Sunday, June 24, 2012

A rough few days

My dad is back at the Assisted Living Home now and--after a rough few days--is doing better today. The first antibiotic they used for my dad's bladder infection while he was still in the hospital didn't help and the infection only got worse. Then they discovered that the bacteria that was causing it was E. Coli, and had to put him on a very strong, special-ordered antibiotic. They said they believe he had the infection for at least four months before it was detected. At least. Wow. I am amazed that it didn't get worse than it did and also that it didn't go into his kidneys.

Today my step mom told me on the phone that he was sitting up in a wheelchair today, chattering away, and once again, trying to get up out of his wheelchair. We have stayed away as a precaution since hearing about the E. Coli and the fact that the hospital had moved him to a private room and had a note on the door about wearing a mask, scrubs, and gloves upon entering his room. I didn't want to chance exposing my daughter to it, but I think the danger has passed now since he has been on the new antibiotic greater than 24 hours, so I'm planning to take my daughter to see him sometime tomorrow or Tuesday.

I give praise and thanks to such a wonderful Heavenly Father who has watched over my dad and held him in the palm of His hand.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Update after hospital visit

I am pleased to report that my dad seemed to be doing okay, and actually looked a little better than the last time I saw him at the assisted living home. The color had returned to his skin a little, his eyes were a little bit clearer, and his voice sounded better. He seemed more responsive, too, and seemed to recognize me and gave me a big hug, which he actually initiated this time (something that hasn't happened in a very long time).

I found out that he had not fallen yesterday morning like I had thought, but the night before, right after they had put him to bed. And he did get back out of bed himself without any help before falling, according to the report from the workers at the assisted living home.

They're treating him for the UTI and sinusitis with antibiotics, and will also be testing his swallowing capability, as he has been having a bit of trouble swallowing for awhile now. He hasn't been eating as much over the past couple of months and has lost 35 pounds (and he wasn't overweight to begin with, or maybe by only about five pounds). They aren't sure if it's because his appetite is down or because he can't swallow well, or both.

The doctor that is seeing him while he's in the hospital also discontinued all his medications (apparently he has to use a different doctor while in the assisted living home, one that oversees the residents there), except for the antibiotics, and will be reintroducing them one at a time to try and get a better dosage, hoping it will help my dad be able to function better.

I do find it very interesting that after discontinuing his medications, he was more responsive and more "himself," and able to communicate better ("better" being a relative term, of course). It's hard to describe the difference I could see in his face and in his eyes, though. He was more "there," if that makes sense. The last time I saw him at the assisted living home, I looked into his eyes once and it was like he wasn't even there. It was his body, but the man, my dad, didn't seem to be there. It gave new meaning to the term, "blank stare." It was a chilling moment. But today, he was very much there. There were brief moments when his eyes were glazed over a bit, but the majority of the time, he was really there, and I can't tell you how relieved I was to see "him" again.

For those who might be reading this, I beg of you (and I'm not usually the begging type, mind you), if you are the praying type, please pray that the doctor who is currently under my dad's care will be able to figure out the best dosage for my dad's medications, so that the time he has left on this earth will be of the best quality possible. Thank you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In the hospital again

On my last visit to see my dad in the assisted living home, which was Wednesday afternoon, a worker there told me that he had gotten up out of his wheelchair and taken two steps over to the dining room table. I was thrilled to hear that, as I'm sure it felt so good to my dad, and I was so thankful to the Good Lord for hearing my daughter's prayers as well as mine, that his legs and feet would be strengthened so he could walk again.

We had a pretty good visit, though my dad seemed to struggle to talk. I helped him eat his dinner, which was painstakingly slow. Meanwhile, my daughter provided good entertainment for a group of ladies who had finished their dinner and had wandered in the direction of my dad's table. While feeding my dad, he breathed in through his nose a couple of times, and I noticed that it sounded like he was quite stopped up. He didn't feel hot to the touch, though, so I figured it was just a cold.

As it turned out, however, it wound up being Sinusitis. This morning I received a text from my brother that my dad was in the hospital. While he was getting out of bed (whether he tried to do it alone or with help, I don't yet know), he fell and hit his head on the a/c unit in his room. They called my step mom and he was transported to the emergency room, where they determined he would be okay as far as his head injury, but then discovered his sinus infection, as well as another urinary tract infection, and he wound up being admitted.

Tomorrow, my husband and I plan to go visit him at the hospital after church. I'll update as soon as I can.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


This past Monday was a decent visit with my dad. He was in a deep sleep in an easy chair when we first arrived, and since a worker there told me he had just fallen asleep, I didn't wake him right away. My daughter found a box of craft materials to play with, and I read a magazine. After awhile, maybe about twenty or thirty minutes, I finally woke him, which was--for the first time ever--very difficult to do. This time I wheeled him out of the Alzheimer's unit altogether and out the main front entrance. It's mainly just a parking lot with a sidewalk, but it's a change of scenery for my dad, and he can see more of the sky and wide open spaces from there.

Before it was time to say our goodbyes and leave, I spoke with a worker and asked some questions about my dad and found out that he was now sleeping though the night, which was such a relief to hear, and an answer to prayer.

At home a couple of days later, I decided to have a snack that I had not had in quite some time, which was canned fish steaks in mustard sauce, spread on crackers, and it brought back memories of good times with my dad (I have no idea if they are actually sardines or not, the can just says, "Fish steaks".) He was the one who introduced me to those fish steaks back when I was a kid and I wound up liking them, so he and I would eat them as a snack together quite often. Somehow, though, they didn't taste quite as good without my dad there to eat them with me.

Then I was reminded of the time he took me on a trip with him and we stopped at a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop where they made the doughnuts fresh for customers all day long. We sat in the car in the parking lot and ate some together. I remember how good they were and how much I appreciated my dad making sure he stopped at that very store (he traveled a lot so he knew where all the "good" places were). ;-) That must be why I like Krispy Kreme doughnuts so much to this day.

When I think of my dad and the condition he is in now, sitting in a wheelchair, so frail and weak and pale, it helps to conjure up those good memories, and to cherish them.