Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Physical Therapy

Hey, Y'all,
Well, today I had a talk with Gramps' physical therapist, Sam, and he regretfully told me that because there is not continuing improvement in Gramps' condition, he is going to have to discontinue his physical therapy after this week. However, the speech and occupational therapy will probably continue on for awhile, I believe. What this all means as far as Medicare paying for his stay at the nursing home, I am not quite sure of yet. I am going to investigate the matter with the admissions manager. I hope it doesn't mean that I will have to begin paying for his care myself.

He has begun pleading for me to take him back home to our place here, and it is very difficult to tell him no. He said today that we could work together and make it work. I said that I was sorry but there is no way that could happen with my back the way it is.

We went outside this morning for him to eat his lunch, and he enjoyed being outside. When this happens, I take him outside and get him settled at one of the tables, and then I have to go back inside and down the hall to get his food tray, carry it out, and also get one of the bibs for keeping food off the clothing. Then after he eats, I take him back inside. There is a code that has to be punched in at the door and there are only a few seconds to get the door open and then get the wheelchair back inside before the alarm sounds. Usually there is someone outside to help with the door, and sometimes there is not. That is when it is really difficult to achieve success, but I have done it at times. After I get him back to his room, I have to come back out and get the tray and take it back to the cart in the hallway. It can take several minutes to accomplish everything, and it can be tiring.

Gramps always has to have his cap and sunglasses to be outside and sometimes I forget to get them, and have to go back and get them. What fun! But I don't mind doing it, to keep him happy and comfortable. When we get back inside, he starts patting the bed and looking longingly at it to take a nap. I usually leave after he has eaten his lunch and they will either put him to bed or take him for some kind of therapy. Then I leave to go back home or to eat and return about 3:30 or so, before he has supper at 5:15.

Yesterday, I left about 5:45 after he had eaten, and came home for supper with our neighbors, Scott and Laurie, and their 3 children. After we had eaten, we played "Apples to Apples" and had a lot of fun playing. Soon after they arrived at my house, the storm began and their was thunder, lightning, and lots of rain. It was wonderful and cooled off the temperature outside really well, so that today the weather was much cooler.

Today, I left after he had his lunch and went to a hair appointment in Jefferson City. While there, I heard about a bank robbery that had just taken place in Dandridge apparently while I was at the nursing home there. Sharon, the beautician who worked on my hair (and did a beautiful job) was talking on the phone to her brother who drives a tow truck and he was telling her about it. The one who robbed the bank was throwing money out the window of his car, and rammed three police cars trying to get away. The police finally nabbed him near Newport, chasing him around a lot of curves. What an adventure that must have been. Her brother said that people were picking up money all over the place. ha. I really enjoyed the time I spent with Sharon at the beauty shop! She is a lovely lady.

Tonight I left Gramps getting ready to go to bed, and came on home. I guess I need to get off here and get busy doing "stuff" that needs to be done. So, this is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends. Bye for now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Strange Day

Hey, Y'all,
I don't know why I should think today was any stranger than any other day, because when you are married to a person with dementia or Alzheimer's, any day can be strange. Ha.

This morning, I was up at my usual 6:30 a.m. and soon was making breakfast and eating it by 7:15. Then I got dressed in preparation for my visit to the nursing home, and spent some time online with Teresa IM'ing each other. When I got to the nursing home, Gramps was still in bed sleeping, so I went outside to read for awhile. Then about 11 a.m., I went back in to get him up for lunch, and the aide helped me get him up and dressed and into his wheelchair. About that time the nurse came in to give him some medication. It turns out that what she was giving him at lunchtime was a medication that can cause sleepiness and is for his blood pressure and to relax his bladder. I asked her if she could get it changed to nighttime, because he gets so sleepy a couple of hours after he takes it. She wrote a request for it to be changed.

After he finished lunch, we went outside for about an hour and then, he was so sleepy he wanted to take a nap, so I took him back inside and we put him down for a nap, and I left for lunch. I went to Ruby Tuesday's there in Dandridge and had a fresh avocado Quesadilla. Yum! It was really good. When I got back to the nursing home, he was still asleep, so I sat in the chair next to his bed for awhile until he began to stir and asked if he was ready to get up. He said, "No," so I laid down beside him in the bed and put my arm around his middle.

He asked me what my oldest son, Fred, was doing these days, and I said, "Who do you think I am?". He said, "Mae". Ha. I said, "What do you think Ruby would say about me lying here next to you?" He said, "She would just laugh and think it is funny."

I just got up and laughed, and said, "Don't you think she would be jealous?" He said, "No, I don't". I said, "You are right." A little later, I asked him who he thought I was then and he said, "Aunt Lula". So, Aunt Lula is back in the picture. What an interesting afternoon it was.

We got him up and he had supper soon after, and he was waiting to be put to bed when I left him. The aide, Joie, was in there getting ready to put him and his room mate to bed for the night. I came on home and made my onion/tomato/bacon/miracle whip/ sandwich and it was just as good tonight as last night. I also washed a load of clothes, and am sorely tempted to go to bed myself, but will wait until my supper has settled, so as to prevent acid reflux. I can do better with housework in the mornings than I can after a day at the nursing home.

Well, that is about it for today. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you. Bye for now. More later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thank You Notes

Hey, Y'all,
Thank you notes are becoming a rarity in many instances these days, but my children, grandchildren and great grands are always faithful to send them to us. However, the other day I received a thank you from someone I have never met. Yes, it is true...I was at a local restaurant a few weeks ago, and on my way to the car, I looked down and saw a piece of paper on the pavement near the car. Curious (of course) I picked it up and realized it was a title to a car. I looked around to see if I could find the car described on the title, but no luck.

I put the title into my car and left, heading over to the nursing home for the day. When I got home, I got a business sized envelope and addressed it to the name and address on the title, wrote a small note to the person, and put a stamp on the envelope. The next morning I dropped the envelope into the mailbox at the post office, and headed on over to the nursing home and thought no more about it.

