#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?

Progress in Finding Long-Term Care

It’s been exactly six weeks since I got approved for long-term care, so that we could finally start finding me a supported housing facility. Things are moving slowly but steadily. Today, let me share how we’re doing.

Immediately after we heard I was approved for long-term care funding, my support coordinator contacted the care consultant for my current care agency. She made sure to get the paperwork in order so that, while we’re waiting for supported housing, I can retain my current support. After all, community support through the local authority was immediately stopped. My support coordinator also contacted the care consultant for the living facility in Raalte, which is with my current care agency too.

When it turned out the process with that living facility would be slow-moving, I proposed to contact the two blindness agencies to explore the possibility of my living there. One of them responded immediately with an appointment for an intake interview. This is, unfortunately, the one with the facilities in the far north and south and west of the country. Of course, we are talking the Netherlands, not America. However, my husband isn’t happy to travel up to two hours each week to visit me. We agreed on a maximum distance of one hour. This agency has nothing within an hour’s driving distance. We did however request that they help us by recommending accommodations a future living facility could make for my blindness. They will come by to observe me at day activities next week.

The other blindness agency has my file, but they haven’t yet scheduled an appoitnment to meet me.

I went to have a look at the facility in Raalte last week. It was great. The staff/client ratio is 1:6 to even at times 1:4 during the day and there is an awake night staff. They also have tons of sensory supplies, including a sensory room, rocking lounger and a bathroom with a tub. I will hear more about whether the psychologist and physician for this facility find me a good fit soon.

Then today I heard about another facility. It is with a countrywide Christian care agency. It is in the city of Ede, which is about a 45-minute drive from my current home. The facility primarily serves elderly people with intellectual disabilities. I don’t know whether that would be a problem. It might be, as the other clients are probably a lot less mobile than I am. Clients only have a bedroom to themselves, but I don’t mind. The care consultant would send my file to the psychologist for this facility too and then I may come for a tour.

It all makes me feel a bit confused but overall excited too. I mean, I still feel off applying to live in intensive support living facilities, being that I now live semi-independently. Of course, my husband does all of the housework, but still. It’s hard to believe that people suddenly aren’t rejecting me, saying I misuse care and leaving me to my own resources.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 14, 2019)

Yay, it’s Sunday! I am once again joining in with the #WeekendCoffeeShare fun. It’s relatively early for me to write this post, so the most recent drink I had was actually coffee. I usually drink only one cup of coffee at breakfast )or lunch, as it was nearly afternoon), but my husband made me a second cup saying it’s good for the heart. I don’t know whether that’s true, but oh well.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my husband picked up my new Windows laptop on Monday and installed it on Tuesday. The adaptive tech guy came by on Wednesday to bring me a new Braille display and install the JAWS screen reader on my computer, so that I could actually use it. I have been playing with my computer ever since. I hope the tech company will get me training on the screen reader and Windows 10, but even without training, I like this computer much better than my Mac. Right now, my husband is resetting my Mac, so that my mother-in-law can have it. I think I just closed the tab with instructions on it from my iPhone.

My mother-in-law offered to pay more for the Mac than the Windows laptop had cost, but we refused. I don’t want to get extra money from switching computers.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that I visited the living facility in Raalte that’s with my current care agency on Wednesday. It was great. There’s tons of sensory equipment in both the house and day center. The staff are also really nice. The house they felt was the most suitable for me, has twelve clients living there. There are two staff during the day and an extra staff during times the clients get showered and such. The manager and care consultant were a bit vague about the waiting list to move in, but I hope to hear more about that soon.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that yesterday, my husband had the yearly driver’s day at his work. He is a truck driver for a large transporting company and the driver’s day is sort-of-mandatory. I spent the day at my in-laws. Well, my father-in-law had just left for vacation, so I was alone with my mother-in-law. We went for a walk with her dog. Wow, it was hot and humid! My husband came to my in-laws’ house after a few hours when he’d had enough of the event at work. My mother-in-law cooked us dinner, although she was interrupted to pick up a kitten from the animal shelter. She volunteers to bottle-feed kittns that are too young to be kept at the shelter. The kitten was lovely!

How was your week?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 7, 2019)

Ugh, I’m feeling so off. I want to write so bad. Words are spinning through my mind, but somehow I cannot put them down onto the keyboard.

