise.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve been watching but not paying attention to the talk about Siri and Google and all that eavesdropping on human conversations. I don’t really care. Same for the Tygpress thing. Yeah, I’m offended by the fact that some person probably took my content and is distributing it without my consent. However, the main thing I worry about is this thing killing the joy of WordPress for most people and my losing my audience. Or worse yet, that WordPress will somehow have to quit and I’m left without a blog. Ever since I moved my online diary to WordPress in 2007, even if I didn’t have an active blog all of the time, I spent most of my time trying to have one.

If we were having coffee, I’d confess that I did in fact eat all the candy that was left over from the candy cake we made on Tuesday in one sitting. That is, I left over two waffles for my husband. Then again, on Friday, when we went to the marketplace near day activities, we bought a ton of fruit.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I spent most of the week-end in my room reading. I’ve developed an interest in Rainbow Rowell. Not that I don’t read my usual memoirs anymore, but I want to read more fiction too.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that things on the house-buying front are moving smoothly. Did I share that we agreed on an offer for a house? We will hand in the signed buyer’s contract tomorrow.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband is a great cook. I had to have microwaved meals several times this week and eat at my in-laws once, but when my husband did cook, it was delicious.

What have you been up to lately?

Candy Cake

I want to write more often about the ordinary things I experience in daily life, particularly those I’m grateful for. I considered doing a daily gratitude post or the like, but I guess that would get boring. Today though, I have some really joyous experiences I want to write about.

I may or may not have shared that, when my husband and I got married in 2011, we got a homemade liquorice cake from the staff and patients at the psychiatric unit I resided at. The bottom was made out of a Dutch candy called foam blocks. These are really made entirely of pressed-together powdered sugar and they’re yuck. The top, however, was layered with my favorite sweet liquorice. I loved it!

When my support coordinator and I were in the process of appealing the authority’s decision to deny me long-term care funding, we agreed to make another liquorice cake if we succeeded. And we did! Today, we made the cake.

Candy Cake

As you can probably see, we didn’t choose foam blocks for the bottom layer. Instead, my support coordinator bought waffles, which are not only more tasty but also softer. This meant that my fellow clients at day activities who have swallowing difficulties, could at least eat some of the cake. After all, they can’t eat liquorice.

We then made a layer of marshmallow diamonds. Then we layered the top with an assortment of winegums, sugared candy and liquorice. Finally, my support coordinator sprinkled sugared pop rice over it. In the middle, we stuck a candle in the shape of the number four into one of the marshmallows. This symbolizes the fact that I got my funding approved on June 4.

My support coordinator took the picture above, so that I can show it to my husband and on this blog. Seeing AI, my image recognition software, did recognize the picture as being of a cake.

We ate some of the cake at our mid-afternoon coffee break at day activities. Though the other clients don’t understand the reason I made this cake, they definitely enjoyed it. And so did I!

Happy Blogiversary to Me

Today is my one-year anniversary of creating this blog. I wanted to acknowledge it, since with all my previous blogs, I’ve not really had a blogiversary. After all, I either didn’t keep them for a year, or I switched sites sometime. Like, my original blog gradually emerged from an online diary. Though I remember exactly when I moved it to WordPress, I never considered that day my blogiversary. Blogging Astrid started on Blogger and moved to WordPress three months in. I then deleted my introductory post, because it had references to Blogger in it.

I’m not really one for sticking to a blogging strategy long anyway. I mean, I originally intended this blog to be a diary, but it never got to be one as much. I still seem afraid to be “caught” and to want my posts to be “blog-worthy”. As a result, my posting frequency has significantly decreased.

Today is an incredibly hot day. Temperatures have reached 40 degrees Celsius and at midnight, it’s still supposed to be 30 degrees. Being that I will have to go to bed around 10PM, I’ll most likely be soaring for the rest of the day. Tomorrow is supposed to be just as hot. As such, I do not feel like writing an extensive post to celebrate my blogiversary.

I’m spending the day reading and finding new books to put on my TBR list. I’m also making sure I drink water every hour. Still, the heat can’t pass soon enough if you ask me. Both of my support staff visited me today. I went to the grocery store with my support worker this morning. Thankfully, she had air conditioning in the car and the store was also air-conditioned. With my support coordinator, I just chatted a little. Normally, we go for walks, but that’s just not possible in this heat.

My room is the hottest in the entire house. Still, I like my desk best for a workspace, so I’m not moving my laptop downstairs to write.

I hope you all are keeping calm and as cool as possible.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 21, 2019)

It’s Sunday again and, though I have lots of things I want to write about, I cannot seem to get started. I am however enjoying once again joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. It’s lovely to catch up with people who visit my blog each week for this hop.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m sweating, even though it’s supposed not to be that very hot here now. Only about 23 degrees Celsius. I guess my room keeps the heat. Next week, the temperatures are supposed to rise to 35 degrees Celsius or more.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I need your prayers, positive thoughts and crossed fingers re our house-hunting journey. We found a house we may want to buy. Yesterday, my husband took me on a tour of the town.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a lovely day yesterday at my in-laws’ house. My father-in-law is about to return from his vacation in about an hour, so it was just my husband, me and my mother-in-law. My husband cooked up a tasty dinner of pasta with cheese, minced meat and zucchini. When we returned home, we drove right through a thunderstorm. This was a bit scary.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m currently reading Angels in Our Hearts by Rosie Lewis and Casey Watson. I just finished the second story. It is a really good book.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my husband helped me tidy my room today. We threw out a lot of my soaping stuff that had expired.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’m really wanting to pick up creative writing again, but somehow, I feel stuck.

How was your week and how is your week-end going?