Friday, 17 May 2013

07:28 – Barbara’s dad is on a restricted diet at the nursing home. The main restriction is on liquids. He’s at risk of aspirating liquids, which can cause pneumonia. Accordingly, they have him limited to “nectar” liquids, which essentially means goopy stuff. He’s not allowed ordinary liquids like coffee or soft drinks or even ice cream, for fear he’ll inhale some of them rather than swallowing.

Every time I ask him if there’s something he wants, he asks for ordinary liquids. He wants coffee and ice cream and juice. When he visited the doctor the other day, he mentioned this to the doctor. I was surprised at the doctor’s response, which was completely reasonable. He said that, at nearly 91 years old, Dutch should be able to eat and drink what he wants to eat and drink. If he aspirates and gets pneumonia, they can put him on antibiotics.

So, when I was over at Brian Center yesterday, I spoke to the staff about this. They said that, in the absence of a doctor’s order, they couldn’t give Dutch ordinary liquids, but that if I signed a release they could give me ordinary liquids to give to him. They just weren’t allowed to give him those liquids themselves. So I signed the release, explained the risks to Dutch, and got him the cup of coffee he so desperately wanted. I also asked the staff what we needed to do to get them permission to give Dutch whatever liquids he wanted when one of us wasn’t there to pass them along to him. They said the nursing home doctor was visiting at the moment, and if I could wait until he was free I could talk to him about it. So I did. He was completely in agreement that that was a reasonable thing to do. We agreed that if we got to be 90 years old, we sure didn’t want anyone telling us what we could or couldn’t drink. He asked if I had power of attorney for Dutch, and I told him I didn’t but Barbara did. So he asked if I’d have her call Brian Center to tell them she approved by her PoA. She wasn’t able to get through to them yesterday, but will do so today.

When I explained things to Dutch, I didn’t pull any punches. I told him that if he drank ordinary liquids, he could aspirate them, get pneumonia, and die. Or he could choke on them and die. I asked him if he understood that, and he said he did. I asked him if he still wanted a cup of coffee, and he said he did. So he got his cup of coffee, and we’re going to get things set up so that he can have a damned cup of coffee or cup of ice cream any time he wants one.

10:31 – I just got back from getting my driver’s license renewed, so I’m good for the next eight years. I thought I’d dropped the motorcycle endorsement the last time I renewed, but it was still on there. I told them to drop it this time. I’ll never get on a motorcycle again. If it didn’t kill me, Barbara would.

I stopped at Brian Center on the way home to visit Dutch. Unfortunately, he’s not doing very well, physically or mentally. He’s taking antibiotics for a UTI, and Barbara said last night that he’s never tolerated antibiotics very well. So on top of everything else, he now has nausea and vomiting.