Posting of Daily Goals for Decluttering/Organization – my Flight Plan

Posts tagged ‘hemiplegia’

Flight Plan on Hold? or FLYing through Surgery

E’s hemiplegic hand before surgery

I had mentioned upcoming surgery for my daughter.  Well, it happened last Friday and my life has been crazy to say the least.  Did this put my Flight Plan on hold, or did I FLY through surgery?  Well, let’s just say, I was not adequately prepared with a Flight Plan for surgery.  I mean, how many times in your life (I hope not many) do you need a packing list specifically for an overnight stay at the hospital?  And what exactly do you take?  Also, keep in mind that you’re accompanying your 10-year-old daughter who will not be able to carry anything for herself following surgery, leaving you as the sole person responsible for everything.  Throw in details like sleep deficit and the stress that comes for teachers at the beginning of every new school year with the overwhelming number of details to attend to even before the first Teacher Workshop days, and my Flight Plan faltered.  I panicked, became overwhelmed, and screamed at my husband who appeared to be living a normal, everyday life that I couldn’t have.

Cast from fingertips to about two inches from her shoulder after quadruple tendon transfer to lift her wrist and fingers into a useful grasping position

In the end, I did come up with a manageable amount of baggage to bring into the hospital and carry back out again.  I did keep things organized by things to do during the waiting time before and during surgery and clothing and toothbrushes etc for the overnight stay.  I actually considered using my wait time during surgery to write up the plan for the presentation I’m scheduled for during teacher inservice days next week.  I know, right?

What I really did during surgery was eat breakfast (so I wouldn’t become a patient later by fainting in the recovery room with my daughter), post updates to friends and family, nap (so I wouldn’t look like I might faint in the recovery room and so I could intelligently ask and answer questions), and eat lunch (to have the energy to care for my daughter after surgery, especially not knowing when I could get away again).

Yes, I really wonder what I looked like when the admitting nurse, while asking me questions about Emily’s medical history, made a point of telling me that I was welcome to come to the recovery room within 30 minutes of her arrival there but that I certainly didn’t have to if I didn’t want to.  What?! my tired brain protested, trying to make sense of this.  WHY would I not want to be in the recovery room with my daughter?  Are there actually parents who think they have better things to do or what?  At another point, the nurse asked me if I was okay.  “Oh, yes,” I said brightly!  Do I look that bad?  Yes, I guess a couple of nights of 5 hours sleep will do that.  I need at least 7 hours to really feel good.

Cast on right arm from surgery, brace on right leg due to hemiplegia (one-sided weakness or paralysis), bandaged knee from surgery to halt growth on left to facilitate evening of leg length, and crutch for left arm – Oh, and dinosaur surgical cap on head

So I guess it appeared that my Flight Plan may falter, but I flew (FLY = Finally Loving Yourself) when I took care of myself during surgery.  After all, what good would I be if I didn’t?!

Flight Plan -County Fair/Surgery/School Year

I’m FLYing!

From my title you might guess that this is a busy time.  I’ve been FLYing through all three of these things – helping with 4-H projects for the county fair, preparing for surgery for my youngest, and shopping for the coming new school year, oh, besides planning for starting my new year of teaching.  All of this while continuing my decluttering/organization projects.

So here’s some of what’s been going on…

Teen DD asked for money for bobby pins for rabbit showing at the fair. I searched the drawer in the bathroom and ended up giving it a much needed cleaning. Hair things dumped in the drawer and spilled baby shampoo making things gunky. No, we haven’t had a baby in the house in 10 years!

Toothpaste & lip balms in narrow white organizer (also washed) and combs and flossers next to it in the drawer.  Hair things in separate bin for Tween DD.  Ear rings and whatever collected next to sink for Teen DD to take.

