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.
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....
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.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Dad got admitted to ICU with pneumonia early this afternoon. Abrupt onset shortness of breath and chills at the breakfast table at his assisted living facility. For those who never realized, elderly can get terribly sick terribly fast, because their weaker immune systems don't recognize the illness and get mobilized quickly.
I had sent out quick threads on four of my teams asking for prayers. Now I need to update all my SparkFriends in the easiest way possible. Thus, a blog.
He was very critical from about 10-3, because the stress of the pneumonia triggered a congestive heart failure crisis. Also, he was having trouble maintaining his blood pressure - top number hovering at or a little below 100.
He was not incubated ( doesn't want to be) but was put on a breathing machine that uses a snug mask and head straps to keep it in place. Then the machine can blow 100% oxygen in under pressure. His breathing was so shallow that on just 100% oxygen mask he wasn't breathing in enough to make a difference.
But he didn't survive a WWII torpedoing and additional combat time, plus assorted heat attacks, diabetes, etc. by being a wuss. He's one tough cookie! The family decided to treat aggressively for 24 hours and then re-think the situation in terms of his response to treatment.
The IV antibiotics have stopped the worsening of the pneumonia already, so he can begin to actually fight it off. The IV meds to take fluid off his lungs have also worked very well, and he is breathing comfortably off the machine. If he has some trouble tonight in deep sleep, there are a couple of mask options to use and hopefully not restart the machine.
Elderly often don't spike high temperatures even when they're critically ill. So he maxed out at only 101* but is already down below 100*. His heart was racing over 150 beats per minute trying to get oxygen around his body, but he's been in the 90s for several hours now. And his blood pressure is 120-140; just right when he was at his worst, his breathing rate was >30 and now he's stable at 18-20. So all in all, he's doing amazingly well, and I hope he'll come out of ICU tomorrow.
So thanks to all of you who have been praying for him. And in some cases I know you put him on prayer chains. God has been very gracious to him today, and I'm so thankful that he is comfortable.
Of course, we'll still be looking at physical therapy to get some strength back. And it's too soon to know of he'll be able to return to the assisted living he's been so happy in since May. But we'll be taking one day at a time and go from there.
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