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The Middle Is Over

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I was just too spent last night to write anything. But yesterday and into this morning was clearly the middle.

In retrospect, his burst of energy was yesterday morning. He was very controlling about what got done when and how. He wanted oatmeal for breakfast but then complained that I wouldn't do it right. (In a double boiler, on the wood stove, overnight - because that's what he grew up with, and also he and Mom lived by choice in Maine about 1972-85 or so with only a wood stove. Added electric heat long after they built it.) I did the double boiler, of course, but he knew I did it on the electric stove.

Then, it took a couple of hours to feed him juice, the oatmeal, a scrambled egg, and a cup of coffee. Toward the end of that time, a couple of his friends stopped by; and the 3 hours up in the wheelchair taxes him far more than it had Sunday evening. And supper last night was just some pudding.

Our#1 son came yesterday, and Dad perked right up as soon as he saw him at the door. But after greeting Tobias, he slept as T and I visited sitting right beside him. Dad seemed to take no notice of when he left, but after the door closed said, "bye Toby."

Then over the entire evening, Dad told me several things with single statements. A little before midnight, he said "goodnight" three times; and I took him to be telling me it was OK to get some sleep. And how I slept!

This morning, #2 son was over right after his boys went to school. Unfortunately, I think we'd switched out of the middle time before he got here. He clearly knew David was here, but he couldn't interact at all. D took that pretty hard.

So now we await his home-going.

  
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OAKBORN 1/17/2013 10:20AM

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GOPINTOS 1/16/2013 6:43PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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SHERYLP461 1/15/2013 6:27PM

    It is so very hard to be a caregiver. I wish you well and peace.

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The Beginning of the End

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dad lay down for a nap about 2pm today. Ever since he woke up, he's been weaker and more confused. That means he's beginning to get argumentative and insist he can do things that he simply can't. He lets me insist on having transfers in and out bed, etc. my way, but he really gave Paul "what-for" this afternoon! So Paul and I can do his care together, or I can do it alone. But Paul had been OK earlier, so I'd Finally gotten in a brief walk.

Earlier this morning we had all watched a live stream of a service from the Lutheran church in Frankenmuth, Michigan, and he said how good it was to feel like he'd been to a real service. He's been going to worship at his assisted living regularly, but there's no music or real sermon. And this afternoon when he lay down, he said he knew he wasn't going to die tonight.

Scout (my amazing daughter-in-law) has taken over on any "stuff" that needs to be done for now, like finishing moving things out of Dad's assisted living room. Tobias makes a point of just spending time with Dad and me together. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but Dad wants to reminisce about SO much right now that I can't get anything done in the way of cooking or starting a load of clothes unless T is around. Paul does just about everything else around the house - dishes, cleaning, and finishing up the laundry. Son David is a single dad and works 12-hr shifts Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so his hands are tied right now. But he'll be jumping in to pick up on things as soon as his boys are off to school Tuesday morning. So we are definitely all pulling together right now!

Still, it's hard to know that our good day yesterday was our last, even though I expected that to be the case. I'd kept my fingers crossed that we'd have today too. But he still had a good time watching the first half of the Atlanta game (no family preferences there), and he was up for all of the Patriots game. A victory for HIS team, so I was glad for that.

He's also been on the phone with all the family and friends that matter most over the last couple of days, and that has meant a lot to him too. So I guess everything is ready now except for one thing - the room that Jesus went ahead to prepare.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCOTMAMA 1/15/2013 1:58PM

    I know how hard the last few days can be in a situation like this as it brings back memories of when my husband died of cancer. The more time you can spend with him the better, but as Hospice pointed out, the patient needs a bit of "alone" time also -- to prepare himself for what is to come. I suppose you could argue that they get that time during the night, but it is something to consider.

I remember with my husband, he had a couple of hours of total break-through when he seemed so sharp and cognisant of everything that was going on -- and then a couple of days later he was gone. Bless You!

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COOP9002 1/14/2013 10:50AM

    Thank you for sharing. My prayers are with you & your family as you walk this difficult road together.

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PHAMS85 1/13/2013 10:32PM

    I agree that was beautiful. It makes me want to cry. I'll continue to pray for your dad and your whole family.

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SUNNYARIZONA 1/13/2013 10:18PM

    God bless you....loving and caring for your Dad.....makes me cry to remember my own. I never got to see him before he died, but he was NOT in his right mind, and would not have even known me. I am thankful not to have had to see that. I have such sweet memories of him, and I have his had written testimony of faith in Christ....