This week, I found an small envelope addressed to me in the mail. "Hmmm, I wonder who this person is on the return address," I thought. I opened the envelope and found it was a sweet note from the person who had lost the title, and she was thanking me for my honesty and thoughtfulness. It really made me feel good knowing that I had helped her. You just really never know what a difference one person can make, do you?

Well, this morning, I left home early to take some things over to the nursing home for Gramps and then came back to Jefferson City and had breakfast, then came on back here to pick up Laurie and Olivia so we could go to the Book Shelf in Morristown to trade some used paperback books. I carried in 80 books and came out with 40 that I had not read. Good deal! Laurie and Olivia were able to get a few as well. Then we had lunch at Wendy's in Jefferson City and I took them home and headed on over to the nursing home to see how Gramps was doing.

He was quite sleepy this afternoon and I couldn't get him to carry on any conversation at all. We sat outside for a while and I kept trying to get him to talk to me. All he wanted to do was sleep, so after he slept through supper (he ate a few bites, but not much) they put him to bed, and I left.

Guess what I had for supper tonight and last night? I had a bacon/tomato/onion slice/ and miracle whip sandwich. Yum, it was great! Then I had a nectarine for dessert. It is only 9 p.m. but I feel like it is much later. Nothing done here today, but that is okay. I intend to try to sleep tonight for about 8 hours (I probably won't make it, but that doesn't mean I can't try. Ha).

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for tonight. More later. Much love to each of you,my friends. Bye for now.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Look Ma! No Cath!

Hey, Y'all,
Yeah, I know that is not a very couth title for today's posting, but it is exciting for Gramps and me, especially him. Yes, they removed it night before last and he has been doing well without it. I went in this morning and Rick told me that Gramps had walked into the bathroom this morning (with Rick's help) and when Rick came in to see if he was finished, there was Gramps walking from the bathroom, sans gown or anything else, flashing anyone who might be walking past the room. Ha.

By the time I arrived Gramps was getting sleepy, and then by the time lunch came, he was taking a bite of food, and then dropping his head and closing his eyes. He slept his way through lunch, taking a bite of food occasionally. I kept waking him so that he wouldn't get choked on food or liquids. Finally, I moved his tray table and helped him onto the bed and left him to sleep. I then headed to Knoxville for our movie day. We had lunch at Louis' Original Restaurant, and Mae and I wound up with enough left over spaghetti for our suppers. The movie I took with me was "Lars and the Real Girl" and it was poignant and funny. We enjoyed it tremendously, and then I took Mae home and headed on back to the nursing home, where I found Gramps was wide awake and ready to eat his supper.

I sat there and talked to him while he ate. He ate every bite of his supper and we went outside for a little while until he was ready to go back into his room. He has been becoming more cognizant of the things going on around him most of the time. He has been taking enough interest to read the Standard Banner. I showed him pictures of the home we are buying in Texas and he liked the looks of it.

We don't know if he will ever be able to live at home with me, but I know his improvements will make life easier for him anyway, regardless of where he lives. I am quite thankful for any degree of progress that he makes along the way.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. We are having thunderstorms tonight, and I am glad for that. I love to hear the rain, don't you? I am quite excited, because one of my blogger friends who has been a long time reader is coming to visit me in person on July 2, while she is visiting her grandson's in Blaine. Her name is Clara and she writes a blog called "Clara's Corner".

Also I am excited because my daughter, Teresa and husband, Tom, are coming from Alabama to visit us on July 4th. Yay! Good things come to those who wait.

Signing off for now. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends. Bye for now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Scorcher

Hey, Y'all,
I know that some of you may not think that 98 degrees with humidity is a scorcher, but I think it is. Sometimes we can sit out in the breezeway at the nursing home and it is not too bad, but there are times around 4 p.m. when the day is at its hottest, and there is really not a breeze stirring in the breezeway. That is how it was today. Even Gramps was complaining that the heat was too much. So we went back inside. I think he may have just wanted to go back to bed.

This morning, soon after I arrived at the nursing home, we were told they were having church services in the dining hall, so Gramps wanted to go. He picked up his Bible to take with him and I put it in his lap and pushed him to the dining hall in his wheelchair. The service was being led by Reverend McCray and his wife. The reverend led the singing and songbooks had been passed out to all the attendees. The room was just about full. Some of the people who were there: Cora, who always has a beautiful hairdo, and who likes to sing a song before services begin; Dottie, who holds a baby doll, and continually rocks it in her arms, looking lovingly at it; Hazel, who continuously asks people to pray for her and asks Jesus to come for her; and of course, my Gramps, who tries to find the numbers in the songbook, and needs help. But almost everyone in the room sings and it is wonderful to hear and to see these seniors in so many different stages in their lives looking to the Lord for sustenance.

After we were through singing, Mrs. McCray spoke about fathers and their importance in the lives of their children.

Right after the church service, Sam came for Gramps and took him to therapy. I got his walker so that he would have it to use walking. When I got to therapy, Gramps was out in the hall way and walking with Sam. Gramps was standing alone and walking. Sam had a support belt around Gramps' waist, and gave him occasional support, then in a little while, he gave Gramps the walker and Gramps used the walker, with me following after with the wheelchair. When there was only one more hall to walk down, Sam sent me on ahead and took the wheelchair and rolled it along behind Gramps. They went all the way almost to Gramps' room and then I took Gramps outside to get some fresh air.

He wanted to come back in after about 20 minutes and it was lunch time. I sat with him while he ate lunch and then left when he went back to have some occupational therapy so that I could go and pick up some boxes that Judy had saved for me to pack with. I got a call then from our niece, Donna, that she was coming to visit him with his sister, Bonnie, so we decided to meet for dinner. We met at Shoney's and then I met her at the nursing home where we visited for over an hour. It was after that that I took him out before supper and he decided it was too hot after a few minutes.

