Saturday, February 12, 2011

Belated Happy Birthdays
In all the craziness of the past two weeks, I missed calling for two birthdays.  Sooo,,, Happy Birthday Auntie Siloch and Farida!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update on Dad (Dood)
I’ve had a very hectic morning of meetings at work so far but I did manage to squeeze in a call to the hospice. They said that Dad had a good night – still with oxygen last night and this morning but he is doing better now. Mom is there with him so he asked for the tube to be removed so he can go for a walk with her. That’s the beauty of the space – he is not confined to 20 steps from the living room to the bedroom like he was at home.

I spoke to Mom last night when I got home from work (brutal 13 hour day of mostly brain work) so I am not really sure how most of the conversation went. But she did say that the hospital bed and wheelchair were picked up and Karran and Kelsey moved around some furniture to her liking.
Karran is going over to visit Dad today since he and Kelsey are leaving for an overdue honeymoon in New Orleans for 10 whole days! I am already salivating thinking about those pralines. I love when I go there and run around to all the praline shops to “taste” the pralines. After about half an hour, you just get this sugar high which you then need to deal with by going to the Cafe Du Monde (YuuuMMMM) for a few beignets and a hot cup of cafe au lait.
I am going over to some friends for dinner and tomorrow we are taking mom to the theatre and then out to dinner. She sounds excited. She hasn’t had a real good outing for several months so this will be a nice treat.
Now, of course, I am worrying about her. She’s been used to having home care workers in the house almost 24 hours each day for the last 3 months so this period by herself will be a major adjustment. Sophie invited her to sleep over last weekend and will do the same this weekend. We are planning to take dinner on Sunday at the hospice, assuming that everyone is available. Dad already requested fish curry so I have to hunt in my freezer to see if I have what he likes.
I told him that he has get out of his pyjamas and stop acting like a sick man and dress up in his athletic pants I bought him for his birthday. For those of you who know him from a long time ago, that was his usual style – to dress up for any occasion! I think his kids inherited that too. The way I rationalize it, none of us drink or smoke so if our vices are excesses of clothes and jewellery and travel, then it’s money well spent.
Some of you might remember that I did a cancer walk in June 2009. Postings from that blog are in the archives on this blog. I think I am going to sign up for this year’s walk but maybe set the fundraising goal closer to $1,000 rather than the $2,000 (or was it $2,500?) set last time. That means that I will only have to do 3 more ½ marathons for the rest of the year. My health goal this year is to walk 4 half marathons. Last year I did 3 including the Bermuda Triangle Challenge (1 mile on Friday evening, 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday). It sure was a challenge but I did it. This year so far, I have tried to maintain my 10,000 steps per day but fell short of my 310,000 steps for January. I hope to do better this month. When dad was diagnosed with cancer in Feb 2006, I committed to walking, as if I thought the more I walked, the better he would feel. Alas, it didn’t happen that way, but what I did get out of it is really excellent HDL (good cholesterol) and a decent check-up from my doctor for the past few years.
Mom still does her yoga and for 81, I think that’s great. If I am still standing at 81, I hope to be flexible enough to do yoga! Dad is doing laps around the hospice so that should give all of you some motivation to add a few extra steps in your day. Get up and get moving!
Just a note to say that I may not be posting a blog entry every day unless I have something interesting to say or an update on Dad. I will, however, title the posts so that you can only read what interests you.  Some of you have been sending emails to my Hotmail account.  I will post your comments on the blog so that when I print them (including my entries) to read to my parents, they'll have a context for your comments.
Wishing you a good weekend...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Update on Dad (Dood)
 I called the Grace this morning at about 10:30am and the nurse said that Dad was having some diffciulty breathing last night and he needed oxygen. I went over at about 11:00am and he was sleeping. Apparently he had a very restless night and by 4:00am he insisted that they call me to let me know that he was on oxygen. They had the good sense to tell him that there wasn't really anything I could do for him, especially at that time of day.
I woke him up about 11:20am and he wanted lunch - his dhall and roti. He ate well enough but not the whole amount but every few spoonsful, he would need to take a few deep breaths (still wearing the oxygen tube). He had half of a small avocado and a small bowl of tapioca pudding. I had to feed him because he is not able to navigate the spoon to his mouth very well.
While I was feeding him, he asked if I had a workshop to facilitate yesterday. He was casual as heck but it was totally calcuated as I found out when I said that I did not have one. Then he wanted to know how come I didn't visit. I said that Mom and Sophie visited. That wasn't so satisfctory for him. He asked if I would be returning today but I said that I had to be at work today at 7:30am and won't be leaving till at least 8:00pm.
