This blog was formerly dedicated in 2009 to my Dad who died of Alzheimer's in 2013. It's been three years now...and I find myself missing blogging...so I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Out in Left Field...

Mom went to visit Dad today and found him in bed, after just having a nice shower....although when Mom commented how nice he must feel after his shower, Dad told her he did not remember any shower...and wanted to know how Mom had found him....

Mom explained she had visited him there before.  Dad went on about some man hiring him, but had not paid him, so he was looking for him so he could sock him in his nose...  Mom cautioned Dad to keep calm.  He closed his eyes and looked like he was falling asleep...

Mom touched his shoulder, asking if he wanted to get out of bed and go on the patio...Dad opened his eyes and began to cough.  It was not a congestive type cough, it was dry and seemed forced...as if he was "fake coughing".  Mom asked again if he would care to go outside..."No...." and then he shut his eyes again...

Mom asked if he wanted a drink of water... Dad opened his eyes and coughed again.  She was able to get him to drink two glasses of water.  In between gulps, Dad was abstract talking, not making any sense...his comments totally out of left field...

"I think it was the fish"....Dad blustered....coughing again.  Mom looked at Doctor-Doctor, Dad's favorite caretaker, and she rolled her eyes back to Mom and told her, "Don has not had any fish." Mom smiled and nodded... Dad closed his eyes again...

Mom had noticed Dad's right eye.... it does look better, more dry, less goopy.  I had called her this morning and I told her the Hospice nurse had called me yesterday telling me Dad's eye was looking a lot better.  She also sent me another picture of his left foot.  It looked a lot better than last time...except for the horrible growth where his pinkie toe used to be...

Doctor-Doctor asked Dad if he would like to watch TV... Dad thanked her and told her it would be nice...  After the TV was on, Dad closed his eyes again....Mom said he seemed very tired and sleepy.

Mom could smell the lunch carts coming down the hall... Doctor-Doctor left the room and returned with a woman she introduced to Mom as the RN who would be taking the next shift care giving for Dad.  Mom mentioned Dad's cough and the RN felt Dad's forehead and confirmed what Mom felt, that Dad did not have a fever.  Mom let her know she had given Dad two glasses of water and the RN assured Mom she would continue to push the fluids... Dad dozed peacefully....

Mom leaned over and kissed Dad's forehead, telling him his lunch was on the way and she had to stop at her doctor's office before she went home...  "Go ahead...I'm fine... Have you seen S______ lately...(My 2nd to the youngest brother)  Mom told him she had not seen him in several weeks....

On Mom's way in she had dropped off goodies for the nurses and staff...so on her way out, several nurses and staff members including the Administrator came over to hug Mom and wish her a Merry Christmas...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Up, Up and Away.....


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Mom went to visit Dad today.  She found him sitting up in his wheel chair beside his bed talking rapidly.  Dad has two room mates, one was fast asleep and one smiled at Mom as she walked in. His caregiver, "Angel" greeted Mom telling her Dad had just finished his shower.

Dad told Mom he was very happy to see her and had just returned from an incredible trip to Oklahoma on a speedy dirigible (only Dad called it a huge, fast balloon)...He had landed at the harbor in Oklahoma and the mountains were gorgeous!  He could not believe how fast the balloon flew. He also went down the main drag of Chicago and Broadway in New York. Dad never felt so much speed and there wasn't even any vibrations.

He saw my sister Holly in Pearl Harbor.... she travels all over the world doing her thing...  Dad said he had been in Pearl Harbor for four years....right there in the harbor. There weren't any bombs or anything.  "I'll be on the moon this time tomorrow, the balloon is so darn fast!"  Mom could only looked wide eyed at Dad, smiling at his enthusiasm and nod her head...

"The last time I saw B_____, (my oldest brother, who lives in Ohio with his family) he was going out one of the windows at 1446 (where we used to live with our grand parents when we were very little, before we moved to Washington state...) with a bloody head.  He drove himself on a scooter down to the big hospital on Green Street....Mom interjected, thinking the name of the street was Congress Place...Dad told her, "whatever..." and continued on with his story....

"I have had no connection with the boys since you passed away..." (Mom looked perplexed as she quickly jotted down notes to keep up with Dad's imaginary adventure... Dad has been telling Mom lately how shocked he was to see her alive because he thought she had passed away...apparently, he is still thinking it is true...)

Dad went on..."I am 53 years old and taller and wider than I have ever been.  I feel so good! The dirigible sped down the streets of Chicago (where Dad lived as a child) so smoothly I could not even believe we were moving! It was so amazing!! I saw the building out there in Oklahoma, huge mountains...... what a wild place... and very exciting!"  

"A lot of people went with me...we had a great time...I have never weighed so much or been so tall....I just feel so GREAT!"

"All the houses on our old street in Pasadena are closed and shut down.  Same with Monrovia....the people were too scared to be that close to the freeway..... Don't go near the schools either....you will get shot! Whoever dreamed up the evacuation of the cities was nuts..."

"I gave a speech today on the loud speakers in the ceiling... The nurse is going to cut off the blister on his foot (Dad has a large skin cancer growth on his left foot)... The doctor is taking up a collection from all the nurses...."

"My friend has a personal problem...  he yells at the nurses....  I call all the young nurses "sweet peas"....because they are so sweet and hard working..."

"I own everything on the island there....it was my second trip....I received extra pay for my help with the war situation, but I won't fight any more...I let it go.... I don't go outside any more....( Dad made his crooked, rheumatoid fingers like a gun, pointed it and made a gun shot sound...)

"The boys think I talk too much.  I didn't want to make a second choice with my own kin.... There are a lot of crooks out there..."

"Holly (my sister) wears a furry thing around her face when she interviews people all over the world... "they" offered him a new car, which would be nice when I go to Pasadena....a nice red truck like E_____ has..." (None of my brothers have ever owned a red truck or car...my brother E____ has a silver truck.)

Mom could smell the lunch carts coming down the hall.  One of Dad's favorite care takers, "Doctor-Doctor" walked in with Dad's lunch.  Doctor-Doctor told Mom how Dad had told her about the balloon ride to Oklahoma earlier this morning...Mom sat and chatted with her and Dad for a few more minutes, then kissed Dad and left.  Her head was spinning from their visit and his imagination....

Mom figured he had watched some programs on TV about Pearl Harbor, since yesterday was it's anniversary. Dad does sit in the TV room quite often, so I am sure whatever he picks up on the TV adds to space travel in his dreams.  Dad has always has had a vivid imagination... I bet he dreams a lot of it... I too have a vivid imagination and have travel dreams...whatever it is....when he is up, up and away, it agrees with him....excites him...and makes him happy...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dad's Care Conference 11-27-12

Mom and I attended Dad's Care Conference this past Tuesday, Mom in person and me, over the phone.
They started off confirming I am the first contact, then Mom, then my brother K____.

Confirmed we do not want CPR or any invasive life saving procedures....only transportation to hospital if ill, continued medications etc.

We reviewed the various services provided.  Dad had seen the Optometrist, but apart from Dad's bad right eye with the skin cancer, his left is about the same on his glasses prescription, so no new glasses were ordered.

The Opthamologist saw Dad and still requests Dad to be evaluated by a plastic surgeon.  We plan on having Dad see the Opthamologist and surgeon he saw last April, but as long as Dad is in no pain, we will not take any action as Dad would not cooperate anyway.

The Psychiatrist visited Dad and gave orders to keep Dad on his "happy pills" Lexapro and the Aracept.

Dad's toe nails had been trimmed by the Podiatrist and the nursing home it is done regularly, despite Dad having the growth on his left foot and being on Hospice.

The Dentist still wants to pull several of Dad's teeth (instead of filling them) and we continue to say NO, unless Dad has any pain.

Dad continues to have a great appetite and weighs 152 pounds.

