Monthly Archives: March 2014

Excellent News!!!

The sun is shining and this caregiver’s heart is elated that my dad is nearly ready to return to his home!!!  It’s been quite a couple of weeks but my dad is gaining strength daily and is determined to make a full recovery!  Praise the Lord for answered prayer!!

I laid out a fresh change of clothing for my dad early this morning.  So, he washed up, shaved and changed.  He tried to tell me that he’d change after the nurse and therapist left, but I told him that defeated the whole purpose.  He conceded my point… (He likely will be glad when he doesn’t have “Nurse Meanie Pants” to boss him around once he gets back home!  … I can’t help it – Personal hygiene is important.)  Then I fixed him a bowl of oatmeal and gave him a glass of orange juice for breakfast.

The visiting nurse came out this morning.  More than anything, they talked baseball!  She shares my father’s affection for his favorite team, so she didn’t mind their lengthy discussion.  She did take his blood pressure and listened to his lungs and heart.  That’s about the only medical function she performed.  I’m hopeful that, given my dad’s good lab report from last week, he can go to a 2-3 week re-check schedule.  Next week begins a seemingly continuous cycle of doctor visits, so I don’t think we will require the visiting nurse’s services after that point.

The physical therapist arrived just minutes after the nurse left.  She had my dad go down the front steps and walk to the driveway and back into the house.  We all were impressed with how well he did.  I think he may have even surprised himself!  He can nearly walk normally now.  I tell you, each day we are seeing great improvement in many regards!  What a testimony of God’s goodness, healing power and mercy!!  He is ever faithful.  I know my dad was glad to get outside and absorb some of the gorgeous sunshine!  I noticed my hyacinths are beginning to bloom and a couple of my daffodils have bloomed.  Spring, how we love thee!!

I was unsure when my dad would be able to return home, but when the physical therapist mentioned that she thought it would be soon, I was blown away!  She suggested that we’ll take a field trip to his house to see how he does, which is a great idea.  The therapist asked my dad if he’d been home to visit yet.  To which he replied, “She won’t let me!”  He was joking, but it’s true.  One day early last week he asked if he could ride with me, and, at that point, he had not regained the strength he has now.  The therapist doesn’t think her services will be required much longer, which is great news too.  I tend to agree.

Tomorrow we’ll see how my dad navigates the steps at his house.  If all goes well, he should be able to return home this week.  I know he’ll be thrilled.  And, I have to say, it’ll be good to have a break from the almost constant care of the last two weeks.  Not to mention, we’ll be able to return to a more functional school schedule!  Our lives and schedules have been completely turned upside down due to his illness.  The Lord truly knows how much we can bear and I’m ever grateful that my dad is recovering so well!  It’s really miraculous considering he was at death’s door two weeks ago!  He is very stubborn and has a real determination to be independent, which serves him well.  I’m sure the ER doctor would be amazed at his progress.

To God be the glory!!  Great things He hath done!!

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Wonderful Weekend

Well, the weekend is coming to a close and I’m thankful for my sister’s visit!  We shared lots of laughs as usual and her very presence eased this caregiver’s load.  As always, the time flew much too quickly!  She got on the road this afternoon just as the rain gave way to a snowy mixture.  We both headed out at the same time as I needed to get a few things from Walmart for my dad.

Earlier we worked together and soaked our dad’s feet in Epsom salt.  We had him sit in the wheelchair while we gave him the spa/torture treatment.  (not really torture, but it was uncomfortable for him, although necessary.) You wouldn’t believe what a production all of this was!  It was a little precarious as his fractured foot remains very sensitive.  We didn’t do much with that foot, but we wanted to soak and moisturize the other foot primarily.  As people age, many don’t take care of themselves the way they should, and he is no exception.   This evening he said that he thought the soaking really helped to ease the pain in his foot, so I was glad to hear that.  I am a firm believer in the healing properties of Epsom salt.  Magnesium is a many splendored mineral!

