Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 09

The good:
1. Dan's turkey, as always, was succulent and perfect.
2. My appetizers (baked brie, along with spinach-artichoke dip) were a hit, as well as the sweet corn and rolls that I always bring. There was also a buttery, crispy, custardy sweet potato casserole made by Pam, and my sis-in-law's stuffing and MIL's mashed potatoes and gravy. . .all scrumptious.
3. The company---Aunt Ro, Pam, my sweet MIL, brother and sis-in-law and our respective kidlets.
4. Surprise sleepover- - -Liv and Nate got invited to crash tonight with their cousins, one of their very favorite things in the world to do.
5. Watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles. . .or at least the first half-hour, before an impromptu mini-turkey-coma.
6. Talking with J, my dad's private aid today about the impending move to a small apartment with 24-hour care. It feels good to have a new plan, even though it might not be perfect. The kids gave J a Thanksgiving card and made my dad a paper turkey, which I put on his bedside table.

The bad:
1. My dad's back in the skilled nursing facility but now he has pneumonia. Last night they called to let me know he had a fever and this morning when I went by he was on oxygen and antibiotics. When his Thanksgiving lunch came J and I fed him little bites until he ate around half. He chewed very slowly without opening his eyes. I was so worried that he'd get dehydrated again; I kept feeding him sips of his iced tea and water with a spoon until they were both nearly gone. Tonight when I went by again his fever had gone down but they're still concerned about his breathing so they may end up having to send him back to the hospital by morning. Sigh.
2. I'm starting to wonder if the Lexapro that I'm taking has stopped working. . .or maybe I'm just naturally a little bummed and should just let myself feel it.
3. We finally got someone out to give us an estimate on getting laminate or hardwoods in our living room and were informed that the moisture level in our crawlspace is too high for them to guarantee the work; they're afraid the wood would warp or buckle. They recommended an inspecter to find the underlying cause of the humidity. . .yikes. I really don't want to know.

The ugly:
1. Did I mention the pneumonia thing?
2. Did I mention the social worker at the nursing home? Oh,yeah. Yesterday.

The uncertain:
1. Olivia announced she wants to get her hair cut very short TOMORROW so she can donate it to Locks of Love. That was the plan initially, but I thought she was going to wait until spring. Oh, well- - -a couple months ago I would've rejoiced at this decision but she looked so darned cute with her curly ponytail last week. But, the harsh reality is I don't have the time or talent to do the curly ponytail for her everyday, and she's so active and hates spending time on her hair herself right now, so. . .I guess we'll see!
2. I'm going to check on my dad's apartment application next week; I'm going to rehearse the phone call in my head so that I don't sound desperate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The last couple of days have not been the greatest. My dad is back in the hospital, after what seems like his one thousandth fall. It baffles me that this continues to happen, but the severe memory impairment combined with just enough strength to stand up out of one's wheelchair when one's legs are like Jello. . .well, it's a crappy combo.

Miraculously, he hasn't broken anything. I'm thankful for that.
The fact that he was slightly dehydrated upon entering the hospital, after being in a supposedly high-level care facility? So dehydrated that a low-dose of sedative to calm him down put him out cold for nearly 19 hours? Yeah. . . I'm feeling less than thankful for that.

So the hospital felt he could go home today but didn't want to release him to the skilled nursing center because they felt it wasn't safe for him after so many falls; they felt he needed to be in a secured memory unit.
You know, like the one at Sunrise. Where he also fell. A lot. Great.

So I told the nice social worker at the hosptial about my family's plan to move my dad to a retirement community apartment with round the clock private care. The problem is, the ground unit that we want isn't available until January.

I'm about to come out of my skin with impatience. I want him out of that facility YESTERDAY, but I'd like him to be in this particular complex since it's close to me, the utilities are included in the rent and he'd have lots of folks his own age for neighbors. So. . .we'll see.