The bin full of stuffed animals was piled high with clothes moving from Teen DD to Tween DD – all of that between the bathroom doorway and the laundry hamper system. Unfortunately there are 6 years between the two girls, and clothes have to be stored several years before we pull them out and hope they fit, are still in style, and that Tween DD likes them…Ew, how dirty is the carpet underneath all that and behind the laundry bags too!

The pile of clothes is now in vacuum sealed bags for storage and the floor thoroughly brushed and vacuumed behind and underneath.

Hallway before

My side of the new refrigerator will contain reminders like “Take your vitamins” and “Drink water.”   Memo boards and laminated routine are on the other side of the refrigerator.  As Tween DD completes her morning routine, she moves laminated strips from the left to the right side of the refrigerator. On the far right is a job list on which kids can record points they earn that turn into money at the end of the week.

My side of the new refrigerator – It will contain reminders like “Take your vitamins” and “Drink water.”

Daily routine before

Completed routine – laminated strips moved to the right

Today is Fair Entry Day and 4-H Rabbit Judging at night.  Tomorrow I can post some awesome 4-H projects on trifolds, rabbits ready for transport, and craft projects boxed to go.  Later in the week I’ll post ribbons earned, … after returning from the hospital with Tween DD from her surgery.  More on that to come…

 

 

Flight Plan – Delayed… but not grounded

I am without kids this week.  The two youngest are having their annual week of Grandma & Grandpa Camp, and my oldest is doing a job shadow to prepare for her future career.  It’s my week for major decluttering!!  Right?!

Yesterday’s decluttering time was sucked up by insurance issues!  I’ve mentioned that my youngest is scheduled for surgery in August.  This is actually two surgeries designed to correct physical effects caused by a brain tumor removed when she was 5.  E  is going on 11 now.  Well, last January our doctor referred us to surgeons for consultation, and they, in turn, sent us for a complete analysis of how E’s muscles communicate with her brain as she moves.  Long story short, we are (I am) now working to get insurance to pay for all this, even though we were told that none of it needed prior authorization or pre-approval.

Motion analysis lab

Left side of desk – bins of 3-ring binders on floor under window, bins of teaching materials stacked by desk but blocking access to file cabinet, overflow on and under bench by desk

Left side of desk after moving the bench and clearing overflow and miscellaneous items that were hiding underneath the bench.

I turned the bench the other direction, since it was butting up against the bins that were, in turn, blocking the file cabinet. Kids’ books that were sliding off the top of their bins were collected and placed in another bin on one end of the bench. All bins will be moved to my room at school in the next couple of weeks.

So, I made phone calls, wrote letters, faxed those letters, and wished….. that I was getting paid for my time, especially when this is supposed to be my week to get my big decluttering/organization project done.  My plans were majorly delayed….. but not grounded!  Here’s what I did at the end of the day.

I’m following the Olympics this week.  So, for my 15 minute increment I chose the beach volleyball segment to work on the area around the left side of my desk.  (You may recall that the right side of my desk came earlier this summer when I wanted to reach the window for some fresh air.  Well, there’s a window on the other side too!  There’s also a filing cabinet we need to access.  Can you see it in the first picture, or do you need the second?)  

Yes, so proud of this!

You know, I started this blog thinking that I would post my goals and use the blog as my accountability for accomplishing what I set out to do.  Lately that has dissolved into here’s what it used to look like and here’s what it looks like now.  It works!  I am accomplishing things left and right and keeping my positive energy flowing with this blog as my motivation.  Thank you to anyone who lets me know that they’re following along on the journey.  But, a bigger, riskier step is to post my goal ahead of time… to set that bigger goal and a time frame for accomplishment.

That big goal is the basement family room.  At least that’s what we call it.  Our family doesn’t go there.  The kids used to when they were much younger, but it’s not such a people friendly place to be anymore.  It’s been the place to store boxes and bins of stuff to the point where there’s no room to DO anything.  It’s also filled with toys the kids have outgrown: a toddler slide; a kids’ basketball hoop; a sit-n-spin; a disorganized art cart and desk strewn with scraps of paper, broken crayons, dried up markers.