As I said earlier, he was wanting to go to bed, but I held him off until after supper, because I knew he would just have to be gotten up for supper which comes at 5:30.
Well, it is about time for me to sign off, because these days are really long, and I may be going to bed soon. This is Blabbin' Grammy saying, "so long for tonight, more tomorrow." Tomorrow is Movie Day in Knoxville with the two sisters-in-law, and I'm looking forward to it. Love to all of you. Bye for now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Continuing Improvement

Hey, Y'all,
I believe Gramps is continuing to improve. He is certainly more alert these days than when he first returned to the nursing home from the hospital the second time. For the past five days, he has been much better and has gotten his dry sense of humor back. He is walking better and the occupational therapist, Cathy, has given me new hope that I will eventually be able to take him home with me. She also said that probably he will not be able to get rid of the Foley catheter ever.

I haven't yet begun to pack boxes but there is still time for that, since it will be sometime in August before we leave here. I am not sure exactly how I am going to get the packing done, but I know I will. I plan to begin getting boxes tomorrow afternoon. Finding the time to do everything is going to be challenging, but I am up to it, I'm sure (kind of) ha.

It is close to eleven p.m. and I am getting sleepy. The days are plenty warm, and tomorrow they begin getting shorter. I dread that, because I love the long days of sunlight, don't you? Today our neighbors came down for supper with me, and we had salad greens, with baked chicken strips, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, feta cheese, mandarin orange sections, and choice of dressings. We also had tater tots, deviled eggs, and cheese-its. Dessert was fresh strawberries with whipped cream. After supper we played Yahtzee and had a lot of fun doing so.

Well, this is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends. Got to get to bed so I can get a few hours sleep before another day at the salt mines. Bye for now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Two Good Days in a Row

Hey, Y'all,
Yesterday and today Gramps stayed awake all day and alert! Rick told me today that Gramps was ready to get up this morning at breakfast, as well as yesterday. He ate breakfast both days in the dining room and then he ate lunch yesterday in his room. I had to leave before his tray was taken away, but he was up all afternoon. They took him for therapy so I know he was up. He told me later that he had not had a nap. Yesterday was Movie Day with my two sisters-in-law in Knoxville. They needed to go to the mall for awhile so I was late getting back to the nursing home, and Gramps had already had his supper.

He was not in his room when I got back, so I looked in the dining room and found him sitting alone, waiting for anyone to take him back to his room. He told me that he had a problem with his car (wheelchair) and couldn't get home. So I told him that I would take him home (his room). We decided to sit outside for awhile instead of going back to his room. It was lovely outside and some family of another resident was out there visiting and we had a great time talking and laughing together. We take our pleasures where we can find them, don't you know? The simple pleasures are the best. They had finished eating some KFC that they had brought (like a picnic) and the resident's room mate was out there with them.

By the time we went back inside it was close to 8 p.m. and I left then after taking Gramps back to his room. This morning he had an appointment with his surgeon who had performed the hip replacement surgery, and so I met him at the dr's office. Two very nice fellows delivered him via Jefferson County Ambulance service and then took him back to the nursing home after the appointment. The surgeon told me that the hip replacement looked perfect and had healed nicely (which I was glad to hear). He is a really nice fellow and I was glad to talk to him again. When I went to check out I told the office girls, "Well, as Randy Jackson would say, 'Hey, Dawg, check it out, check it out.'" Ha ha, they laughed too.

By the time we got back to the nursing home, it was almost time for lunch, and he chose to eat in his room. I sat with him as he ate, and read a book. I like to be with him when he eats so I can see how well he eats. He ate most all of it, and then Sam came to take him to therapy and when he returned Gramps, he told me that he did really well and was pleased that Gramps is so alert the last few days. He also cautioned me that he needs to do leg exercises over the weekend so he won't lose ground. It is quite difficult to get Gramps to do them, though. It is a problem.

This afternoon, a group of children came from a Christian day care and sang for the residents. We really enjoyed that along with the others who live there. We also saw some dogs that people bring for pet therapy, and Gramps got to pet them. He really does like dogs. I took Gramps outside for about two hours this afternoon, and then took him in and we watched television until supper came. I got him settled eating his supper and then I left around 6 p.m. I had not eaten anything since breakfast, so was ready to just about eat the paper off the walls. Ha.

I stopped at Lisa's Kitchen, a local restaurant, and had some supper, then came home to an empty house and I can hear the ticking of the clock on the wall, ticking away the time. Then, I signed the contract to a house in Texas, so we will be moving some time in the near future. I just realized that I need to prepare letters to send for change of address, so I guess I will get those together soon. I have been thinking about that for a short time. Then there will be boxes to get for packing up stuff. Excitement is building! Whoo hoo!

I told Gramps today that Carol and Daryl had found a house for us to buy in Texas, so he is okay with it. I look forward to getting to better know my great grands, and closer association with my grands. Just can't wait! I will terribly miss all my friends and family here, though. Life does move on, doesn't it?

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. Much love to each of you, my friends and family. Bye for now. More later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mid week Stuff

Hey, Y'all,
Here it is the middle of the week, and time is moving on quickly. We are counting down the days till Gramps will have spent one hundred days in the nursing home. I keep hoping that he will recover enough to come home, but I am having serious doubts that it will happen. I know that God's will will be done, regardless of what I think. He may see fit for Dub to improve enough to actually begin walking with the help of a walker, and finally using his cane.

Today, Gramps was doing better than yesterday, and Sam told me that he improved today somewhat. It would be wonderful if he could get therapy twice a day and more practice walking, but Medicare doesn't pay for that much daily therapy. Sam tells me that Gramps needs to stretch his hamstring muscles in the backs of his legs, because they are so very tight. If Gramps would do the exercises with me, I could help him, but he won't. Sam says that Dub is taking the fetal position in sleeping like so many elderly people do. He won't stretch out his legs while he is resting in bed, but insists on keeping them bent. Consequently, when he stands up to walk, his knees remain bent.