In the meantime, the skilled nursing facility is willing to "let" my dad come back there IF he has round the clock private care because, as their social worker put it, "they just can't be liable for another one of your dad's falls." OH! And also, she also informed me that she knew the manager of these retirement apartments very well and she didn't think this lady would want to "take a chance on having someone who could have a serious accident on the property. In fact, Tracy, I'm not sure if our Dr. here will release him to go live there."

I'm not a yeller. I hate yelling. Frankly it makes me tired, and I feel terrible afterwards. But this poor nursing home social worker picked the wrong ticked off, over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, only child to pick on today.

Someone, I guess it was me, but it didn't really sound like me, proceeded to tell this lady something like this: "REALLY?? You don't think YOUR Dr., who's seen him maybe ONCE will agree for him to live there?! Well, considering that my father showed up at the hospital yesterday dehydrated and with a slight concussion after being in YOUR facility, I don't think my father's REAL Dr. will have a problem with me taking him ANYWHERE ELSE BUT THERE."

Then, of course, I apologized. Like a wimpy,snivelling weasel. I told her that I knew she was just doing her job, but my family and I were just trying to do what was best and right now the best thing seems to be to take a break from facilities for awhile and just work things out between Jimmy and a couple other private caregivers.
She proceeded to babble about how she didn't meant to discourage me, she only meant to ENcourage me. . .she was suddenly Jesse Jackson. Whatever.

So now I'm at the mercy of shelling out more of my dad's once hard-earned money to pay for round the clock private care WHILE HE'S IN A SUPPOSED CAREGIVING FACILITY. Oh, and they all charge time and a-half for the holiday, naturally.

Damn. Sorry, Pastor Trevor. I hope you don't read this. Hell and damn. Also, shit. Also, crap. Also, cocksucker. That one's for the social worker. Encouraging enough for ya? Yeah.

There are so, so many things I'm thankful for, but the last 24 hours- - -well they just sucked.

I love you, Daddy. Please, please stop falling down, OK?

Now I'm going to go by the nursing home to lay eyes on my dad for a minute before going home, collapsing on the sofa and making hubs watch Moonstruck with me.
Watching Cher drink champagne by the fire after her little shopping spree always puts me in a better mood. . .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes. . .turn and face the strange

So, it seems that just because my dad may not be fully aware of every event in his life, his life still evolves and changes just like anyone else's.
Due to a series of recent falls, he's now in a skilled nursing facility until he's more steady on his feet and can returned to "an assisted living environment." His Dr., the hospital social worker and I came to this decision after the most recent tumble and subsequent overnight hospital stay. My dad had stood up out of his wheelchair unassisted, which is a no-no, and took a header on the bricks of the courtyard outside Sunrise.

He's in a wheelchair part of the time these days, but he can walk pretty well either with assistance or if he's holding onto the wall railing at the nursing home. My question is, can a person with severe memory impairment REMEMBER that he's not supposed to stand up out of his wheelchair and walk without help? Well, no. He can't. Sigh. Even my sweet, positive-thinking Dawn, who has years and years of experience with Alzheimer's patients, has told me that the falls are going to happen in nearly any type of caregiver situation as long as my dad's still ambulatory. Double sigh.

But, we still have our dear J, his private aide who comes a few times a week. And Dad and I still have our moments together; I bring him Pepsis and Little Debbie cakes and his grandbabies.

Meanwhile, we're in the midst of one of the more spectacular autumns that I can remember. I find myself looking up at the trees all the time, even when I really, really shouldn't (like when I'm oh, behind the wheel of the van)!

Halloween was fun, even though poor Liv was sick with what started as a cold but turned into pneumonia a week later. She had a slight fever and sore throat on Halloween night, and had to stay in except for a quick pity trip to a few close neighbors' houses for candy.

Here are some pics:

Very scary transformer with my husband's eyes threatens us with a Kit Kat in each hand.

The grumpy mermaid was not amused.

Wally the Wonderdog protects hearth and home.

Mirror, mirror. . .Liv gets her first salon up-do for the American Girl fashion show rehearsal (the actual big show is Nov. 21).