The Palliative Care people are picking up the bed and wheelchair that they loaned us for Dad's home and Karran and Kelsey will move the regular bed back from the patio into the bedroom.
Mom has been receiving your phone messages but with all the calls she is getting from us checking up on her, she is not able to return all your calls and sometimes she is having the same coversations with different people throughout the day. If you do want to know how she is doing but she has not yet returned your call, you can always send me an email or post a comment when you read this blog entry and it will go to my Hotmail Inbox.
Wishing you a good day...

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Update on Dad (Dood)
Well I am breathing a bit more easily today. I didn't realize just how much I was holding my breath and clenching my teeth until I unlocked my jaw last night and felt some relief. I even managed to attend aquafit classes for an hour last night.
I went to see Dad yesterday and take his floodlight quality lamp for his room. He must have been feeling a bit more settled because he was instructing me on how to assemble the lamp telling me not to cross-thread it or I will wreck it. I walked in and totally busted him flirting with a young nurse!! I'm sure pretty soon he'll be kissing their hands. They are so kind and helpful and they are taking really good care of him. They help him to eat and give him whatever he wants (not like home where we were monitoring his sweets). He likes the apple juice and of course I had to remind him that if they are monitoring him, then they'll tell him if he's had too much. Chandal (his nurse was reading to him and he loved that. Karen a student nurse will spend the next 4 weeks with him and I can almost guarantee that she'll be visiting him long after her rotations are done. A couple of friends from his casino bus trip visited him at the Riverview and a few more have said that they'll go to his new home to visit (as have some family friends).
He said something funny while I was there. This is how the conversation went:
Dad: Okay Sandra, I want to be frank with you.
Sandra: Yes Dad. What is it? (me thinking that he is going to complain about something)
Dad: I just want to say that you are worrying too much about me. You don't have to do that.
Sandra: Dad, it's my job to worry about you when you can't do it for yourself.
Dad: yes, I know but you worry too much. I'm okay. I'm okay.
Sandra: Dad, do you remember the time when I was a baby and I was scalded badly with milk and the doctor told you that I was going to die because no one survives a burn that bad? You said I spent 16 days in the hospital. Right? And did you worry about me and come to see me or did you stay away?
Dad: I came to the hospital 3 or 4 times a day.
Sandra: Okay dad, now it's my turn to worry about you. That's just how it's going to be.
Dad: okay but don't do so much of it. I have to say though, that if you didn't worry these last five years, I'd be dead already.
Sandra: Okay, let's go for a walk to the sunroom.
Dad: Will you come with me?
Sandra: Of course!
So I think he is getting comfortable with his surroundings and hopefully will do better than expected. His left side face is quite swollen (the tumour was mostly contained on the right side of his face for the last 5 years but has now spread to the left side) but it not causing major pain yet so he is on his regular pain meds of hydromorph (much stronger than morphine and would probably flatten most people). I think he uses my reaction to his health as the yardstick of how good/bad he is doing so I am always careful not to look too anxious or worried when I am talking to him although I try not to hide things about his health from him (at least not major things) but I do choose my words carefully.
I have a stack of emails that I printed from some of you and will take them over to read to him. He'll like that. Take care all and love to all of you.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Update on Dad (Dood)
This is an update on Dad. He was transferred from the Riverview Health Centre to the Grace Hospice yesterday afternoon. Sophie and Mom went to help him get packed and Mom accompanied him in the Medivan vehicle. When he arrived there, Sophie took him on a tour of the facility and agreed that the place is "awesome".
I stopped in to see him on my way back from Brandon (about 2 hrs. from Winnipeg) and he was a bit confused about where he was. He thought I moved his clock but was getting the hospice confused with the Riverview. I told him that I would get him a clock that he can see from his bed (the one in the room is on the wall behind his bed and he can't see it). The lighting in the room is adequate but not for him because his vision is declining, so muted lighting is challenging for him. On my way home last night, I went to Home Depot and bought a 250 watt pole lamp which will make the room more like living under floodlights but it'll be perfect for him. Karran adjusted the potlights so that they are directed on his table but he will still need more lighting.
He had a good dinner last night while I was there I spoke to the night nurse this morning and she said he had a good night and was awake at 5:30 to have his shower and get cleaned up (better than his usual 4am wake up and shower routine at home) and seems to be settling in this morning, although he is now experiencing pain on the left side of his face so he had to take some extra pain meds.