As soon as his foot heals, we are heading directly to the podiatrist; but for now that is not a priority.  He also could stand a check up at the optometrist as it’s been several years since his last visit.

Last year was the year of dental work for him!  Poor guy.  At age 76, he had two wisdom teeth removed!  Can you imagine?  They removed one at a time since he’s on a blood thinner and a greater risk.  He had multiple deep cleaning visits with the hygenist and several regular dental visits aside from the oral surgeon appointments.  His recovery from the first wisdom tooth took a while, so we were relieved that the second surgery involved a far less painful recovery.

Dad recuperated at our house for a week last October during his bout with severe bronchitis.  It nearly landed him in the hospital, but, mercifully, he recovered.  I always say he’s like the Energizer Bunny … He just keeps going!  He has a lot of inner fortitude and a tremendous will to live, obviously.  He’s been through a lot, but through it all, he bounces back like nothing ever happened!  He’s amazing.  He gives me great hope, that’s for sure!  🙂

Last night my sister made shepherd’s pie, which was the best I’ve ever had!  She browned the ground beef with onions and made up a beef bouillon gravy.  Then she added sliced carrots and peas, and topped with mashed potatoes.  My taste buds were in heaven!  Yumminess.  She also whipped up a batch of homemade biscuits, which we all enjoyed as well.  As you can see, she is an excellent cook!  She and her husband both enjoy watching cooking shows and trying out new recipes.  I, on the other hand, would rather do most any household chore aside from cooking.  🙂  I cook from scratch pretty much daily, but, if given the choice, I’d gladly resign.  Haha!

Tonight my darling daughter made delicious teriyaki turkey burgers with a homemade sauce.  She really out did herself.  She is an excellent cook as well!  She cut up fresh carrots and cucumbers and we dipped them in salad dressing and had leftover mashed potatoes.  Another yummy dinner!

My dad is watching re-runs of baseball games tonight, gearing up for the big day tomorrow!  Tomorrow is Opening Day for the baseball season and, as he says, he’s been looking forward to it since the end of last season!  🙂  Yes, he’s an avid baseball fan.  He asked me twice today what times the nurse and physical therapist will be arriving tomorrow.  I think he wants to make doubly sure it will not interfere with his plans of watching Opening Day t.v. coverage, even the pre-show.  He’s so funny.

He’s walking much better and faster too.  We have to play “traffic cop” and caution him to slow down sometimes!  We don’t want him to get the walker out too far in front of him and then fall.  It has two wheels on the front and the back two are pegs.

Whenever he complains (which is every other breath)…I remind him to think about how far he’s come over the last week.  I tell him (or is it speaking those things that be not as though they were?) that each week, we will see a marked difference in his recovery!  Each week he’ll be walking better and able to manage the steps.  He agrees with me and is definitely ready to have this injury behind him.  I’m pretty sure his home will never be more comforting to him as when he is able to return.  I bought him an egg crate foam mattress topper today, so hopefully that will make the couch more comfortable.

All in all, we had a good weekend.  My sister’s company was just what the doctor ordered.  Before her visit, I was just about at the end of my rope…just exhausted from caring for my dad round the clock.  It’s always encouraging any time I get to spend time with my siblings.  God knew just what I needed.  He’s ever faithful.

“The generous will prosper;
    those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” ~ Proverbs 11:25

Hope you all had a blessed weekend as well, my friends!  🙂

 

 

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The Prayer of My Heart

As I continue caring for my dad and trusting God for healing, the prayer of my heart is this:

“Lord, I thank you from the depths of my heart for bringing my dad to the point of recovery he’s at today.  I pray that your healing power would continue its mighty work in his body.  (Isaiah 53)

I also ask that you grant me the strength, grace, compassion and energy that I so desperately need as his caregiver.  Please continue healing my family of our colds and bless us to be a blessing.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

It’s a dreary, rainy day here this morning, and, so it seems to reflect the condition of my spirit at the moment.  I think the weight of the past week has really drained me in ways I am unaware of and unable to articulate.  I am trying to stay strong, but my body is tired and my soul is heavy.  Perhaps I will go for a drive later just to get out of the house and clear my head.