The Activities Director extended an invitation to our family to attend their real Santa Christmas Party with food and gifts on December 14th at 12:30pm.

Dad's meds were reviewed with one new order for new antibiotic drops for Dad's right eye for a period of ten days, ordered by Dad's doctor who last saw Dad November 19th.  The doctor has been giving Dad the liquid nitrogen treatments and Dad has not complained of any pain on his left foot.

I confirmed Dad was not diabetic and the Director of Nursing assured me Dad was not diabetic.

All in all it was a good report.  Dad continues to flirt and be joyful with all the female nursing staff and hospice staff and volunteers.  We all had a good chuckle with Dad's amorous ways.

Mom popped in to visit Dad but he was snoozing in his wheel chair as holiday music waived through the air.  He looked so peaceful, Mom decided not to wake him and to come another day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"I Thought You Were Dead"....

Mom went to visit Dad yesterday for Thanksgiving.  Mom found him in the TV room watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...

When Dad noticed her, he looked at her a couple of times...then told her, "I thought you were dead".

Mom assured him she was fine and did her best to convince him he must have had a bad dream...

The nursing home staff was busy putting up fall wreaths and stand up decorations on the dining tables.  Dad told Mom the decorations were love signs for him and it made him feel....Mom said he could not vocalize the word he meant to describe how he felt, but she could tell he was happy and excited.

Looking at Mom, he shook his head and told her he could not believe she was still alive....he had thought for sure she was dead.  Kudos to Mom, she did not let it shake her and joked it off or told him it was a bad dream.  Then Dad launched into a whopping tale of a huge vehicle which went so fast he could not believe it!!!  Mom thought he meant some type of a bus...

Several of the wheel chairs, including Dad's, had 3 x 3 inch tags with a gold star in the center.  Dad told Mom the tags were to allow him and some other special residents to watch the speeding bus... Dad told Mom it went so fast it scared him.  Mom cautioned Dad to stay out of the way the next time he watches the bus...

One of the physical therapist came by and told Mom how well Dad is walking with some assistance.
It is amazing to all of us he can even stand on his left foot.

Dad told Mom he was 55 and he thought Mom was about 53.  Mom smiled and told him "That sounds about right".... (Dad is 92 and Mom is 85.)  Thank God Mom has such a great sense of humor.

Dad changed the subject again and began telling her disjointed tales of all the things he can buy outside....and especially the fish.  He catches them in his lap and the flop around so much he has to wallop it with a club.  He doesn't like it when they flip flop, so he keeps hitting them to make them stop.

Dad explained to Mom how the little girls excite him and how kind they are....(Mom knew he meant the young girls on staff.)  He pointed out a dark haired woman in a wheel chair.  He said she stays close to Dad.  She is very principled and he likes her.  Dad said she was aloof with everyone else except him...and that love calls from her to him.

Mom asked how his foot was and he told her how happy he was when the doctor came to eat the bulb on his foot...and it did not even hurt!  (The doctor is doing liquid nitrogen treatments on the skin cancer growths on Dad's left foot.  What started as a small skin cancer on his left pinkie toe, has grown into large bulbous growths on his foot... we hope the treatments will prevent infection and the need to amputate his foot or leg because of his poor circulation.)

Dad told the doctor he did not want treatment because it would cost too much.  Dad's doctor told him he was all paid up.  Dad thought it was very nice the doctor was still treating him and it did not even hurt.  Mom told Dad she was so glad to hear it and how Dad had the best doctor in town...

Goldilocks was Dad's caregiver for the day.  She had bathed Dad but had not had time to shave his face yet.  Dad really likes her and flirted with her shamelessly....  Mom was concerned with his weird tales and what appeared to be delusional thinking...but he is still on all his meds.

The hospice nurse called me today to let me know Dad was fine, still on his antibiotics for his right eye and had normal readings.  She said he was sleepy, but so happy to see (and flirt) with her...

Dad's lunch was served and smelled divine!  He had turkey with cranberry sauce, dressing with gravy, peas with tiny pearl onions and red pimentos (which Dad loved), a delicious looking fruit salad, roll and butter....(he half one half and when Mom offered him the other half he informed her he does not eat rolls)....coffee, milk, pumpkin pie and ice cream.  Dad ate every crumb.

Par for the course, as soon as he finished eating, he got his sleepy eyes and told Mom he was ready for his "beauty sleep".  Mom rolled him over to Goldilocks and kissed him good-bye.

Next Tuesday we have a Care Conference for Dad.  Mom will attend in person and I will attend over the phone as I most always do.

We stayed in Nevada this Thanksgiving as I was in California the beginning of the month for Dad's birthday.  I missed my family, but we had a wonderful dinner at my husband's son's family.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Am So Grateful...Happy Thanksgiving...


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I am so grateful
for our health
our family
our children
our grand children
our friends
our dog and grand pups
our life
so many
have 
so much less
this is the day
to focus on 
our many blessings
and to let those
who mean the most
know and feel
how much
they mean 
to our lives.

I am grateful
for another year
with my Father
He lives in the oblivious bubble
of Dementia/Alzheimer's
but we are so grateful
the disease has 
brought joy
happiness
and an outgoing nature
to him
Many experience
much worse.
Each November
we celebrate his birthday
and at 92
we are so very, very
grateful
to have him with us.

I am grateful 
for all my blogging friends
despite my
break in blogging
they remain loyal
concerned and supportive.

May each and every one
of you
have a blessed
safe
and wonderful
family/friend gathering
today
giving thanks
the best way for you
and may you all
be safe and healthy.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dad's 92nd B'Day Celebration....

Today is Dad's 92nd birthday.  Yesterday, due to every one's work schedules, my brother K______, his daughter A_______, her fiance J_____, my sister Holly, her son B_______, his wife K________, Mom and I went to visit Dad and celebrate with a white cake/chocolate frosting and cards.  We found Dad sitting in his wheelchair in the hallway by the nurses station.  My brother lead us all in and when Dad saw him he let out a happy, loud, yelp and reached for him as my brother leaned down to hug Dad.

Then he saw my sister and called her Holl Doll.  He recognized Mom and me and then was so happy when Mom and my sister were helping him with the names of everyone else... Dad was elated.  He could not contain the joy he felt...

When Holly told Dad her son, Dad's grand son and his wife were having their first child and they had just found out it would be a son....Dad cheered loudly, beat his chest and punched at the air with pride and delightful approval.  We all laughed.

We were blocking the hallway with the herd of us, so we wheeled Dad outside on the patio.  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  Dad was dressed in forest green sweats and a striped forest green shirt with small blue and white stripes.  His eye looked absolutely terrible, as if his eye is getting smaller...it was all goopy and gross, so my brother tactfully offered his sunglasses for Dad to wear...

We sat mostly in the shade at a round metal patio table, and the guys grabbed extra chairs so we could all sit around the table.

Dad was in rare form.  He was pontificating about "institutions" and "masterful men"....he went on and on over my brother telling us all he was Dad's best friend.  My brother is the executor of our parent's estate and has power of attorney for Dad.  He owns a trucking company, but comes to see Dad quite often, but does not share his visits with us, like the rest of us do... He keeps his visits private between he and Dad...but we could easily see how happy Dad was to see him.  Made us all so happy...

Dad's hair is growing out and it looks good!

Dad went around the table making comments to all of us....The last family outing Dad attended prior to going into the nursing home, was to my nephew's wedding.  Dad acted like he remembered their wedding and told us all what a perfect day it had been.... He was so excited to hear about their pregnancy.

I told Dad my daughter Holly and her husband Matt are also expecting the first of April, the same as my nephew B_______ and his wife K______'s baby.  They are both going to have boys.

Dad commented how beautiful my niece was and how happy he was to hear they will be getting married next May, the same month my nephew had gotten married three and a half years ago.

