Saturday, April 30, 2011

missy peyton at 7 months...

Just wanted to be a proud gramma and post a couple of recent pics of my grandbaby!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

update on the daddio...

The last couple of hospital visits for my dad were on the scary side.  They happened a year apart, nearly to the day.  Last year when my mom went in to check on him in the morning, he told her that he had never felt as close to death as he did right then.  Later, when the aide came to take him out of bed, she couldn't revive him.  It wasn't until the EMS guys were transferring him onto the gurney that he finally woke up and wondered what was going on.  He went to the hospital then and was kept in there for about a week for observation.  They gave a diagnosis of a UTI.

He becomes a little delusional when he is in the hospital - that's been happening for the last few years whenever he goes.  He'll see bugs on the walls, ladies on the edge of a hole about to fall in, people that aren't there.  We're told this happens to older people when they are not in their element.

So, on to this hospital visit.  I've pretty much went into the details of the visit in my last post and how he was behaving initially when he first came home.

I think we've learned from this last hospital visit that it takes about a week for him to return to "normal" once he comes home.  Oh man, those first days home are so sad and scary.  He was trying so hard to get himself out of bed because "he needs to go somewhere", he was going to hurt himself.  He was talking so fast that all the words were all jumbled together.  It was sort of a nervous speaking pattern.  During these times of uncertainty, I am so prone (in my brain) to get the hell out of there.  I don't want to see him like that and I don't want to lie to him when he is asking me (for instance) for his cane so he can "go walk somewhere"...what do you say?  I tried the truth, but he looked at me like I was crazy.  So, I told him that I was going to ask mom where it was.  However, he could clearly see it in the corner of his room (it was not there) and wanted me to "just go get it for him".  I pretended not to hear him and I walked out of his room...and nearly ran out of the house.

In these situations, it's good that he really can't walk...otherwise where would we find him?

Anyway, onwards to this week and a more uplifting outlook.  He's all back!  He's got good hand/eye coordination (as much as he had prior to the hospital) and he's painting again.  Mom feels comfortable enough to leave him alone again for short periods...which is really good because otherwise she would be slipping into a depression.

Getting old really stinks from what I can tell.  Maybe not so bad for those that still have their health, but for those that are compromised...niet zo goed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

emotionally beat...

What a crazy week it has been.  This week, I was the only kid in my family that was still in town.  My sisters live on the east coast, my brother Ray moved to California, my brother Marty and his family were in Florida on vacation and my husband was in Germany for work.

My mother called me at work on Thursday morning to tell me that my dad was not responding to the aide (Donna) when she tried to wake him up.

Once in a while they'd be able to get some words from him but they were repeated and were eerie to those who had to listen.  He would say "I don't know what happened" or "why am I hurting?".

He was taken to the hospital by the EMS where I was there to check him in.  We were in the ER hallway for a couple of hours with many hospital personnel asking the same questions "What brings him in today".  I think I answered this question to 5-10 different people...I wish they'd all have a meeting because my story seemed to be changing with each visit.

Emotional time when he would "wake up" and moan "ow, ow, ow, ow, ow"....and couldn't explain where he was hurting.  If he hurts, he never lets us know about it.

I was with him from 10:30 that morning until 7:30 that evening with little change.  I reported on Facebook that he was 20% of himself when I left.

He spent the next several days in the hospital.  My sisters came in to town to be there for my mom.  Our one sister is a little, I don't know, hypochondriac-like, by that I mean that she thinks about ALL the possibilities and asks a TON of questions.  This is OK, but makes our mom nervous.  But, if it wasn't for her, we would not have known until much later that it was not a stoke...it was not an infection (as previously told)...but it was severe dehydration that brought him to the hospital.

It seems kind of a weird thing, since it's not like he doesn't get fluids, but I guess the wrong kinds; coffee, wine, beer, juice.  It also seems weird that the reaction to dehydration was so extreme; being unconscious at times and then being delirious (signs of dementia), so weak too.

He came home on Monday night.  He's not fully recovered but nothing more could be done at the hospital and home is a better place for him.  By not fully recovered I mean that he's delusional - seeing people that aren't there, thinking he can walk (he has been unable to walk for 15+ years).  It's just really sad.  I'm sad.  I don't like this - he was painting everyday and now he's mad because the aides won't put him in a "regular" chair so he gets angry and tells them to put him back in bed.  He hates bed...but he also can't physically sit in a regular chair.

Anyway, I wanted to share a little something that my sister wrote today about my dad:

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING PLEASANT....a lesson from my dad.

My dad suffered an "episode" this past weekend on his long journey with Multiple Sclerosis.

It appears that dehydration caused him to pass out for short periods of time and when speech returned, he only babbled the same word over and over again. It was as if he had suffered a stroke.

In the hospital, after several hours of IV feedings, he started to revive, though over the few days of his stay, he continued to have moments of delusions.

Many of his delusions had strings connecting back to a truth or an event.

I'd like to share one that was rather poignant.

Before sharing my story, it has to be pointed out that my dad rarely complains.  We're all pretty sure that he is in physical pain on a daily basis. He was once a downhill skier, a mountain climber, a paratrooper, a water skier, a baseball player.  Now he is mechanically hoisted from his bed, moved to his wheel chair, and well taken care of by a few angels, my mother included. He still paints every day.  I can only imagine that his pain includes a certain amount of emotional pain over the other things he's lost along the way.


But you wouldn't know it - for he truly believes he is living a good life...and in some instances...a great life! When asked how he's doing, his favorite response is, "Fantastic, never been better!" (without a hint of sarcasm).

Yesterday, while he and I were chatting in the hospital, he mentioned that he "wanted to go up the street to St. John's (hospital) and visit Uncle Harry". Now, Uncle Harry passed away several years ago, but I was quickly learning that it's better to go along with dad's visions, so I added, "Oh, Uncle Harry was such a nice guy."

My dad responded, "Yes, Uncle Harry is a great guy, a very pleasant fella, good at making conversation and a great listener." "He's one of the most pleasant guys I know. And it just shows you how very important it is to be pleasant in this life. What goes around, comes around."

Aha! A family treasure, uncovered! A secret revealed!

We've often wondered where my dad gets his pleasant demeanor from. And in fact, after seeing both him and his brother, my Uncle Chuck together in the hospital (who suffered a stroke in his 50s, and is somewhat hindered on one side of his body, and can't really form words now)...the two of them are THE most pleasant men I know. (married to two of the strongest women I know!)

I was so touched by my dad's recollection of his Uncle...and moved to realize he was still trying to teach me something he valued....and what a lesson it is.

Grace in the midst of severe hardship...
And the importance of being pleasant.