Friday, March 13, 2009


Today went much better, even though I'm in the middle of an absolutely miserable allergy attack which has, so far, remained impervious to Claritin.

Today I got phone calls from Dad's speech therapist, occupational therapist, and doctor, so the nursing home's really on the ball about getting his therapy program rolling. The doctor enjoyed talking to Dad, and said that while he qualifies medically for hospice, they're going to try an aggressive rehab program first, to see if Dad can go home. Works for me! The doctor did say that Dad's lungs are "junky," which is a bit worrisome, since he just got out of the hospital to get rid of lung junk. They're going to do another BNP on Monday; I'm curious to see if that's improved.

I spent the morning and afternoon doing work stuff, and then swam for an hour. (Yay!) I went to see Dad around 5:00, when he's often, lately, been completely tuckered out from the day. But I found him sitting up in his wheelchair and very coherent, although he said that last night was the worst night's sleep of his life. His lunch tray was still on his bedside table, and it looked like he'd eaten a lot of it. I wheeled him down to the dining room for dinner, and he ate a lot there, too, and chatted with the two other people at his table.

I couldn't believe how much better he seemed today than yesterday! I'm much heartened, although -- based on experience -- I wouldn't be surprised to find him completely done in again tomorrow. But a decent day is good; we'll take it. (One day at a time, and so forth.)

I left at seven. The evening metamorphosis seemed to be underway: there were plaintive howls for help from the room across the hall, and the wheelchair brigade was collecting around the nursing station. But when I walked through the crowd, the residents in the wheelchairs smiled at me and said hello, instead of looking lost and terrified. (I hope I didn't sound uncompassionate in yesterday's post; I ached for all of them, but the scene was still chilling.)

I hope they don't become lost and terrified as the evening progresses. I hope Dad doesn't, either.


  1. Yay for a good day! I'm glad your dad had one. When things are going well it's easier to feel you've done your best. Keep your chin up.

  2. Anonymous11:33 AM

    Good news. For someone as social as your dad, a nursing home can have many benefits. I know exactly what you mean about the night time change (it is like a scene from Kafka isn't it). His doctor sounds wonderful. I hope you sleep well tonight.

  3. Anonymous1:38 PM

    So glad to hear it was a good day. I wonder if the early evening change at the nursing home is due to "sundowning" in some of the patients. Sundowning or sunsetting is an episode of confusion, anxiety and/or agitation which occurs at dusk and into the evening (sometimes all night).

  4. Hooray for a better day. Hooray for swimming! Praying for more of both.

  5. Evening in the nursing home reminds me of the compline prayers against the peril of the night. I guess night in the nursing home just starts a little earlier. Glad you and your dad both had a better day.

  6. Anonymous6:22 AM

    Dear Susan,

    Sorry I've been out of touch - I've been reading on the road while traveling to take care of some things for my own family, and it's been a busy time. You are in my thoughts and prayers even when I don't have the electronic wherewithal to put my comments into posts, though! I hope your father continues to have good days, and you continue to have good days, and the two of you continue to have good days together.

    On a totally unrelated note, I just had a chance to read "Shelter" at long last. What a phenomenal book! A very hard and heart-breaking read at times, but it was all worth it for the final few pages. Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful book and sharing such an extraordinary set of stories.



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