The gentleman from my dad’s church came around 4:45p.m. yesterday to deliver the groceries my dad requested and didn’t leave until after 9:00p.m.!  My dad delivered many, lengthy monologues during this time and enjoyed visiting with his comrade.  However, this was a huge strain on the rest of our family as we felt like we had to entertain as well.  My husband has copious amounts of paperwork to do in the evenings and this interruption was a major inconvenience.  I learned a valuable lesson…yet again!  Boundaries must be set.  From now on, I will make it very clear that all visits are 30 minutes or less.  Our family is already under incredible strain from constantly caring for my father, we don’t need any further disruption.  We kept thinking that at any moment, our visitor would announce his departure, but that never came.  In addition to being an inconvenience, we are all still recovering from this cold/virus.  My husband and daughter began with a fever and then turned into a cold.  We’re on the mend, but still not tip top.

It is one thing to be an encourager to those who are sick, but it is equally righteous to be mindful of others’ time and family needs.   We were drained when that door closed.

I’m very thankful that my older sister is coming into town late tonight for the weekend.  I could use the moral support and the reinforcements!  My father can be quite demanding and it’s wearing on all of us.  I am thankful that I can be at home getting things done around here vs. running back and forth to the hospital daily.  Unfortunately, our other two siblings live farther away.  Our younger sister will be visiting in a month and our brother sometime this summer.  He has some health issues himself to tend to.

Both the nurse and the physical therapist will be coming out every Monday and Wednesday.  I’m really glad they can work around my schedule because I have to play “taxi driver” and take my daughter to and from work the other days.  I need to clone myself.  I have been a mother for nearly 26 years, but I don’t know when I’ve been busier!  I suppose when my two younger children were small.  The challenging aspect of my current caregiving situation is that I’m not as young as I was back when my two were babies! 😉

I am relying on the promise that “His grace is sufficient for me.  In my weakness, He is strong.”

He knows how much we can bear – physically, mentally and in all regards.  I think I need to go back and read my blog post entitled, “He Knows My Address”!  🙂  Haha!  Yes, we need to encourage ourselves in our faith sometimes.  I don’t mean to complain because I make every attempt to focus on the positive in life.  This soldier is just a little weary, but I will revive!  And, now to crank up some Christian music and rejoice in the Lord despite the challenges, and, most of all, for His goodness!  “This too shall pass.”

Have a blessed day, my friend!

“Rejoice in the Lord.  And, again, I say rejoice!”  – Philippians 4:4

“Why so downcast, oh my soul?  Hope thou in God! I will yet praise Him!” – Psalm 42:5

 

 

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A Revolving Door

My house has become quite the revolving door, especially today!  Early this morning, I ran over to my dad’s house to pick up a few things and check on the house.  (Incidentally, there was a police flyer by the door indicating a recent armed robbery in the area…just makes one feel all warm & fuzzy!  Yes, the neighborhood ain’t what she used to be!) It’s about a 45 minute drive each way and I needed to make sure I was back in time to meet with the home health nurse, who was due at 11a.m.  Thankfully, they coordinate very well with your schedule and are able to accommodate my prior commitments.  I was back thirty minutes before she came out to draw my dad’s blood.  She had a difficult time as his poor veins have been worked over during his hospital stay.  In the end, she was finally able to get it.

I called the nursing association to inquire about when the physical therapist may be out to begin working with him.  I was just concerned that his file might be lost in the shuffle.  I am becoming more and more aware that when it comes to health care, in particular, you have to be very pro-active.  Human error seems to be a widespread epidemic.  😉  (Take for instance, the nurse had in her file that he broke his right rib…Dad and I looked at each other quizzically…Then it dawned on me that they meant to say that he broke his right foot!  That’s a lot like a rib, isn’t it?!)

