Tuesday, 12 February 2013

08:21 – Happy Darwin Day, and happy birthday to Colin, who’s two years old today. In fact, over the weekend I suggested to Barbara that we change Colin’s name to Darwin, but she wouldn’t hear of it.

Barbara’s heading over to the hospital this afternoon to pick up her mom and take her home. She and Frances have been scrambling to get day-time care lined up. The doctor suggested that they have someone there with Sankie during the day as well as at night for at least a while because they’re afraid she won’t be able to cope physically with things until she’s recovered a bit more. Barbara is not optimistic, expecting another crisis will occur soon with her mom, her dad, or both. I think they both need to be moved to a skilled-care facility. Independent-living or even assisted-living is simply no longer appropriate for them.


16:23 – I spoke to Barbara a few minutes ago. Her mom is now home and seems to be doing as well as could be expected. She’s still physically frail, which is to be expected at her age and coming off a 16-day hospital stay. Mentally, it’s a mixed bag. Barbara says she remembers things like the year they moved into their house, 50 years or so ago. But she’s confused about why she was in the hospital. I told Barbara to give her a day or two to get used to being home before she worries too much about her mom’s mental state. It’s never easy being in the hospital, let alone for someone Sankie’s age. The aide they’re hiring to day-sit was over there when I talked to Barbara. Barbara vaguely recognized her. It turns out that Barbara went to elementary, junior high, and high school with her.

31 thoughts on “Tuesday, 12 February 2013”

  1. I think they both need to be moved to a skilled-care facility. Independent-living or even assisted-living is simply no longer appropriate for them.

    If Barbara and Frances agree with you, it will be much easier to do that within 30 days of Dutch’s last hospital discharge. (Assuming he was in for 3 days or more.)

    The skilled care facility decision is hard to make. The assisted living decision was hard enough for me to make for my mother.

  2. We went through something similar with my mother in law a couple of years ago, although she went straight from living by herself to a nursing home (aka skilled care facility). She was there for her last eighteen months. It was much better for both her and my wife’s sister who, because of her proximity, had most of the burden. It was expensive, but she had the resources. My wife and her two sisters visited their mother frequently during that time. The visits were low stress because they didn’t have to worry about their mother’s day to day care. As a result, the three sisters have good memories of their mother’s last year rather than bad ones from being stressed out.

    Rick in Portland

  3. The visits were low stress because they didn’t have to worry about their mother’s day to day care. As a result, the three sisters have good memories of their mother’s last year rather than bad ones from being stressed out.

    Yes, I totally agree with this. My mother and her two sisters basically lived with my grandmother for the last year of her life. She did not want to move anywhere and was adamant about it. They complied although my mother did the lions share of the work. It was a lot of work on their part but they had supportive husbands (Dad learned how to cook again).

  4. My mum moved into a “home” in 2007 after a bad fall. My father told her to move out of the family home within six months of him dying (which happened in 1997) but she stayed on for a decade. Then she had a fall one morning in the laundry, which had a cement floor, and lay there for about eight hours till my brother got home. She’d broken something and had to spend some time in hospital. At that stage she finally agreed to move in to a nursing home, and my sister scouted a nice one for her near her own place.

    A discordant thing that happened then was an idiot neighbor sneering to my brother “You’ve put her in a home, have you?” I’m glad I wasn’t there as I might have done something I would regret, and might have interested the cops. Anyway, she liked it there and made a lot of friends. She was in remarkably good health, for an 88 year old, until about three months before she died. Then she started having these micro-strokes, I think they’re called, but would quickly recover to some extent, but she was never the same and no longer seemed to enjoy visits and phone calls. She didn’t go to my nephew’s wedding in September, she wasn’t fit enough to last that long at the wedding, then the reception, it would have been about eight hours. Then, the next day, she was worried that somehow my nephew hadn’t been legally married and that there’d be various problems. It took a lot of convincing to get her to accept that the wedding had actually happened and that all the paperwork had been done properly. All of this mental deterioration happened just in the last three months.

