Friday, October 31, 2014


    A nurse at Lowman was talking with Dad about his situation. We had it set up for them to use heroic measures to save him if he seems to be dying. She feels that in his case, this is a bad idea, that heroic measures would mean broken bones and if it somehow saved him, he would be in much worse shape than he is in now with little ability to recover. So essentially she talked him into a DNR (do not resuscitate) order. This was before he went back to the hospital. In fact, the night before he went back to the hospital, at nearly 11, she called me to tell me about it, which seems ultra-creepy but is almost certainly mere coincidence.
    Yesterday, she brought it up again with Margaret present. Dad said that he didn't want CPR, it would hurt and it wouldn't do any good. This seemed more than a little coached, but there you are, he said it. Margaret was upset, but said she would abide by Dad's wishes. I pointed out that although he has had congestive heart failure, nobody can say for sure that he's had a heart attack. The probability is that CPR wouldn't be called for anyway. I just wanted to make sure that nobody gave up on him in the event of some other problem. She said that they wouldn't. I signed, Dad signed, and he wanted Margaret to sign, too, which she did bravely.
    Then it turned out that there was another form that also needed to be signed. That one was for the attending physician. It said that the doctor had explained to Dad the options. He didn't want to sign it because "that would be a lie." (She hadn't explained the options; the nurse had instead.) The nurse was puzzled until I clarified what Dad was objecting to and I said he wouldn't sign it until the doctor came and talked to him. Then he relented and said he would sign it. But hell, I was just thrilled that the old fellow was still the sharpest person in the room.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Good for morale

    Dad had an appointment at the heart clinic to have his pacemaker checked today. Lowman Home sent him via wheelchair and van, which made me a little nervous since he travels by ambulance and stretcher otherwise. But it went well. They needed me along to sign things, and I was glad to help.
    Midway through, in one of the waiting areas, a well-regarded local reporter from yesteryear named Clark Surratt introduced himself, though not by name. He was with the State newspaper (our daily) back when both the state and the newspaper were seeing better days; he was a kick-ass political reporter. He recognized Dad (or saw his name on the sign-in sheet, or both). He said he remembered Dad as a great interview, with excellent command of his facts, unlike the politicians he had to interview. And that Dad had a terrific reputation. It was good for morale.
    The appointment ran over two hours since he had to have his pacemaker checked, do labs, get an echocardiogram and see the doctor. Eventually his oxygen started to run low. So the woman from Lowman borrowed an oxygen cannister until she could get Dad back to the van. When we were done, I ran their cannister back up to the third floor, my first time running up two flights of stairs with an oxygen cannister.
    Doctor said his heart is weak, but not weaker. His labs were great except for the kidneys. So in other words, he might not be looking his best, but he's doing pretty well. So yay!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Me and furniture

    I wonder why my brain doesn't work around questions of furniture. It occurs to me lately that I could live in this small apartment better with simple stuff like shelves and side tables. I honestly don't think it's because I'm cheap; I think there's some part of the brain involving spatial relationships that's missing. Or I guess it's mostly inactive. I have bought and used shelves in the past. So it can be done. I just mostly don't. Of course, having cats might have something to do with this. One does get used to the idea that stuff that can be jumped or climbed on is best avoided. But maybe the cats or I are evolving.
    Forgive goofiness. I had curry for lunch and am extra double sleepy. If this wasn't in English, all apologies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Escape (NOT the pina colada song)

    Knowing me, I've probably used that one before. Regardless, I'm thrilled to say that Dad is out of the hospital. I wish I could say that he's well, but at least he's better, with a high probability of continuing to get better. We had a nice visit and were just giddy about him being out of the hospital. He was fairly confused, though, including thinking that it was the middle of the night. But hey, it was another long day.
    We weren't expecting an exciting ride home, but there was a vehicle fire on our (i.e. the non-rush-hour) side of the interstate. Not one of those flames-coming-from-under-the-hood type fires. The entire car was engulfed; it was really dramatic. I'm happy to say that rubbernecking was at a minimum and we got by it in good time. And Margaret saw some civilians, so apparently the people in the car got out ok. So one hopes anyway!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Inertia, or momentum

    Did not want to get up this morning. Once up, just wanted to go back to bed. Once out of bed again, didn't want to do anything still. Finally decided to go to Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve for old time's sake and do the quick 15 minutes in, 15 minutes out stroll just to say I'd done something. And of course once on the train, I went like a freight train and couldn't stop. I forgot my iPod though and so alternated between beeps and boops on one create your own music phone app and Indian raga drone on another. Yes I know I should be enjoying the silence of nature, but where I was I was more likely to get the noise of 12th St. Extension or the interstate. So beeps and boops were an improvement.
    When I reached Congaree Creek, something very large jumped into it. Or anyway something that made a big splash. Should have been an otter but I didn't see its head swimming away. Could have been a gator. Definitely not a fan of beeps and boops. The wary and silent hunter I will never be, I'm afraid.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


    Well we had a very dull visit with Dad today, but we didn't mind. He pretty nearly slept the entire time, but we enjoyed the fact that he was breathing easily, barely coughing at all, and not bedeviled by copious phlegm when he did. So yay for Mucinex!
    He told the nurse that he was looking forward to seeing us and told it to Margaret on the phone, too. We were wondering if he was drugged. But honestly, I think he just was exhausted from weeks of bronchitis and coughing and was finally catching up on his rest now that he was able. So it sucked for us that we didn't get a fun visit and even more for him. But we were very, very relieved that he's doing better and we'll look forward to seeing him again either in the hospital or hopefully at Lowman Home.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Maybe a little progress

    Margaret was very worried talking to Dad on the phone last night; he seemed to be out of his head. But there's no question that dialysis takes a lot out of him in the best of circumstances, and that being in the hospital is not the best of circumstances. So presumably he was out of sorts because of having had dialysis earlier in the day.
    Our visit today wasn't great, but was somewhat reassuring. He's still confused and clumsy, but he was rational and reasonably cheerful. He's still frustrated that he has trouble calling Margaret on the phone, but he practiced with us present and was doing a little better. He seemed to be skipping numbers, understandable with macular degeneration.
    Again we were there when his supper arrived, and Margaret again fed him all he wanted to eat. And we did get him to sing to her a little bit. We didn't like that he had to ask repeatedly what day it is, but then we considered that half the time we don't know what day it is either. We just have a lot more places to look it up. So not too alarming.
    In another realm, I left the cats together with not too much food, and they didn't destroy the house a bit. I was so proud.