I am once again joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I had a delicious little apple pie with my cup of green tea this evening. Grab a cuppa and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that we decided to let go of one of the houses we were looking at this past week. It’s the house built in 1880 that my parents are totally in awe of, but we’d take a huge risk if we bought this. Inspecting the foundation for problems cost like 5000 euros and there is indeed a high risk that the foundation will be unstable. That amount of money is not something we want to invest before buying the house, yet we don’t want to risk finding out about it once it’s ours. I didn’t like the house to begin with, but my husband loved its appearance.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that next Wednesday, I am invited to go check out the living facility with my current care agency. It’s in Raalte, which is a little over an hour’s drive from my current home. My support coordinator was told not to get me too excited, so I predict the place has already almost certainly been taken, but oh well. We’ll see.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I bought some books on Amazon today. One is a collection of journaling prompts (yes, again!), which cost only 99 cents, but it’s still disappointing. It has a ton of typeos and characters VoiceOver makes out to be Chinese or Japanese in it. The other is Angels in Our Hearts by Casey Watson and Rosie Lewis. It’s a collection of previously published eShorts by these two foster carer writers. It sounds good.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband ordered a new Windows computer for me today. My mother-in-law will pay for it, as she’ll get my Macbook. The computer he ordered is an HP Pavillion, which I’ve heard is quite a sturdy model. It doesn’t have a solid state drive like my Macbook, but it does have some type of thing attached to the hard drive that keeps stuff you use often in a sort of ready-access memory. The hard drive has 1tB of space, which is awesome. I no longer need to worry about getting it full and I can even copy all of my CDs to my PC now. I have a ton of CDs with music that’s hard to come by on streaming services, so that’s cool.

I think my husband will go collect the computer at the pick-up point near his work tomorrow. On Wednesday, the adaptive tech company is coming by to install JAWS, the screen reader, onto it. I called the company to let them know they’ll need to schedule the visit with me in the morning, as I’ll be off to Raalte at 2PM.

What’s been happening in your life lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 30, 2019)

Hi all and welcome to another post in the #WeekendCoffeeShare. This week has been mostly good. I just had a cup of green tea once again, so have a cup with me and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee or green tea, I’d share that this past Thursday was my birthday. I turned 33. I usually look forward to my birthdays, even though my wishlist is usually rather useless to my family. I love the gifts they give me anyway.

I had almost a full birthday week really, as I had visitors each day from Thursday up till today.

On Thursday, my parents visited and we had dinner at a restaurant called Paddy’s. I expected Irish traditionals, but the music that was played was 1980s Dutch pop. I liked the food though. I had a burger. My father had a lamb’s stew and my mother and husband had fish.

On Friday, I celebrated my birthday at day activities and my parents-in-law visited. I got a lovely sensory soft toy. It can, like the sensory cat I got from my sister two years ago, be warmed in the microwave and then smells of lavender.

Yesterday, my sister and brother-in-law visited. My sister is 30 weeks pregnant tomorrow, so I just had to feel the bump. They gave me new sandals.

Today, my two sisters-in-law visited. They brought me lovely smelling body care supplies. One of them had also made a cheesecake, which was yummy!

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that all the visitors have been looking at the information for the houses we might be offering to buy. Other than the one we saw last week, we visited another house and two apartments this past week. We’re still undecided as to which to place an offer to, if any, and of course, this is none of my blog readers’ business.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that I met with a care consultant for Visio, one of the two blindness agencies, last Wednesday. This did lead to a little argument with my husband, as he thought I may want to live in their facility that’s nearly two hours away. I did decide then that, even though my husband wants the best for me, being close enough that he can visit each week-end, is more important to me than finding a good placement.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that the oak processionary is no joke. When I first heard of it in the late 1990s, I didn’t worry. Neither did I earlier this summer when I heard it was in my area. I thought people were overreacting to it. Well, now that I have a terribly itchy rash all over my body, I can say it’s serious.

What’s beeen up with you lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 23, 2019)

A lot has been floating through my mind today, but until I decided to participate in #WeekendCoffeeShare again, I had no idea how I was going to convey my thoughts into a blog post.

Like last week, I’m having a cup of green tea as we catch up. I love green tea, more so than coffee. I must say though that I’ma bit addicted to coffee. I drink it more to get energized or out of habit than because I truly like it.

If we were having coffee (or green tea), I’d share how I’ve been doing with respect to finding a living facility. On Tuesday, I had an appt with the care consultant for a facility with my current care agency. Because he isn’t in a position to decide whether I’m a good fit, I’ll have to wait for him to discuss my case with the behavioral specialist and manager. He said he’d call my support coordinator next Tuesday, but wasn’t sure whether he’d have any news by then yet.

Because I wanted to remain active, my support coordinator has been contacting some other agencies. We started with the two national blindness agencies. Bartiméus has living facilities about an hour’s drive from my current home. Visio’s living facilities are all at least 90 minutes away. Visio was the first to return my support coordinator’s call and I have a meeting with them next week.

