Archive | October 2013

Six Days of Uncertainty and Fear

Dad has been ill now, really ill, for six days.  He apparently developed an upper respiratory infection.  I am thrilled to report that today he showed some significant improvement and we are hopeful that this trend will continue. 

For most of the past six days, he has been sleeping; unable to communicate, eat, and, he could not walk.  He had a low grade fever and only occasionally uttered a few words of garbled language that we could not understand.  He was put on an antibiotic and taken off of solid food due to the risk of choking.  Through constant urging, we were able to keep him awake long enough to get a bottle of Boost in him three times a day.  Today, he shows signs of minimal dehydration which we are addressing with Gatorade for electrolyte balance. 

Dad weak but slightly more alert.  He showed signs of a returning appetite late today and that gives us hope that he has turned a corner.  His body is beginning to show the signs of significant muscle wasting too.  It concerns us but we also know this is part of the disease.  It is a reminder.  Alzheimers disease has been called “the long goodbye”.  Count each day as a blessing and, as one more chance to love fully and without reservation. 

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Challenge After Challenge

Just when you think you’re starting to get a grip on this Alzheimer’s thing, it will raise its ugly head and remind you that you are not in charge. 

Today, is one of those days.  Both my Mom and Dad are sick from an upper respiratory bug.  Although my brother and I are checking in on them frequently, we are still somewhat at the mercy of the caregivers at the assisted living facility.  They do okay but clearly they are understaffed, over-worked, under-paid, and, they aren’t family.  As painful as it is to see both parents sick, it’s a bit easier with Mom.  She is easily able to describe how she feels and we can adjust our treatment accordinngly.  Dad is proving to be a real challenge.

In the past 24 hours, Dad has retreated into the Alzheimer’s World.  He is all but mute and seems content to sit with his head in his hands or, to stay in the bed.  He has no interest in food and has all but refused the past three meals.  Normally, that would not surprise us or trouble us.  Most people don’t want to eat when they are sick.  The problem is that Dad can’t tell us how ill he is and we can’t tell if his behavior is caused by the illness or the dementia.  Knowing would make treatment decisions easier but for now, we are guessing.

It occurred to us this morning that if this is progression of the Alzheimer’s, then we will soon face the decisions we never wanted to face – to treat or not to treat; to feed or not to feed, etc.  We will face the challenge of deciding quality or quantity.  DNR’s (Do Not Resuscitate orders) are in place but it will be up to us to honor those orders.  Can we?  Will we? 

The simple answer is yes, we will honor them but first, we have to determine what is illness related and what is Alzheimers and unfortunately, the person who knows can’t tell us.  Until we know, we will wait, we will watch, and we will make sure that Dad knows he is loved and not alone.  It is he best we have to give. 

Voter Responsibility

CongressMany of us are fed up with the bickering in Congress.  But, what have we done about it.  I’m a little tired of hearing my friends complain.  When I respond with the simple question of – “have you contacted your representative to let them know how you feel?”, the response is always the same.  They say  “No, it won’t do any good.”

We elected them to represent us.  How can we expect them to do that when we don’t tell them what we care about?

Our forefathers formed a system of government that was to be:

  • a government for the people
  • a government by the people

“People” was never intended to be a government of lawyers.  “People” was intended to be farmers and bankers and nurses and steel workers.

If something is wrong in Washington it is our fault for electing the wrong people and for not holding them accountable for representing our interests.  Stop pointing fingers and do something.