We called my brother Brian in Ohio so he could wish Dad a Happy Birthday...my brother could barely get a word in edgewise because Dad was again talking a blue-streak about him, remembering memories of him as a little boy....some of it making sense and some of it not....



After we rescued my brother from the phone, he sent his love to the rest of us through the phone's speaker and we all told him we loved him in unison.

Dad started in again on my brother K______ praising him for the jewelry store he owned....which always makes us laugh....because my brother owns a trucking company.  Dad told me I owned the nursing home...but I knew he meant I found it for him...

Dad reminded Mom she is "one of his wives....but she was his favorite"....which made us all burst into rolls of laughter....and Dad joined in the laughter with us.

Dad loved his cake....


I fed it to him and I could not get it in his mouth fast enough to suit him!  It also had a custard filling inside and Dad was loving it.  We told him Mom baked it fresh this morning for him....but really we had ordered it fresh from Stater Brothers that morning.


 Mom and I took turns reading Dad his cards...



None of us got much talking in...Dad regaled us with his stories and tales....often using his favorite words of the day, 'institution' and 'masterful'.

My sister asked Dad if he remembered Mom's phone number from over 66 years ago when they first met at a ferry stop in Seattle.  Dad remembered the phone number without a moments hesitation.  Amazing.  He told us he could not forget her number or he would have never seen her again....

It was a great visit.  The cake was delicious and we all shared lots of laughter.  We wheeled Dad back into the dining room and got him all set up for a delicious looking dinner.  We all kissed and hugged him good bye.

After we left the nursing home, we all met at our family favorite restaurant, Taco Ready.  I had a carne asada burrito with slices of avocado....see below:


It was a great day.   Saturday, Mom and I had met my sister at the Corner Bakery for lunch and a long visit, then Mom and I went to see FLIGHT with Denzel Washington.  The movie was intense, sad, with a powerful message.

Mom and I sat and talked our faces off after our birthday celebration for Dad...then Mom made a delicious dinner of lamb chops, asparagus, sweet potatoes and salad.  DELICIOUS!

This morning Mom and I ate breakfast together.  I hated to leave...Mom and I really have been enjoying one an other's company and I really wanted to stay longer...  My oldest daughter had a PTA meeting and I promised to watch the 10 year old and the 8 year old...

We all just returned from El Charro for dinner.  My grandsons are playing near me as I write.  The 8 year old is sailing his imagination on the Lego pirate ship his brother made and the 10 year old has my ear buds in listening to my iPod.

The boys get up early for school, so they will be hitting the sheets at 8:15pm.  I look forward to some one on one with my oldest daughter.  This is our first chance to talk and see the ultrasound pictures of their little son to be born next April.

Monday, October 22, 2012

He Sings Ava Maria....

Mom and my sister Holly went to visit Dad yesterday.  They found him in the dining room wearing a new baby blue velour jacket and pants, a gift from Doctor-Doctor (one of Dad's favorite caregivers).  Dad looks great in blue.  He was happy to see them both and recognized my sister, calling her his pet name, Holl Doll.

Dad's lunch of turkey, stuffing, zucchini, beets, watermelon, wheat bread and butter, coffee, milk and ice cream.  He scarfed up every bite leaving nothing but shine on his plate...

He leaned over to my sister and whispered to her, "Can you tell me why I am here?"

Holly told him he was there because it is the very best place to take care of him.

"I agree....that is a good answer."

Both Mom and Holly complimented on how nice he looked in his new outfit.  Doctor-Doctor explained to them how Dad had admired someone else wearing a similar outfit, so she bought him one.  Very sweet of her.

Mom, Holly and Doctor-Doctor continued to chat with Dad.  Doctor-Doctor coaxed Dad to sing Ava Maria, which he did in full voice.  Dad did great the first couple bars then he made up his own words... "I want you, I want you"....

Of course they all had a long laugh and Dad joined in the laughter...my sister took the opportunity to take his picture in the midst of laughter....(see below) and also videotaped him singing...


Dad laughing...

I would love to share the video my sister took, but a woman is in the background and I would not want to post some one's loved one without their permission.  I was able to crop her out of this picture.

Mom asked Dad how old he thought he would be in two weeks....Dad told her, "I will be 50 years old." (Bless his heart, he will be 92.)  Again, they all had a good chuckle.

One of the other female residents, who frequently yells, pulled off her shirt, exposing herself...while the staff struggled with her to cover herself, non of the other residents seemed to notice or even pay attention.  Apparently she does it so often it has lost its novelty...

Dad didn't miss a beat and prided himself on how nice the windows are and how well he keeps them inspected...and having more money than he can count on in Chicago...

Both Mom and Holly felt good with how happy Dad seemed and told them both how great he felt.  He insisted he had no pain and felt fantastic.

Dad's doctor is going to attempt the liquid nitrogen again...and consult with a surgeon as well regarding Dad's left foot.

The Hospice nurse sent me a photograph on my cell phone of Dad's foot. I was very shocked.  It looks so much worse than when I last saw it last May...  I asked my brother K_____ if he would not mind looking at it because I needed reassurance and a second opinion from family that we are going in the right direction.

He was shocked too.  He agreed we have to go with what Dad's doctor and the surgeon recommend.  If they say Dad needs amputation of his left foot...and we don't...it will only be a short time before infection sets in...I am amazed it has not become infected already.  A tribute to the care and attention Dad receives at the nursing home.

We stay united in prayer and know each day, each moment we have Dad is a blessing from God.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Prayers Answered...For Now....

Dad's doctor emailed me.  Our prayers were answered....for now.  He saw Dad last Friday and has determined Dad does not need amputation of his left foot yet....  He wants to try the liquid nitrogen again.

I am awaiting an email picture of Dad's foot from the hospice nurse... The last time I saw his foot was last May...

When Mom returned home, she had two phone messages from Dad.  One wanted to know where she was and the other wanted her to bring him some money...

I double checked with the nursing staff and they were unaware Dad made any calls.  One of the male caregivers, who spends a great deal of time with Dad, told me he thinks it is the only phone number Dad remembers and he calls it when he thinks of Mom.

Mom and I had a wonderful visit.  I got a wheel chair for her so when we went out to dinner and to take her gambling on her penny machines, it was so much more comfortable for her and kept her energy level higher.

We are planning on going to visit Dad as a family the Sunday before his 92nd birthday the first week in November.  The nursing home always celebrates all the October and November birthdays on Dad's birthday. It will start right after his nap... Very convenient because Dad thinks all the fuss is just for him.

Many thanks to all of my dear friends who continue to pray for Dad.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Email from Dad's Doctor....

I finally got an email from Dad's doctor this morning...  He told me he had not been informed of the wound care doctor's recommendation for amputation on Dad's left foot.  He said he had been busy and had his Physician's Assistant visiting Dad, and she had not mentioned anything to him.  He will go visit Dad personally, this Friday, and then get back to me.

WARNING: GROSS EXPLANATION:  Dad had a small skin cancer on his left pinky toe.  It was originally a blister before he entered the nursing home.  Somewhere in between his poor circulation and  last year, the wound would not heal and eventually was diagnosed as a basal cell carcinoma.  It turned purple and began turning half his foot purple.  Just below his ankle, he has a plum sized dark purple growth.  That is how it looked last May when I was shocked to see it.

The nursing home just kept telling me the wound was not healing...and it was red and swollen, but no one ever prepared me for what I saw.  They continue to keep in clean, and keep Dad on antibiotics or antibiotic creams.

I told Dad's doctor we need to know the pros and cons on not amputating and the amputation.  So far, the wound on his left foot is not infected.

We all feel the odds are not with Dad to be put to sleep for surgery to remove his foot...and if by some miracle he did survive it, and had any consciousness or awareness at all, he would be totally traumatized realizing he did not have a left foot!  None of us can imagine explaining it to him.  He would FREAK!

