So one reason my load is lighter and hope is brighter these days is Francesca. She’s the caregiver who comes in and helps Blaine in the morning several days a week now, doing bowel care, laundry, and other things as needed (like trying to help him get organized). This weekend I found myself doing several things that have been on my to-do list for years. Yes, years! I am not kidding! Do you have any idea how fine that felt?!?!?!
What a difference a little help makes! I couldn’t begin to imagine…
The other major change that has really helped is the service of the Tri-Met LIFT bus. That has given us all a kind of freedom necessary to take things to the next level… I shall explain.
For years and years, Ric drove Blaine to Free Geek around 2 p.m. and picked him up after 7 p.m. when it closed. When the weather was nice, Blaine took the bus, which travels down a street near our house. But when it was raining (hello! this is Portland!!), Ric was his transportation. This meant that Ric had to arrange his day to be available at 2 p.m. and around 7:30 p.m.
Once he started his Call the Fixer business, this was a real issue in the afternoons. Either he had to stop working for the day, or leave the job for a time, or Blaine got soaked to the skin in the rain, or couldn’t go to Free Geek that day. In the evening, it pretty much shut out any and all activities for Ric and I, since we’re way too old for the ones that begin at 10 p.m.
So Blaine applied to use the LIFT bus. First, Tri-Met said he could use it on days when the temperature did not exceed 32 degrees. In Portland, that’s 1-3 days per year. We appealed. Then they raised the limit to days when the temperature did not exceed 45 degrees. Again, very few days in Portland. So we went to a hearing. To cut to the chase, after the hearing the panel decided he should have unlimited access to the service. Good on them.
Not so great was all the time and energy it took to convince them to do the right thing. I’ve attached a document I prepared for the hearing, which will give you a better idea of what it took to navigate that system. And how and why I got exhausted.