My husband was a little sad, as he thought I want to live in Visio’s facility that’s nearly a two-hour drive away. Of course, I want to be as close to my husband as possible, but I didn’t know how to go about finding a suitable living facility. My support coordinator is going to contact other agencies closer to my current home next week. These are not for the blind, but oh well.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share about our house-hunting experience. The visit to the house on Tuesday was okay, but after reading some reports on it, we decided not to go for it after all.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my husband and I had lunch at a pancake restaurant today. I had a pancake with blueberries, while my husband had one with raisins and bacon as always.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that the screen reader company finally called to let me know I could get a new version of JAWS, my screen reader for Windows, covered by health insurance. It is also about time for a new Braille display, he said, and they could let health insurance pay for both in one go. This means that after an eighteen-months-long wait, I may finally be able to get a PC with Windows 10 and the screen reader I love. Of course, I already have a Mac and hence I told the company rep I had to think of it.

My husband was critical at first. He asked which I’d get rid of if I had to choose one: my Mac or a PC with Windows 10 and JAWS. I said I’d get rid of my Mac. I mean, I’ve had it for nearly half a year and still struggle to use it. Other blind people say that’s normal, but I really don’t want to spend that long getting used to a computer. I mean, that’s how long it took me to get used to my very first PC! So my husband offered to get me a laptop with Windows 10 and all if he can have my Mac.

I have been thinking it over and the only thing I can do with my Mac that was a pain on PC was using a good feed reader. Then again, I can’t get used to the way Safari works on Mac, so if I want to actually interact with feeds, I’ll still prefer my iPhone. I no longer use my PC, because it has two broken keys and its Windows 8.1 won’t properly update.

Anyway, I’m going to call the company rep to let him know I’ll go for getting the Braille package as it’s called tomorrow.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that it’s incredibly hot outside. In the coming week, it’s forecasted to get to 35 degrees Celsius or more. That’s no fun, as we don’t have air conditioning at home or at day activities.

The coming week should be exciting. Tomorrow, the day activities staff are taking some fellow clients and me to a local park and having lunch at a restaurant there.

Next Thursday is my birthday. I love it each year. We are going to eat at an Irish pub with my parents then. My sister and her husband are coming over for a visit on Saturday.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 16, 2019)

I have a ton I want to write about, but I’m not sure I can dedicate a full post to any one of these things. For this reason, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I should really make this a regular habit, but for whatever reason, I cannot seem to make anything a regular habit where it comes to my blog. Anyway, grab a cup of coffee, while I grab a cup of green tea. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d like to share that this week has been pretty exciting. Not that anything much has happened, but we have a ton of plans layed out for the coming while.

For example, my husband decided he wants to go have a look at a house that’s for sale. It’s in his work city, which would mean a lot of time and money saved on commute. It’s a really old house, but my father said modernizing it should be relatively easy. My husband and I are going to have a formal visit on Tuesday.

My husband did ask whether, if I move there with him, I’ll retain my care. I said yes. The last time I participated in the weekend coffee share linky, I was awaiting news about my long-term care appeal. Well, I won! On June 4, I got approved for long-term care.

This also means I can start looking for a living facility. However, if my husband and I decide to buy the house and move before I’ve found a suitable facility, I will retain my current home support and day activities even though that city isn’t in our local authority. That’s as much as my parents know about long-term care. I haven’t told them I’m probably moving into a care facility.

Speaking of living facilities, I’ll meet with the care consultant for a living facility next Tuesday. This facility is about an hour’s drive from my current home, but it is with my current care agency and seems more suitable than the facility I toured in January. I cannot be sure of that, of course, as I have yet to be fully informed. So on Tuesday morning, I’ll meet with the care consultant and then in the afternoon, I’ll accompany my husband to the house visit.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that my husband bought a rice cooker. He doesn’t like rice the way he usually cooks it, so was trying whether a rice cooker would help. I liked it. I really love the smell of rice!

I Got Approved for Long-Term Care!

Last Monday, I was so discouraged that I wrote a letter to myself motivating myself to keep going at least till 2021. I was in the process of applying for long-term care and I wasn’t expecting my funding to be approved until 2021. After all, my original application early this year had been denied. My support coordinator appealed for me, but I wasn’t expecting much out of it. The reason I had my hopes focused on 2021 is that by then, mental illness will no longer be excluded as a ground for long-term care, meaning that those with lifelong mental health conditions preventing them from living independently, will qualify.

Of course, I’m not just mentally ill, even if you see autism as a mental health issue (which it isn’t in my opinion). I am blind and have mild cerebral palsy too. I met some people at the CP conference who qualify for long-term care for just CP, even if it’s as mild as mine is. Then again, the rules have gotten stricter and those who lived in group homes or supported housing prior to 2015, qualify much more easily than those who didn’t, like myself. In this sense, my long psychiatric hospitalization works against me.

Two weeks ago, the lawyer in charge of my appeal with the funding agency (I didn’t have my own lawyer) said I probably didn’t qualify for long-term care. The reasons were complicated. From one person, I heard that the physician in charge of making medical recommendations was willing to recommend long-term care but was restricted by law because of my history of mental illness. From another, I heard that I couldn’t get long-term care because the physician couldn’t decide whether my primary disability is blindness, cerebral palsy or autism, so they decided not to qualify me at all. That’s rather weird, because they almost made it look like I would qualify with my exact limitations if only I didn’t have a psychiatric diagnosis on file.