Yesterday evening, the Foley catheter was put in again, and will continue to be in until they think the Flomax that he is taking will have the desired effect. Hopefully, some day he will no longer need this.

This afternoon, he had finished his lunch and wanted to be put to bed for his afternoon nap and was threatening to get into bed himself. The CNA came in to put him to bed and told him that I would whip her behind if she let him get into bed by himself. (She is a good-sized lady). He told her that she had enough behind for me to whip. (Can you believe that?) I thought we would all crack up. Ha.

When I left this afternoon, I went to lunch and then came home and took a one hour nap. It was great! Then I headed back to the nursing home and spent a couple of more hours with Gramps before I came home for the evening.

Well, there isn't a lot shaking this evening. I am kind of at loose ends, and not a lot to say. It isn't long til bedtime and I have a lot of printing to do in preparation for getting a loan to buy the house in Texas. So this is Blabbin' Grammy with not a lot of blabbin' to do and signing off for the night. Much love to each of you, my friends and family. Bye for now, more later. Thank you all for the continued prayers and support.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Events From Last Two Days

Hey, Y'all,
Yesterday, Gramps was a little bit more awake than on Sunday, and I had my meeting with the Department of Family Services that oversees the Medicaid services. I had a lovely time talking with DeeDee, the specialist who filled out the numbers for my application. I came away feeling quite positive about the whole procedure.

I had a really difficult time finding the office, however, because it is kind of tucked away in a location away from the road. My appointment was for 2:30 and I had left the nursing home at about 1 p.m., not knowing exactly where to find the place. The temperature was hot as blue blazes, and so I went downtown (a really,really small area) and stopped at the driver's license place to ask where the office was and got a general idea. I then went on down a little farther on Meeting Street, and stopped at the Subway to eat some lunch. I carried my book in with me, and had a sandwich and got cooled off, as I read and ate.

A little later, I began the quest again, heading back the way I had come (towards the Dollar Store which was one of the references given to me by Mr. Farrar in the Driver's License office. I stopped at the Dollar store and was given the cold shoulder by the clerk (brrrrrrrrrrrr - that should have cooled me off but just made me hotter). I went outside and a very kind lady told me where to go, and it was just one building away. So, I arrived just about 20 minutes before my appointment time.

I arrived back at the nursing home about 4 p.m. and saw that Gramps was actually more awake than he had been earlier. He had had some therapy while I was gone, and actually talked to me some when I got back. We watched some television and then it was his supper time. I had to leave after that, and a storm had been brewing outside. By the time I arrived home, the storm was ready to erupt, and erupt it did, just as I pulled into the garage.

Last evening was the regular evening for our neighbors to come to supper, and they nearly got soaked before they could get into their truck and to our house. Laurie had prepared the roast and potatoes and I did the green beans and texas toast. It was all really delicious, and then we had brownies for dessert and played dominoes. It was great fun! I just had a brownie and milk for dessert tonight, as well.

This morning when I went in, Gramps was still in bed, scrunched down and half way down in the bed like so many of the patients are in the mornings. He had not eaten much breakfast, and did not eat a lot of lunch either. He was somewhat uncommunicative when I took him outside this morning, but he did tell me some wild stories which I won't repeat here, and I nearly cracked up laughing.

Our nieces, Rachael and Jessie came to visit and brought Jessie's little girl, Kyah, with them. She was enchanted by the nursing home cat who wanders around the nursing home. Then we went to look at the birds in the cage just behind the nurses station. Kyah is about 18 months old and a darling, funny child. Soon after they left, it was time for Gramps to get up and have his supper, which he ate pretty well. They told me this morning that he has lost 7 pounds in the last week. He is down to 148 pounds, and beginning to look really skinny. His therapist told me this afternoon that unless he begins to loosen up his hamstring muscles, he is never going to walk again. He sleeps with his knees bent, and sits with his knees bent as well.

Well, this is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. I need to get into bed, and get a good night's sleep. Much love to each of you. Bye for now. More later.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Down Day

Hey, Y'all,
Sorry to say it was not a great day today at the nursing home. I got there about 10:30 and Gramps was still abed, and had not eaten any breakfast to amount to anything. He was sleepy and sitting up (kind of) in his wheelchair. Rick said he had not been awake, and got dressed reluctantly. There was no therapy today because it is Sunday, and he had not gone to the church service.

The nursing staff was having a terrible time with the computers, and trying to access the patients' records to give medication. The computers were down, and so was everything else. Gramps' former roommate, Paul, was on a tear shouting out demands, which were peppered with obscenities. Gramps was needing a catheterizing, and all H... seemed to be breaking loose. Residents were needing their meds, and it was a virtual madhouse (so to speak). Sorry folks, I just tell it like it is. The nurses were sweating it out (literally); it got up to 92 degrees outside and wasn't much cooler inside.

Gramps finally got his bladder drained, but lunch had already come and gone and he didn't feel like eating. He went back to bed and back to sleep, so I left about 3 p.m. and went to Wendy's and had a spicy chicken sandwich with a chocolate frosty and went back at around 4 p.m. Cindy, his afternoon and evening shift CNA, started to get him up for supper and he gave her no cooperation at all, and she thought he was about to pass out, because he was like a dish rag, so we called the nurse down to check him out. He told me later that he just didn't want to get up. So he stayed in bed, and when supper came, I fed him part of his supper and he left the rest, so I left him for the evening.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment to check into getting Medicaid in case we have to keep him in the nursing home instead of bringing him home. Goodness knows,we don't have the funds to pay for him to live in the nursing home. So I have a lot of collecting of records this evening. I hope tomorrow is a better day, and that Gramps has a good night tonight.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for tonight. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends and family. Bye for now.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Hey, Y'all,
We never know where or when we are going to find blessings, do we? I was thinking about that today while I was at the nursing home. I realized that having Gramps at the nursing home has brought about many blessings in my life.

