The File Cabinet Caper – Part II

When last we spoke on this subject, replacement cabinets had been ordered and the project at hand was to move piles and piles of folders and such into another room.  It was also necessary to empty one bookshelf in order to get full access to the patio door.  No other alternative made sense.  Other than wanting me to show him where things should go, help move them and explain (many, many times) what was going on, Sunday and Monday passed with relative ease.

Tuesday morning dawns and we are well on our way to stage two of the adventure.  Both our landlord and the fellow that “helps” my husband are scheduled to show up around noon or so to move the old file cabinets out to the patio and tarp them in order to protect them from the rain.  Now; I was going to get those tarps, bungee cords, and blocks at the hardware store on Monday.  Several emergencies popped up with the day job and suddenly there were multiple newly-imposed deadlines and that trip went out the window with a bang.  Landlord was kind enough to supply said needed materials.

So, around noon our assistant shows up and the three of us go downstairs so I can explain what needs to happen.  There seems to be something amiss.  The bookcase that we had emptied the night before is now full again and back in place in front of the sliding door.  Remember, I’m working on a deadline or two for work so, well, this was not a happy sight.  I deserted our assistant indicating the books had to be moved again but only to a place where my husband wanted them.  Hee hee – time for someone else to share the fun!

Once the re-do was completed, the process actually went rather smoothly.  Pictures were taken to entice possible customers.  All three cabinets were set up so that they did not block any windows that my husband likes to look through. Things were covered up and secured.  Doors closed.  Now, another explanation requiring time concepts that are no longer resident in my husband’s head.  “Don’t move anything until after the new cabinets come tomorrow.”  “What cabinets?”  “Who’s coming?” “When will they be here?”  “I have work to do, I can’t leave it like this.”  “Please just leave it.” “Okay.”

Wednesday morning.  Things have been a bit stressful for almost two weeks at this point.  My poor husband has always had a tender stomach, so off to bed he goes for a nap.  The phone rings.  A wonderful meaningless automated message that does not permit playback indicating that someone is terribly sorry for the inconvenience but the delivery is delayed and should be there on the 15th.  It is the 15th and at this moment it is not late.  I call customer service.  Well, “they” don’t know where the confusion is but the system says it is on the truck.  “They” will contact the warehouse.  It should be there by 3:00.  At 3:30 I call again.  Is it, or is it not going to be delivered today?  Well, it’s on the truck and they must deliver between 9 and 5.  I see.

Waiting until five is not the best idea because it throws our routine out of order.  If you have ever dealt with dementia you know that routine is absolutely required to keep things from getting out of hand.  At this point I have delayed going to the grocery store so long we have to go: so where is the delivery?  Hoping to salvage something I fix dinner, clean dishes and – 5:15 – no delivery.

Third call to the vendor asking whether or not my order is on the truck?  Well, ma’am we show it is on the truck but there is some kind of hold up and the warehouse has not returned our calls.  I see.  Now I hear the UPS can deliver as late as 7:00 in the evening.  I think I got a bit, well, unhappy.  The lady on the other end of the line starts trying to say sorry once per second and informs me they will be sending me a coupon to mitigate the problems I am having.  They even offered to cancel the order (oh, me, please no).  At 5:30 I leave a note on the door about where to put the boxes (in the rain) and we leave for the store.  Back at 6:30, no boxes.  Forgot coffee – must have coffee.  So back out we go to the neighborhood stop and rob to pick up something that would have been cheaper at a fancy latté counter.

Exhausted, I climb into the tub for my evening back treatment prepared to try to get some work done.  Not necessarily a good idea.  Our routine is, when necessary grocery, Victoria’s back, dinner, evening science program, bed (for him)/work (for me).  Now we are all discombobulated (Word actually knew how to spell that).  I get out of the tub and he has set the table for dinner.  It is easier to fix a bed time snack than explain that we already had dinner.  Finally, I get back to my computer.

Thursday.  After all of this commotion and disruption, he is really not feeling well.  We haven’t been up all that long when he decides he needs to go back to bed.  After much prodding he tells me that he is feeling nauseous and tired.  Is he sick, or stressed? At this point it is impossible to tell.  I promise to wake him later.  Finally the cabinets show up.  Three cardboard boxes, some assembly required.

In this day and age of “some assembly required” it is not uncommon for folks to purchase things that come in cartons which must then be unpacked and assembled.  If you have participated in this great adventure you may have noticed that the item seems to weight a whole lot more in the box in the back of your vehicle than it does when you have it assembled and move it around in a room.  This is a function of something called density.  Even though the mass and weight may be relatively the same, it feels heavier because everything packed snugly together creates density.  One hundred and fifteen pounds of steel is not particularly light.  And I get to put it together.

