Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taking Care of Dad, 2 / Judy

When Dad came home from the transitional care center at the end of August, he was not doing well. He'd been very sick and was still extremely weak. He'd lost a lot of weight, mainly because he didn't want to eat anything. In fact, we had to spoon-feed him to get him to take any food at all. The only conversation he'd initiate was, "I want to go back to bed." Other than that he didn't participate. At the care center he'd refused to even try the physical therapy because all he wanted to do was sleep. He had a catheter, which we were told he'd have from now on.

We asked if he were eligible for Hospice and he definitely was, so we signed up with them. They were wonderful! A nurse checked on him twice a week, and they made sure we had the equipment we needed: we already had a hospital bed, but they supplied a special mattress to prevent bed sores. In addition we had a bedside commode and a wheelchair. Hospice is all about palliative care (just make sure they are comfortable), not about getting better.

But lo and behold, after three months, he was no longer eligible and they said he'd "graduated" out of Hospice because he got better all by himself. He got stronger physically so he could scoot from his bed to the wheelchair (although we still have to lift him back into the bed); he got his appetite back and really enjoys his meals; he's awake during the day now more than he has been in years; and he's very involved in the household doings. He loves to have people come visit and stays awake much longer when other people are around.

Bottom line is he's doing very well--until he has a urinary tract infection. Which will be the next topic.

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