Thursday, May 17, 2012

Not so good

Dad's best friend of 50 years was here last weekend.  With his daughter and son-in-law, they visited together with Dad for the four days that his friend was in Denver.  I know Dad enjoyed this thoroughly and I think now he's experiencing a bit of a setback as life returns to normal.  In the past two days, he's called me up in a very anxious state and insisted that I come immediately to see him.  I am beside myself and yesterday asked the Hospice nurse what she thought about transferring him to a nursing home.  After my husband calmed me down, we decided it's better to keep him where he is since the nursing homes are much further away and we'd wind up having to travel greater distances every time he expressed his anxiety which we know would continue to occur.  I think now that his friend has left, there is nothing in the immediate future for him to look forward to.  The biggest problems we have with him other than this new anxious state is that he no longer eats and his liquid diet doesn't provide enough nourishment.  That makes him weak due to the continuous loss of weight and healthy muscle and tissue.  I have been to Whole Foods numerous times to try and provide the right supplements.  One icky greenish can was fifty bucks which I more than happily purchased and realized afterwards was not a good deal.  Every caregiver has a different theory on how to encourage him to drink the right stuff, i.e. only Diet Coke because the real stuff has too much sugar, put whipped cream on his bottled smoothie, no more strawberry milk shakes because they have too much sugar, put Ensure into a tiny cup so he'll not find it overwhelming to finish.  In between I find diet supplements to put in water with only a modicum of success.  We have been forced to watch his intake because he has edema (swelling) of his right hand.  Since we started watching his diet and have elevated his hand, the swelling has gone down.  We are very fortunate that Dad does not have pain.  Other than constantly trying to figure out how to go on and not being able to move, he seems comfortable.  At this point it is hard to think of ways to keep him occupied.  He is still alert enough to know what's going on, but he'll shut you off if he doesn't like the subject matter.  With my husband, who has the most influence, we watch baseball and golf and occasionally the news.  When it's nice out, we take a late afternoon walk.  A caregiver comes late in the afternoon two days a week, and a volunteer from Jewish Family Service is expected to start visiting next week.  The Hospice team checks in on him weekly.  What else can we do?  Not being one to give up, I am planning to go to the library to find some DVD's that have short biographies about people Dad used to admire.  We'll see.  We tried the Game Show Channel and he nixed that.

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