So hang in there, God sees all and will reward you one day...

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MRLDCTYGRL 1/13/2013 9:57PM

    That was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. We're continuing to pray for you and your family for continued peace and a painless passing for your dad.

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A Good Day With Dad

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dad's first day home has been as good as expected. We're hoping for at least a couple more before we see any decline.

He slept well last night. It was awkward and exhausting getting to the dining room table. Old house, small doors, standard wheelchair don't make a good combination. But hospice brought out a narrower W/C this evening, so things are easier. He ate well, feeding himself.

A couple of long naps, of course, and almost ready for bed now. But there's this football game on, you see....

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDA! 1/13/2013 6:23PM

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PHAMS85 1/13/2013 10:59AM

    Thanks for the continued update! I'm glad you are getting some good days in.

emoticon Alicia

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Almost time to say good-bye

Friday, January 11, 2013

We brought Dad home today on hospice. I went to Columbia at 8, expecting the ambulance transfer to the nursing home for rehab at 9. He was up in the chair, but he was just not right. He's not being successful at fighting off the pneumonia. That physical stress plus the time he spent with low oxygen in his blood and low blood pressure have significantly impacted his congestive heart failure.

So with him not strong enough to do therapy, we made the decision to keep him comfortable. The doc gave him some hefty diuretic to take off as much fluid as was realistic. So his first several days should be fairly good ones, until the pneumonia rebounds and the fluid from the CHF increases again. He's in no pain and breathing comfortably on 3L of oxygen. As he begins to decline more rapidly, we have medicines to use as needed to relieve the potential pain and/or anxiety.

Thanks to all of you for keeping us all in your thoughts and prayers. I need to start getting in some walks again to keep myself together. Probably won't be Sparking much for awhile but will stay in touch.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OAKBORN 1/17/2013 10:23AM

    I am sorry I wasn't checking in more closely. But I am so glad you had this last few days. I'm reading backwards...

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PHAMS85 1/12/2013 8:06PM

    I'm sorry to hear that. I will still be praying for you all.

emoticon Alicia

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BRENDA_G50 1/12/2013 1:30AM

    Sorry to hear about your dad. My prayers are with you. emoticon

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MRLDCTYGRL 1/12/2013 1:23AM

    Oh wow, sweetie, I'm so sorry you're going through this. Prayers for your comfort and his peaceful passing are on their way.

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WACFIT 1/11/2013 10:14PM

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LANAHAUTH21 1/11/2013 10:06PM

  Praying for you. I just went through this with mother.

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New news about Dad

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

First off, I'M doing a lot better than I was yesterday. And thanks so much to all who cared, who prayed, and who thought to remind me to continue to take care of myself and Paul as well as Dad.

His recovery turns out to be a mixed bag. He is too good to be home with us or at his assisted living, with hospice, and 24-hr family care to await an impending death. But I think his ultimate prognosis is good; I think he is a good rehab candidate. Medicare will give 100% coverage for 20 days. He would get a total of 15 hours a week of therapy, both physical and occupational. No need for speech therapy, so the 15 hours is divided just the two ways, which pleases me.

After the 20 days, we can have him home or assisted living on hospice. If he can walk 150 feet (or propel his own wheelchair) he can be at assisted living without us providing the 24-hr care. And, even if he isn't , we can still have him at home. But the 20 days of therapy gives him the best shot at returning to assisted living; and ANY progress makes his care at home less physically taxing.

He is mostly lucid, but has some confusion issues that are too hard to describe to a layman, but would be instantly recognizable to us healthcare people. (I'm a retired rehab RN, for those who don't know that about me). Still, he is both physically and cognitively about 50% better than after his broken hip, when the 20 days got him appropriate for assisted living. So I'm confident that this is a good decision.

Also, the nursing home he'll be in is in our home town. (Hospital is 25 miles away). That makes life easier for us, our sons, and one daughter-in-law who all live within 1-1/2 miles of each other.

So thanks again for caring. Life goes on an will probably get better.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATLADY52 1/11/2013 5:58PM

    It is good news. emoticon

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PHAMS85 1/9/2013 9:13PM

    I'm glad there are some good news. Besides wanting the best care, having to pay for it is a scary feat. That is great news if Medicare will pay 100%. Hang in there and I'll continue with including him in my daily prayers.

Many (((hugs)))

Alicia

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ANGELREJOICES54 1/9/2013 6:25PM

    God is truly so good. This is good new and I will continue to pray be bless my sister Just me AR

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