I have, actually, assembled a great deal of our furniture.  Cabinets, desks, bookshelves, computer stands.  This is not something strange and daunting.  Except that I have a job.  So, how do we manage to get these things put together quickly enough to satisfy waiting husband while still trying to meet certain obligations on a work schedule.  There’s always lunch time.  And our science program today will be: “How to assemble a storage cabinet.”  First one went up that day.

assemble1Friday.  Still feeling poorly, he barely makes it through breakfast before he wanders back to bed.  Well, at least I can catch up on some things and maybe I can get him to wait until Saturday for the next cabinet.  He does get up but seems rather lethargic and I start to get really worried.  After a few calls to consulting nurses, we end up at the Urgent Care center on Saturday morning.

The concept of going to the doctor seems to be more appealing than actually being at the doctor’s.  This is something I have experienced before, so I try to make sure we do need to go so I can be more firm while we are there.  We actually got in rather quickly and the nurse did all those things they are supposed to and the doctor ordered fluids.  So, after blood went out the door we were told to wait for x-ray.  Took a bit to find out there was some mess up on that and it had to be reordered.  By now we had been there for a while and he started to get antsy.  I expressed concern that I may have to take him home and wait for results.  No problem, but we should have something soon.  Sigh.  Maybe the blood work was stuck on the office supply delivery truck?  Toward the end of the 3rd hour after arriving, he was ready to go.  Go now.  If he had to take the IV with him, he was going.

This is one of those times when I wish that emergency room physicians had at least some training regarding the behavior patterns of patients with dementia.  If he was ready to go there was no way I could keep him in that bed unless he was restrained which I would never allow unless the situation was life threatening.  Since all they had found by then was that he was a little dehydrated, that was not the case.  The doctor got huffed up and informed me we were leaving against medical advice.  I responded that I understood that.  He emphatically stated he wanted to leave.

It took another half hour for the nurse to show up and remove the IV.  This had been a very attentive nurse up to that point and from her attitude and the total absence of the doctor my guess is she was told to stall as long as she could.  Thanks Doc.  I wouldn’t really want to wish this on anyone, but someday you may have to deal with a person suffering from dementia and you may (I repeat may) gain an understanding of the issues at hand.  I was unable to get him to admit whether or not he needed to go to the bathroom until I was actually getting him dressed.  I grabbed the opportunity.  And managed to provide that last sample I believe the doctor wanted.

After we left we stopped for lunch and he became all talkative and close to his normal self again.  I had rescued him from a fate unknown.  Back home we went.  Note to self, try forgetting to offer coffee for awhile and offer juice instead.  Research Dehydration since the discharge papers were completely silent on the subject even though doctor said that’s all she could find.  Check online thingy later for further test results.

Back home.  Back on my computer and trying to finish a few things still undone from the week before.  Buzzing along quite nicely and then: I hear that peculiar twang a steel sheet makes when being moved.  He must be checking out the new cabinet.  It shouldn’t twang like that.  Maybe I should check out the new cabinet.  Arriving at the file room downstairs I discover he has opened one of the two remaining boxes and is taking pieces of cabinet out.  Great.  I guess it’s time to assemble another storage cabinet.

There appears to be a problem.  One of the pieces is bent.  Doesn’t appear to be something that he did because the paint is not scratched.  No, probably something that happened in the warehouse or during shipping.  Under any normal circumstances I would stop, call the provider and have the thing replaced.  Not particularly interested in that option at this point.  Soooo, is it a door?  I can order a replacement door rather easily.  Of course not. It’s a side panel.  Near the hinge.  Sigh.  Well, maybe I can make it work.

assemble2He actually helped on this one a bit.  Tightening a few screws, holding pieces while I bolted things together.  Then the moment arrived to try the bent panel.  Pushing didn’t help.  Pulling didn’t do it.  Finally, squeezing the panel and the door together I got the hinge pin in place.  Does it work?  Yep.  Done deal.  Time for the break I was going to take before I felt the sudden need to check out noises.

Sunday.  Today I decided to circumvent any curious goings on in the basement and went downstairs fairly early to assemble the last of these trouble makers.  As it was I had to track down a few of the supplies and tools I had left in the room with instructions that they must stay until things were done.  The photos are from this go round.  I’m usually pretty fast at this sort of thing.  I will admit I get a might confused on the direction of screws or nuts when hanging upside down and using my left hand, but in the end it usually goes together pretty fast.

Did I solve the problem that started almost a month ago?  Not really certain yet.  He hasn’t started “moving in” to the new cabinets, but he has been rather specific about where he wants them.  Well, the assistant is here tomorrow.  I think it’s time someone else focus on the hows and wheres of files and papers.


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Filed under Caregiving Backstage, Personal Journeys

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