Monday, April 29, 2013

Moving day

I've written in this blog about my dad's dementia. About a year ago, mom and dad moved to a retirement community so dad could get extra care when the time came.

That time came today. He moved from independent living with my mom to a room by himself, where a nurse will bathe him, help him dress, and dispense his medication, instead of my

No one rejoiced at this event, and, in fact, dad shed tears. For now, he seems to feel abandoned, worried he won't see his family again.

But I'm happy to report that mom will still live at the facility, visit and share meals with them, but they won't share a room.

As for me, I can walk there to see him, and my sister can take a short drive to see him.

The move just happened. Next comes adjusting to the new normal.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Moving day approaches

Monday April 29, 2013, my dad moves to the memory care wing of the retirement village where he lives with my mom. It will be a very bittersweet day. He will not know he's moving until the actual moving day. That's how administrators wanted to handle it. As I wrote in a recent post, he hallucinates, needs help grooming, and sometimes tries to leave the building. My mom has been his caregiver for almost their entire marriage, but she physically can't do it anymore. It's like taking care of a 75-year-old toddler, so when an opportunity arose to move my dad, she took it. As one can imagine, she's experiencing a myriad of emotions about separating from her husband.

He will go to a relatively spacious room with a private bath. My mom secured a spot on the waiting list for a single bedroom unit for residents who can still live independently. She can still have meals with my dad and visit him, as can my sister and I.

All hands will be in hand for this transition. I expect to post more about this. This is another one of those things I wish I could changes.

If wishes were dollars, I'd be in the black.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cancer's mysteries

Above you see an entire beautiful family in happier times, on a trip to Hawaii. This photo was taken just before the man second from right, Rich Basick, faced a risky bone marrow transplant to tackle his leukemia. On the far left of the picture, his youngest son, Carter, then oldest son Hayden, the man himself, and his beautiful wife Kathleen.

I went to school with Rich and Kathleen. I consider them friends. They need friends now more than ever, because Rich has had very major complications post-transplant. In fact, he fights for his life as I write this at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), on a ventilator that he needs, but doesn't want.

What I remember of Rich from school? He had a swagger to his demeanor. Now, he lays in a hospital bed, hooked up to tubes and wires, and as a visitor, you aren't sure if he knows who you are, except for an occasional squeeze of a hand, or a desperate attempt to talk, a heartbreaking transformation.

He needs that swagger and a good old fashioned miracle.

His case again makes me wonder why I’m so lucky.  I have brain cancer and I’m still here. Why? I thought the brain was where most cancers go to die. He’s only 46, and has a beautiful and growing family.

God please show yourself and save him.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Which Karen Godbey are you?

We have now taken the first step toward moving my dad with dementia to a memory care unit at the retirement home where my parents live.

Dad has been declining rapidly since moving. He thinks there are four of my mom. He will ask her,"Which Karen Godbey are you?" He thinks he's the coach of a soccer team, and that someone is trying to put him in prison. Mom also said the other day, he was literally talking to the walls. On top of this, he can't bathe and Grimm himself.

Up until now, mom has been helping dad do those things, but sometimes dad is uncooperative, which frustrates my mom, and causes her blood pressure to rise.

It is sad that the time has come, but it appears like it has, much sooner than anyone thought.