Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Well, my parents have switched places. Mom's been gamely going to physical therapy for the last three days -- since my sister told her that doing well there is her only hope of going home, rather than staying in the nursing home -- and has been markedly more cogent. Today we had the most normal conversation I've had with her in months. She asked about my trip to Vegas yesterday, was interested that I'd had a poem accepted, and asked me to read it to her (I didn't have it with me, but I sent a copy to my sister, so she can read it to Mom). She sounded a little weak and blurry, but my goodness, what an improvement over only breathing into the phone and not saying anything!

Dad, meanwhile, is having trouble; he fell the day before yesterday, although he said he was okay (and seemed okay), knocked the hand controls off his scooter yesterday by running into a wall (the maintenance guy at his assisted-living place is trying to get a replacement part), and was very lethargic today. Evidently he went to breakfast, but when I showed up around ten this morning to arrange his meds for the week, he was drooping over in his wheelchair, drooling, and didn't respond when I called or shook him, although I could see him breathing. He eventually came to, but only when I'd gotten the healthcare staff in there. He said he just felt really tired.

After I did his meds, I dragged him down to lunch, which he'd have skipped otherwise. Then I went out and bought a blood-pressure cuff: when I went back after work, his BP was fine, and he said that a visiting home-health nurse had said that his O2 sat was 96%, but he was exhausted again, lying fully clothed in bed, and the staff hadn't been able to get him to go downstairs for dinner. I nagged him into drinking an Ensure, but he needed me to bring him his PJs and help him undress. He seemed to feel better when I turned the O2 from 3 to 4, even though his sats had supposedly been fine.

Meanwhile, we're planning on going to Palo Alto tomorrow. Dad says he wants to go, even though I keep asking him, "Are you feeling strong enough for this?"

We'll see what happens tomorrow morning. At least we don't have to worry about @#(*@#%& oxygen tanks.


  1. Your parent stories sound so familiar to me. My mom does not say much at all anymore, and the staff can't even get her out of bed lately because the lift is broken and needs to be replaced. It is a lot of work to be a caregiver. Your blog has changed a great deal since I started to read it.


  2. Anonymous1:49 PM

    When my mom first went into the nursing home/assisted living, she had 'spells' like that where it was extremely difficult to get a response. She went almost a year without one until early December. The nurses were concerned, checked bp, pulse etc..all was normal, called the doctor, called us. We couldn't rouse her at all. Then the chaplain just happened by and asked what was needed. I tearfully said we couldn't wake her. He took her hand and in a very commanding voice called out her name. She opened her eyes and sat right up. Can you believe we all started laughing?

    Lady with the Airedale


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