I will go over this aft. to take the lamp and make sure that he is doing okay. I'll try to go and have breakfast with him some days and lunch or dinner on other days. Sophie will go on Wed. mornings and Sunday/Monday as her schedule permits. Karran will go as his schedule permits and mom will go as often as she can too to spend a night or two each week. Sabena is coming from Calgary on Feb 19 for a few days so Dad will be happy to have all his kids around and mom will be glad for the company at home. We are going to take some of his favourite foods when we go to visit and the staff will warm it up for him as he wishes.
Dad has a phone in his room but he gets tired very quickly so it's no use for anyone to try to call him and have a conversation. I have a long distance phone plan so if he wants to and has the energy to talk to anyone, I will make the calls for him and he can have a brief conversation (these days he spends less than a minute on the phone but his strong voice is deceiving and belies his failing strength). Alternately, if you want to send an email message to him, I can print it and read it to him. He has a CD player in his room so I will take some CD's of bhajans that he likes and I'll go to the library to get some audio books but he is also not hearing very well so this may not work.
I know all of you get bombarded with numerous emails each day so if you don't want to receive these emails, please let me know. I promise I won't feel offended, as you may be getting the information for someone else whose email is on this list. I will only send updates as the need arises but you can always send me a quick note if you want a more frequent update than I am providing.
Thanks for your love and care.....

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Update on Dad (Dood)
Hi family and friends,
Thanks for your calls on Feb 2 to wish Dad a Happy 80th birthday. Last year this time I was challenging him to see 80 and he made it. I've relayed all the calls to him.
Unfortunately his tumour was bleeding quite a bit the week before and he ended up in the Riverview Health Centre on Feb 1 (my birthday). We were supposed to have chinese food for dinner (at his request) so we ended up taking the party to the RHC. He was definitely not happy to be there and gave the nurses and staff all kinds of grief. I had to talk to him about that and also to tell him that his medical needs are now beyond what we can provide at home so we made the difficult decision to admit him to the Grace Hospice. I have attached the link to the site. so you can see that it's quite a lovely place.
I had the very difficult task of telling him that he was not going home (one of the hardest things I have ever had to do).
Mom and I went yesterday to meet the staff and see his room (room 3). I took some pictures and I must say, the place is pretty amazing. It's not home but I dare say that it's almost better than home because he'll have much more room to move about and we'll be able to stay overnight when we want to. He is being transferred over tomorrow and we'll be there to make sure that he is settled in. We can bring food he likes if we want to but they'll try to accommodate his dietary preferences although they don't know how to make dhall and roti or chicken curry or oxtail cook-up.
His room has a bed for him, a double hide-a-bed, an automatic recliner, a dinner table and two chairs, microwave, fridge, CD player, wall to wall closets, privacy windows (he can see out but people cannot see in) and a huge bathroom with a walk-in shower. All 12 rooms and common areas are on the ground level and commom areas include a beautiful 4 season sun room, a TV sitting room, a fireplace sitting room, a library sitting room, a small chapel, a card table (and definitely dominoes), a private lounge, a dining area, a commercial kitchen where food is prepared each day and 24/7 nursing, Dr and healthcare aides as well as volunteers.
I am thinking with the kind of pampering they do there and the anytime-of-day meal plan, I just might check myself in for a few weeks but I think it's kind of like the Hotel California (for those of you who are familiar with the Eagles song). As beautiful as the place is though, it's an end-of-life facility for people who have less than 3 months. But knowing my father and how he has managed to beat the odds many times over (forget about the cat with 9 lives; there is a new standard called the Dood, meaning that if you beat the odds as many times as he has, you're pulling a "Dood") he may be directing the staff how to mow the lawn in the summer so it looks like his own golf course quality lawn at home. There are three bird feeders outside his window and a hook for a hanging plant when it gets warm enough. We are going to try to stay over a couple to a few nights a week so he has company and we'll continue to take some of the food he loves to eat because he still has a hearty appetite.
I know several people left messages and are calling at mom's but it's not that she is being rude. She's just a bit overwhelmed this week so I have been running interferance for her. I will send email updates to you as I have any information because I know that you care about their well-being. Please feel free to send me an email anytime if there is something I can answer or you can call me at home. If I don't personally return your call, I will send an email (because I am saying the same things to people many times over). Take care all and thank for your love and caring.
Wishing you a good day...