Back in the Dominican Republic

I returned to the states with dad on February 12. We had a fairly uneventful trip back except for the delay in Newark, which always happens.  Poor dad, he was definitely tired when we arrived back in Portland at midnight instead of 11:00, as originally scheduled.  Still, I am grateful that the flight wasn’t canceled completely which sometimes happens with the last flight to Portland.

Monday, February 13, we were up and on the road to Augusta as I had scheduled a Dr appointment for dad.  While he was down here, we took him to see a physical therapist for pain in his knee.  She suggested that dad might have a torn meniscus and recommended we get an MRI.  Since I didn’t know how long it would take to get an MRI, I wanted to get the paperwork rolling as soon as possible.

Also, while dad was down here, he lost 15 pounds!  Jokingly, I say it was because of my cooking.  Really, it was because dad cut out sweets and cut back on his portions.  For example, Dad’s usual breakfast is 4 eggs, over lightly, two slices of toast with marmalade and decaf coffee.  Then for dessert (at breakfast!!), he would have a brownie.  For lunch, he usually goes to the senior center in Hallowell with his buddy, Roy.  At the center, they usually offer two entrees along with a salad, two vegetables and dessert.  Dad would take some of everything offered.  It is easy to understand how, over the past year, he gained 15 pounds!

Towards the end of his stay here, Dad seemed to have less and less energy.  He was constantly taking little catnaps throughout the day. One would think that with losing 15 pounds, his blood pressure back to normal, as well as his sugar that he would have lots of energy.  The only thing to this equation was his pulse.  For the past 3 years, it has been running around 40-45 bpm.  The average pulse runs about 60 to 100 bpm.  Ever since dad had his first appointment with the cardiologist, he has said that dad needed a pacemaker. However, because he didn’t show multiple symptoms, the insurance company wouldn’t pay for it.

I mentioned Dad’s listlessness to his doctor and discussed his blood pressure and pulse with him.  The doctor suggested we get dad into the cardiologist as soon as possible.  So, that Wed,  Feb 15, Dad was at the cardiologist.  They did an EKG and decided that he now qualified to get a pacemaker…..again, I was grateful that he didn’t show the symptoms of fainting or dizziness to the point that if he fell he would have broken a bone.

On March 1, the pacemaker was put in at the Central Maine Medical Center in Augusta.  Dad had to spend a night in the hospital and was discharged the next day.  He came through the procedure with flying colors and I am glad to report he is feeling much better.

We were fortunate to get the MRI scheduled before the pacemaker was put in and it showed that he did, indeed, have a torn meniscus in his knee.  The earliest we could get him in for an appointment was March 21.  I delayed returning to the DR as I didn’t know if it might require surgery to repair the meniscus.   The doctor examined dad and decided to give him a cortisone shot and scheduled to see him on the 18th of April.  The shot helped dad considerably and when he went for the follow-up visit, they decided to leave things as they are until the pain returns. At that time, they will discuss what the best way to treat the pain.

Needless to say, Dad was getting frustrated with all the Dr visits.  I told him that we had to get him “propped up” so he could come for a visit on the next assignment!

In between the Dr and hospital visits, I was able to get my taxes finished.  The night dad was in the hospital, I spent scanning all the information that I had to send in with our electronic tax organizer.  Thanks to my friend, Suzanne, I was able to use her secure WiFi and answer the question in the organizer.  I got it sent in with just a couple of days to spare before the deadline!

There was one week, around the first of March, that the weather was unseasonably warm.  Warm enough to get a couple of nice bike rides in.  One day, I was able to get 10 miles and the other, 15 miles.  My bike had just been tuned up so it was like riding a new one!  Unfortunately, that weather only lasted a week and it was back to “March coming in like a lion”!

I was able to make trips to Bangor to visit with my stepfather, Paul, my sister and her family.  Paul is doing OK.  He seems to be more settled in the Veterans nursing home.  Personally, I think they are just giving him better drugs.  Still, he seems content to be there and seems to have his own little routine.  He always knew me, which was nice.  My dad rode up with me a couple of times.  The first time, he recognized dad.  The second time, he kept calling my dad, David.

Mom arrived back from FL on March 14.  I took her to see Paul the next day.  He recognized her and was pleased to see her. However, not soon into the visit, he expressed concern to Perry, my brother, about mom being there when his girlfriend came to visit.  Not certain if the “girlfriend” ever showed up that afternoon as by the time we left, she hadn’t arrived.  Not exactly certain who he thought this girlfriend was/is.  It is such a sad, sad senario.  It is like losing your loved one twice….once to dementia and then finally to death.  I always have a difficult time when I know it is my final visit for awhile as I never quite know if that might be the last time I will see him alive.

I was able to have some wonderful one-on-one time with my brother, Perry.  It is so nice to have him back in Maine and just an hour and a half drive away.  Perry lives in the neighboring town to my dad, so whenever I was in Augusta, I would get to have a morning coffee or afternoon visit with him.   He  is keeping busy with his real estate selling.  Now that spring is in the air, people are starting to show more interest in buying and selling real estate.  I think/hope the lean months are behind him.

He has also kept busy with projects around his house….painting rooms, getting new furniture, deciding on his upcoming outdoor projects.  Oh, I had my “nephew” Jack spend a few nights with me.  What a character and what good company he is!!  He is five years old, a French bulldog and full of personality.  He is built like a bowling ball…..solid 40 pounds of muscle!  Whenever he is around, you just want to laugh!  He is such a good dog and oh so popular whenever you have him out and about with you.

My house projects are, for the most part, finished on the first floor.  My new living room furniture arrived while I was home.  I was so pleased to have everything finally settled.  The final project was hanging pictures, which I had stacked, for close to

year, along the wall in my “princess” room.  Thankfully, Wes, a dear friend was willing to come and help me hang them.  It just really gives the house a “finished” feeling.

On April 9, I returned to the Dominican Republic. I wish I could say I was thrilled to be back. However, I just find living here difficult. The driving, the disrespect for the beach each weekend by throwing their trash everywhere. Honestly, I try to be grateful and look for the positive in everything. I am grateful for the beautiful condo that I live in on the beach, I am grateful that David has a job that he loves so much, I am grateful for my life experiences. However, we have been here for two years. It is definitely time to move on.
We are scheduled to leave here at the end of June or mid-July. Where our next assignment will be is anyone’s guess. We had thought that we were going to hear this past week but we didn’t. So, for now, I will continue to go to my spinning classes, feed the beach dogs, practice the guitar, try to do some writing and read. I didn’t mention that I bought David and me Kindle Fires, while in Maine. We are enjoying them greatly. Such a compact way to carry several books, which is great for our lifestyle.
I guess that is the news for now. I will add to this blog when I feel that there is something of worth to share with everyone.

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