The physical therapist called me right back and asked if she could do an assessment this afternoon, which worked out perfectly (especially since she mentioned she’s off tomorrow).  We all are anxious to get this therapy rolling, so he can manage walking up and down stairs with the orthopedic walking boot.  The therapist mentioned that he could begin walking upstairs to the guest bedroom, which my dad balked at.  He doesn’t feel like he’s ready for that yet.  So, I suggested that we conquer the outside, front two steps by the door first and work our way up to the long stairway.  I think he felt like that was more manageable.  He was worried about the pain in his foot coming back downstairs.

It turns out that the therapist is a Christian and she is interested in possibly homeschooling her children.  We had a nice chat about that on the front steps as she was leaving.  She even offered to come out on the day my dad has his first Dr. appt. to make sure he gets down the front steps okay.  I thought that was very kind.  It’ll be good to have her assisting.  I especially like her and know that God orchestrated her being assigned to my dad’s case.  Yes, God is interested in the details!

We’re expecting one more person and then we can all relax for the evening!  Yesterday my dad put in a call to a friend he works with at the church and requested that he make a run to Sam’s Club for some groceries for us (& he would give him the money).  When my dad mentioned he wanted to call this gentleman, I had no idea that he was going to ask him to do grocery shopping!  I thought he just wanted to give him an update on his recovery.  (This gentleman holds a key position at the church and is very busy. But, he and my dad have quite a comradery.) I know this is my dad’s way of “helping us”, but it is sometimes difficult to accept help from others, especially outside of the family.  We are accustomed to being very independent and not relying on anyone.  We certainly have enough food and there is no risk of starvation around here.  But, I have learned over the years that sometimes one has to be gracious enough to receive others’ generosity.

I am a giver.  So is my husband.  We LOVE to give.  We also love to help anyone we can.  So being on the receiving end is rather foreign and, in a way, awkward.  It places us in an unnatural position, so it would seem.  But, I am reminded once again, that sometimes one has to allow others to give and assist because if we don’t, we are shortchanging them of a blessing.  I guess you could say it’s a matter of pride getting in the way, although I wouldn’t consider us to be particularly prideful.  Just independent.  So, I am learning and re-learning all sorts of life lessons through this process.  It’s okay to be vulnerable and accept help.  If the giver didn’t want to assist, they wouldn’t.  Grace.  We’ve got the giving thing down pat.  Now, we’re understanding what it is to be a gracious receiver.

As I sit here typing, my dad is dozing yet again.  He’s had a filling lunch, consisting of left over chicken casserole from last night, a dish of peaches and a cup of milk.  He was up and down several times during the night, so I know he’s tired.  Each day he’s making greater progress.  He gave himself a bird bath this morning and brushed his hair.  I am charging up his new electric razor, so we’ll give that a whirl later.  He even wrote out a check to pay a bill this morning and my son put it in the mailbox for him earlier.  I got out a spare calendar and wrote all of his upcoming appointments on it, so he can easily keep up with our schedule.  Plus, I know I would feel better seeing everything written down and he can keep up with the days.  I also brought him a spiral notebook as well as clipboard with paper in case he wanted to write anything down.  So, he has all sorts of things on tray tables beside the couch and readily accessible.  The goal is that he resume his normal activities and maintain mental clarity by being as independent as possible.  I am a mother, but I am attempting to not be too “motherly” as to hinder his recovery.  I don’t want him to become accustomed to having everything done for him if he can attempt himself.  The ultimate goal is for him to return to his home, where he is most comfortable; and then back to his regular volunteer work at his church.  When he is healthy, he volunteers full time, five days a week and enjoys it very much.  It really helps to keep him going and gives him a sense of purpose.  An active lifestyle is key to maintaining a sharp mind.  He may be 77, but in his mind, he’s 35!  😉  He gives me great hope! 🙂

Our praise report today is that my dad is able to withstand walking greater distances, and, most importantly, that his strength is returning.  He actually got up off the couch by himself earlier.  Of course, he was holding onto the walker, but this is no small task, especially since the couch is at an angle.  Bit by bit, we will get there!  I say we a lot…because we are a team.  Since our move back to the area four years ago, my father and I have spent more time together due to medical appointements than I ever thought possible.  The Lord has used this time as a season of healing for me and continues to show me things that I don’t know how I might have learned otherwise.  Life lessons are everywhere, often in places we least suspect.