So far, he is not in pain, nor does he complain of any.  We anticipate if his foot did get infected, it could turn to gangrene due to his poor circulation in his legs.  The doctor said they can not feel a pulse in his legs.

We just have to put Dad in the hands of the Lord...and see what unfolds.  We need the doctor to give us our options and go from there...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Face Time and Dread...

Our family company left late last night after a wonderful, fun weekend...the sheets and towels are washed, the bed re-made, everything cleaned and tidy...ready for my Mom's arrival tomorrow morning.  She is going to stay with us until the 14th, which is our 11th wedding anniversary...

We are all on pins and needles...the wound care doctor had the nursing home called me last Saturday to advise me he is recommending amputation of Dad's left foot. They had left a message for me to call Friday evening when I was walking my dog.

I have been emailing and calling Dad's primary care physician since July, around the time Hospice started.  I wanted clarification on Dad's left foot since the physician had stopped Cryotherapy because it was not working.

In my email, I asked the doctor what would happen if we DO NOT have the foot amputated....I am guessing there is a chance of infection or gangrene since Dad does not have good circulation in his legs.
I don't want to guess...we need to hear from the doctor on what our options are...because amputation will probably mean the end for Dad...

My sister Holly called to let me know she was on her way to visit Dad and she wanted to face time with me so I could see Dad.  (Face Time is like Skype, on Apple products).

When she arrived at the nursing home, Dad was in the dining room playing ball.  The staff pushes all the tables together and sit the residents around the table.  They take turns pushing a large beach ball back and forth, up and down the table.  Holly video taped the exercise on her iPad and after awhile, asked Dad if he wanted to go to the lobby for a visit...

Dad thought Holly was me.  When she got me on face time, Dad began to laugh happily when he saw me on the screen.  I waved, smiled and blew him kisses....he returned the kisses, only he kissed the screen!  He did not have his glasses on so he held the screen which is larger than 5" x 7" about an inch from his face...so all I could see was his right eye with the cancer.  I could see how the cancer has spread from his lower eye lid, to the center of his eye and up the side of the bridge of his nose...

Dad didn't say much...he was struggling to see me...must have been difficult looking at the screen so closely...Holly attempted to get Dad to sit back so I could see his full face...but he would go right back to holding the screen close to his face.

I asked if his eye hurt him...and he told me no...told me he felt fine and kept giving the screen kisses.
We visited for about 10 minutes...me talking and Dad laughing and kissing...

After our visit, Holly showed Dad pictures from my grand son's recent 2 year birthday party...pointing out the 7 year old (who will turn 8 the end of this month) and the 10 year old...  Dad seemed very confused on the names and who was who...

When Holly took him back to the dining room for lunch, Pickles, one of the nurses, asked Dad who the pretty lady was visiting him...meaning my sister....and Dad replied, "Oh, this is Donna".  Pickles knows it was my sister Holly...  My sister is so gracious and understands how much Dad loves her, but the disease short circuits his brain, criss-crossing his memories and emotional connections.  Its one of the more difficult challenges we each endure on our journey with Dad...

We all agree it is getting more and more difficult to see him more confused and the inevitability of his afflictions.  My sister noticed how awful his eye looked...but could not investigate his foot...she cannot deal with gruesome stuff like his foot...although Dad seemed happy, he appeared more confused than he has been in a long while...

She kissed him good bye and left him to enjoy the Bible Study and guitar playing.  Dad just loves the music and hearing the Word...Dad thanked her for coming...

I've had this sense of doom for some time now... I want the doctor to return my email...but at the same time, I don't want to read or hear what he is most likely going to tell me...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dad Needs More "Moola" to Buy a Car...

Mom went to visit Dad today after she ran her errands.  She is coming to visit us in Henderson, NV next Tuesday, October 9th.  It will be good to have her here all to myself.  I know it will be nice for her too, getting away and relaxing.

Mom found Dad in the dining room awaiting lunch.  Dad's Navy friend joined the table complaining as usual, this time he was cold.  Dad's caregiver whispered to Mom about him always being cold.  Mom gave him some coffee to warm him up and he drank it right down.  Dad told Mom "the seasonings were off" on his coffee so he pushed it aside and would not drink it...Dad picked up his milk glass and drained it.  Mom offered to get Dad some fresh coffee and fix it the way he likes it...but he was not interested.

A delicious lunch of fresh baked fish, some new type of rice, broccoli, pears with cinnamon candy juice (which both Dad and his Navy buddy scarfed up!), bread, butter and ice cream arrived and Dad dived in.

One of the therapists stopped by their table to chat.  She noticed how much Dad was enjoying his ice cream so she reminded him they were serving milk shakes in the afternoon.  Dad's eyes lit up and he told her he would enjoy that...  Mom suggested Dad take a nap so he would not be too tired to enjoy the milk shakes.  Dad agreed.

During their talk, Dad asked Mom for more moola (money) again... Mom told him to ask my brothers E____ and K____ who were in charge of that.  "I'll have to go to Covina for that...I am thinking of buying a car..." (This kind of talk makes Mom nervous, because Dad usually talks about needing money and getting a car for a long trip he is planning, when he would be off his "happy meds".  But both of us checked and he is still on them...)

Mom shared with Dad the price of the current gas prices and Dad decided he would stay where he is and post pone his trip....(good one Mom...) He told her again how he was in charge of the windows....then he mentioned a lady friend who had died.  He was very happy she had been buried in the family plot.  

Mom asked Dad if she knew the lady.  After thinking for a few minutes, he decided she did not know her.  Then Dad introduced her to his Navy buddy.  Mom told Dad she had already met him.  The Navy guy told her he was cold...

Doctor-Doctor (one of Dad's favorite care givers), told Mom she would be caring for Dad today and the rest of the month.  Mom told her how much we all appreciate her and the other caregivers, taking such great care of Dad.  She told Mom Dad was scheduled to get a hair cut today, but the hairdresser was sick so he would get his hair cut on Monday.  Mom thought Dad's eye looked clean, but was larger than she remembers...

Dad thanked Mom for visiting and she told him she would visit again soon.

On the way home, a big black SUV tapped Mom's bumper from behind at a stop light (on a busy street).  She turned the corner and pulled over to investigate.  The driver of the SUV pulled in behind her and asked if she was OK.  Mom said she was, but wanted to see if there was any damage.  They both looked and everything was fine.  Mom was very relieved.  (Personally, I am very relieved as well.  I am so glad this did not happen at night.  I plan on cautioning her NOT to stop if it were...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Wisdom in Windows...

Mom, Jerry and I went to visit Dad yesterday before we left California to return to Nevada.  We had one and a half days to do our laundry and repack for our trip to Missouri to visit friends.

When we arrived at the nursing home we were happy to see the re-landscaping and new front patio were finally finished.  Everything looked so nice....here are a couple pictures of the front...

 Front entrance and front patio

Front right front patio and part of parking lot


We found Dad playing Bingo in the dining room, waiting for lunch.  He had his glasses on and a handsome cap.  We wheeled him outside to the back patio and settled in around a table in the shade...

 Dad and Mom

Dad

 Dad and me

Dad was in rare form...he had ask Mom to bring money the last time she visited him...he asked again, right away.  Mom acted dumb and told him it was K______'s or E_____'s job.  

Dad said, "No, I asked YOU to bring me money the last time you were here, don't you remember?"  

Mom asked what he needed the money for....

"I need money when I go out on a date..."  We all began laughing....so he laughed too.... I suggested he put it on his tab, and that seemed to please him...so we changed the subject...

Mom asked how old he was...."Oh, I'd say I am about 52"..... 

So I asked, "How old do you think I am Dad?"  "Oh....you are about 89".... We all burst into whoops of laughter... I asked how I could be 89 if he was my Dad and was 52?  He looked a bit perplexed, but laughed with us....Mom reminded him he would be 92 in November.

