Saturday, April 30, 2011
Picked Stan up at Rehab this morning around 9 am. Spent the night at Gail and Alex's so I would be close by. Had a mini breakfast with them and then I was off to get Stan who was not in his room but out walking the hall with nurse Michelle. He was anxious to go. Got his shoes on and a jacket and then we were off to the Nova Cafe for breakfast. Bozeman had at least 6 inches of snow and the roads were slushy, especially at the curb. Getting out of the subaru was definitely more of a chore for Stan than my usual Landcruiser. We had a great breakfast, with fresh oj, fresh fruit, and my usual over easy eggs, sausage for me, crisp bacon for Stan, and toast. The place was crowded, but we got there just before the big rush. When we left the restaurant it was packed, young people all on line, Stan and his cart it was like the parting of the Red Sea. Stan just put his head down and pushed his cart and they all parted, holding the door open and then we were out to the car. Getting into the car was very hard for Stan and after I finally got him seated safely he told me he didn't feel right. "Something's not right, Mark. It's not good." I said, "Dad, you just exerted yourself, of course you're tired." "No it's not that, something's wrong. I feel faint." "O.K., do you want to go back to rehab?" "Yes," he said his eyes closing. He was making me a little nervous so I started driving back towards the rehab place. As we approached the building, he said, "I'm feeling better, it feels good to be driving, let's drive to Big Sky." At this point I was parked outside the rehab building. "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm feeling better, I was feeling bad, but it's passed." I went inside the rehab to get his sunglasses. When I returned to the car he did look much better. I drove away asking him questions, making sure his speech sounded right, and made him give me a big smile. He was feeling better. It was like a blood pressure drop, maybe the food was too rich for him, but he really didn't eat that much. He started singing, "there's a time to live and a time to die, there's a time to laugh and a time to cry." Things were back to normal.
And so we drove to Big Sky, straight to his condo. 8 - 10 inches of snow in his driveway and walkway. So I made him wait for me to shovel it away and then with his cart he rolled into his home. It was nice to be home. We put on the tv and looked for the Mets game. They had an afternoon game with the Phillies and it said it was on, but it wasn't. We get MLB from Direct TV so we should have all the games, but this game was on national tv and it was only on Fox East, Fox Montana had the Cards/Braves and so we were out of luck with the Mets. And now they're on a losing streak, after winning 6 in a row, they have now lost 3 in a row. ugh, the Mets. So we hung out in his condo. He showed me that he can easily get in and out of his bed. He checked out his shower and his bathroom and everything looked good for home independence. We sat around his condo watching baseball, staying updated on the Mets game, and Stan ending up napping for a bit. Andrew was home sick today, having a bad cough, very swollen glands and an awful night last night as he told me on the phone as I drove to Big Sky that he had the chills so bad that he took a hot shower and then later on he got so hot that he had to go outside. Either his fever broke or he was having a bad reaction to the drugs the doc prescribed him yesterday. So I was calling him, staying in touch with Jackie who was in Billings for Micah's soccer tournament and also with Howie and 3 of his friends for Howie's 11th birthday which was yesterday. Howie and his friends were hanging out a water park at the Billings hotel they were staying at, so Jackie had her hands full out there. Last night for dinner we all met at Mackenzie River Pizza for a birthday dinner for Howie so Grandpa got to see Howie on his birthday which was really nice, but actually when Stan and I got back to the rehab place after the party Stan was quite fatigued then and was telling me/ asking me about this bad feeling he gets, "why do I get so fatigued, why do I feel so weak?"
Around 2 pm Stan and I went over to the store and got some lunch to bring home for him and Andrew. Stan had a nice little store visit. Our good friends Ken and Deborah happen to be there, plus all the employees were happy to see Stan. He seemed happy and energetic. At home I walked into the usual messy house, dishes, dog messes and cat messes. Poor poor Murray. She had peed in the mud room and outside the guest bathroom. Andrew never noticed it. It was basically dried smelly pee, so I served Andrew and Grandpa lunch, I cleaned up Murray's pee. I went down stairs to do laundry. I discovered cat puke on the carpet. I cleaned that up, I emptied the kitty litter, I emptied all the garbages, I took out the garbage, I kept trying to clean up the smell from Murray's mess. I folded laundry, I did new washes. Andrew and Grandpa slept with Buddy and Ziggy in their laps...
Andrew eventually moved into the guest room and napped on the couch. I walked Murray and Buddy around the neighborhood. On our walk I saw something quite unusual, an elk was sitting right next to a house, all by itself just sitting there. I texted the owner of the house and he said it had been there all day...a bit unusual, most likely a sick elk... Buddy barked and barked at it and it just sat there... I tried to take a picture of it with my phone, but it came out too small...
And so after my walk, Stan was still asleep on the chair. He looked at me and said, "Buddy didn't go on the walk?" And I replied, "Dad, of course, Buddy went on the walk with me, that's Ziggy on your lap!" "Huh, I thought it was Buddy this whole time." When Andrew got up and Buddy went out with me, Ziggy moved to Stan's lap...
Stan told me a good joke today... A guy goes to the bakery in a blizzard and orders 2 rolls. The baker looks at him and says, "In this weather you come out for just 2 rolls? Your wife sent you out in this?" And the man replies, "Who then, my mother?"