I realized it when I was walking down the hallway in one of many trips I make down the hallways of the facility. I have been getting a lot of exercise that I wouldn't be getting otherwise. That got me to thinking of other blessings. I am spending a lot more quality time with him, being with him so very much while there. I am getting to meet a lot of people and making new friends. I am learning patience which has always come hard for me. I am realizing more than ever the wonderful support of friends and family (including fellow bloggers and readers). Last but not least, I am getting an opportunity to help others while I am there with him. So many blessings! Thank you, Lord!

Gramps seems to be doing okay and gaining some strength each day, and for that I am so very grateful. I spend several hours each morning with him until after lunch and then I leave to eat my lunch, and return after he has finished therapy. I usually return about 2 or 2:30 p.m., then am with him until he is put to bed around 7:30 or so. By the time I get home in the evening it is about 8 p.m. The rest of the evening passes pretty quickly. He tells me how hard the physical therapist works him and that is good. He is becoming more aware of things around him and this afternoon, I read some passages from a book that I am reading, and he was enjoying hearing it and he laughed. That, too, is a blessing. It seems he is rejoining the world.

Well, today has been a lovely day, and it seems I jumped the gun on Teresa's birthday. It was actually today. Sorry, baby! Happy birthday anyway, and forgive me please for getting my days all mixed up. One day seems to rush into another, and the dates get muddled.

It is about my bedtime, and I am ready to hit the hay. Much love to each of you, my friends. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Bye for now. More later.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

Hey, Y'all,

Isn't she lovely? We certainly think so! She may not like my putting her picture in here, but I hope she will forgive me (Please?). We love her so very much. Teresa is our youngest daughter and she lives in a more southern state than ours. Her birthday is tomorrow.

Gramps and I were enjoying sitting outside the nursing home this afternoon and the weather was perfect in temperature, but it had been raining off and on all day. All at once, I began sneezing and just couldn't stop. Arghhhh! My nose is still tetchy and drippy. Just another thing to keep me from sleeping well. Ha!

Have any of you ever eaten at a Waffle House? Well, there is one within a mile of the nursing home and I decided to stop there this morning for breakfast. Gramps and I used to stop quite often for breakfast at Waffle Houses when we were traveling. Well, let me tell you that I have marked that one off our list. When I went in this morning, I ordered grits to go with my two soft-scrambled eggs and toast. In the past, eating their grits was like eating ice cream: so smooth and tasty, yum! The grits I got this morning were lumpy and cold. I immediately complained to the manager (who was also my waitress) and she apologized and came by to tell me that the cook had put some fresh ones on to cook. She offered to bring me some hashbrowns in their place, but I said, "No Thanks". She took the cost of the grits off my bill. I thought about telling her that I was from their quality control and was checking up on local Waffle Houses, and that they had failed miserably, but I restrained my temptation to do so.

Gramps has been so much better lately that I am having real hopes that I can eventually bring him home with getting some extra care to come in daily. I just really don't know. Like the old spiritual goes, "Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down, Yes Lord, Sometimes I'm bowed most to the ground, Oh yes, Lord>" He is certainly eating much better. If the help that we have can do it, he will certainly be better. The people who help us at the nursing home are just marvelous, so kind and caring. We certainly appreciate them so very much. Rick takes care of him during the morning and early afternoon. Cindy, the afternoon and evening CNA brought his tray out to us this afternoon so that we could enjoy the outside together. She puts him to bed most evenings after supper.

Well, folks, it is eleven p.m. already and if I can stop this sneezing, I hope to get some sleep tonight. I am planning to take part of the day off tomorrow and go into Knoxville and spend some time with Mae and Imazo. It has been four weeks since I have seen them and I have missed them. I have a movie to take with me. I look forward to the visit with them.

Once again, Happy birthday, darling daughter! This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you. Bye for now. More later.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Synchronous Fireflies

Hey, Y'all,
Have you ever heard of fireflies that flash on and off in synchronized timing? Well, it does happen each year at Elkmont campgrounds in the Smoky Mountains National Park. When we first heard about it, some of our friends at church were talking about going, and telling us how the little critters flash on and off at the same time. We joked and asked if the little fellows wore top hats and held canes as they did their dance. I could just visualize them singing "Puttin' on the Ritz" as they flashed on and off. It seems that they are doing their thing again this June during this week. If you would like to read about it go to: http://eventful.com/asheville/events/elkmont-synchronous-fireflies-mt.lecont/
It is quite fascinating and occurs not many places in the world.

Gramps was doing pretty well today and I was pleased with his progress. I don't really have a lot to talk about this evening. One day is pretty much like the one before, and some days I feel like I am just treading water. I am not a swimmer anyway. Ha ha. I get up in the morning and get ready to go to Dandridge, I sit with Gramps while he has his dinner and supper. He is eating almost everything on his plate now and I am glad, because he is getting stronger because of it. He is understanding more of what is expected of him and he always is more than ready to get back in bed when he gets a chance. I carry a book or my e-reader to read while I am there and when I eat. Sometimes we sit out in front of the nursing home, and sometimes I sit out there alone while he is having his therapy sessions. I usually leave in the middle of the day after he has eaten his lunch. Then he is ready to have therapy and I can leave without him really missing me.

He seems to be getting more able to stand with his walker and not need so much instruction on walking and that is wonderful. It gives me hope for sure. Well, I need to get to bed because morning comes early. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for tonight. Much love to each of you, my friends and family. Bye for now. More later.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Some Improved Cognition

Hey, Y'all,
By 9 a.m., I was on the road to the nursing home, eager to see if Gramps was as wide awake this morning as he was yesterday morning. Well, no, he wasn't, I am sorry to say. He was still abed when I got there, and Rick got him up and helped him get dressed (with Rick doing the majority of the dressing). After Gramps was seated in his wheel chair, I had Gramps take out his choppers and I cleaned them for him. I got him to take a good sip of water to rinse out his mouth, but couldn't get him to spit it out into the basin. Eventually, he had a damp spot or two on his sweat shirt. Man! I mean, I couldn't even get him awake enough to either swallow or spit.