Age is just a number I said, it is all in how you feel....

I asked how he felt and he told us he felt good and happy.  The word of the day was "windows"...almost every topic of conversation had the word windows in it... He told us he was in charge of inspecting all the windows after all of them were installed.

The eyes are the window to the soul....so the windows must represent the goodness inside... Yes! Dad agreed... "And it keeps us insulated."  

Looking at me Dad said, "You are sure well insulated."  Oh man, we all about fell out of our chairs laughing at that one!  Course Dad laughed his "shadow laugh" along with us...which made us laugh even harder!'

I did my best to show Dad pictures of my little grand son Jacob's 2nd birthday party on my camera, but he was having difficulty seeing it....even holding it about an inch from his eye....He was able to see pictures on my droid smart phone easier because I could enlarge them for him to see.  He loved seeing the grand kids and my daughters....telling me he sure wished he could see them....

We talked about how fast everyone is growing and getting older....and Dad assured us good windows make all the difference....

Dad held up his crooked fingers and showed us how he tries to straighten his fingers...I stopped him from pulling on his fingers and showed him my crooked finger, telling him it ran in the family.  We had my husband hold up his hands and my Dad always marvels at Jerry's hands, telling him how wonderful and strong they were...

One of the girls came out carrying Dad's lunch tray which smelled so delicious...we all had not eaten breakfast and were STARVING for lunch.... Dad had a boneless pork chop, fresh zucchini mixed with corn, rice, shredded carrots with mandarine oranges, bread and butter, coffee, milk, chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream.  Our mouths were watering...

I fed Dad and he ate every bite except he did not like the carrots and oranges...took two bites of it and told me he didn't like it.

We could tell Dad was getting tired...so we wheeled him back to his room.  Jerry was walking ahead of us to open the door back into the nursing home and Dad remarked how "perfect his legs were".  When we got to Dad's room, "Blondie" said she would tuck him in.  We all said good bye and I told him I would see him soon.  Dad shook Jerry's hand and told him how glad he was to see him.

It was a great visit and we all loved seeing Dad so happy...


Friday, September 21, 2012

Two Years Old.....

We called our little grand son Jacob yesterday to wish him happy birthday.  He turned two.  He was with his Mom and Dad at Chucky Cheese celebrating... We are headed to California for his party this Sunday and will return on Monday...


2 years old September 20, 1912

Look at that sweet face and those stylin' clothes!


His Dad put this caption on this picture...

"Dada?  Is it still behind me?"


We have had a ton of company and finishing more home projects... In October will be more company every week....and the end of the month I go to California for the 7 year old's 8th birthday and to celebrate my Dad's 92nd birthday...

Hugs to you all....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy and Frisky....

Mom visited Dad yesterday.  She waited until the church service was over before going in to see him.  Dad so enjoys the services and music.  Mom spoke to one of Dad's male nurses while she waited.  He told Mom the Psychiatrist had been there to visit Dad and all was fine....(which hopefully means there are no problems with Dad's happy pills....)

"Pickles" was Dad's caregiver yesterday, so she told Mom how much Dad had enjoyed his shower and shave that morning.  Dad was always meticulous in his daily hygiene, always clean shaven and smelling wonderfully fresh.  Dad had told "Pickles" afterward, "Thank you, I feel WONDERFUL!"

When Mom greeted Dad she could tell by his expression he was not sure who she was.... She took him outside to wait in the fresh air until his lunch was ready.  She filled Dad in on the latest family news....my nephew's work accident mangling his dominant right fingers and having to be taken to USC medical center to have his fractured finger's tendon re-connected.  Luckily, he will not need further surgery and should recover mobility in three months.   She told Dad about my niece's new job and Mom's plans to come visit us for 4.5 days in October.  Dad smiled and seemed happy.... Mom  said Dad did not seem to register his relation to anyone she was discussing...

Dad September 8, 2012

She called me so I could talk with Dad.  He sounded very happy but slow and confused.  We all make every effort to make sure, no matter how confused or disjointed his conversations are, we smile, nod and do not let on he is not making sense.  Mom has learned in her support group how upsetting it is for Dad or anyone with Alzheimer's/dementia, when they do not feel they are being understood....

I think Dad knew who I was.....but when I greeted him with my cheerful, "Hi Papa-doots" , my pet name for him, he laughed and told me, "I like that..." (like it was the first time he ever heard it) and kept chuckling...

He cooed and spoke in loving tones telling me how much he missed me... I told him the sound of his voice and his laughter made my day....which made him laugh again....

I told him I would come to see him in a couple of weeks and he told me "good"....  Usually when I tell Dad I will see him, he hears I am coming, but does not hear-- how long, so he wants to hang up....as if I am coming right over....

I could hear Mom telling him his lunch was ready and she did not want his food to get cold.  I told him I loved him, Blessed him, wished him a happy, tasty lunch and to enjoy his visit with his "Lynnie" (his nickname for Mom...)

Mom took a picture of Dad while they were outside, but she will need my sister Holly's assistance in getting it from her phone to the computer....so when she emails it to us,  I will post it...***** Mom just emailed me the picture she took on 9-8-12 today (9-16-12) so I have updated the post with his photo****

Mom wheeled Dad back inside and got him settled at a table.  He was served meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, cubed beets, custard pudding, ice cream, milk, coffee, juice, whole wheat bread and butter.  Dad ate everything except a few bites of meat loaf.

Mom asked if Dad would rather go back outside or to his room to take a nap.  Without hesitation, Dad chose a nap.  As Mom was wheeling Dad back to his room, they met Pickles in the hallway.  She asked Dad if she could help him into bed, and Dad replied loudly, "YES! I'LL  HAVE YOU!!  Mom and Pickles both burst into laughter....Dad laughed too....Pickles apologized, explaining "her English was not too good..."  Dad just smiled, he didn't seem to mind at all....


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy and Loving, Always a Flirt.

The Hospice LVN called yesterday to report Dad was happy and loving.
His eye looked dry and scabby instead of oozing gunk...
His rash was subsiding...
His vitals were in normal limits...

I am thankful he has such a cheery attitude and feels well cared for.  He is enjoying the extra visits Hospice provides, enjoying the women's company...

Dad has become quite the big flirt...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Care Conference for Dad and a Wee Phone Visit...

Attended Dad's Care Conference this morning over the phone, with Mom in attendance. They confirmed our do not resuscitate orders in case Dad would need CPR, but he would get oxygen if he needed it.

We determined since Dad is on Hospice now, some medications are not paid by Hospice and some services.  Dad has needed dental work, but Medicare/Medi-Cal prefers to pull the teeth than fill them.  Having worked for dentists in the past, I know that is not a preventative practice.  If teeth are pulled, the space has to be filled or the teeth shift and throw off the bite, not to mention making it more difficult for a person to chew food.  That said, Dad would not allow any dental work to be done...he would not allow them to do x-rays!

Dad needs about 15 teeth filled now.  He needed dental work before he went into the nursing home, but would not go because he was getting more and more fearful and paranoid of treatment, making excuses about x-rays, not liking the dentist and how overly priced the dental work was...

Dad has a hearing aid, but rarely uses it because he forgets he has it at the nursing station, and family usually manages without it when we visit...  If Dad had it, he would lose it like he loses his glasses.  He does have glasses and the nurses are really good about taking them off Dad and putting them away in his bedside drawer.  The staff also remind or ask if he wants to wear them.

We will continue Dad having his eye exams as it is especially important to keep an ongoing examination of his right eye with the skin cancer on the lower eye lid.

We may discontinue his hearing tests but he will continue to see the Podiatrist, especially with the skin cancer on his left pinkie toe.

There was a question and brief discussion about Dad not being able to see the Psychiatrist since Dad is on Hospice, because the Psychiatrist would not be paid....It is important Dad continues to see the Psychiatrist to keep Dad on the Lexapro.  Dad's primary physician can continue the Aracept, but not the Lexapro.