Our prayer remains that my dad will continue to regain strength and that the pain will be reduced in his foot so he is able to resume normal activities very soon.  God is so faithful and I just give Him all the praise, honor and glory for answered prayer thus far.  And I know that He is ever faithful to complete the work He has begun.

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What a Difference a Day Makes

Each day since my father’s release from the hospital two days ago we’ve seen drastic improvement.  I am convinced that it is a direct result of the countless prayers that have reached heaven on his behalf.  I also know that being around family and in a home setting helps in the recovery process quite a bit.

Today the home health nurse came out to do her initial assessment.  She’ll return tomorrow for his weekly blood work monitoring as he’s on a blood thinner.  I should hear from the physical therapists shortly to line up their visits.  So far, I’ve scheduled four Dr. appts. – He’ll be seeing the urologist, cardiologist, orthopedic and primary care physicians.  And I need to reschedule his podiatrist appt. but that will take a back seat to all the other more pressing matters.

I like the home health nurse, Dawn.  She was very professional yet personable also, so I think we’ll all get along nicely.  My dad likes to joke around with everyone and she seemed to appreciate his sense of humor.

My daughter and I applied lotion to his very dry legs and ointment to a couple spots.  I am thankful that my daughter is so loving and such a good nurse’s assistant.  🙂  I have to brag on my son as well as he’s been an invaluable help.  He got up with my dad at 4a.m. to hold the walker while he got up off the couch.  He’ll sleep downstairs tonight so he’ll be able to assist him easily.  My husband and I have been taking night time cold medicine and we have been knocked out!  Initially my husband had a fever for a few days but has now been reduced to a bad cold, which we’ve all gotten now.  We’re on the mend, though.

Dad is determined to make a full recovery and I’m delighted to see his spunk and resolve!  Mobility is a big issue at present due to his fractured right foot, but he is maneuvering quite well with his walker.  Before today, he was only walking from the couch to the bathroom and that’s as far as he ever went.  I suggested yesterday that he attempt to walk a little further into the other living room, but, at that point, he was due to take another dose of pain medication and wanted to delay the additional exercise.  However, this afternoon with much encouragement, he walked a lap around several rooms with his walker.  He is almost able to take regular strides with the aid of the walker.  I am so proud of him!  I know he’s anxious to return to his own home, but so far, he’s been a trouper about sleeping on the couch.  Regrettably, our guest bedroom is upstairs and stairs are out of the question right now.  He says the couch is comfortable, so I’m glad.

This time last week, I took dad to the ER for the first time for his fractured foot.  Then the following day (last Wednesday) was the beginning of an arduous recovery process from sepsis (bacteria in the blood that many people die from).  He’s come a long way since then!  God’s mercy, grace and strength have accompanied us all along the way and I am so grateful that Jesus is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother!  When I have been at my weakest, His grace has sustained me.  Ironically, during this past week I haven’t been feeling well myself.  There’s no good time for a family emergency, but this last week really wasn’t.  Somehow, God has shown Himself mighty on my behalf and undergirded me with supernatural strength as only He can.  My testimony is of the faithfulness of God.  Sometimes life happens.  Many times we are faced with challenges and difficulties, but God always shows up in the midst of them and proves Himself mighty to save!  Truth be told, He never leaves the believer’s side.  He is always with me, this I know.  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

During times of stress during my father’s hospitalization, I found great solace in the chapel on the same floor.  Since I spent a lot of time at the hospital, I explored his floor quite a bit.  They call it a “meditation room” but I call it a chapel.  It’s open 24 hours a day to all faiths and it was a peaceful respite for my weary soul.  During my many visits, I was the only one making use of this oasis.  Of that, I was glad of at the time.  Although, I certainly hope others find peace there during their time of need as well.

