Monday, July 23, 2012

Visited my Dad at the new place and... Wow!

I'm impressed. VERY impressed. I had heard it was a nice place, but didn't want to get my hopes up like I did for the first place he was in, so I didn't set my expectations too high. I was pleasantly surprised! Comparing this new place to the place he was in before would be like comparing a brand new Cadillac to... umm... maybe the old rusty Malibu station wagon I owned many years ago that started itself back up after I turned the engine off? (Not to mention the clouds of smoke that billowed out the tail pipe.) ;-)

I wish I could exclaim how thrilled I was that someone else out there had the same dream as me to build a Cadillac-like Alzheimer's Facility/Nursing Home for the elderly who so deserve it, but... I'm afraid it is because this particular nursing home is for veterans. Still, I am thrilled for the veterans who are able to live in (or temporarily stay in) such a nice facility and also so deserve it.

We visited him on Sunday afternoon and as soon as we walked in the front doors, I had a very good feeling. After we signed in and walked further, I was liking it more and more. Very clean, no pungent smells, nice furnishings. Definitely not your typical nursing home.

We got to the section where my dad was after almost getting lost in the vast expanse of hallway surrounding an outdoor courtyard area so large you could barely see the other end of it, were let in by a very nice man (a doctor, maybe?) who punched in the code for us that opened the doors automatically (unlike the other place where we had to press a doorbell and wait for someone to come open the door for us).

As we approached the area where his room was, I spotted him in the communal "living room" area. And it really was like a living room, complete with a big flat screen TV and fireplace to use in the cooler months, with a "porch" area leading off of that. The chairs... oh my... EVERY chair was an easy chair and no ordinary easy chair at that. VERY comfortable. My dad was in a special kind of chair. Like an easy chair but different. It had two foot rests, and no handle on the side so that he couldn't put his feet down and try to get up when the nurses weren't looking. He could, however, be adjusted to where he could sit in a more upright position, but his feet were still up far enough to where he couldn't put them down on the floor. Plus (and I had to kind of laugh at this), on the back of his shirt there was a little clip with a line running to an alarm, so if he did figure out a way to get out of the chair, the alarm would go off (and it actually did at one point when he was adjusting his pillows and he accidentally knocked the clip off, so we know the alarm works very well). Genius.

I talked to a nurse while there and found out that he is receiving daily therapy now during the week! Once a day on weekdays, a physical therapist comes and gets him up and takes him for a walk (and has him do other exercises, too, I'm sure). I was so happy and relieved to hear that.

My daughter was so precious with him, and he responded well to her (and to us). He seemed in good spirits and overall doing pretty good. He drank some water while we were there, and ate pudding as well, all with no help at all (my daughter figured out that he was saying he was hungry, when neither my husband nor I could understand him, and she went and told the nurse and brought him the pudding, and then later the cup of water). We were talking with the nurse and I happened to mention that my daughter wanted to be a doctor, so the nurse showed her how to use the stethoscope to listen to my dad's heartbeat and stomach sounds. It was one of those rare times my daughter got very quiet. Her reaction was priceless.

My dad did say some words a few times that we could understand clearly, and responded appropriately to a couple of questions the nurse asked. The nurse said he was free of all infections now and was no longer on antibiotics. More good news.

I didn't even think to see what his room or the dining room looked like while we were there, we were so busy visiting with him in the "living room" area. I will have to make it a point to do that next time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Moved to a Nursing Home

Sorry it's been so long since I updated. Life has been busy, in a good way. I started a business, which is actually a fulfillment of one of my New Year's Resolutions/Goals, which was to--by the end of the year--come up with a plan to allow me to eventually make an income large enough to help me reach another ultimate goal of mine: To build one of the best Alzheimer's facilities in the world, and to have several around the country, God willing. I haven't worked out all the details of what I want the facilities to be like, but it is going to be really, really nice. I will not be interested in making a profit from it, only have it sustain itself, so prices for families will be very affordable and the employees will be paid well (and you better believe I will have high standards for the type of employees that work there). :-)

Then of course there are the more immediate financial needs of my daughter's upcoming school tuition and building her college fund, as she has aspirations to be a doctor, which may or may not hold when she gets older, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared just in case. On a side note, I asked her one day what her reason was for wanting to be a doctor (testing to see if it was a real desire, to be honest) and her response was: "Because I want to help sick people. And because God tells me to." Hey that's good enough for me.

Anyway, on to my dad's move. To make a long story short, he recovered well from the UTI, then got sick again and had to return to the E.R.; this time it was a stomach/intestinal infection, and he was put on another round of antibiotics, and began recovering from that. Somewhere in there he fell again/went to E.R./no concussion but had a nasty black eye/returned to ALH and recovered from that. My step mom determined at some point that enough was enough and my dad needed to be in a facility where he could have closer supervision and better care than what an ALH can provide, and began looking into Nursing Home facilities. She found a nice one, and though the cost is even more, she is cutting costs to bare bones in order to be able to do it. Bless her heart! Another reason for me to start a business. Once it gets off the ground, I will make sure she is well taken care of and doesn't lack for anything! She has sacrificed so much.

Back to my dad. He was moved to the new facility on Monday. Another plus: it's closer to where I live! So I will be able to see him more often. Not so good for my step mom, as it's much further from her, but she feels so good about the new facility and how well taken care of it seems he will be, that she is comfortable visiting him less often than when he was only five minutes away. There are nurses and doctors on staff there, and the nurses can see my dad in his room at all times from the nurses station.

The newest change in his medications seemed to do the trick this time. Since returning from his last hospital stay, he has been more lively, chatters away (though most of the time you can't understand what he's talking about), and can get up out of his wheelchair or bed and "tries" to walk. Oh and he is also able to use his arms and hands better now. He looks a lot less pale, too (though I'm afraid the paleness I was seeing before was because he was silently suffering from a UTI for at least four months!).

I haven't visited him in the nursing home yet, but have driven by there and it looks nice. I plan to try and visit him today while out delivering customer orders and running errands.