I determined if that was an issue, we would discontinue Hospice.  Mom agreed.  The Hospice nurse said she would have an answer for us by this afternoon....but before the meeting was over, the Hospice Director showed up at the Care Conference and confirmed the Psychiatrist would continue to get paid, he would make sure he was paid and explain how to bill....so that was resolved.

I am not thrilled with Hospice so far.  I am not getting regular reports from the LVN as she promised.  She promised again to call me every Wednesday, because I had to contact her through the Hospice Rep last Thursday to find out what happened last Wednesday.

Also the RN has been to see Dad twice and has not contacted me about her visits.  She was in the Care Conference meeting, so I took the opportunity to ask if she would be contacting me and she said she would.

I have been playing phone tag with the Social Worker and still not spoken with her.  I had to ask at the Care Conference if the nursing home would continue to update me on new orders for Dad or would Hospice let me know.  They told me the nursing home should be calling me.  I explained they had not let me know about new orders for more drops for Dad's eye and for antibiotic topical cream for Dad's left toe.   I found out from the LVN visiting on Wednesdays.

The Director of Nursing apologized to me and assured me, they would notify me.  I realize how busy they are and the level of care they provide the patients and attention to the visiting families, I could understand if they were side tracked occasionally.

Dad gained a pound and now weighs 149.  He is eating 85 to 95% of his meals and doing excellent  in attending daily activities.  Dad attends 3-5 times per week and especially loves any music, singing and dancing.

I had concerns with Dad's new Hospice diagnosis of Failure to Thrive and wondered if Dad would be taken off some of the many medications he takes for his blood pressure, heart, thyroid, gout, etc...and happily, they plan to continue those medications.  There were a few duplications with his meds such as Colace and Phena S which are stool softeners....and he is not constipated, so I had wondered why he had to be on two.  They will discontinue the Colace and keep Dad on the other...

In addition, he is on aspirin and Clavix, which are both blood thinners.  The nursing home had been treating Dad's blood pressure and heart condition aggressively by making sure his blood stayed free of clots, but often taking the double dose causes more hematomas and bruising....so we decided to discontinue the Clavix and see how Dad does.

Hospice questioned the Vitamin D Dad takes, but when they were told Dad does walk and move around and is not wheel chair bound or bed bound, they agreed Dad should stay on it.

All and all it was a good report...

Mom called me after the Conference so I could talk with Dad.  Dad and Mom were in the dining room I think, waiting for Dad's lunch.  It was very noisy and I could hardly hear him, so I know it had to be difficult for him as well...

Dad responds when I call him my pet name for him, Papa Doots, and when I tell him I love him...but when I ask how he is, he launches into lengthy, run-together-abstract thoughts which don't make any sense.  I attempt to pick out a word or two and say something relating to that, which he responds to and in my mind, is my attempt to keep him thinking he is being understood and carrying on a conversation.

He commented on not being able to hear, how noisy it was...and he is waiting for his lunch.  So I told him I loved him, blessed him and extended my husband Jerry's love to him.  He was happy to hear about my husband as he thinks the world of him.  He laughed when I told him Izzy our dog sends her love too.

I told him to have a nice visit with Mom and to enjoy his lunch....it was so good to just hear his voice.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Only the Shadow Knows....


Mom and my sister Holly went to visit Dad yesterday.  They found him snoozing my the nurses station in his wheel chair.  They wheeled him out to the front patio of the nursing home and found some shade....

Dad kept his "bad eye" closed the entire visit...my sister suspected he would not allow the staff to hydrate it.

Dad was acting very odd and kept doing his evil laugh...it sounds like the laugh he used to do when he would imitate The Shadow from the old radio program days...one of his favorites...and he used to say, "Only the Shadow Knows"....and then let out with an evil laugh....

His favorite topics of conversation were sex and my sister's forehead.

He told them there was a whale spouting blood and they made him a steak from it for his breakfast...and blasted his evil laughter over them...

He had a nice neat hair cut and seemed happy...just very odd.  If they stopped talking or asking Dad questions for any reason, Dad closed his other eye and dozed off...

They called me to talk to Dad to see if they could divert his weirdness....He did sound odd...."Hellll-llllooooooooo Donnnnnnnnn-nnnnnnnnnaaaaaa (evil laugh)"

I ignored it and greeted him happily with my usual, Papa Doots....

He did more evil laughter and told me he was looking at this beautiful women....more evil laughter....

I asked if Mom and Holl Doll were visiting him....

Oh yes, and she is so beautiful I want to kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss her....(very loud evil laughter)

There were a few more exchanges but Dad was really off his beam and obviously feeling extremely frisky and inappropriate...

Before I could say good bye, my sister took the phone away from him ....then there was silence but I could see I was still connected to Holly's cell phone so I waited...

Pretty soon Holly came on the line and said Dad had pushed the mute button.  She told me I was being a good sport but she had to put a stop to it....

They wheeled him inside to the front lobby and Holly took a four minute video of Dad babbling...but the self piano was playing so it drowned out what Dad was saying.... She took the picture above of Dad and Mom.

Mom and Holly decided it was time for Dad to get ready for lunch, so they wheeled him into the lunchroom and got him situated at a table.  Doctor-Doctor brought Mom and Holly some coffee and Dad's delicious looking lunch of BBQ chicken, beans, corn, peaches, whole wheat bread, milk, juice and coffee.  Dad ate well.

He laughed and smiled and seemed very happy.  They said their good byes and left him to be prepared for his afternoon nap...


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hospice Updates and Grandson Quips...

I was so relieved to get a phone call from Hospice last Friday...the doctor has changed the diagnosis from Alzheimer's to Failure to Thrive.... If the doctor kept the Alzheimer's diagnosis, Dad would have had to go off his Aracept and Lexapro, which is the last thing we wanted...so now Dad can stay on his Alzheimer's medication...

I got a phone call from the hospice nurse yesterday afternoon.  She told me Dad had vomited after breakfast, last night after dinner and yesterday after breakfast, which I knew...I had spoken with them yesterday...

She said Dad's vitals were normal range, but she had reported the vomiting to Dad's doctor.  She told me she would see Dad every Wednesday and call me with a report.  She also took a picture of Dad's left pinkie toe....I neglected to ask her to email the picture to me...I will call Hospice and ask, or ask her next Wednesday.

I think (and hope) Dad is eating too fast and quite possibly too much and that is what is making him vomit.  It usually happens once after a meal.

I apologize if some of these posts may be too graphic or "too much information".... Our journey from here on out may not be pleasant...but I appreciate those of you who have hung in with me these past three years, being support for myself and my family, keeping us in prayer and checking in with me periodically to keep in touch.... Thank you from the bottom of my heart...


                                                    ********************
GRANDSON QUIPS:

Yesterday, the 7 year old and the 10 year started back to school....My daughter woke up the 10 year old and they were sitting on the bed talking when the 7 year old opened one eye ball, looked at both of them, then leaped from his bed and ran full speed down the hall....my daughter thought he was sick and running to the bathroom...but he was standing at the kitchen table pouring cereal into his bowl.  He was excited for his first day as a 3rd grader.

The 10 year old starts 5th grade with his first male teacher.  He probably would have enjoyed a couple more days of summer, but he was excited too.  After school, my daughter asked the 10 year old what was his favorite part of his first day...he smiled at her, "EVERYTHING!"

Typically, the 7 year old reported he was leaning back in his chair and fell backwards so he grabbed for the desk and pulled it over on him. "Good thing there were no books in my desk or they would have been on my head!" Knowing her son's promise to pay more attention so he won't get warnings or time outs, she asked what the teacher said...."She said, 'Are you OK?'"  He is really a character...


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Come Out With Your Hands UP!...(and Letting it Go!)

