October 25, 2016
Its been a crazy week. The awareness walk for LBD was last weekend. We had quite a bit of family in town for the weekend, and the walk was an enormous success, in my mind anyway. Many photos were published on line, including on the website for lbda.org. We met several other families whose lives have been affected by LBD, and at least two others that want to help organize an even bigger walk next year. It was a ton of work, but I can see us doing this again next year, so we’ll see. I had a woman reach out to me from New Jersey who is currently suffering from LBD, and she want to fly out next year to participate in our walk. Its exciting to think you may have an affect on peoples lives in this manner, and that hopefully we’ve spread the word, if even just a little farther, about LBD awareness.
I visited dad tonight after a few days away. This weekend my siblings were all in town so rather than inundating dad with visitors, I let them have their own time with him at the home. I had plenty on my plate anyway with the awareness walk last minute preparations. Yesterday I was unable to make it over as I was teaching a lecture at the University of Michigan so needed to be in Ann Arbor. I gave a talk about drug development and I included a motivation slide for why we work in the health care industry, with an emphasis on the patients, and I showed a before and after picture of my dad to the students, just so they were perfectly aware of exactly why I work in the health care industry.
Dad was good today though, he was walking down the corridor, unattended, as I arrived in the memory wing. I walked right up to him and he barked at me a little, “Well are you going to move out of my way or what”. It was funny as he was in a bit of a grouchy mood it seemed, but when I introduced myself, that immediately reversed and he really cheered up. We held hands as I walked him back toward the dining room as they prepped for dinner.
We got situated at the helper table where Ruthanne and Wilma Jean, and of course my favorite DJ Cynthia sit, as well as Arinda, my favorite scratchy voiced swear-er who could always make me smile. Arinda wasn’t there tonight, I thought maybe her daughter Sherry had taken her out to dinner as she does on an occasion. Last I saw her she was in good spirits and doing well. She’s had a cough since dad moved in, so that didn’t seem to get any better or any worse for that matter. The room was quiet tonight, nobody was really talking and the radio was turned very low. By the time we sat at the table, Cynthia had actually turned the music all the way off. I asked where Arinda was as her silverware and napkin were also not placed tonight. I assumed out to dinner, then Cynthia quietly whispered to me that Arinda had died just a couple hours ago.
I lost my breath. Like a kick to the gut. She was just there Friday. I looked around in disbelief, I wouldn’t put it past Cynthia to make a joke like that as she has a very strange sense of humor. The CNA was there passing out drinks. Two new residents were attempting to get acquainted with the staff and get comfortable with the dinner arrangements. The CNA looked up to me and nodded, it was true. She coughed really hard a couple hours earlier, they asked her if she was OK and she nodded she was. She coughed a little more and her head went back to the wall where she sat, and she was gone, that fast.
Several of the residents don’t look good right now. Marian, also quite new to the facility has show some significant decline over the past month or two. Bobbi has been in steady decline for a month or so as well. Wheel-chair Larry was gone tonight, hopefully for dinner out with his family, but hard to say.
I fought back some tears as I thought about Arinda passing. I asked the nurse for her daughters contact information, I’ll send a card tomorrow. Her daughter looked worn out when I saw her at the home. She’s divorced and taking care of her mom, a tough situation to be in.
I stuck with dad for about 45 minutes, but he was actually feeding himself quite well today. I had a meeting tonight for girl’s soccer so couldn’t assist in him finishing his meal. But he was good tonight, so I wasn’t as worried. Since he was doing so well, I think he’d do fine with my leaving early tonight. His legs are quite swollen, and have been, with the CHF still working away. I asked the nurse to confirm his diuretic meds, and to perhaps up the dosage a bit.
As I watched him finish a good portion of meatloaf, and carefully spoon his chocolate milk into his mouth (no idea why he won’t just drink it), I let him know that I had to go due to meetings tonight. A kiss on the head and an “I love you” from both of us I parted the facility. As I passed Bobbi’s room, I saw them cleaning out her things.
I sent a text to Sandra the CNA… “Where is Bobbi tonight?”
She responded… “Moved to Hallway 1”
Thats not good, but she’s looked pretty bad lately. My network of senior citizen friends is shrinking by the day.