  5. I agree that a skilled care nursing facility would take a LOT of pressure off Barbara and her sister. Although there was 24-hour nursing available (primarily for those who needed medicine in the form of shots and help with emphysema symptoms) in the assisted living where my aunt and uncle had been living for several months, the nurses did not catch my uncle’s bronchitis getting worse until he fell into a need for hospitalization. My cousin was the one who had to catch that, and he was not visiting them daily, and could not tell by his daily telephone calls, how much things were deteriorating.

    In the nursing facility they are now in, there is a large staff of nurses (8 at just one station I passed when visiting the other day) watching everything, taking daily readings of things like body temperature and blood pressure, and reporting status to their doctors regularly. Much more watchful care, so it is unlikely Dutch—like my uncle—could slip, through neglect of a problem, into a situation requiring emergency treatment. They will be much more on top of things than in assisted living, where one is still basically on their own. And after a couple weeks of having to be with them in the assisted living 24/7, my cousin and his wife are now able to stay at home again. Since both of them still work, that is a blessing.

    One thing I am realizing through this experience: older people cannot properly assess their own health needs, nor can they assess the needs of each other. When those of us who are younger, might just take things easy for a day or two when confronted with symptoms of sickness, that does not work with older people, and they have the false confidence that if they just slow down for a day or few, they will get better, as they did when younger. As one gets older, there needs to be more vigilance when sickness symptoms strike—and assessment by professionals early on, not after things get so bad it requires a trip to the hospital.

  6. Spent the day in Indy, judging videos produced by high school and college students enrolled in media courses. The high school material was much worse than in previous years; the college material was all excellent and one of them absolutely outstanding.

    Amazingly, my judging group agreed on the top 5 in every category, but we just placed some of them in different order.

    I listen to the BBC World Service while showering and dressing, just like I did in Berlin. Interesting program this morning on sex and its relationship to evolution.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/discovery

  7. She was in remarkably good health, for an 88 year old, until about three months before she died. Then she started having these micro-strokes, I think they’re called, but would quickly recover to some extent..

    Same thing is happening to my ferret (oh, stop your snickering!). She’s a 8+, which in dogs years is about a hundred and twenty one.

    Just had another TIA, droopy eyelid and all, which means she’ll be down for the count for at least a month. Been through the process before. Problem is, I HAVE to go to India Mar 11th. She’s not in any pain, eats and shits normally, and enjoys my company and I hers. Yet I’m going to spend $30 a day for 12 days to have her “looked after” once a day (if that) without the socialization to which she’s been accustomed. That alone will take its toll. You’d have to know ferrets to understand, but that’s beside the point.

    I’m very much in favor of euthanasia, esp when self-selected. I’m reminded of that scene in _Soylent Green_ in which Edward G Robinson puts himself down to the strains of Beethoven’s 6th.

    If she had DNR orders, I’m sure they’d be like mine: fusk the heroics, just pump me full of morphine and let God to the rest.

    If the Esquimeaux (god, I love that spelling) can do it, why can’t we? There’s a time and purpose to everything under the sun. Dignity means something, doesn’t it?

  8. @ Miles re: Okay, does anyone here have a pool?

    Some thoughts follow:
    THE BAD.
    – Costs in Aus are quite higher than the US. Pools are not as ubiquitous as in the US either and the pool equipment and services are priced accordingly (up, obviously).
    – I used liquid Chlorine at AUD10 for 10 litres and that lasts about a week for that size of pool. How much you need will depend on pool size, how you set the timer and the pump that you use.
    – Unless water freezes down there, do not even consider emptying the pool. In Sydney you need a special permit to use all the water necessary to fill up a pool and you have to consider the huge bill that will come from the utility for the amount of water you will need.
    – Topping up will also cost you.
    – Most things are –or can be- automated. You will probably need a crawler and they do a nice job. If you do not have many trees nearby then leaf and other stuff will not fall into the pool. Otherwise, you will need at least a daily incursion to clean the skimmer.
    – The pump(s) need to work a few hours every day. Electricity costs add-up. I am not sure if you can get them off-peak or not. Mine was set-up for a few hs in the morning and a few-hs in the afternoon.
    USAGE
    – Both my neighbours built new pools some time ago. The first one was used by the family a lot during the first month and use started diminishing from there onwards. By the third year the pool only saw a human being when it was receiving maintenance. By the fifth year that pool was torn down. The other neighbour had similar usage pattern except that they use the house to entertain and visitors get to use it.
    – A friend of mine actually uses the pool on a daily basis to do exercise.
    THE GOOD
    – If the house is in a bush-fire prone area, it is a good thing to have. Just add a submersible pump to your kit and it can be helpful in controlling flying stuff or cooling down the roof until bushfire brigade appears.
    – It is perceived as value-add. A lot of people that do not have pools would like to have one and will pay a small premium for a property that has a pool.
    – If you really use it, it could cut costs on fitness-centre fees and time needed to get there and back.