My brother E____ visited Pops (E's nickname for Dad) yesterday.  He found him "counting sheep" in his bed in his room.

Pickles brought in Dad's lunch to him in bed.  When Dad woke up and saw E____, Dad laughed and said E____ was his best friend and he loved him...

Apparently Dad had thrown up earlier and he wanted a fruit plate to eat...my brother helped him eat it with a spoon as Dad was sitting up in bed.  Dad laughed as he saw blood on his napkin, from the sore on his upper lip, after wiping his mouth...

After he finished his food he told my brother how happy he was, several times.  He was very jovial and smiling ear to ear.  Dad told him he likes it when he gets sick because it gets rid of what is making him feel so bad...

E____ took Dad's picture....happy and smiling as usual....


Dad chatted away for about twenty more minutes, laughing and telling my brother how happy he is...my brother laughed with him, but couldn't really get a word in edgewise as Dad was talking non stop...

E____ had to return to work as they hugged and kissed good bye... Dad was ready for another snooze. E____ thought the visit was better than he expected....

The nursing home is in the middle of a residential area...usually very pleasant and quiet.  As my brother walked out the front door, he heard a helicopter hovering above announcing,

 "COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!"  

My brother noticed a police officer about 100 yards away....

E____  was quite happy and relieved when he realized the police did not mean him....he began to see more police and found out later they were looking for some thug...



I called the nursing home yesterday trying to talk with Dad...having the usual problems...and after reading my brother's email, I called them again this morning.  I asked the male nurse why I was not being informed about Dad's vomiting.  He told me they do not call if he vomits one time after a meal, because he may have eaten too much or too fast... If he throws up several times or it is a dark color, then they call....(Sorry if this is too much information....)

I asked if I could speak with Dad and he told me he would call me when Dad was finished with lunch....(that's what they told me yesterday too....and they didn't call.)  I know they are busy, so I called again at 1pm and was able to chat with Dad for about fifteen minutes...

"Hel-loooo  Donna"

Hi Papa Doots!

(Dad laughs....)

I love you Dad....

"I love you too...."

How are you?  

"I am just fine.  I threw up but now I feel so much better...."

You threw up after lunch?

"Yes I did...I knew I was going to get sick and so I vomited and I feel much better...."

Did you eat too much?

"I had a good lunch.  They have good food..."

Try to eat slower Dad...

"Oh yeah, I eat slow, but if you get sick, you gotta' let it go!"

(We both laughed....)  "They clean it up good too!" ( Laughs again...)

(Dad continued to discuss his getting sick...so I changed the subject....)

Did you visit with E_____ yesterday?

"YES I DID!  HE LOOKS SO GOOD! He's such a great guy...."

(Dad talked non stop, sounding very happy, but it was very difficult to make any sense of what he was saying...but it was good visit with my brother...)

Have you seen K_____ ? (my second to the oldest brother)

"Yes, he came too but he is not here now...he is working outside and taking care of Brutus..." (my brother K____owns a trucking company and Brutus was Dad's favorite dog who died over forty years ago...)

Jerry and I send lots of love and hugs to you Dad...

"Oh good....and I'd like to come visit you again...we have lots of fun..."

Yes we do!  I think we better wait until it is cooler because it is 112 here now....

"Yeah, that's a bit hot....I better let you go...I know you are busy..."

I'm not too busy for you Dad...we can talk as long as you want....

"I think I want to go back to sleep if I can..."

OK...have some sweet dreams Papa Doots...I love you...God Bless you...

"God Bless you too...."

Talk with you soon...

"OK...bye bye..."

I feel relieved....I hate it when I can't hear his voice....no matter how short the phone call....


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Look Who is Almost 2 Years Old....

I have not posted much about my youngest grand son Jacob in awhile...Yesterday afternoon my daughter called to tell me she finally got an iPhone so she would not have to wait until her Fiance got home to face time with me...so we face timed and I got to see Jacob...even if he kept asking for Boompa (Grandpa...my husband) and Izzy (our dog) and me, Teataw....I was spinning my mac book back and forth so he could see all of us...and he thought it was great fun!

He also likes to throw kisses back in forth....with sound effects....we both laugh when we do this...

Jacob also loves to play hide and seek with me and to stick his cute little foot up to the screen so I can smell it...then pretend to make a sour face and tell him he has stinky feet.... That makes him belly laugh!

Here is a recent picture my daughter Jodee posted yesterday of Jacob on Facebook...entitled, "my little man"...


Jacob will be 23 months the end of this month and turn 2 years old next month.  Of course we will travel to California for his birthday....

He is going to Daycare now....and he loves playing with the other little kids...and doing all the activities, but he has had a rough month and a half catching various colds, coughs, etc being exposed to other kids...

I just love his spiked hair...looks so cute....  He reminds me so much of my older daughter, Holly's sons...they all look like brothers instead of cousins.

Thank you Lord for all our many blessings....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Looking Back and Looking Forward...

The vote was unanimous with my family to welcome Hospice as an extension of our family in helping in Dad's care and assuring the dignity he deserves...

I received an email from Dad's primary care physician today, telling me he did not see amputation of Dad's left pinkie toe at this particular time.  The cryotherapy did not stop the infection, but the infection is not progressing and getting any worse.  I guess I anticipated the doctor to tell me Dad would need the amputation, which has given me some pause...

I found myself second guessing myself...asking myself, my brother and Mother whether I should make a trip to California and attempt to explain all this to Dad... I know Hospice will be a positive experience for Dad in that he will gain more visitors, have more advocates for his well being and care, as well as possibly stimulating him by new faces and new conversations....

I am mainly concerned Dad will react negatively if he should realize they are from Hospice. I don't want him to feel we betrayed him because of the distorted feelings he had about hospice.  Dad used to be a volunteer Chaplain and visited patients in nursing homes and hospice.  Unfortunately, it was the last years, prior to be admitted to the nursing home, when he was becoming more demented.  He was still compassionate, but he took on the symptoms, the regrets and the rights of those patients to heart. Even though he had some hospice training, his mind was confused and for him, Hospice means dying and he became very suspicious toward doctors.

Early on, three years ago when Dad was first admitted to the nursing home, he had recovered from his pneumonia, was on the last leg of the antibiotics, his leg ulcers were being treated and he was going to be transferred to the nursing home where he used to work as a volunteer.  Several of the hospital staff knew Dad,  which may have been both comforting and emotionally challenging for Dad.

I told the nursing home I wanted to be with Dad in the ambulance when they transferred him across the parking lot to the nursing home.  I waited all day at the hospital with my brothers, waiting for the hospital to transport Dad.  Finally, at 8pm, the hospital told me they would NOT be transporting Dad and they would move him in the morning.

Dad had called me at his home, where I was staying.  He asked me to come get him.  I told him he was still under the doctor's care and he had to stay there.  It was so difficult for me because he sounded scared.  I told him I would see him in the morning...

At midnight that night, the hospital called to tell me they were going to transport him. I told them I could not drive there as I have vision problems at night.  I argued with them as they had told me he would NOT be moved until the next morning. They assured me Dad would be escorted and doing fine with it and there were no problems...

The next morning I went to the nursing home and discovered Dad was still at the hospital.  When I arrived, Dad seemed "out of it" like he was drugged.  I inquired around and after piecing things together due to new staff on different shifts, I found out Dad had gone into "combat mode" and fought the transport, even hitting a nurse.  They sedated him with Halidol and decided to keep him in the hospital.

I raised HOLY HELL with the Administration office and the Director of Nursing.  I TOLD them he would not have gotten aggressive if I had been there. After feeding him breakfast,  I rode with Dad and got him settled in his room at the nursing home.  Dad still seemed sedated and seemed sleepy, so I told him I would stay until he fell asleep and Holl Doll (my sister) would be coming to visit him.