And then later during the car ride home his favorite Playboy cartoon, A big semi-truck which says "Mother's Trucking" in big letters on the side and a little sports car next to it. The truck driver is strangling the other driver, and the caption says, "I just said that I thought you Mother's Trucker should drive better."
We sat around and just relaxed the rest of the afternoon. The phone rang. My father-in-law Jack called looking to wish Howie a happy birthday and ended up talking to Stan and making him laugh. "He's a good man your father in law, he took care of his father," Stan said to me after he got off the phone. Then Stan tried to call his sister, Joan, but she wasn't home. He was excited to tell her that he was in Big Sky for the day. He was feeling good.
Sitting around and relaxing, getting out of rehab for the day was making him feel good. But after a bit he was also getting anxious to go back to Rehab, probably worried about me driving back and forth. So we slowly got ready to head back to Bozeman. I gave him his 6 pm pills, and he got himself ready to go home. He put his shoes on himself, got his jacket on, he put on his hat, after taking it off the kitchen table. "You're not supposed to put hats on the table. Pearl wouldn't like it. Some sort of superstition." "Probably just don't want to get hairs on the kitchen table," I replied.
And so on Jackie's insistence over the phone I made Stan a little salad with some slices of steak and some chunks of potato and took it with us back to Bozeman. When we got back to his room at rehab, Stan took care of himself, changed out of his shoes and into his slippers, he hung his jacket in his closet, Put his gloves and hat away. He sat down on his bed, pulled the tray table close to him. I opened up his salad, he asked for the fruit salad from the refrigerator and he chowed down. At a little before 8 pm I left him for the night and drove back to Big Sky where I walked the dogs again, continued with laundry, checked in on Andrew and wrote this...
Monday, April 25, 2011
Catching up with some photos and captions:
Howie practicing the four questions before our seder on the first night of Passover, Monday, April 18th...The seder table...
This morning, crust cruising in YNP with Jackie and Denise...., great skate skiing, super flat light, and then a snowstorm with no visibility. It was actually quite beautiful and a lot of fun. Then it was back to work by noon, worked for an hour or so, then off to my haircut appointment, and then off to Bozeman to visit Dad.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Dad wanted me to send these photos of him taken in February as the snow by his condo grew over his head...
12 days ago I felt a small window of hope that my life was going to settle down and I would find some time to ski and relax - that was friday night, then on Saturday night at about 12:30 am, my phone rings and it's Stan, "I'm in trouble, Mark. I can't stand up, I'm on the floor, I can't get up, no wait a minute, O.K. I'm back in bed. Get some sleep, tomorrow is going to be a hard day." I was home alone with Howie who was sound asleep downstairs. We were awaiting the return of Jackie and Micah from Snowbird. They were do in around 1 am. I didn't know what to do. I somehow fell back asleep, Jackie and Micah arrived. Somehow I went back to sleep. If Stan was in bed there was not much for me to do... At 6:30 am he called me again from the floor of his bedroom. I got dressed and drove over to his condo. He couldn't get his legs to move. He was blocking the door, I got him to scooch over and got into his bedroom. I tried to figure out if I could get him up, but i couldn't. I dialed 911. The fire department came over - they checked him out, he did not have a stroke, but there was definitely something not right. They were great, they helped me get him dressed and into the car and it was off to the emergency room in Bozeman. The care there was awesome. We met a young neurologist named Dr. Nappenberger who diagnosed Stan with possible Parkinsonsisms... And so he was admitted to the hospital. After 3 nights it was off to a Rehab center for 24 hour care and therapists. Over the weekend he had large swelling in his left calf, so he was back to the hospital for an ultrasound - he had developed a large blood clot in his groin, so he was re-admitted to the hospital and now he's back at rehab... He's doing well, but he has a lot of physical and occupational therapy work ahead of him. But his spirits have stayed good. He is staying positive. A lot of that has to do with his paid care companion, Patty. A friend of ours for years with tons of experience taking care of the elderly, she has been terrific. Jackie signed her up for Stan for his birthday - on March 4th he turned 81 - and they get along super and she has been a tremendous help for Stan and for me.
It has been a very very busy winter, so many stories, so many things, but things keep happening, I don't know what to tell about - the past, the present or the future - every day is an adventure, every day of my life is like a cup spilling over, and lately at night I just need to sit in front of a baseball game and digest, but I'm a Mets fan and they are definitely causing my blood pressure to go up! I will try to keep blogging, and somehow I will find a way to report all that has been happening and is happening. Happy Pesach...
Friday, April 8, 2011
"There's a time to live and a time to die." This is what Stan told me the other day as I drove him home after dinner at our house. "I had a couple of doozy dreams." This is what he told me last night as we got ready to go home to his place, but he never told me what they were. I'll try to find out tonight.
Even though it's still snowing out there, signs of spring are abounding, you can see the pavement of the driveway most afternoons, after the snow melts, a mountain bluebird was perched on our back patio this morning. Today is the first work day morning I have blown off work and am waiting for Andrew who doesn't have school today to go skiing. Last Sunday was my first day off from the store since early February. Baseball season has started and the Mets are doing O.K., actually better than expected. Low expectations make for more fun baseball watching.
I will need to load some new pictures, and write some stories, and start reporting again, another sure sign of spring, transition in my work life, less store, more family time, time to start fishing... Jackie has my camera in Snowbird in Utah for Micah's last freeride competition of the season. Andrew will be going to the University of Utah in the fall.
And slowly the sunlight of spring shines on me to relax, live, love, and get out of the store!