It also smells kinda funky.  It’s the place where the cats live where we’re away from home.  Where they leave their fur and fur balls.  It’s also where the excessive rains in the spring and/or fall leave the carpet under the egress windows damp and musty smelling.  The bugs and spiders love it and take up residence there.  After all, no one will disturb them!

You may recall that I started the summer and this blog in the basement.  We need to use this space!  It’s a whole level of our house that we are not using well.  Have I mentioned that DH and I are not getting time to ourselves with teenagers in the house?  They never go to bed!!  But without the basement, they have nowhere else to go, and neither do we.  We are temporarily sharing our bedroom with our youngest until the oldest leaves for college.

“One more year, one more year!!!”

“Now that we’re trying to push you out, Sweetie!”

My newest thought is to make the basement so inviting that if teen DD doesn’t want it, I will!!  Of course there’s a few glitches to figure out in that plan, such as lack of closets in the basement and needing to travel to the 2nd floor of the house to shower.  Not to mention the part about making it a place for the kids and their friends to go – play Wii, air hockey, watch movies… but to also be someone’s bedroom…  just for a year!  It would make a great teen apartment, especially for our vegetarian DD who cooks separately for herself already.

That’s my goal!  Where’s Nate Berkus when I need him?!  15 minutes at a time, the basement will be an inviting place to be!!!

Flight Plan – FLYing while on vacation

CHASA (Children’s Hemiplegia & Stroke Association)

Over the past week my family and I road tripped to Arlington, TX for the annual CHASA retreat for families of kids with hemiplegia or one-sided weakness.  CHASA = Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association.  I might have mentioned in an earlier post about our youngest child, Emily age 10, who has right-sided hemiplegia.  More to come on that…

Okay, the best I can say about our family organization on our recent week-long vacation is that we did indeed have organization!!!  Did I feel entirely organized?  Well, no.  But I’m still working on why and what to do about it.

I coded my 4 lists all in purple for CHASA (hemiplegia awareness) so I could find them all easily in Color Note.

I had 4 different lists in use while packing – one for the cooler we use to avoid eating out all the time, one for the bin of general supplies for picnicking and living away from home (including pool toys), a small first-aid bin, and the general packing list we use for any overnight trip (you know – socks, underwear, toothbrush, etc.).  I always knew what was in each bin.  Yes!!!

I did not personally pack the coolers or decide which items went in each one – one large on wheels, one medium-sized, and one smaller.  That was a problem!  The drinks and snacks that should have been accessible while traveling were not!  We had to dig out a drink from a hidden cooler during a rest stop and decide right then what we wanted to have for the next few hours.

 

The bins and coolers worked well when we stayed in one place for 4 days.

My bin system worked well.

 

I really appreciated the organization of my bins during our hotel stays, but we really needed some kind of system for placement of the bins in our rooms.  We stayed in two different hotels on the way to Arlington, one room at the retreat hotel for 4 nights, and one more hotel on the way home to MN.  I knew what was in every bin and learned what was in each cooler, but the order and placement of the bins and coolers varied from one hotel room to another.  I had to look right to left and back again each time to decide where the one I wanted was placed.  I guess my brain needs a pattern to follow from one place to the next to keep my sense of order.

Hotel desk or “flat surface”!!!

More hotel desk or more flat surface!!

 

As you can see from the pictures, my family followed their usual pattern of placing random objects on flat surfaces.  It didn’t take long before I felt like my brain was on overload with all the visual clutter around me. Aaaahhhh!  Where do you put random objects in a hotel room?

So, organization was improved over trips of the past.  I had my lists and I used them religiously.  But there’s definitely room for more improvement.

On return home at 10:00 p.m., the first thing I did…  swept and mopped the kitchen floor, dirtied by shoes coming in and out and sorted the mail accumulated over a week’s time to make it easier to deal with in the morning.  15 minutes!

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