Archive for February, 2009

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Good Blood

Dad has a blood clot in his lung so he’s been on Coumadin for a while. His protime readings are generally all over the map. For the last few months, his protime has come back from the lab saying his blood is way too thick and some times, dangerously thick that they were worried about a stroke. At one point, his blood wasn’t even flowing for the nurses to even draw any blood. After several weeks of slowly increasing his Coumadin, it appears Dad’s protime readings are better and instead of having to go every week to get his blood taken, the next time he’s schedule for lab work is in one month.

On a side note, I do find it interesting and I have no idea if it’s related but, when Dad’s blood was really thick, he was doing very well in Lewy Land. Since his blood has thinned out a bit, he’s starting to make a downhill turn. This could all be a coincidence or it could be related, I don’t know? You would think thinner blood would make him feel better and have more energy but it seems to be the opposite. Anyway, just my observations, there’s probably no correlation but I find it interesting.

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Sister is here visiting from NYC. She arrived on Saturday night and we’re all glad she’s here. She gives us a bit of a break from taking care of Dad plus it’s just fun to have her with us. She’s here for just a short visit but we’re grateful for our time together, nonetheless.

Dad has been doing okay. He’s not great and he’s not awful. He seems to be reverting back to some of his previous bizarre behaviors involving his religious and OCD tendencies. Hopefully they’ll stop but I have the feeling we’re about to enter in to another rollercoaster cycle. After all, all good things must come to an end… eventually.

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More often than not, Dad isn’t himself. As a result, his independence is limited. For example, whenever we go shopping, Dad usually sticks with the person he’s with… he doesn’t stray or wander. Besides, he likes to push the trolley- he’s deemed it his “job” while shopping. I wonder if Dad is apprehensive about shopping on his own because he knows he’ll get confused and won’t know how to find us. That being said, a few days ago, Dad tried to reclaim his freedom.

Dad and I were out shopping at a major retailer. As we breezed up and down the aisles collecting things we needed to buy, Dad decided he wanted to find something. Instead of communicating to me what he wanted to do, he just took off in the blink of an eye. I threw down the item I was admiring, grabbed the trolley he left behind and headed out in to the main aisle after him. Unfortunately, Dad was already gone and thus I began a wild goose chase around the store in attempt to find him.

I circled the store for about 15 minutes going up and down every aisle. My heart sank at one point when a bunch of employees ran towards the front of the store. I thought to myself, oh no! Dad has walked out the front door with something in his hand and they think he’s shoplifting. So, I made a mad dash for the store front where I thankfully found Dad walking around the registers. No, he hadn’t wandered out of the store. After I calmly reclaimed him and told him I was looking for him, he said he was looking for me, too. We discussed that in the future he can’t just walk off without communicating his plans. And for those wondering what the mystery item Dad was after, well, it was straws. He has a newfound slight obsession with them when drinking anything. The store had some straws by the soda machine that he took. I of course told him he can’t just take a wad of straws but he insisted he asked if he could have them. I seriously doubt he did, but I didn’t press the issue and decided to check out at the register.

Now I know how a parent must feel when he/she turns around and their child has wandered off. It’s an awful, sinking feeling. As a family, we have decided it’s best to go shopping with Dad when there is another person available. Whether or not that will always be possible remains to be seen. We’re also considering putting some kind of identification card in his wallet detailing pertinent information and his medical condition, just in case. It might not hurt, either, to have a designated meeting point of sorts- as in if we ever get separated, meet by the store front exit. I just wonder if he’ll remember the meeting spot.

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Today is Mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!

We started celebrating early with a fancy dinner with the family at Mom’s favorite restaurant on Saturday night. Monday night, as part of Mom’s birthday present, she and I had a mother/daughter night and went to a concert to see one of Mom’s favorite singers. Today we’re going to the movies,  I’m cooking Mom’s favorite meal, baking  her favorite chocolate chips cookies and opening a few more presents after dinner. It should be a nice day.

Leading up to today, I’ve been reminding Dad that it’s Mom’s birthday. He was a little confused it was today because we already celebrated on Saturday so I’ve had to explain a few times that we just celebrated early and today is her actual birthday. Dad gave Mom a big kiss and hug this morning and he told her how much he loved her. It was very sweet and a nice present for Mom. I’ve picked up a present and a card for Dad to give to Mom. We also picked up a Valentine’s Day card for him, too, since that’s just around the corner!

Things with Dad are relatively good. He’s still a bit confused and often asks us for our names and he repeats his name. It’s like he’s trying to remember over and over again. Otherwise, things are going well. He sort of has ants in his pants and is always puttering around and fussing over things that don’t need attention which often has us chasing after him. Overall, he’s doing well and Dad and I went out shopping yesterday and today he’s eager to head to the movies.

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The past few days Dad has been a bit confused and a little out of it but overall, Dad has been doing pretty well. He’s been active around the house with watering and planting flowers in the yard. He’s been been puttering around and even managed to shut off the entire water supply to the house. We quickly had to figure out what he had done and eventually got the water running again. For so long we’ve relied on Dad to take care of knowing how to shut off the water, gas, etc. I guess it’s time we start learning ourselves.

We went out for a nice dinner last night to celebrate Mom’s birthday. At first we thought we might have to cancel because he was a little out of it but we decided to take the chance and went. For the most part, he was pretty good- definitely out of it a bit but still functional and he ate everything on his plate- which was a 3 course prefix meal!

Tonight we broke the routine and instead of having a proper dinner at the table, we just had some finger food and snacks as we watched the Superbowl. Dad was thoroughly confused that we weren’t eating dinner tonight. In fact, for the first time ever, he admitted that he was actually confused and didn’t understand. Normally when I try to explain things to Dad or mention that he’s just a little confused he get a bit defensive and denies any confusion. So, tonight was a first for Dad being able to admit he was confused. Eventually he caught on and started nibbling when he was hungry.

I believe part of the reason for some of his confusion may be from lack of sleep. Dad has been waking up early in the morning and going to bed late. Before, Dad used to sleep until around noon. Now, he’s awake at 8:30am and wants to get up and ready right away. He’s also not napping during the day even though he looks exhausted and stays up until 11pm. Then, it takes him about one hour or more to actually get in to bed for the night. We make the comment that he should take a little cat nap during the afternoon and of course he snaps up and says he’s not tired. Every now and then we’ll catch him dozing off which we happily encourage.

Hopefully we can get him in to a routine of either sleeping in a bit later or taking naps during the day. I think it’s so important for him to nap and recharge his brain for a bit.

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