Before too long, they brought in his dinner (lunch to some of you) tray. Lunch was a cold piece of pizza and a serving of cold kernel corn. They were having a problem with the water and announced that aides should be conservative with linens until it was repaired. I found out that the problem was a sewer back up, and that it happens every once in awhile. One of the aides told me that in the past they have found towels and washcloths that have been flushed and wound up in the sewage. (Yes, I am a Blabbin' Grammy...If I hear it, I tell it)

After lunch, the occupational therapist came for Gramps and I left for lunch (mine) and went to Shoney's to have a good nutritious lunch - you know - mashed potatoes, green beans, fried chicken, salad and water to drink. When I came back, Gramps was still down in the therapy department, and I went outside to read awhile. Upon my arrival back in his room, he was waiting for me -I'm sure - and I was glad to see he was more awake than earlier. I showed him how he could move his wheelchair by moving his feet like he was walking, and he finally caught on how to do it, so we went out into the hallway, and he "walked" his wheelchair down the hall, and we went outside for about twenty minutes. We watched the cars and motorcycles whiz by and made observations about the birds, etc.

After we went in, he lay down for a nap, and I went back outside to read and enjoy the outdoors. After an hour or so, I went back inside and he was sitting in his wheelchair and waiting for supper. It was an hour more before supper was served, and we watched television while waiting for it. He really wanted to go back to bed but I kept up the chatter until supper came and he spent the next 30 minutes eating. He ate a good part of it, and then there was more time to wait until he could be put back to bed. That is when I left for home.

On my way home, the traffic was pretty heavy on 92. It is a heavily traveled road because it is a straight shot from Jefferson City to the Interstate. Part of it is 55 mph and the rest of it is 45 mph. Well, I was close to Jefferson City and in the 45 mph section leading into the city, and along whizzes a car that must have been doing 75 at least. I thought, "Wow! He sure is in a hurry. Wonder where the Highway Patrol is right now. I'll bet he gets stopped by the Jefferson City police if he doesn't slow down soon". Well, I needn't have worried. Right behind him (about 30 seconds later) came a Tennessee Trooper. I heard the siren and saw the flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I quickly moved over to get out of his way. (Of course)

In a couple of blocks, I saw he had caught the fellow and they had both turned off into a side road.
I felt like doing the old arm thing where you pull your arm down and yell, "Yes!"

Well, I have had my grilled pimento cheese sandwich and it is about bedtime. Maybe a glass of milk before I go to bed will help me sleep. Tomorrow is another day, you know. I am a little encouraged by the improvement I saw today, and every day with some improvement deserves a milk salute. Hmmm?

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends. Bye for now.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Church Today

Hey, Y'all,
Although I didn't get to attend our regular church services today, I did get to go to one. When I arrived at the nursing home today, Rick told me that Dub (Gramps) had just been taken down to the main dining room for church services. I went on down, and found him. I sat down next to him in an empty chair and took his hand. They had just begun to sing hymns. It was wonderful and although many of them could not sing, they made a joyful noise unto the Lord. One of the residents cannot speak, he can only make sounds, but he was responding to the music by making those sounds and rattling the tray on his wheelchair.

One of the residents sang a solo about when she was saved, and it was in the style of music sung a long time ago, where the singer's voice goes up at the end of each line.
She covered her face with her hands when she was finished. It was charming, and I enjoyed it so very much. It was a beautiful worship service. There must have been around 30 people in the service. After the music, we had a speaker who taught about the peace that passes understanding. The whole service lasted only about 30 minutes, but I am glad we went. Gramps and I knew all the words because the hymns they sang were familiar old songs. It makes one realize that you can have a meaningful worship experience whenever two or more are gathered in His name to praise Him.

Later we went outside for awhile and watched the traffic pass by and talked about the outdoors and what we saw. Soon after that it was time to go in for lunch and after he ate, I left and told him I would be back later. I went home and had a short rest and then went to Burger King for a junior burger and fries. Not long after. I headed back to the nursing home and we sat in the room (which he now calls home) and when he was brought supper, I helped him with eating and then left for the evening. Now it is time for my bed and I am almost asleep on my feet (or seat, ha).
This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. Much love to each of you. More later.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What a Night!

Hey, Y'all,
Last evening I went to bed at 9:30 (seems to be getting earlier each night, ha.) and went to sleep, only to wake up to a noise somewhere in the house. I got up and checked both doors to make sure they were locked, and they were. So, I went back into the bedroom and crawled into bed once again.

I had some stupendous dreams after going back to sleep. I had on my mind the fact that they were going to remove the Foley Tube from Gramps yesterday evening but had not done so before I left. I know I was thinking that they might not. Well, I dreamed that I went home and Gramps was lying on a leather couch in our living room (we don't have a leather couch, by the way) and a male nurse was reclining on the floor near him. I asked what was the idea, and the male nurse said, "He wanted to come home to die." I asked why did he still have the catheter in. The nurse said, "Oh we were busy watching Jay Leno, and didn't want to take it out. We were too busy."

About that time, my dream switched and I was looking at a new red convertible with Gramps and he was okay. He told me that the car was for sale. I asked how much did the fellow want for it. Gramps said, "only 106,000 dollars". I said, "My goodness, we can't afford that!" Gramps said, "why don't we just take a spin in it and see how we like it?". So we got into it, and drove it around a while and then came back to the fellow selling it. I said, "I reckon not, but it is a beauty." The car was shaped funny, too. It had two front seats, but only one back seat behind the driver and the other part was closed in like a box. I think it was a Volkswagen model. Just too funny!