I don’t know how they eventually managed to do it, but late Tuesday afternoon, the lawyer called my support coordinator to inform her I had been approved after all. I am so happy! I qualify based on blindness as my primary disability.

Now I feel weird. I know I should be happy and I am, but I feel also disconnected from myself. In a way, being approved for long-term care is an ending, in that I’ll (unless the laws change) never have to prove that I need 24-hour care again. On the other hand, it’s a beginning, enabling me to start looking for a group home. Because I qualify based on blindness, we may or may not be able to get me into a group home with my current care agency. After all, they primarily serve those with intellecctual disabilities. I prefer this agency though, so we may be looking into tweaking my care profile. If I can’t live with this agency, we’ll check out the two blindness agencies here in the Netherlands. One has housing about an hour’s drive from my current home, while the other agency’s housing is 90 minutes to two hours away. My husband said though to prioritize suitability of the group home rather than proximity to our current home.

I feel pretty distressed about telling my parents. They will be visiting me for my birthday at the end of the month, but I don’t know how far things will have moved along then. I don’t really know when to tell them. It’s okay though, I tell myself. I don’t need their approval.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (May 25, 2019)

And yet again, I did not write for almost an entire week. Fortunately, this time it isn’t because my depression is worse. It’s still there, mind you, but it’s not worse than it was a week ago. I don’t really know why I couldn’t find the mojo to write again. To get back into the swing of things, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s catch up. That is, I’d rather have a glass of ice-cold water right now, but if you’d like a coffee, that’s fine with me too.

This week has been a bit boring but also exciting. This week was when I was supposed to get news regarding my care situation. I still can’t disclose details. That will hopefully change soon, as I did get some news and may know for sure where I’m at this coming Tuesday. For those who don’t know, I’m in the process of applying for long-term care. Please all pray and send positive vibes my way.

On Wednesday, I normally struggle at day activities, because it’s the busiest day and we have a cooking activity then. I tend to want to be in control then and struggle trying not to be bossy. This Wednesday though, I did pretty well. I was even able to help with the cooking itself.

I’ve been fairly active as far as exercise is concerned. I went swimming with my day activities group on Tuesday. I nailed my step goal (10,000 steps) on Wednesday and nearly on Thursday too. I also finally got back into the swing of going on the elliptical regularly. As such, I got over four hours of exercise this past week.

My husbband invited me out for dinner at a chicken restaurant this evening. I love love love chicken and this place didn’t disappoint. It was an hour’s drive from our home, but my husband doesn’t mind driving.

Tomorrow, I’m probably going to have a relaxing day. We might visit my in-laws, as we usually do on Saturday but didn’t today. Other than that, I’m just hoping my day will go by okay.

Mental Health Ramble

The month of May is mental health awareness month. I’m not sure how much I can contribute to it. In fact, I only found out about it today. Since I have a cold right now, I really don’t feel like writing. Or really, I do, but my brain is too foggy I can’t come up with a coherent topic to write on. So I’m just going to ramble.

Since it’s mental health awareness month, I could share my story of how I found out I’m mentally ill. Then again, I honestly don’t know. Autism, which was my first diagnosis, isn’t a mental illness. Adjustment disorder, which I got diagnosed with upon my breakdown in 2007, isn’t really either. Thank goodness, it still qualified me for care back then. Since insurance coverage of care is diagnosis-based in the Netherlands, and adjusmtnet disorder is no longer covered, I wouldn’t have been able to get care with just that diagnosis later on. In this sense, it’s good that I was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and PTSD in 2010, then borderline personality disorder in 2013.

I am not even 100% sure I identify with mental illness myself. It’s really weird. If I were mentally ill, wouldn’t I need therapy? I don’t get any unless you count the meetings with my nurse practitioner every few weeks.

I don’t feel able to ask for more help on my own accord, even though I’m pretty sure I need it. I have been having a ton of weird symptoms lately and, though I’m getting by, is this really all there is to it?

I had a physical check-up at the mental health agency last February. I have a ton of issues that could be related to my mental health and/or the medication I take for it. Yes, despite the fact that I don’t even know whether I am currently diagnosed with anything other than autism, I take high doses of an antipsychotic and antidepressant. I don’t mind, but I do feel they need regular monitoring.

My psychiatrist would’ve seen me in March, at least that’s what she intended on in December. I still haven’t seen her. I do need to schedule an appt, but I’ve been taught through my years in the mental hospital that, unless you are a pain in the neck of others, there’s no need for you to see your treatment provider. I challenged this belief last year by scheduling an appot for my depression, but I”m not sure I can do it again.