“At the Cross, at the Cross, where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away.  It was there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day.”  (a great hymn by Isaac Watts)

If your soul is weary today, my friend, pull up a chair at the foot of the Cross.  There is room at the Cross for you.  There is grace and forgiveness.  Mercy too.  Strength for the journey and healing for you.

 

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Life is Precious

As I’ve spent nearly a week at my father’s bedside in the hospital, I have been struck by the fragility of life.  As my dad lay fighting sepsis, a few doors down a 74 year old woman died of the same infection while we were there.  My dad is 77 and has a ways to go as he recovers, but, prayerfully, he will recover from all of this.  Tomorrow a home health nurse will come out and perhaps the following day, the physical therapist will visit to help him regain greater mobility with his fractured right foot.  Now that the infection is under control, his strength is slowly returning and he’s able to navigate reasonably well with the walker.  He still makes me nervous when he has to get up, but hopefully each day we’ll see improvement.

It’s steadily snowing this morning as I sit here typing this post while my father is dozing on the sofa.  The medicine makes him very sleepy, plus, he really needs rest anyway.  Sometimes it’s the best medicine.

This morning I put in a call to the urologist and am expecting a return call this afternoon (once he reviews his hospital records) regarding scheduling follow up tests and an appointment.  I also called the orthopedic doctor to postpone his follow up visit by two weeks, so that will buy us some time before he has to be out and about.  I’m hopeful his mobility will be much better by April 16th.  Initially, the Dr. thought 6-8 weeks healing time for his fractured foot, so we’ll see.  Right now, that’s the least of his physical worries.  We have bigger issues.

He’s on a blood thinner and was due to have lab work this week, however, upon mentioning it to the hospital discharge Dr., he put in an order for a home health nurse to come out to do the lab work.  What a relief!  That’s one less appointment we have to go out for.

And, at some point soon, we will need to follow up with his primary care physician.  The good news is … my dad is in good spirits and is thrilled to be out of the hospital.  Although he’s not in his own home, he is very content being a house guest at our humble abode.  He was happy to watch old baseball games on t.v. last night and is anxiously awaiting Opening Day for baseball on Monday!  He adores his favorite baseball team!

In the midst of all the hubbub with my dad, we’ve all been waiting for a friend to have her baby.  My daughter has aspirations of becoming a midwife and had the opportunity to witness a home birth.  We took her to our friend’s house the other day, but it was not to be the “birthday”, lots of contractions, but then they stopped.  My husband dropped her off again yesterday around 7a.m. and she wound up staying the night as she was about 5 centimeters as of late last night.  Thankfully and blessedly, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl a little after 7a.m.!  Baby #6 for our friend’s family!  Life is precious.  Life is sweet.  My daughter is naturally exhausted from the last few days, but she still wants to be a midwife.  🙂  I’m sure it was an event she won’t ever forget.  When I picked her up from our friend’s house this morning, I would have liked to have seen her precious bundle from heaven, but I am fighting a bad cold so I did not go inside the house.

Yes, life is precious.  Enjoy each and every day.  Take nothing for granted.  Celebrate all the little moments, for in the end, they add up to a lifetime of blessings!

 

 

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Dad Is Improving

Just a quick note to express my deep gratitude for all who have been praying and are continuing to pray for my father!!!  Heartfelt thanks!  He’s improving and his fever is down to 99.5.  They’re switching him to another antibiotic in hopes of gaining greater control of the infection.  Thank God for pain meds that help to ease the pain of his fractured foot!

Pardon another brief post but just wanted to update all who’ve been praying.  His wonderful Pastor stopped by this morning and prayed with him, which was a great encouragement.  We both love him dearly.  After an extremely difficult day yesterday, today I feel like he turned a corner for the good.  He needs copious amounts of rest and many are agreeing together for his healing in Jesus’ Name!

God bless you, friends.  Hugs!

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