"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I wrote a post to share yesterday, but I was using my phone (since I was with Dad).  Something didn't go right.  We can either blame that on the Blogger app or call it user error.  No matter, I'll try to give and update on Dad (and life) now. 

I've been a bit discouraged this week because I'm not seeing much improvement in Dad.  I knew that the physical strength would be slow to return.  I mean, nobody can go to the gym twice and feel stronger.  For the first few days you just feel tired and sore.  That part I expected.  What I had hoped to see was his mental state to sharpen.  As of yesterday that still has not happened.  He is so tired and weak, so his instinct is to lay down and sleep.  We (me, Kyle, Casey and the therapists) have expressed how important getting up  and being up is to getting better.  He's trying.  That part I am encouraged by.  He gets approximately 2 1/2 hours of therapy a day and does what they ask of him.  In physical therapy they work on lower body strength and gross motor skills... walking (with a walker), standing up and sitting down, cycling, etc.  In occupational therapy they work on upper body strength and fine motor skills... cycling with the arms, lifting small weights and repetitive tasks/fine motor skills such as clipping clothes pins to a yard stick.  In speech therapy they are working on cognition and organization... organizing "pills" into a med minder by following dosing instructions.  All of this is really difficult for dad.  Even showering is a major task.  Everything requires some extra mental processing time and it's a struggle to stay focused.  He often forgets what he is supposed to be doing.  It's hard to gauge time from a hospital room (or rehab room), but even considering that, he gets fuzzy when remembering when something happened.  He's eating very little.  His chewing and swallowing is fine, but the act of feeding himself is not as simple as we all take for granted.  He's also been so weak & shaky for the last few weeks that he's just not been eating much, so working back up to appropriate portions is proving to be a chore.  Ideally he would be on a high protein diet to help rebuilt some muscle and provide energy, but his liver  can't process all of that protein.  The only option is just getting enough calories.  The nurses are giving all of his medications, of course, so he's getting everything prescribed by the doc.  The Lactulose is not fun and causes multiple urgent bowel movements each day.  It's completely essential to ridding his body of the toxins his liver can't break down, but you can imagine that taking such a medication is less than convenient and pleasant... especially when you don't have the physical strength or stability to hop up and run to the bathroom. 

The original outlook had us anticipating about a 2 week stay in rehab, but at this point I can't imagine how he will be ready that soon.  I honestly don't know.  Some major things will have to improve before he could safely go home.  There is absolutely no way he could be at home in this condition.  The nurse called me at 6:30 this morning to tell me that he had fallen.  He got up to go to the bathroom, but didn't push the call button for anyone to help him.  On his way back to bed he fell.  He yelled for help and the nurse thought he was only in the floor for about 10 minutes before they got him up.  He did, however, bump his head and tear the skin on his knuckle.  They are monitoring him and  checking vitals often to make sure all is okay, but she didn't feel like it was an emergency.  She talked to him again about the importance of using the call button to get help before getting up.  I don't know if he really understands that or not.  Like I said, his head is still really foggy.  I still have hope that he will regain his mental acuity, but I guess we have to consider the possibility that that might not happen.  For now we are praying things improve. 

I'm taking Grandpa to see him this morning.  They've lived together for a year and a half now and for the last 7 months (since Dad had to stop working) they have been together 24 hours a day.  I know they will enjoy a visit with each other today.  As for how Grandpa is doing at home alone... it's going okay.  I know he's lonely, but I've been by each day to visit a bit and care for the outside dogs.  He's being a real trooper, we are going grocery shopping today and Kyle will check in on him every day while I'm gone. 

Now, for me.  Last week I was struggling with the decision to leave for Mexico for a week.  When Dad was still in the hospital I felt really unsure of how things were going.  Since he is medically stable and in rehab now, Drew & I are still going on our vacation.  I trust that Kyle can handle everything here.  Casey is coming down this weekend to help (as he did last weekend).  Also, Misty threatened to kick my butt if I didn't go on my trip.  Don't mess with Misty... she's tough and as bossy as I am ( which is saying something).  Upon hearing of Misty's threat, Kyle seconded the motion of kicking my butt.  They've got it covered here and I'm going on vacation with my husband.  I've been going non-stop for more than a week now, so this vacation will serve the original purpose of creating a new kind of Christmas without our girls and it will also serve to physically remove me from the situation here and make me take a break. 

Am I ready for the trip?  Well, I haven't packed thing, if that's what you mean.  I did get my hair trimmed on Tuesday morning and got a pedicure yesterday (where an elderly Vietnamese lady pressured me in to getting a gel manicure at the same time... to which I happily agreed).  I bought sunscreen last weekend, but that's about it.  I haven't packed a thing or done much mental planning on what I'm going to pack.  I ordered a new swim suit a couple weeks ago, but when it arrived it was... umm... not good.  I took it back to the store yesterday...

Sales Lady:  Was it just too small? 
Me: Yes.  Or I'm too old.  Or both. 

I'll just wear the suit I already have.  Today is Drew's last day of work for 2014.  We have a few things to do in town tomorrow, but when we get home we will get packed and then... at 6:05 on Saturday morning will lift off and head to Playa del Carmen.  We will be home afternoon/evening on December 26th.  Our neighbor is watching the house and caring for the dogs while we are away, so things here will be taken care of.   I have made sure I will have phone service while in Mexico.  I can text all I want, so that's the best way to reach me.  I can talk, but that will cost fifty cents a minute.  Call if you need to, but talk fast! 

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