Yesterday at the nursing home, Gramps walked more than he had the day before. He also ate pretty well, too. They moved him from the room he was in, to another one across the hall and down one door. He got a pretty good nights' sleep last night, and yes they did remove the Foley. However, they have to reinsert a Foley to drain the urine about twice a day. Gramps was quite alert this morning and very chatty this morning. Rick, the CNA, told me after Gramps' shower this morning that he stood up without assistance. Isn't that wonderful? I am beginning to have hopes again that he may be able to eventually come home.

I took Gramps outside for dinner today, and stayed outside for awhile after dinner. When I took him inside, he wanted to take a nap, so we put him to bed for one. I left then and came back later this afternoon at about 4 p.m. His CNA had gotten him out of bed so he could wake up for supper. All the while he was sitting up, he was looking at the bed longingly, but I talked to him and we watched tevee, until he ate his supper around 6 p.m. and then we put him to bed for the night. The people there are wonderful to him and to the other residents. They are very patient and caring, and for that I am thankful.

Today, I met the wife of Gramps' new room mate. She is a delightful lady in her late 80's, and she was telling me that her husband fell and broke his hip some time ago, also has Alzheimer's and has not walked since his hip was broken. He is just a year older than Gramps. His name is Lloyd, and her name is Adele. She has to go three times a week for dialysis, so she doesn't come every day, because the dialysis wipes her out.

Well, I must stop for now and find something to snack on for supper. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends. Oh, yes, when I was eating lunch at the Gondolier today, I was talking with the waitress who had served me a few days ago. She has a boyfriend who is soon on his way to Afghanistan to serve in the military. Her name is Melanie, and his name is Tyler. Please remember them in your prayers. She is very concerned for his safety, naturally. Thank you all for your continued prayers in our behalf, too. Bye for now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good Intentions

Hey, Y'all,
Somehow, when I get home and have had my late supper, I come into the computer room to read some other blogs, but find I just don't have the energy to do so. I really want to, but my body seems to be dragging and My want to has done got up and gone. Anyhow, maybe tomorrow evening. The day has been really hot and every time I have gone out and gotten into the car, it is hotter than blue blazes inside it.

This morning Gramps was sitting in the hallway in his wheelchair when I got there. He had had his shower and was dressed and waiting for me. It wasn't long before the physical therapist, Dr. Sam, came for him and I went along with them to the therapy room. When we got down there, Sam began working with Gramps, and showed me how to do the exercises with him, and Sam and I worked together with Gramps. After several minutes of working, doing exercises to stretch the hamstrings in Gramps legs, I went to the room to get Gramps' walker. I got lost on the way there and back. Arghhh. I felt like I had already had my walking exercise for the day. Then Sam got Gramps on his feet and they walked down two hallways, and I followed along with the wheelchair several steps behind them so that Gramps did not see it. At the end of the walking, I kept Gramps in the dining room for his lunch.

He ate a good bit of his lunch, and as he ate, I looked around at the other residents eating and being fed. Many of them eat food that has been pureed, and of these, some have to be fed each bite. Some are in such shapes that makes you wonder what is the quality of life that they have. Gramps doesn't handle the fork, knife and spoon the way he did before he fell. He doesn't have the healthy appetite, either. He sometimes drools when he eats, and liquid escapes his mouth. HIs vision seems to have worsened, and sometimes he tries to pick up paper and eat it. I cut his meat up into bite size pieces for him, and sometimes load his spoon with food,and then lay the spoon where he can pick it up. Most of the people, including Gramps, wear a large bib to cover their clothing to protect it.

I was reminded of the story I once read about a couple who made the man's father who lived with them, eat from a wooden bowl in a corner of the room. They had a son who watched very carefully the actions of his parents and the way they treated his grandfather. One day they saw the little son carving on a piece of wood and they asked him what he was doing. He said, "I am making a bowl for you to eat out of when you are old, like Grandfather is."

Compassion for others is never out of style, is it?

Gramps' doctor, Dr. Cooley, was very kind to see me on short notice this afternoon at her office. She gives the greatest hugs, don't you know? I wanted to know about his prognosis, and about the Foley that he has and that is bugging the heck out of him. He thinks that he has a sore place that needs lancing, not realizing that it is where the Foley is attached. I also asked if the Foley could be removed for awhile. She said that it possibly could, and we would just have to try. She also said that it is possible that if he continues to decline, he could be placed on hospice. She will check out the possibility that he could have prostate cancer. She is going to be coming to see him tomorrow at the nursing home. I look forward to seeing her there.

After lunch, Gramps went to the therapy room for occupational therapy and when they checked his oxygen level and his heart rate, the heart rate was elevated greatly and his oxygen level was quite low. Apparently he was down to get oxygen, but has not been getting it. They gave him some while he was doing his OT, but none was given after he went back to his room. I will find out tomorrow why he has not been getting it.

When I went back to the nursing home after seeing Dr. Cooley, I found Gramps sitting in the break room near his room. He still has confusion about where he is, and where his room is located. He was asking this evening about when we would be going to our bedroom and I told him that he was in his bedroom. He also asked me at lunch if I had heard from his sister, Johnnie, today and I told him that no, she was probably busy with her four daughters. (Johnnie passed away several years ago, along with her husband, Ross, who died later on). He accepted that answer with no problem.

A lot more things happen during the day, but I won't relate them here and now. My bed is calling to me, and I am about ready to answer. I did a load of laundry when I came in this evening, and I will put it in the dryer in the morning and hopefully take it out and get it folded and hung up before getting ready to leave for the nursing home.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for tonight. Much love to each of you, my friends, and thank you for your continued support. Bye for now. More later.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Foggy Today

Hey, Y'all,
It is foggy today in more ways than one. Ha. Foggy in my head and outside the house. Ha ha. I got to thinking this morning while still abed about how we will transport Gramps to Texas and of course, if he lives to do so, about his identification papers when flying. I had gotten up about 5 a.m. and after my visit to the John, I decided to stay up awhile and check my e-mails and blog comments. Well, when I went back to bed and tried to sleep again, there was where the wondering began. I finally got up at 6:15 and went into the kitchen and checked his billfold for his non-driver's ID and found it, so that little problem was solved.