It was my birthday and I was having dinner with my husband and daughter when my sister called to tell me Dad was still sleeping and she had been unable to wait him up.  Not thinking anything about it, I told her we planned on coming the next morning.

When we arrived, Dad was still sleeping.  I asked the nurses and doctors and was told Dad had not waken for lunch, dinner or breakfast. His lunch tray sat untouched next to his bed.  The doctor had no explanation as to why he was not waking and described Dad to be in a sleep like coma.  I called the rest of the family and everyone came down to hold vigil at his bed side.  We decided against any intervention by MRI or tests because the doctor did not really have any explanation ...(except Dad had a bad reaction to the Halidol!!!) or guarantee Dad would wake up.  We decided to contact Hospice, but asked they not announce they were from hospice, should Dad awake.

As we were all milling about around Dad's bed, my daughter Jodee was sitting beside his bed, quietly and gently describing pictures my two grandsons had drawn for him.  I was watching her with tears in my eyes at how sweet she was with him, when I saw Dad's eyes flutter.  In an instant later, Dad opened his eyes.

When he saw all of us standing around his bed, his eyes grew large and his mouth dropped open in a huge smile of surprise and delight....we all gathered around him hugging, kissing, laughing, cheering and being so happily relieved.  My brother E____ referred to Dad's coma as his "Rip Van Winkle".

About an hour later, some of us had left and some were in the hallway making phone calls, I was in the restroom, and the hospice social worker arrived in Dad's room, announcing she was with HOSPICE and handing him her card.  Dad dismissed her promptly, yelling at her he was NOT DYING!

This memory is still vivid in my mind.  I was so upset with the social worker and she apologised profusely about forgetting she was not suppose to tell him she was with hospice...but we never broached the subject again, until now...

It is the common perception to equate Hospice and dying, but for most of our family, it now means the best quality of life we can give Dad in his remaining time alive.

I still feel protective of Dad.  I reminded the hospice expert several times about not mentioning the word hospice to Dad....along with other words such as dementia, Alzheimer's, biopsy or surgery.  Dad reacts in fear with any of those words.  He assured me they would not mention being from hospice, unless asked directly, then they would not lie to him.  He told me they would tell Dad they were friends of our family and give him a chance to feel more comfortable with the team, should Dad ask them.

When I told the hospice expert I would email him all the names of the members of our family and give him some background on Dad, his personality, interests and an over view of some of his medical issues, he told me how much it would help the hospice team....

My main concern is to be honest with Dad and I feel maybe I should go and talk with Dad and explain what is happening...but I think I waited too long.  I should have discussed this with him when he could grasp what I was saying.  Maybe I am feeling guilty that I failed Dad in a way for not preparing him...but would have he remembered anyway?

The hospice expert and Mom both feel we should go forward and my second thoughts are just protective symptoms with Dad...

Each day is a new day and we all do our best to find any remnant of anything positive.  We know we are coming from a place of love and only want the best for Dad...so it is that very thought I must continue to embrace...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Considering Hospice...

I just finished sending an email to my family about my conversation with the hospice expert Dad's physician referred me to.  I can only imagine how he would be in person, because just over the phone he made me feel all warm and fuzzy.  What a wonderful man!  This is his calling.  He told me God put him on this earth to be a servant.  He took care of his Grandfather who had Alzheimer's.

He spent a long time listening to me talk about Dad, to give him a sense of who Dad is...he asked about my Mom too.

He told me although many people are admitted to hospice because there is a strong possibility the patient may die within a six month period, many last as long as 18 months to 2 years, or longer and several even come off hospice entirely because the patient is doing so well. This has been his experience.

Hospice is all about dignity, support and comfort for the patient. The hospice team would work along side the nursing home staff or come to a person's home, so Dad benefits from having more attention, care and additional advocates.

I can speak from personal experience having used hospice for my mother in law seven years ago when she died from Alzheimer's.  At that time, both my husband and myself were under the misconception hospice meant impending death within 6 months.

I cannot imagine going through a serious illness with a family member and NOT having hospice because they feel like an extension of our family.  Our only regret with my mother in law was,  not calling hospice sooner.

He told me it was an honor to work with Dad's physician and his wife and told me how much he cares and fights for his patients.  The hospice expert told me a Chaplain would visit Dad once a week or as often as Dad wanted him; a Social worker will come visit Dad within 72 hours of Dad being admitted to the hospice program; a volunteer will come once a week; a RN will come every other week; a CNA will come 2-3 times a week; a LVN will come once a week, in addition to all the care the nursing home and staff already provide for Dad.

He told me we could discuss Dad's medications and determine which ones to leave him on.  He said Medicare would pay for some and Hospice would cover some.  It all depends on what we want for Dad and most importantly, keeping him pain free and comfortable without any undo stress.  I was impressed with the notes he took and repeated back to me.

So my family and I will discuss it and hopefully, they will join my mother and I and agree to call Hospice for Dad.

Our Marine reported back for combat training, after ten days liberty following his Boot Camp graduation.  We expect him to fly to Virginia upon completion of his month long combat training during August.

I am still waiting for clarification from Dad's physician.  I need to hear him say Dad needs amputation due to the antibiotics, Cryotherapy not working, mainly to Dad's nonexistent pulse in his lower legs....specifically his left leg.  Waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop, I have been on pins and needles and feel constantly on the verge of tears...

Today I go into the surgeon's office to have him attempt to aspirate the hitch hiking lump on my right elbow to determine if it is a benign ganglion cyst or sebaceous fatty cyst.  I hope I can get some answers so I can put it behind me.

Thank you everyone so much for your never ending support, concern and prayers.  You are the BEST!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Still Trying To Have a Happy Face...

Mom and my sister Holly went to visit Dad today.  They found him sitting in his wheelchair in the lunch room.  They started to wheel Dad to the patio when he told them he did not feel good...shortly after telling them, he began to dry heave.

Doctor-Doctor ran and got him a bucket and after he deposited mostly clear fluids, he said he wanted to go outside.  They sat in the sun and Dad kept his eyes closed most of the time...it was nice and pleasant out on the patio and Dad always enjoys the warmth of the sun on his back...

My sister asked Dad to smile for the camera and took the photo below...


My sister said he looked pasty white and he does seem very pale...my poor Dad...

My sister told Dad her husband Mark said hello...Dad told her he had a little red fiat he wanted him to take a look at...(Dad only had a white truck, which has been sold, and Mark has a red fiat...)  Concerned, Mom preferred to tell Dad Mark was too busy fixing other cars he would not have the time to fix Dad's car...Dad seemed happy Mark was so busy, accepting her explanation...

Doctor-Doctor came over to check on Dad and see how he was feeling.... Dad told her, "I love you so much I could just eat you."  After she left, Dad closed his eyes again and seemed to be enjoying the gentle breeze and fresh air.

Mom asked Dad if he had been watching the Olympics and he told her he had.  When she told him about their grandson going to Hawaii to go to College, Dad said he already knew...

Dad's lunch was served out on the patio.  They gave him some extra towels, "just in case".  Holly fed him turkey, dressing, and salad.  Mom fed him a couple of bites of ice cream and a couple bites of a half banana and announced he was done.

My sister wheeled him back inside and took him back to his room as he said he was ready for his nap.
Mom and Holly both said their good byes in his room after he was tucked into his bed.

Overall, Dad seemed out of it...and despite the staff saying he was fine, did not seem to feel very well...but you know Dad, he still attempts to smile and put on a happy face...

Mom inquired to several of the staff and they all seem to think he is fine but said he sleeps a lot...

When Mom and Holly left, both were upset.  My sister felt Dad is just existing and not living.  It is becoming increasingly difficult for all of us to see Dad the way he has been lately.  I notice it too when I talk with him over the phone...our conversations are shorter, make less sense and he falls asleep while talking much of the time.

Neither of them could look at Dad's toe...their visit was difficult enough.