    Bottom line: since you are not gung-ho to start with, you will probably have the normal usage pattern: a lot to start with because it is the new toy, followed by diminishing use of it and falling later into the conundrum of tearing it down or not. Having an above ground pool is handy for when you reach that stage. This may be really outweighed by the bushfire positives and re-sale benefits.

  9. One thing I am realizing through this experience: older people cannot properly assess their own health needs, nor can they assess the needs of each other.

    How true. My mother at 85 has the same lack of perspective on her health that her mother did at 85. I think my mother realizes she’s doing better now than she was before the assisted living. She doesn’t realize that’s because the staff reminds her to take her meds, and she’s not tripping over the clutter at her house. She can’t understand that if she were back at her house she’d rapidly return to her original state.

  10. Marcello…

    Did my sister pay you off LOL?

    I don’t think I’ll look for a place with a pool, I might even avoid them. I guess I’d use it a bit when I first got it to justify the expense, then not use it.

  11. “Happy Darwin Day, and happy birthday to Colin, who’s two years old today. In fact, over the weekend I suggested to Barbara that we change Colin’s name to Darwin, but she wouldn’t hear of it.”

    I’ve been in touch with Colin telepathically and he says he’s become a creationist, and would like to be renamed Duane… 🙂

  12. I would venture a guess that in that household Colin will become a creationist about the same time he becomes a vegan. He did confide in me, also telepathically, that he digs the name “Benedict.”

  13. I just asked Colin, and he says you’re lying, too.

    You are perhaps confused. He did mention that he likes *eggs* Benedict.

  14. Nah, I’m not lying. I think he’s just a bit ashamed in retrospect, and afraid of being put out on the street.

  15. Colin says he doesn’t believe in telepathy. He says his apparent telepathic skills are merely the result of constant and very close observation of his humans. Colin is, in short, a scientist Border Collie.

  16. My favorite local eatery serves an amazing crab cake eggs benny that is my second favorite benny in the world. The first is the classic eggs benny served at Brasserie Les Halles in NYC, which is famous for having Anthony Bourdain as their Executive Chef Emeritus. Simply amazing! Best steak and frites ever, too!

  17. I’ve read one of Anthony’s books and he’s a riot. I pretty much abide by his cooking advice as to kitchen implements; one razor-sharp chef’s knife; a few plastic spritz bottles; and pots and pans that you can brain somebody with in one swing. He wrote the book when he was simply the chef at Les Halles. Crazy bastard.

  18. I have more than one knife, but they are all razor sharp. 10″ chef’s, 8″ santoku and a wicked 12″ butcher are my heavy cutting, veggie and meat knives, but I have a bit of a fetish for kitchen knives.

  19. Miles_Teg says on 14 February 2013 at 00:30
    Knives? That’s what teeth are for.

    There you are, that proves it! He IS in telepathic contact with Colin!

  20. I used to have a couple of claymores, but everyone was always afraid they’d go off by themselves.

  21. Reminds me of one of my favorite Roadrunner ACME box labels:

    One Dozen Grenades – Not Recommended for Children

  22. Which in turn reminds of a Harry Bliss cartoon of a typical whitebread ‘hood with a motorist driving through and noticing a lawn sign warning:

    CHILDREN BLOWING SHIT UP

    In the background were a couple of smoke columns and one mushroom cloud with little kids running around.

Comments are closed.