I made my breakfast and ate it, then thought about if he passed away, I might need his birth certificate for something and I knew we had a copy of it somewhere, so the hunt began again. I found them (his and mine) while ago, and now I am just waiting for some of the fog to lift outdoors, so that I can do the ten or eleven mile drive to the nursing home and begin the rest of our day there.

Yesterday Gramps had had his shower and then lunch came, so I wheeled him down a couple of doors to eat there in that day room. We could sit there and look outside while he ate, or we could watch a tevee that was up in front, suspended from the ceiling. After he finished his lunch, I took him back to the room. The wheelchair he is using belongs to the nursing home and is too short for his long legs and has no foot rests. I have to get him to lift his feet and the message to do so doesn't always get from his ears to his feet, so I have to repeat it over and over. I know it gets boring to him (as it does to me. ha).

We got back to his room and the physical therapist came in soon after. In the meantime, Gramps asked to be taken to the bathroom, so the CNA (Rick) took him in there and told me that Gramps had stood up on his own and got on the commode with little help. So, Rick brought the wheelchair back out into the room to give Gramps some room. Soon after, Sam (the Therapist) came in and he and I were discussing Gramps' condition and we heard the doorknob to the bathroom rattle. OOPS! Gramps had gotten up and moved enough to reach the doorknob. Sam immediately went in and helped Gramps walk to the wheelchair in the room. I know you may be saying, "Wonderful!" but it is actually very dangerous.

Gramps' legs almost gave way several times while he was getting to the chair. It would be extremely dangerous for him to think he could just get up and walk without his walker to support him. In fact, a lady down the hall from him fell three times yesterday in her room. One time right after the other.

I left when Sam took Gramps down the hall to the therapy room so I could meet a dear friend, Carolyn, for lunch at the Minnis House in New Market. We had a lovely lunch and I so much enjoyed talking to her. Both her parents are in another nursing home in Jefferson City. She is having a rough time with them and my heart goes out to her and her husband. Thank you, Carolyn, for the very enjoyable lunch we had together. We compare notes and commiserate with one another.

Yesterday afternoon, I took Gramps down to the dining room for supper and I talked to him while he ate. Earlier yesterday morning, I asked if he wanted me to read his Bible to him and he said yes, so I began reading to him. After a few minutes he went to sleep and his roommate (with the salty language) said he enjoyed the reading, so I went over and read to him loudly enough for both he and Gramps to hear me. I read several pages from the Psalms to them both and I noticed a lady in a wheel chair stopping in the doorway to listen. I realized that these dear people are hungry for the Word.

Well, it is time for me to hit the road and head to Dandridge. Thank you all for your words of comfort and encouragement. I so much appreciate them. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you, my friends. Bye for now. More later.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Five Hundred Today

Hey, Y'all,
Yes, today is a milestone of sorts, since this is the 500th posting here at this place, even though some of them were done by daughters (I guess that still counts). First, let me say how much I appreciate all the comments and the faithful readers who visit me here. You are all so very encouraging to me and Gramps. I love you all so very much. You have kept me going and writing, and it means so very much to me. I read them each day, and know that you are out there and caring. God bless you all.

It is 4:30 a.m. and I woke up not able to go back to sleep right away, but I will in a few minutes, I think. You know how you kind of get antsy and have to get up sometimes; well,that was me about 25 minutes ago.

Yesterday at JCNH, Gramps did more walking at a time than he had before just after lunch. It was great. I spoke with the occupational therapist, who has him get dressed, and Gramps did most of it by himself, with some aid from the OT. He also combed his hair, cleaned his teeth, and washed his hands. This was done from his wheel chair. She told me to keep him comfortable, and if there was anything he liked or wanted to bring it for him. I asked the head nurse about his condition (the 10% use of his gall bladder and the Foley) and he said that one would do better with at least 30% use and the longer the Foley is in, the more likely it is to remain in. He had no idea as to when it would be removed. I think they are telling me that it is only a matter of time, but no one knows anything for sure. Only the Good Lord, and He's not telling. I know that Gramps wants to go on home, and I want it for him because we both know where he is going when that happens.

A nursing home is a place of hope for some, of despair for many, and of resignation for some. You can see it wherever you look. It is a way station for those awaiting the final journey. One lady who sits in the hallway is continually asking those who pass by her for help. Many times she will say, "Will you please help me? I need to wee wee" and other times she will say, "Help me, Lord Jesus, take me to heaven". Sometimes, in the mid afternoon, there will be help bells chiming from several rooms with patients needing something. It may only be a small thing (to one of us who is mobile) but a great thing to them because they cannot help themselves.

Then there are those like Gramps' roommate who cannot ring the bell because he is blind and cannot find it, so he shouts aloud (very loudly) "help! help!". Then there are those who cannot shout or won't when they want or need something (like Gramps). He could shout, but doesn't; he just lies there or sits there waiting and quite often sleeping. Quite often when I go in, he is lying skygoggling ( askew) in bed, in a partial sitting position, sleeping and bothering no one. It depends on how early I get there.

I know this all sounds somewhat "down" but it is reality. I actually got him to engage in some conversation with me yesterday afternoon when we were sitting in the 'break room' and looking out the window. We had visitors yesterday around lunch time. Our neighbors, Scott and Laurie, came to visit with their three children, and we sat in the sun room near the dining room and he ate his lunch with no help from me except for my cutting his salisbury steak for him. I told him that Scott and Laurie had come to visit and asked if he knew who they were and he told me their last names and who they were. That was so very encouraging!

Well, my eyes are beginning to feel a little like sleep again, so I am going back to bed for an hour or so. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. Much love to each of you, my friends. More later. Bye for now.